Formerly SythaSite, Yola is a San Francisco-based company that let’s users build websites with no tech expertise needed. Sound familiar? Well, unlike most âˆšÂ¢â€šÃ‡Â¨â‰ˆÃ¬freeâˆšÂ¢â€šÃ‡Â¨Â¬Ã¹ site hosts, Yola actually delivers and their back-end interface for building sites is very simple and really easy to use.
Of course, if you’re any kind of tech geek, Yola won’t be for you. It’s for beginners or for those who are in a hurry and want a quick and easy site builder. I consider myself fairly technically inclined and definitely experienced in Web development. On Yola, I built a 5-page website in eight minutes. Most of that time was finding photos and typing, not âˆšÂ¢â€šÃ‡Â¨â‰ˆÃ¬building.âˆšÂ¢â€šÃ‡Â¨Â¬Ã¹ That’s how easy it is.
Obviously if you’re hoping to build the latest, coolest, jazziest site, then Yola won’t work for you. Simple, fairly static sites or fairly standard-issue blogs are what Yola is for. For more than that, expect to hire someone or spend a lot more time (and money) to do it.
Yola is totally browser-based, so no downloads or plugins are required. You get a free subdomain with your site, but you can always point a real URL towards it if you like. Yola installs no ads, banners, or anything else. This brings up my only worry with the company: funding.
Who’s paying for this? Yola’s CEO is Vinny Lingham, a well-known entrepreneur and search engine marketer. So far, nobody at the company is forthcoming with where funding does (or will) come from. They can’t survive on venture capital forever, after all. I can only guess, but I’m betting that future additions of paid hosting options will be coming and those will probably include limits on how large or popular free-host sites can be.
In any case, this is a great site and the features/widgets available are exactly what you’d expect from a free host. Some bonuses are the Smugmug Gallery, a Meebo chatroom, and the usual Flickr/Skype/Google fare.
It’s free, so you have little to lose by going over and trying it out. Whether you keep using it or not doesn’t matter much, since I found it fun to fiddle around with, so that definitely made it worth the visit.