Zackel has no templates so you can put anything anywhere
Zackel is a new do-it-yourself website builder that uses no templates. Put your images wherever you want. Double-click where you want some text. This is much easier than trying to figure out where you can and can't put things in a template site builder.
Another problem with templates is that they're full of someone else's images. Those images grab your eye because they're shot by professional photographers, but they won't sell your products. In fact, they tend to draw attention away from your products. The best way to sell your products is to present them on a clean, quiet page with nothing else. You can do this easily with Zackel.
When someone lands on your page they're following a scent. They just want to find out now, as quickly as they can, if you have what they're looking for: "What do you have?" "Will that work for me?" No one came to your site to look at pretty template pictures.
But don't I need a template to build my web page around?
No. A web page only needs a few special lines of HTML to function and Zackel adds those for you. So just place your content on your page and publish it. You have a more effective page if you start from whole cloth, keep it quiet and simple, and have brilliant displays of your products.
What should I put on my page?
Well, anything that you choose will be more effective than what a random template designer, who doesn't know anything about you or your business, chooses.
The best web designers, like Tim Ash, tell us to give our pages a Zen-like quietness, from which your content rises brilliantly, showing your visitors exactly what you have and what you can do for them. That's the best any website can do.
There's a link at the bottom of this page to Dos and Don'ts for Web Page Layout with some ideas from Tim's book, "Landing Page Optimization." Another good book is Steve Krug's "Don't make Me Think."
Zackel has tools you won't find on other do-it-yourself site builders
When it gets down to the business of presenting your products, Zackel offers tools you won't find in other do-it-yourself site builders. And these tools are so easy to use! A few keystrokes will put your images into a slider with Ken Burns animation, or into a lightbox. A rich set of effects is available for images and text boxes. The image on the left below, for example, was easily turned into the composite on the right with a few simple steps.
I asked support at a major site builder how to make this composite with their product. They told me the caption ("Jesters") could only go below an image and had to be in the center, the colored borders weren't possible, the shadows weren't possible, I couldn't overlap the images, the Comic Sans font was not offered in their font collection, and rotation would require me to write custom CSS. You'll love the way Zackel lets you express your ideas - all of your ideas - so easily.
Click the thumbnails at the top of the page to look through some Zackel websites and ask yourself how you could build those sites with another do-it-yourself site builder. What template would make those sites better? It's not that Zackel does what's hard. It's that Zackel uses different technology that makes it easy.
Another advantage of Zackel is Element Independence. The elements on a Zackel page, your images, lightboxes, sliders, videos, etc., are completely independent of each other. You can grab anything and move it anywhere without affecting anything else on the page. You can even move a section. Suppose, for example, you put the content below on your page:
And then you wonder if you might get more clicks if the pricing grid were on same row as the bullet list:
The only way to know for sure is to do an A/B split test, i.e., show one group of visitors one version and another group the other version and see which group clicks more.
But websites don't normally let you make changes like this on a whim. Typically you have to tear down the first version and build up the second - which could be like moving your water pump from the left side of your engine to the right side, so you decide it's too much trouble. But for reasons no one understands1 the second version may get twice as many clicks! Zackel lets you make changes like this in seconds, so you can see which design works better.
By the way, another problem with templates is that they block A/B testing. Most of the elements in a template can't be moved or changed, so you're stuck with them.
One way to make a desktop site mobile is to add media query statements that “fold” in all the right places as the screen shrinks. There are two problems, though, with this approach.
The mobile site has to load all the baggage of the desktop site, including large images.
It doesn't generate the best mobile site. A mobile site should not just be a tiny version of the desktop site. It should be thought out to give the best possible experience to the user on a mobile screen. Compare the desktop and mobile versions of the YouTube, Facebook, and ESPN sites, for example, to see what can be done. Much less is usually on the mobile site, but it often works better. Even Ethan Marcotte, who wrote the first paper on Responsive Web Design, said “Responsive Web Design isn’t meant to replace mobile web sites.”
Zackel lets you create a separate site for mobile so you can have the best possible mobile site. You save it with an “M_” prefix, and the server retrieves it if the request is from a mobile device.
Try Zackel now
To try Zackel click the yellow button at the right for a free account. After entering an email and a password you'll be dropped into the Zackel editor where you can build as many sites as you like. There's no charge to use Zackel. When you assign a domain to one of your sites, let us know and we'll point the domain to it and begin charging $9/mo for hosting.
Thank you for your interest in Zackel.
Steve Adams - Zackel Author
1. Web marketing legend, Perry Marshall, challenged a group of professional Web marketers to choose the more effective ad or headline from a series of 10 split tests. The best got no more than 4 or 5 correct, no better than flipping a penny.