This article by Sam Cater originally appeared in AppStorm
Many tools and packages exist online to help people create websites with minimal effort and involvement. Of course, each one has their own strengths and weaknesses. Some are more aimed at creating blogs, while others are better for single-page info sites.
Moonfruit is another competitor in this market. It looks stylish, promises to be simple, and … you do want to create a new site, right? So what does it have to offer, and what are its pros and cons? Lets take a look…
Making Creativity Easy
Moonfruit is designed for people with absolutely no web design experience. It attempts to give small business owners and individuals easy access to web management and creative tools. So without further ado, lets take a look at the site itself.
Choosing a template to work with
The first step in creating a site is choosing one of hundreds of themes as a starting point. From there it’s a case of altering and tweaking pretty much everything you see into a website that you would use to represent yourself.
The tools in the editor are very simple and easy to use, which is great because that’s exactly what people need. The elements, contents and formatting can be added and removed in a way that resembles Word or Publisher, so most people will feel comfortable using it. Moonfruit effectively turns a website into a page-by-page online document, where everything you see is configurable and can be adjusted as required.
The Editor window - More tools are made visible by selecting the categories at the top.
The content of the site has been intelligently and automatically mobile optimized.
A very useful feature Moonfruit has is automatic optimization of your site for mobile viewers. You don’t even have to configure or enable this, it’s there from the word go, no plugins, or code to meddle with. It didn’t show the Gallery image you can in these screenshots, however I am sure that this is solvable. Mobile-optimization is important these days, as with the growth of smartphone and tablet computer popularity, more and more views may come from such devices.
Another factor that would definitely make Moonfruit appealing to people who want a hassle-free experience is that the hosting and domain settings are handled for you. No FTP client is required, and there are no HTML or CSS files to manage. The web interface handles it all. On the subject of domains, you can link one you own to Moonfruit in a matter of minutes. They guide you through the process of changing address records with the company you purchased the domain from and so forth. You can also use Moonfruit to register a new domain if you so wished.
The social aspect of a websites? They are included too, with Twitter integration, RSS feeds, comment boxes, forum backends, and chat widgets.
Free website? Why thank you, yes.
They start you out on a 15 Day Free trial with 20MB of storage space. For any more space than this you have to crack open your wallet.
I chose the trial at first, and was expecting to have a really restricted interface and being prompted to pay for extra features. However when I signed in a popup box asked if I wanted to continue my 15 day trial, or keep a site for free. I clicked free, and the only condition is that I have to sign in every six months to keep the site ‘active’. Seemed like a good deal to me.
Obviously if you want a site for small businesses and enterprises you are going to have to break the 20MB limit, but for individuals or small groups it seems you can have a website on Moonfruit for nothing.
There are several pieces of functionality you can add into your website if so required, such as a blog, or even a shop.
The blog interface is very simplistic, offering only minimal functionality. What you see in this screenshot is all that you get. However for those of you familiar with feature-rich WordPress, remember that this entire service is geared towards people looking for straightforwardness and simplicity. Whilst it may look pretty bare, this is all that a blogger really needs. Three design modes are offered, Text, Image, and Article, so it definitely won’t be replacing WordPress any time soon.
For the original article, please click here