Mr Site was one of the first online site design tools available and has just undergone an overhaul, so the company was keen to explain that it’s currently building up its range of templates, with 5-10 being added every week. There are six packages in the Mr Site range, with Mr Site Pro sitting above Starter and Classic. Pro includes e-commerce with a range of payment methods and good SEO tools. See Group test: what's the best web-design software?
Once you’ve selected a template, which has only very basic page furniture, you work with a blocked outline of fixed content areas on your page and drag and drop placeholders onto it. Take a look at Adobe Dreamweaver CS5.5 too.
Mr Site calls the placeholders widgets, but these aren't the interactive media tools which normally go by this name; every text box and picture is one. You end up with a diagram of what your page will look like, rather than anything remotely WYSIWYG.
It's all very unintuitive for new and seasoned designer alike. Text is typed in and photos are loaded with little reference to how they will look on the page. It’s not easy, for example, to size a photograph, as you have to type in its pixel dimensions without knowing the size of the panel you’re trying to get it to fit. The only consolation is a preview button so you can get the dimensions right before publishing the site.
Other things available to add to pages include a news feed, a contact form, a guest book and a user poll. You can add a Twitter feed, too, as well as embed YouTube and Vimeo videos, and there's also a SoundCloud widget.
The shop, which again occupies a fixed page layout, is the main strength of Mr Site Pro. It has facilities for product categories and within those categories you can add up to 250 individual products. The storage allowance is is stingy at 750MB - even WordPress offers 3GB for free.
Each product has a short and long description and separate prices can be added for different carriage types, such as domestic and overseas postage.