How-to: Create a Custom Website With Virb.com

When you want to create a website but have next to no technical knowledge, most people splash out money. A couple of thousand on a good design, a few hundred on some hosting and then there’s the cost of getting someone to maintain it for you. That’s money that would definitely be better off towards going to a good cause. If only there was something that would handle everything for a really good price.

Robots are expensive – enter, Virb. Doing everything you need at only a tiny fraction of the cost, Virb allows you to get a really nice functional website up and running in minutes. It’s also pretty cheap, too. Find out more after the fold.

Overview

Virb is a nice and powerful website builder that makes it easy for those wishing to create great-looking sites but may not have the technical know-how. It’s one of the cheapest solutions out there at the moment, coming in at a bare minimal $10/month and supports loads of the great new features that some of the top websites are packing. With support for a custom domain, integrated blog and loads of different content types, it’s definitely one of the best apps of its kind.

Overview

Overview

Create Your Site

The first thing you’ll want to do to get your first website set up using Virb is to create an account. You can do this by visiting their signup page. When you do this, you’re asked for only basic information consisting of a title for your website, your email address, chosen password and also a subdomain for your site.

Creating an Account

Creating an Account

This is the main address at which visitors can access your site and view its contents. Virb provide you with a free subdomain but you can change this at any time to a domain you own by modifying the DNS records.

Now that you’ve got your Virb website all set up and ready to go, you’ll be taken to the main section of the Virb website builder. From here you’ll be able to perform the tasks required to maintain your website. The main page consists of a list of pages in your blog, along with the tools required to customize the vast majority of aspects of it.

Virb Dashboard

Virb Dashboard

Add Pages

Now we can start adding pages to the site to make it even more personal. Your Virb website is split into various different page types, each doing a different thing. You can create collections of photos and videos, a virtual music album, an events page, simply plain content or even add blogging and news functionality to update your visitors. Already, all of these different page types collectively would work great for a band website though this is far from the only type of site the app is good for!

Available Page Types

Available Page Types

Your blog already comes with a couple of preset pages which you can delete at any time. One of these is a blog, the other being a default welcome page and a plain custom page. Once you’ve decided which type of page you’d like to create and chosen it through the page creation dialogue, you’ll need to actually add the content. It’s pretty simple to do and for the purposes of this demonstration, I’ll create a “collection”.

All that’s required to create this page is a name (which will be then converted to a URL slug) and an optional description that will be appended to your content. Media is added simply using the uploader. Once you’ve clicked on the “+” button, a file dialogue will open from which you can choose the media. It is then uploaded without requiring an additional page-load. Now that the page is complete, it can be saved and then will immediately appear on your site.

Creating Collections

Creating Collections

Blogging

Virb comes with a nice little blog system built-in which can become a really good way of getting your site’s visitors updated, especially if you don’t plan on committing to a dedicated regular blog. It doesn’t take long to start blogging using Virb, mainly because they’ve already created a default blog on your site for you ready to go.

To create posts, simply find the “Blog” page within the list of pages that comprise your site. You will then see a small blue button that allows you to create posts. You will then be prompted to choose a type of post, the options being almost all different formats found on Tumblogs (text, photo, video, quotes, audio) plus more.

Blog Post Types

Blog Post Types

It’s straightforward from there and once you’ve added content, you can either schedule the post or publish it immediately. It will then be available on your blog.

Creating Posts

Creating Posts

Edit Blog Settings

Virb’s really good for allowing you to customize the majority of aspects of your website. With the “Site Info” editor, you can change your site’s name, description and other necessary details that will show in their upcoming site directory. You can also add a Google Analytics tracking code to track your site stats, Reinvigorate tracking code to do the same but with a better interface, and also add your DISQUS shortname if you’d like to handle comments with that service. Here is where you’ll also be able to edit your custom domain name.

Editing Blog Settings

Editing Blog Settings

In the sidebar of the main part of the Virb admin panel, you’ll also be able to find some basic options. You can choose the default page your visitors are sent to when they access your site as well as customizing the sidebar with the addition of a Twitter feed, Last.fm widget or an audio player.

Adding Twitter Feed

Adding Twitter Feed

Customize Design

Last but not least is the customization of your site’s design. Virb provides an array of options that allow you to do this. You can access the theme editor through the link in the sidebar and you’ll be taken to the main page of your site with the option to edit the theme. It also comes loaded with some really nice themes so you don’t even have to worry about design.

Virb allows you to edit the logo to replace the plain text present in the default, as well as adding a tagline for your site to easily tell readers what they can expect to find in your site. As well as these, you can update the background with an image and change the footer text.

Customizing the Design

Customizing the Design

You can then start altering the visual aspects, with some color pickers to define the main color scheme, and also choose from a variety of fonts for the content to be displayed in. If you’ve got a specific look for your site you’d like to go for and have a good knowledge of CSS, you can also add a stylesheet.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I really like Virb. It adds a whole new dimension to the traditional website builder and, by far, defines the way forward for other site builders of the future. It packs a lot of great functionality that isn’t required on every site but in the circumstances, could come in very handy. The design of the app is great and everything’s neatly and perfectly placed to decrease frustration and increase creativity.

This is one of the best web apps I’ve come across in a really long time and would definitely make it onto the list of those I’d recommend to everyone I know looking to ditch the pain that is MySpace for their band’s online image and move to something far better.


Responses

Add Yours
  • How does this compare to, say, Tumblr or Squarespace?

  • Nice design, looks like apple’s…

  • Important Note:
    You can port your tumblr blog directly into the Virb site, which is AWESOME. This allows you to have 2 symbyotic brands live under one roof seemlessly..that’s cool.

    I did it on my personal site(very much under construction..pardon dust/incomplete content…) and made my blog my home page on my virb site..hot..it’s an awesome feature.

    J

  • “This allows you to have 2 symbiotic brands live under one roof seamlessly”

    I confused by this. What does it mean, exactly?

  • Being a comparison shopper, I want to mention a great WYSIWIG website builder called http://weebly.com and http://wix.com for flash-based elemental website.

  • un poco complicado, definitivamente recomiendo más weebly.com y wix.com que son completamente gratis!.

  • I like vividbook – http://www.vividbook.com ..Flash (HTML coming) with lots of features (auto iPhone formatting, facebook integration, etc.)

  • We built our website on http://www.edicy.com . I tried Virb but Edicy is definitely much-much-much better. All the editing takes place on site (no separate edit-text windows). They don’t have the option to change colors. Virb has solved that in really elegant way.

  • We built our website using the system at rocketship! http://getrocketship.com. Amazing system. I would highly suggest using it.