I’m always a little sceptical about online website building systems. Many make bold claims that anyone can build a professional website in minutes. If that were true, most of us would have been out of a job years ago.
However, the rise of blogging systems and social networks proves there are many millions of people who just want to write content and interact with like-minded individuals. It is a bonus if they can make a little money from their endeavors.
DevHub is a new system from the EVO Media Group that is firmly aimed at bloggers, entrepreneurs, topical experts, affiliate marketers, and users who would normally head to Squidoo or HubPages. The system is a result of 18 months development and was launched in February 2009. By the end of the first month, over 100,000 sites had been created on the platform.
How is DevHub Different?
Unlike some competing systems, DevHub offers:
- up to 10 different sites (you can request more if your existing efforts pass their quality-control inspection!)
- easy domain registration or a free devhub.com sub-domain
- multiple pages with integrated blogging
- a drag-and-drop page editor
- customizable themes and color editing
- SEO and statistics tools
- integration with Twitter, Google Analytics, and bookmarking sites
- zero cost.
Ultimately, DevHub has one goal: to monetize your site. The website builder has a selection of advertising modules including products, local directories, property listings, and job vacancies. DevHub takes a proportion of the revenue and gives you the rest.
The adverts are hard-coded HTML inside your webpage rather than remotely-hosted scripts or images. It certainly prevents Adblock Plus and other advert blockers from hiding the links. However, DevHub do not insist on adverts; the user can choose how many or how few they use.
The 10-Minute Challenge
My challenge was to test DevHub’s marketing claim and build a site in 10 minutes without prior knowledge of the system. I chose a subject – the 2009 Formula 1 season – and prepared a little content and an image.
Minute 1: sign up
Sign-up is quicker than most, although I was fortunate that the ‘formula1′ sub-domain had not been taken.
Minute 2 to 5: the home page
The editor is straight-forward: you drag a content box from the panel to the page and change its properties as necessary. One, two, or three-column layouts can be selected.
I probably spent a little longer than necessary experimenting with themes and colors. There are not a huge number of choices, but there are enough options to keep most people happy.
Minute 6 to 7: added blog articles
Clicking the blog link allows you to post, remove, or edit individual articles. I added two posts and placed a ‘blog entries’ widget on the home page.
Minute 8 to 9: additional pages
Two further pages were added:
- news – this shows an F1 RSS feed from the BBC
- pictures – a selection of photographs determined by keywords
I added several advertising blocks to both pages.
Minute 10: tidy up
I previewed the site and rearranged some content to make better use of the space.
The result can be viewed at http://formula1.devhub.com/. It will never win any awards, but it proved that a 10-minute site is possible.
The promise of easy money during a recession makes DevHub an increasingly attractive proposition. The community is growing exponentially and an API is expected shortly that will allow developers to build further modules for the platform.
Try it for yourself: click here to join DevHub (affiliate link, all proceeds will go to charity)
What do you think? Is DevHub offering anything new? Are you earning any money from it? Will novices find the system easy to use? Can it succeed in an already-crowed market?