If you own a small business and would like to create a professional looking website, then you need to give Microsoft Office Live a look. With Microsoft Office Live you can get a professional website, domain name, email, and hosting in a matter of minutes. Keep in mind this is all free. I decided to give their service a try by going to OfficeLive and clicking the Create a Free Websitelink they had on their main page. I then was prompted through an easy sign up process. Once everything was setup and confirmed, I was taken to the Microsoft Office Live main window.
From here I could setup email, get a domain, and design my site. I decided that I would design my website, as I was anxious to see how the design tool worked. As you can see from the picture above, designing a site was as easy as clicking the Design Sitelink, as highlighted in the picture above.
Two windows opened up after I clicked the Design Sitelink. I was impressed with what I saw right out of the box. One window contained the Website Manager page and the other opened to the web design tool with the Home page ready to be edited. Below you will see what the Website Manager page looks like. You will notice I have highlighted the bottom area of the page. This area contains links to ready-made pages such as About Usand Contact Us. I thought it was nice that they already created the popular pages that most websites contain.
Designing the webpage itself was a breeze. If you have ever used Microsoft’s SharePoint, then you will already be familiar with the look and feel of the page designer. The main page is divided into zones that easily allow you to add text and images. You will also notice from the picture below that the familiar context sensitive ribbon interface is used, just like you would see in Microsoft’s desktop versions of Office.
Here you can easily edit and format the text in your page header. You can also add a custom logo by clicking the logo tab at the top. I was also pleased with how easily you could change themes, layout, and colors on the page.
Overall, I found Microsoft Office Live to be very easy to navigate. The tools were simple, and the instructions were straightforward. I think this tool will appeal to both the novice user and the more advanced users alike. The fact that it is free, simply puts the icing on the cake.
Guest post by Darrin Jenkins, an IT manager for a large electrical contractor in Louisville Kentucky. Darrin posts his helpful advice at the SayGeek blog.