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Featured Review: Markup Factory

Published by Chris Coyier

It would be fair to call Markup Factory a CMS (Content Management System), but that would be cutting it short. Markup Factory is much more that, but be scared or think for a moment that it's "over your head". It's not. Markup Factory is one of the most full-featured, powerful, and easy to use web services I have ever seen for creating and maintaining your own websites.

For starters, Markup Factory provides the hosting for your site. So yes, this costs money (packages start at $14.95 / month), but hosting costs money too and often more than these packages. So when you sign up, you'll get a "your-choice.markup.factory.com", but you don't actually have to use that, you can point your own domain names at your Markup Factory site.

Also I'd like to make clear, this isn't some elaborate advertising scheme where they are trying to get people to make websites on here so they can plaster them in ads. There is no advertising involved in this whatsoever. Unless of course, you wish to put them on your own ads on your own site. This leads to perhaps the most important thing you should know about Markupfactory:

Markup Factory websites are under your COMPLETE control

Have your own site already designed? No problem, you can upload it and use it. Want a nice pre-built template to start from? They have those too.

The theory behind building sites in Markup Factory is that the pages are based on templates (much like any CMS). You can create these yourself. Then to create a new page, you just add a new one, choose the URL for it, choose a template, and away you go. The main content for that page you control with a Rich Text Editor (Like TinyMCE you may be familiar with from WordPress, but they also have WMD, CodePress or Advanced Mode).

Great, the pages are template based, but what if you want to share code even between templates? For example, you might have 5 different templates for different sections of your site but they all should have the same footer. You could easily do that on your own site with something like a PHP include, but Markup Factory has you covered here too. You can make "snippets" of code you can insert anywhere on pages and templates to include common content. I'd also like to mention that there is a file manager at your disposal for maintaining things that your site will need like CSS and Javascript files.

Markup Factory helps your site DO STUFF

This isn't just a tool to build a website and keep it's content updated, Markup Factory helps with all the advanced functionality of sites that actually do stuff. With Markup Factory, you can build:

  • Blog (with comment system and all)
  • Event Calendar
  • eCommerce Store
  • Group Management & Email Newsletters
  • Podcasting

eCommerce? Doesn't that need to be secure? Yep, Markup Factory provides SSL to keep your site secure (and your customers warm and fuzzy). Speaking of advanced functionality, the upper plans offer email hosting as well.

There are two killer new features that are in Beta right now that will make these packages even more appealing to advanced web designers and developers like yourselves. One, databases. Enough said. Two, a form builder. Websites are full of forms and you will certainly need them at some time or another. Build a survey, have a contact form, an event signup form, a donation form... build them all!

They will help you

Markup Factory keeps regular phone support hours, has full documentation, and does email support. Very nice to have the peace of mind that there are people that will help you through all of this.

There is a live demo you can check out. You can even log in and check out the admin section. (The username and password is already filled out, just click the button to enter).

If you are looking to build a brand new site and would like to have this kind of easy-updating and advanced functionality, Markup Factory is worth checking out. I bet you could even train a client to use this once you already have it up and going =)

Comments

  1. Aaron

    Dude, that sounds awesome. I will have to check them out. Thanks for the heads-up!

  2. kevio

    How would you rate this against ning.com? Ning is cheaper and also offers the ability to setup a social network. The code is fully customizable as well.

  3. Wow, that sounds like a very powerful tool, thanks for the article,

  4. @ Kevio… I tested Ning.com for a Social Network for an event promotions site I run. I was not happy. I think the one thing it was lacking was full throttle on customizing your page. You have to stay within their limitations and they do offer widgets using Google’s OpenSocial. I tried to add some other Widgets like my Last.fm widget, it caused many errors.

    I do like the Markup Factory a little better because of the ability to customize every aspect of your page.

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