In a recent post reviewing service from WebNode — one of players in rather a crowded market of online site builder — I mentioned SynthaSite as a serious competitor in the field. A few weeks ago, Monique sent me a shout about SynthaSite’s upcoming release with a lot of improvements in site builder and new widgets like Form, Map and Google Adsense for site monetizing.

My Tech News Site

Viewing all good widgets available, I decided to create a mash-up called “Tech News”. Please take a look at final site as the image below.

SynthaSite TechNews Site

Basically, this site has three pages: News, Photo and Video. The “News” page contains six RSS widgets which pull headlines from some infamous tech blogs like TechCrunch, ReadWriteWeb, GigaOM… and JustTalkAboutWeb (not so famous :) ). “Photo” page displays photos from Flickr’s search result and “Video” page shows a YouTube’s video clip.

SynthaSite’s site buider looks plain with tabbed UI. There are no sexy ribbons like WebNode’s UI, just traditional-styled menu and toolbar that makes me think of the differences between Office 2007 and my beloved 2003 version.

SynthaSite Site Builder UI

Just start creating a website by choosing title and nice template for it. After that, a default page is loaded in a new tab ready for making. All of your tasks would be choosing the right widget and dropping them into right places.

First, I dropped in some layout widgets to divide the page into 4 columns. I found only “Two column layout” widget available that is not really convenient for building complicated layout but I could manage by embedding layouts within layout. Then, I simply dragged and dropped RSS widgets into the columns.

SynthaSite DnD RSS Widgets

Now modify feed URL in the widget to get the latest tech news by selecting it and clicking “Edit Widget” button on top-left of its container then change appropriate properties.

Well, it’s time to monetizing the site by dropping “Google Adsense” widget under “Advertising” category into the last right column. A popup would appear asking for Adsense code and if you know what to do you’ll see Google ads displaying immediately in the design mode.

SynthaSite DnD Adsense Widget

The last step, I wanted to add an image to get “tech” look for font-page. This can be done with “Image” widget. The best of this widget is you can edit the uploaded image online with very good Flash tool from Picnik (see UI of Picnik’s image editor below).

Picnik Image Editor

Creating “Photo” and “Video” pages was as simple as to add new pages and drop in Flickr and YouTube widgets so I don’t want to make you fed up with details. Just see my “Tech News” site at technews.synthasite.com and remember to check out it daily for the latest tech news, cool photos and funny video clips. ;)

My 2 cents

I think SynthaSite is a good example of “web 2.0″ idea implemented in practice. You can build a multimedia website without writing a single code line, no hosting needed and you can even get money from ads.

SynthaSite takes different approach from WebNode. While WebNode seems to focus on site builder tools, SynthaSite puts emphasis on taking advantages of services provided by third parties. The result is websites created with SynthaSite look simple and are more suitable for some kind of showcase while WebNode’s sites have more professional look with unique feature like SEO-ready.


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