According to a comScore market research report, US Internet users spent more time accessing the web via mobile devices than they did via PCs in January 2014, and the trend is not looking back. Under the circumstances, it has become imperative for websites to be accessible via mobile devices.
After all, one of the primary reasons why people build websites is to get traffic and visitors right? Given this, would it be desirable if a majority of the potential users can’t properly access a website using their preferred (mobile) device? The obvious answer would be a resounding ‘no‘.
In light of this, whether you’re planning to launch a website or the owner of an existing one, you can do yourself and your site a big favour by making very sure that it is fully accessible via various mobile devices.
As you are probably aware, websites that render well on different kinds of devices have come to be recognized as ‘responsive‘ (or mobile responsive) websites and creating such sites by hand – or using traditional web design methods – can be a tedious, time consuming and expensive proposition. Very expensive indeed.
Fortunately workarounds to hand-coding are available that can help you build great looking responsive websites easily and inexpensively. LiveControl is one such responsive website builder and here is my full review of of this platform:
Free Trial – LiveControl offers a free trial for 14 days using which you can test out the platform.
You can start your free trial by clicking here.
Sign up – is a quick and painless process; all you need to do is to provide your email address on the sign up form and you’re ready to go with your free trial right away. Alternatively, you can simply sign up with your Facebook login too.
Website Builder/Designer – this, naturally, is the ‘meat’ of the app. once you’re signed up and logged in, you can immediately start creating a website. You can choose to start from scratch with a blank page or use one of the ready-made themes (more on themes below) and start customizing it.
The designer tool is fairly easy to use, with an intuitive GUI (Graphical User Interface). You can add sections to a page simply by clicking a button or the drag-and-drop way. Each section/element can be customized using relevant settings and properties. For example, an image can be customized with attributes like height, width, animation etc. Images can also be resized by dragging the edges. Text customization attributes include font size, color, alignment etc. Finally, each section can be hyperlinked to any (internal or external) URL.
A variety of widgets are also offered which can be inserted on your pages and customized as desired. Five categories of widgets are available: Media, Structural, Social, Form and Special, as illustrated in the screen-shots below:
The entire GUI works in the WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) manner.
Four different design views/modes are offered in order to facilitate the creation of a responsive site, as shown below:
All in all, if you are even somewhat familiar with common GUIs and web design/development process, you should be up and running with LiveControl in about an hour or so. Those with no prior exposure to such tools and tasks might experience a somewhat longer learning curve but the online help including video tutorials will be there to guide you along the way when needed.
With the GUI – WYSIWYG interface, drag-and-drop functionality, the large number of widgets and the customization options, you would be hard pressed not to be able to design a website the way you want.
Free Themes – close to two dozen free themes are available if you are not inclined to designing your site from scratch. You have a range of single, two and three column layouts to choose from. All the themes look modern and elegant and all are responsive, as can be seen in the following screen-shot displaying some of them:
(I’ve also been informed by official company sources that they are going to add a substantial number of new themes in the near future.)
SEO – in the present times, it can be truthfully said that a website is not much good if it can’t be found via the search engines and therefore, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is at least an essential if not critical part of any web design project today. With LiveControl, you already have a head-start in this very important area since all sites designed on this platform are responsive by default and it is a proven fact that search engines prefer such (responsive) sites over regular or ordinary mobile sites (that typically have URLs like: http://www.somesite.com/mobile).
In addition to this automatic, inherent SEO advantage, LiveControl also allows you to perform the basic on-site SEO tasks such as setting the site Title, Description etc., as an integrated feature of the service. Easy integration of Google Analytics is also supported.
Domain and Hosting – a domain is not included in any of the currently available plans so you will need to register (purchase) a domain separately and then add it to your LiveControl account. You can, however, design a full website and preview/save it even in absence of a domain, which you can add later on.
Full cloud-based hosting is included with all plans so you don’t have to bother with or pay for hosting separately.
Plans and Pricing
Four monthly plans are offered, starting at a very affordable Personal plan – $8/mo. (1 website, 500MB storage) and moving on to Professional – $16/mo. (3 websites, 1GB storage), Business – $32/mo. (10 websites, 2GB storage) and Unlimited – $64/mo (unlimited websites, 5GB storage).
The relatively small number of ready-made themes is a slight drawback but since a lot more templates are going to be added in the near future, this is not really a major issue.
Other than that, the combination of responsive design capabilities, ease of use, SEO-friendliness and bundled hosting makes LiveControl a very viable option for those looking for a comprehensive responsive website creation and publishing platform.