Newbe - Want to convert an existing website to RW7 - which addons do I need


(Jim Titmuss) #1

Hi, We have a holiday rental business and we have built a website using websitebuilder to promote the property and take bookings (www.TheNursesCottage.com). This has worked well for the past year but we have reached the end of capabilities for websitebuilder.com (plus little in the way of new features in the last year).

Want to make the site better and looking to use RW7, but a bit confused with some of the stuff around add ons and themes, so looking for help…

Main issues with current service- Desktop / Tablet site is okay, but support for mobile is very poor, keen to have a much better mobile experience as this is where a lot of custom comes from. Poor management of pictures, doesn’t size / compress pictures for websites, doesn’t manage the library well. Little ability to customise the code in the background, so you end up pretty fixed with what you can do. Poor SEO skill set, so very unclear how to improve rankings, or what we need to add / fix to help on the site.

Questions: From what I have researched, you buy RW7 then you also need:

Stacks - this appears to make things easier to do, so you can do without it but it’s more work, does everyone use Stacks? if so why is it not part of the RW7 product?

Themes - understand the concept, but struggling to find anything to help me pick one theme over another. Most appear to say they are ‘responsive’ - surely all themes are responsive? how do you decide on one over another? is it just down to personal choice?

Foundry - confused what this does, do I need it? what benefit does it give?

Foundation - same question, If I need this why is it not part of the product?

I don’t have an issue with buying the products, just looking for some guidance on which bits add value. Payback compared with current costs of websitebuilder is a year even if I buy all the bits… just don’t want to buy something I don’t need.

Have really enjoyed the journey of building my first website on websitebuilder, just looking forward to the next adventure… any help much appreciated.

Thanks
Jim


(Will Woodgate) #2

Hi Jim,

There is a lot you can do with RapidWeaver before embarking on investing in additional addons. RapidWeaver will let you rebuild all these current pages using the Styled Text page type. Plus you could introduce an attractive image gallery and setup things like a simple booking / contact form. Other elements can be added using copy-and-paste code snippets; like a Google map, Trip Advisor widget, embedded YouTube video etc. There is a surprising amount you can create with RapidWeaver, before needing to invest into additional addons.

SEO in RapidWeaver is straightforward. You will want to focus first on writing high quality content and give people a reason to be at your website. Allocate images descriptive ALT attributes, that explains what the image shows. Use clean / tidied file names for your webpages. Add some meta keywords and descriptions to each page; to benefit search engines and social media sharing / bookmarking tools. Perhaps install some unobtrusive analytics tracking, to get a basic indication of who’s visiting your website and their browsing habits.

RapidWeaver comes with a couple of responsive theme designs. Additional free or paid RapidWeaver theme designs can be found by doing a web search. The trick is to look for designs advertised as being responsive. Then you are assured the completed website will look and work perfectly across all devices and web browser software. Some newer themes give you the ability to drag-and-drop images straight into a banner or header region too.

My personal advice would be to avoid the blank / freeform systems if you’re new to RapidWeaver. It’s an additional cost and something else to learn. I feel it’s more important to gain solid knowledge of the basic fundamentals of RapidWeaver first. The brutal truth is that a large proportion of websites I see novice users build themselves with freeform systems are “junk” because the user lacks the “designer eye”! With particular attention towards colour schemes, fonts, content placement and overall page design. Whereas using an ‘off the shelf’ theme or pre-built project file is a lot less frustrating and helps you get into the same mindset of an expert web designer. Most conventional themes provide many options to change style and colour aspects yourself, to make a completed website look your own.

After investing into RapidWeaver and learning the basics, the first addon I’d recommend you get is Stacks. This will unlock your creativity and grant access to a lot of extra free and paid stack elements you can build into your website. These stack elements are like little modular building blocks you drag and drop into webpages. They can be used for adding extra style of functionality to webpages. Things like multiple columns, image sliders, buttons, embedded content, galleries, forms etc.

RapidWeaver is an enjoyable app to use. There is a huge amount you can accomplish with it. These forums are a good place to ask for help and advice at any time too.

-Will.


(Jim Titmuss) #4

Thanks for the feedback… I have brought your Cefalus theme and started to play around with it. Couple of things I am struggling with… when I past new text into the text boxes it changes the formatting to a different font, how do I stop that happening or reapply the theme standard fonts? Also, how do I change the picture of the girl on the pages? Have changed the image in edit mode but it doesn’t appear to change it in preview…


(Doug Bennett) #5

When you paste look under the edit menu, there’s an option to paste as plan text. I’m not at my Mac right now but there’s also a short cut key (option >cmd>V if memory is working). That will stop that from happening again.
For the text that’s already been pasted, there’s also an option to remove formatting. You can also select and cut it and then paste it right back as plain text.


(Will Woodgate) #6

Hi Jim,

Thank you for your theme purchase. To extend on what @teefers has correctly told you, the easiest way to add a custom banner image is to open the Page Inspector and click the General tab. Within this pane, you will see a box to drag-and-drop in a suitable banner image:

I would recommend a JPG image saved at 72 dpi. Probably scaled a little wider than what you have the theme width set to. The ALT attribute lets you provide a description about the image; for the benefit of search engines and visually impaired site visitors using assistive technologies (like screen readers).

This theme has a Freestyle banner, and therefore you have some other methods for getting content (like slideshows and video) into the header / banner region too.

If you paste content from another source into RapidWeaver, it may commonly become contaminated with existing formatting. A way to avoid this problem is to paste the text as Plain Text. This can be done form the RW edit menu or using the ALT + CMD + V keyboard shortcut. Then the text will inherit the theme styling / coloring and you’re get a nice consistent appearance across all pages.

I hope this helps. You can also email me directly if you need a faster reply.

-Will.


(system) #7

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