Website builder update: 5 big ways we’ve improved it (in-depth)
We’re really excited about the latest version of our website builder—it represents a massive step forward for us (and for your website!). If you’re looking for a quick overview of the update, check out our introductory post. If you want to dig a little deeper and take a more detailed look at the new system, this is the place to be.
Our inspiration for new features and refinements come from our customers and this latest update is no different. It incorporates a truck load of new developments inspired by you, the customer. There were four key elements we were looking to weave into this latest update of our website builder. In this update we wanted to:
Inspire you during the design process
Guide you towards best practices in home page design
Enable you to extensively customise your site, if desired
Showcase the importance of photos in a great-looking website
So what have we improved in our website builder? Read on to find out.
12 new templates
We’ve developed twelve stunning new templates, each designed to inspire and guide you as you create your site. All templates have been redesigned to provide a modern and professional look.
The templates allow for a lot of important design elements—headings, call to action buttons, and small bite sized chunks of text are all common features on the home page templates. And in order to provide design guidance, these templates have placeholder content that help you on the right path towards great design.
The placeholder images we use are all high-quality photos so that you can literally see how important great images are for a top-notch website. You’ll notice that your site won’t look so good if you upload poor-quality photos to replace the placeholder images. Why? Because we want to encourage you to use high-quality images. That might seem a bit sneaky of us but it’s completely in the best interests of your site and, ultimately, your business. Believe us: quality images make a difference.
The built-in templates will suit many right out of the box but if you like to have greater design control, good news: the templates can be easily customised to make your site look just how you want it. Sure, twelve templates may seem like a small number but their customisability allows for literally thousands of different designs, meaning your site can look totally unique. Read on to learn more about the new customisation options.
One of the most common pieces of feedback we received from customers was the desire to be able to customise templates further. So we’ve introduced customisation, enabling significant tweaking without compromising on ease of use.
Brand new feature area
A significant new highlight of the new templates is the feature area, which allows you to give your site a really professional look with a particular focus on engaging your website visitors and leading them on a journey through your site towards becoming a customer.
You know how a lot of car technologies that were originally developed for formula one racing cars eventually become standard in the vehicles we all drive? Well, that’s how it worked with the feature area. The feature area is a key element of our Rocketspark Professional website design and build packages but now we’ve made a feature area that everyone can use. The feature area includes the following:
Full width images and slideshows
Use full-width images for a striking visual effect. Add extra slides to create a beautiful slideshow which can showcase your offering in a matter of seconds. The images on the slideshow are all compatible with high-resolution displays like the Apple retina screens.
Editable text and buttons on the hero area
We recognise than many clients don’t have the design skill or knowledge to use graphic design programs to create images for a slideshow. So we’ve come up with a solution: now you can add a main heading, sub-text, and and the all-important call to action buttons—all nicely designed to match the template—without having to use separate design software. You can also add multiple buttons and choose whether the text stays the same throughout the slideshow or changes with each new slide.
Feature area customisation
The feature area allows for extensive customisation but to ensure that everything is kept super-simple we’ve placed the customisation options in the feature area settings, accessed by clicking the little settings cog in the feature area. You can choose to apply changes to all pages or to just the current page you’re working on.
Simple adjustment of feature area height
Adjusting the feature area height is really easy. The beautiful simplicity of seeing the feature area size appear as a red overlay really delighted our user trialists who undertook pre-launch testing for us.
We’ve introduced options for slideshow transitions in the feature area for those using multiple slides.
Menu position above or below the feature area
This simple function provides you with a great deal of customisation. For example, on your home page, where visual engagement is most important, you might want your “hero image” (full-width image in the feature area) at the top of the page and have the menu positioned below it, while having the menu above it on subsequent pages where site navigation increases in importance.
Changing the colour of both the main heading and sub-text has a big impact on the look of your site. Choose a colour combination that works well with your brand and complements your images.
Colour overlay and opacity
If you don’t have the budget for a professional photo shoot and your available photos are a little low on quality, you’ve now got a new trick up your sleeve (one we sometimes use with our professional design packages). You can now enhance the image and mask imperfections by adding a subtle overlay of colour over the top of images; you can choose a colour tint that suits and adjust its opacity too. An added bonus of this feature is that it’s a subtle way of making images more uniform, match your site’s colour scheme, and make text really pop against the background image.
Buttons are your call to action, so you want to ensure they stand out. You can now change the colour of a button, choose either square or round corners, as well as adjust its colour, style and opacity.
Those are the big changes you’ll notice, but we’ve also incorporated a slew of smaller, yet mighty useful, refinements to our content management system (while the main features above are being rolled out to various customers, these smaller updates below are available to all users right now). You can now:
See all block types available. Inactive blocks are visible but greyed out which, if clicked, guide you in activating that feature. For example, the social media blocks are greyed out until you connect your website with your social media sites.
Headings in a text block
Headings in a big heading block
Text within a button block
A button within a column
Get quick access to “Manage Pages” menu from the main menu
How do I access these new features?
New trialists of our website builder
Anyone who creates a new website with our 30 day free trial of our website builder will be able to use these features.
We’re still working on smooth update path for clients who already have a Rocketspark website. It’s a significant change so we need to make sure we can change the engine while the rocket is flying. If you’re eager to access these new features now, please email us as firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll suggest some options to fast track your update. Otherwise, we promise it’ll be worth the wait!
As you can see there has been a lot of work going on at Rocketspark to launch these new features! Now that we’ve got phase one of this big update in place you’ll see a number further refinements coming. The work we do is driven by customer feedback so don’t be shy to let us know what you would like next and what you think of the new updates.