XSitePro Reviews – My ‘due diligence’

Like anyone else looking into buying a piece of expensive software, I checked up on plenty of XSitePro reviews to see what was what. They call it ‘due diligence’ and it’s increasingly hard on today’s internet, flooded with so much rubbish. It is often difficult to distinguish people’s motives – are they giving genuine advice or just seeking the commissions?

I searched long and hard for some serious editorial reviews – using tools such as Yahoo Site Explorer to analyze xsitepro.com’s backlinks and various online searches. I’ve come up with a list of five in-depth reviews by users of X Site Pro by reputable online firms.

#1 – About.com

If Wikipedia is the ultimate universally-edited information bank, then About.com is the ultimate expert-edited equivalent. About.com hires experts (or ‘Guides’) in each individual field who are then tasked with providing top quality content and articles about each specific field.

I follow About.com a little – I even interviewed the current ‘Guide’ for Web Design and HTML, Jennifer Kyrnin about her background and advice on my website.

Each topic is essentially a website in itself featuring a regularly updated blog, tutorials, discussions boards’ et al. I was therefore quite relieved to find an X Site Pro review on there.

Now I switched to XSite Pro as it gave me to ability to create a site quickly and easily. I often need to create a site within a couple of hours, and now I can do that

Although it is a year old, it outlines essentially the main points made on the actual website; ease of use, good looking templates and helpful learning environment. The feature of About.com that then comes into its own is the user comments. Clearly, they’ve attracted the fanatics since at the time of posting there are four exclusively five-star reviews! The review by ‘seacoastbill’ is practically a testimonial – “I literally owe the success of my business to XSitePro.” Reading what some of these long time users are writing is encouraging.

#2 – ClickNewz

ClickNewz is a large(ish) internet marketing blog and review site – although I don’t actively subscribe, I’ve commented more than a handful of times on there posts thanks to my Google Alerts subscriptions.

The review they posted actually consists mostly of a third-party writer. The author herself hasn’t used it, she confesses she has “several friends who have been using it for years” – she uses Dreamweaver or hand-codes herself. None the less, the review posted is useful, but also the comments at the bottom.

Again the comments comprise of many (mostly!) long time users testifying to X Site Pro’s ease of use – one thing I did learn. It doesn’t run natively on a Mac, but using programs such as Bootcamp, you can run it on Windows whilst using Apple software.

#3 – ExpertReviews.co.uk (aka. Computer Shopper)

ExpertReviews’ article on X Site Pro 2 is the first to unearth some more specific details. Like any gadget-review based site, detail is everything and the reviewer Craig Grannell does the typical cross-examination of the software. I’ve tempered myself to these kind of reviews. I like to keep up with the latest technology (am I a bit geeky, or is the latest touchscreen laptop quite swauve?) – TrustedReviews.com are particularly exhaustive!

The cross-examination extended so far that two reviews appeared by Craig across each domain – one in December 2008 and the other in February 2009. Both reviews were slightly different too, the earlier article is much more blunt.

The great thing about such reviews is that they uncover all the pros and cons in order to give a balanced verdict. What did show up was the coding which “sometimes caused problems in non-Microsoft browsers” (or in the earlier, more upfront article “dreadful”)  and also suggested that the software may be too advanced for newbies.

The ease-of-use note contradicts the user comments in the other reviews; users most probably have used the software longer, but then again you’re arguing with a professional reviewer – but perhaps they’ve only had a day, even just a morning to look over the software. Who’s in the right? Comments at the end!

The coding issue does seem to ring alarm bells however – those buying X Site Pro seem to be either code-illiterate or looking for a quicker option. Whatever I say may well be quite ignorant given my near complete absence of knowledge on the subject, but if a page loads right then all’s well right?

I’m an avid Firefox user and I see no problems looking over some X Site Pro portfolios – that said, those are probably not going to be the problematic cases if they’re supposed to be promoting the software! It’s also only one man’s research at one time – typically such reviews won’t disclose the details of such findings such as time, date, URL, host etc.

Overall, Computer Shopper dished out a solid four-star rating… and a three-star rating for the earlier commentary; broken down into a 4 for features, 2 for performance and 3 for value.

Funnily enough, a XSP fanatic took matters regarding the first article into his own hands and wrote an essay on how his “load of twaddle” was incorrect. Check out the rant

#4 – PC Advisor

PC Advisor is more of a recital of the processes involved in building an X Site Pro site; the review does point out the possible pitfalls of many sites looking similar with only a finite amount of templates, but each aspect is easily customizable.

The only other issue is the potential frustration for more advanced users, adept with more advanced HTML editors such as Dreamweaver or even hand-coding. As a coding-novice I don’t see this as a problem, but for those who use Dreamweaver etc. this should be taken into account – unless of course you deliberately want something simplified for quick output of webpages. This echoes some of the consumer reviews in the articles above.

Talking of consumer reviews, PC Advisor holds three five-star ratings by ordinary readers. PC Advisor structures visitor-generated reviews with duration of ownership, strengths, weaknesses and overall evaluation. None raised any negative concerns.

#5 – Associate Programs

Associate Programs is a major site discussing affiliate marketing – the X Site Pro review is spawned from users needs to produce static websites quickly. There is a little ‘marketers spin’ on it, but it is by far the most comprehensive review so far.

None the less, this little phrase sums up the essence of the review.

“I figured that what XSitePro can do, there’s nothing that my Dreamweaver can’t do. I was right about that. But here’s the problem. XSitePro does it so much better, faster and more efficiently… So much better that XSitePro is leaving Dreamweaver in the dust.”

That really underlines the core message that seems to echo across all the reviews. It isn’t as flexible as an HTML editor but it is much easier and quicker – for me, perfect!

The review also includes important information for those considering what X Site Pro 2 is and isn’t for – i.e. blogs, e-Commerce stores, forums, membership sites etc. This is important; each of the above ideas require more specific tools and ‘scripts’ – details of which I will figure out exactly another time. X Site Pro 2 and Site Build It both create ‘static’ sites, whereas blogs (like this) are constantly moving. The homepage on here will change with each post or user action, whereas a static sites’ homepage will only change when I decide to change it. I think that’s the jist of it anyway..

In Summary

The message is clear; good looking sites, quickly and easily. The problems that seem to arise though are the coding and potential frustration for complete beginners and more advanced users. None the less, it’s what I want – I should get round to buying it next week.

If you’ve seen any other decent XSitePro Reviews, please leave them in the comments section.