In this day and age, establishing your identity online is becoming almost as important as having a mobile phone. Whether you’re an individual looking to impress potential clients and employers, or a brand that wants to engage its audience on the web, an online profile is a must. Thankfully the web app industry has recognized this need and made a slew of services available to allow just about anyone to create websites and personal nameplates easily.
Sidengo is the latest player on this field and it comes armed with a secret weapon: the ability to embed your embed your sites anywhere. The app allows you to throw together a beautiful site in minutes with no coding knowledge required and can be run as is, placed on your Facebook page or within any widget that supports HTML code. Let’s build a site and find out how Sidengo works.
Sidengo is a website builder that lets you create a white-label personal or brand nameplate site with multiple pages easily. Currently in its beta phase, the app is free to use and supports a single site per account. You can use a subdomain provided for free for your site’s URL or add a custom domain that you already own. All you need to build your site is your content.
Signing up for Sidengo only requires a few details and your desired site subdomain URL. Once you’ve logged in you’ll be greeted by the dashboard which displays your site information and actions you can perform with it (which we’ll get to in just a bit). To kick things off you can start building your site by clicking Edit Site. This will take you to the website editing stage.
The editing stage consists of a full-screen preview of your site which updates with your changes as you make them. There’s also a palette called the builder which contains tabs for entering your content and settings for each part of your site. You can customize the home page, add up to three pages of content, as well as a contact page, social apps and a featured media item.
Building your site
Let’s begin creating our site starting with the home page. The builder allows you to add a site title, category and slogan (which is displayed in large text), and also display a logo (by uploading an image or using a text logo) and background (adding up to three images allows for a slideshow). These are the key elements used to define how your site will look.
You can then create pages (called sections) with custom content – up to three are allowed. Each section can have a title, a media item to be displayed at the top of the page (choose from an image, a Flickr photo set, a Youtube or Vimeo video, or a Slideshare presentation), and finally your content – which can be styled text, a Wufoo form or a file with a live preview (PDF, DOC and PPT formats are presently supported).
The Media tab in the builder allows you to add a Flickr photo set or a Youtube/Vimeo video that displayed in a lightbox. This shows up as a link below the slogan along with the links to the various sections you’ve created. You can create a contact page as well, with your email address, website URL, street address, phone numbers and even a customizable contact form.
Lastly, the Apps tab has a choice of four apps: The Facebook app shows your Facebook page with a Like button, latest posts and people who like your page; the Twitter tab shows your tweets with a follow button; the Youtube and Slideshare apps display a media item from each site in a lightbox.
All Sidengo sites have a Share button at the top which allows visitors to share the page via email, Facebook, Twitter and Google+, and also shows embed codes for three different widget sizes. All these features together make for a pretty solid mini-site which should cover most basic users’ site-building needs.
Because it works so well, creating sites with this app is a blast. The typography and layouts already look great – all you have to do is source good-quality background images and engaging content. I created a site for my photography portfolio and was able to cover the most important bases with ease – a vibrant background, my portfolio (from a Flickr set) displayed in a carousel, Facebook and Twitter tabs, and a contact form.
Sidengo would work great for both individuals looking for an elegant profile as well as non-tech-related startups. For example, I’d recommend this to my mother who’s a painter and to the tiny home decor store she sells her work at, which doesn’t have much of a web presence yet. Sidengo could also be used to quickly microsites to promote local events and limited-edition products and services.
Getting the most out of Sidengo
If all the aforementioned features aren’t enough to excite you, check out the Sidengo dashboard. It allows you to quickly add your Sidengo site to your Facebook page as an app, add Google Analytics with just a tracking ID, customize your site’s favicon and iOS icon and even generate and download a QR code to link to your site (which you can use on the web, on posters and even business cards).
Sidengo sites can even be embedded into widgets, blog posts and web pages – the app generates embed codes for three sizes suitable for sidebars and blog posts. This is great for when you have a site and want to promote a sale or new product on its own separate page, or display your personal profile on your blog. Individuals can also embed their résumés into a section by uploading a PDF, text document or presentation.
Sidengo is an absolute joy to use and creates great-looking sites with very little effort required from users. If I had to find any faults, it’s in the lack of support for custom content types outside those currently supported (such as Soundcloud/Bandcamp widgets and content from other sites). However the app is still in beta s it’s probably to too early to tell.
The option to add multiple pages and a contact form and the ability to embed entire sites elsewhere on the web are what give Sidengo a real edge over the competition. If you’re looking for a quick and simple way to get your personal or small business profile online, this is the way to go. Try out the app while it’s still free!