The InMotion website builder is actually a component of InMotion Hosting, so it works a bit differently than other free website builders. To use the website builder, you first need to create a hosting account, which makes sense because you need a hosting service for your site to go live on the Internet. Once a hosting account is established, you can then install the free premium website builder onto your account by choosing Other under the Additional Services menu on your account management panel. From there, click on Request Website Builder, select a name for your website and you’re ready to start designing it. You’ll be asked if you want to create a new website using your own software or software that comes with your InMotion account. Options here are WordPress or the premium web builder, as well as content management systems like Joomla or Drupal, and e-commerce software such as CubeCart, Os commerce, or Zen Cart.
To access the InMotion premium website builder, you need to select it from the Additional Services menu in your account management panel. Then, simply follow the prompts to install the site builder onto your account.
At first, I was a bit unsure as to what to do at the account management panel, but quickly got on track by scrolling down to the Tools and Resources Quick Links section. Once you launch the InMotion premium web builder, you’ve entered Step 1 or Start in a five-step process that also includes Design, Pages, Edit and Publish. You are prompted to select which type of website you want to create, with the options being website, blog, or photo gallery. The upper right hand corner main menu bar displays the other steps you will follow for creating your site and the sub menu bar provides easy access to support and your account management panel.
The Start screen is the first step in InMotion’s five-step website builder process. The types of site options are website, blog, or photo gallery.
After clicking your preferred site type, the website builder moves you along to Step 2: Design. It is here where you can choose a template for your website. I was amazed at the selection before me. There are over 500 design templates, all nicely categorized by theme or industry. But InMotion goes a step further and offers three ways to find a design template of your liking. You can select a category to view the templates, do a keyword search, or scroll through the template pages. Among the choices are art & photography; automotive; beauty; blogging; computer; electronics; fashion & clothing; florists; food & recipes; interior design; gaming; general business; gifts; hotels; medical & dental; entertainment; dance clubs; and real estate. The quality of the design templates are well done and professional looking, although minimalist in style.
The InMotion design templates are conveniently arranged by industry and with over 500 themes, offer a good selection from which to choose.
The Design step is also where you have the option of modifying the design template you selected. The right side menu of the template gives you the option of easily changing the color scheme, site banner, menu styles and site title. I found the design editing tools provided by InMotion extremely easy to use. The tools also enable you to quickly upload your own logo or add a Flash component to your home page. I decided to try adding a Flash intro by using one of InMotion’s templates. I had no problems as I followed the prompts to create a customized message with a color scheme and animation of my choice. The InMotion site builder also gives you the option of uploading your own Flash intro that was created elsewhere.
In the third step, Pages, the rest of your site starts to take shape. You decide how many pages your website initially will contain (you can always add or remove pages before or after your site has been published), what those pages will be and the site placement structure of those pages, more commonly known as the site map. Once this step is completed, it’s time for step four, Edit, or adding content to your web pages. Content can include text, images, slideshows, a blog, a video, or any other type of element. Adding content and other elements to your website is done using the InMotion website editor. The website builder gets kudos for using the familiar what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) technology that is common in typical word processing software. Users will find the menus and tools similar to what they use in Microsoft Word or OpenOffice Writer. InMotion gets additional bonus points for incorporating a point and click interface, so all you need to do is point your cursor to add text or images or to format or edit content and click to make your modifications. InMotion couldn’t have made it any simpler or faster.
The InMotion website editor uses WYSIWYG, so the toolbar offerings are similar to those used in popular word processing programs. The point-and-click interface means site modifications to text, images and other content can be made swiftly and easily.
InMotion also gives you a nice array of features so you can add functionality to your website to make it interactive and more appealing to visitors. For instance, you can add a blog, guestbook, photo gallery, message board, or visitor registration to your website. Although the InMotion website builder is extremely easy to use and is especially designed for those who have never created a website, I liked the availability of flash tutorials for added guidance as I moved along the five-step web building process and as I customized my site with the basic interactive features offered.
Just as easy is publishing your completed website. All you do is click on the Publish button and your site is automatically published to the Internet. The do-it-yourself website builder incorporates SEO features so your site can be found by search engines. During any point in creating your website, you can save your design and return to work on it by clicking on the Work in Control Panels under the Control Panel menu on your account management panel. You can also make changes to your site once it’s been published via your account management panel.
The InMotion premium website builder is free with its business class web hosting packages. The Launch Plan is $6.95 a month and includes two websites on one account, six parked/supported domains, 25 additional sub domains, a control panel for managing your site, unlimited disk space, unlimited monthly data transfer, spam safe email, data backup, $75 in Google Adwords credit, a free new domain or free domain transfer, 24/7 phone support, two MySQL databases, 1,000 FTP accounts, website plug-ins, website interactive and streaming features, and many other features. The Power Plan at $8.95 a month includes everything in the Launch plan plus greater capability, such as six sites on one account, 26 parked/supported domains, 100 additional sub domains, 50 MySQL databases, $100 in Google Adwords credit, 2,000 FTP accounts and e-commerce features, including shopping carts. The Pro Plan at $14.95 a month is a step up from the Power Plan, offering 25 sites on one account, unlimited parked/supported domains, unlimited sub domains, 200 MySQL databases and unlimited FTP accounts.
All InMotion hosting plans also include access to its extensive SupportCenter. It is here where you’ll find a bounty of tutorials, education channels, community support FAQs and setup information. I was pleased to see that the SupportCenterhad the tutorials arranged by category, such as email, website and domain names. I found the New Customer Getting Started Guide particularly useful and highly recommend it. Also available from theSupportCenter is 24/7 Live Chat with a Tech Support representative, 24-hour telephone support and the options to submit a help ticket through the Online Help Desk or submit a question to the community support forum.
Platform – HTML and Flash
Free Plan Includes – Website builder is free with any hosting plan.
Premium Plan Prices – Launch Plan: $6.95; Power Plan: $8.95; Pro Plan: $14.95
Domain Registration Cost – Included in plans
Number of Templates – More than 500
Bandwidth – Unlimited
Storage – Unlimited
Shopping Cart – Included with Power and Pro plans
Support Options – 24/7 telephone and online live chat, tutorials, FAQs, community support, online help desk
Free Trial – No, but 90-day money back guarantee
Usually with website builders, the site builder is emphasized and the hosting is secondary. With InMotion, it’s the other way around. That makes access to InMotion Hosting’s website builder quite different from other free website builders and could appear a bit intimidating at first. But if you follow the prompts provided, it’s really quite simple to install the site builder onto your hosting account and begin creating your website. In fact, I found the prompts particularly beneficial throughout the entire InMotion website building experience. They allow you to follow a natural progression towards building your site.
InMotion shines in its organization of the website building process into five simple steps: Start, Design, Pages, Edit and Publish. Its website builder is designed to guide those with no website design experience, while providing advanced tools and options for those with design experience who want to take a more customized approach to designing their website.
One thing I would like to see on the InMotion Hosting home page is a more prominent display of its website builder services. I didn’t even realize the company offered a website builder until I clicked on the Find Out More button. It’s a shame the site builder is not given more prominence because it is an exceptional product. The selection of design templates is over 500, well beyond what is offered by other free website builders. And the organization of the InMotion editor is excellent.
InMotion is ideal for businesses of all types and sizes and large corporations because its hosting plans are rich with features that would normally cost a great deal more as add-ons with other website builder packages. I found the website builder to be a premium product that caters to the diverse needs of businesses. You can’t go wrong with the value that InMotion Hosting and its website builder provides.