What is RapidWeaver?
Webmasters who love to design sites using the simple, popular, and elegant Mac operating system (OS) owe it to themselves to check out RapidWeaver. RapidWeaver was created by the award-winning, independent, UK-based developer Realmac Software.
RapidWeaver: a Mac-Only Design Platform
RapidWeaver is a Mac-only site design app that integrates seamlessly with OS X. This means, for instance, the program can pull images directly from a user's iPhoto library. The app has been rated and reviewed positively by publications such as Macworld and MacUser.
RapidWeaver's intended purpose is to provide a unified product that fills the gap between very basic, beginner-level Web design programs and advanced software intended for professionals.
The interface is the key, and it executes this by combining simple themes and drag-and-drop elements with the ability to alter websites easily and create beautiful pages based on custom code.
Features and Benefits of RapidWeaver
RapidWeaver allows users to build pages without knowing any code. To accomplish this, the app comes pre-loaded with a number of "page types" such as blogs, photo albums, and contact forms.
From the moment you start working with RapidWeaver, the user is guided on the complete web design journey with its intuitive design of basic prompts, steps, and visual cues.
How to Get Started With RapidWeaver
Within minutes of getting started, a user can be building a website. These page types are customized using pre-built, Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) themes that may be easily customized.
More than 40 themes are included with the app, while more are available from Realmac's add-ons page.
RapidWeaver Themes and Drag-and-Drop Functionality
The preinstalled and optional themes make building a design easy.
Additionally, for the user that has a number of resources stored on their own system, RapidWeaver comes with a drag-and-drop functionality that allows instant integration into the site design.
Additional site functionality may be added using plugins, a number of which - including a sitemap creator - are built right into RapidWeaver.
Many more are also available from the Realmac website.
Live Preview Features
Plus, there's a new live preview feature that lets you see how your site looks inside a web browser window.
This isn't the most intuitive option, as you'll have to open up an actual browser window to preview your site, but it's still helpful.
What is RapidWeaver's Navigation Automation?
Another handy, out-of-the-box function of RapidWeaver is its navigation automation. The app will generate your website's navigation menu, then automatically update it whenever you make changes, meaning broken links are a thing of the past.
In addition to this full feature set is native support for GoSquared LiveStats and Google Analytics.
How Does RapidWeaver Handle Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
This builder is also ready to help you rank in the search engines.
It has a pretty useful URL feature that'll automatically adjust URLs throughout your site whenever you change them, which will help to reduce the dreaded 404 error.
You can automatically integrate with Google Search Console as well. If you're looking to take your knowledge of SEO even further there are a variety of courses offered through the platform too.
What are the Benefits of Using RapidWeaver?
RapidWeaver for Mac is a popular way for the budding designer to put out a great looking, professional website with ease.
With its What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) interface and easy to learn web-building experience, it has a lot going for it in this vein.
While it is heavily oriented towards beginners, it has the capability to build very advanced websites as well.
Who Should Use RapidWeaver?
In this way, RapidWeaver surprises a lot of people because there is more than meets the eye on first glance.
One can launch a simple site in well under an hour but can take on more advanced work as well.
It works great for a people looking to build a site, but who don't have the time to get into the mechanics of Web development.
Do You Need to Know How to Code to Build a RapidWeaver Site?
While users don't need to know how to code to get full functionality from RapidWeaver, the app doesn't penalize users who do know how to code, which allows savvy designers to set Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) right next to the program's Rich Text Formatted (RTF) content.
Finally, all the code RapidWeaver generates is fully compliant with Web standards and easily indexed by search engines.
Useful RapidWeaver Add-Ons
There's also an impressive selection of add-ons, RapidWeaver plugins, and stacks that'll help you easily add features to your site.
Some stacks will give you more site customization features and extend the basic functions of this web design app. You'll also find plenty of themes beyond the initial selection.
Take a look at a few of the additional features you'll be able to unlock with the add-on library below:
- An impressive website theme selection
- Stacks that add e-commerce functionality to your site
- Plugins that let you create stunning image sliders
- A control panel stacks that gives you complete control over your CSS and animation styling
- Additional content options and layout choices to your site
- Feature to add an elegant Google Maps integration to your site
Of course, there's a lot more you can accomplish with the extensive add-on library. Basically, any feature you'd like to add to your site can be done through a plugin, add-on, or stack.
What are Some Good Alternatives to RapidWeaver?
Many users of the older Mac website builder software iWeb have made the switch to RapidWeaver. Since iWeb has basically been phased out, most users tend to gravitate towards solutions that continue to be updated and supported by the latest web advancements.
Still, there are some other popular website builder solutions available. We take a look at a handful of the most common below:
- Sandvox is a commonly used RapidWeaver alternative. It's a very lightweight program and can help you create and publish your website quickly and easily through a drag and drop interface. The site building interface is similar to that of iWeb. Sandvox is currently only available for Mac OS and isn't supported on PC computers running Windows.
- WordPress is one of the most common CMS in the world, and for good reason. It's used by complete beginners all the way up to website experts. Although not technically a Mac-specific program, it's a common choice for those looking to build their very first sites. There's a massive theme selection and plugin library. If you want to drag and drop your way to site completion, then you can also use one of many page builder plugins available.
- Dreamweaver is another common WYSIWYG website builder. With Dreamweaver, you can build and rearrange site elements without any coding knowledge whatsoever. Its design tools allow you to build a site from scratch, or you can use one of many pre-made templates. It's a native builder, like RapidWeaver, so you'll be building your site on your computer and uploading your site via FTP.
A Note About Choosing a Host for RapidWeaver...
RapidWeaver offers one-click publishing to the Web via File Transfer Protocol (FTP) and Secure FTP (SFTP), so make sure your hosting supports them. Once you have the credentials and your FTP in place, it is extremely easy to publish on any hosting service of your choice that supports FTP.
RapidWeaver doesn't require a separate FTP client, as it's built into the software. The process is also streamlined, so even non-technical users can upload their site to a web server quickly and easily.
Requirements for Using RapidWeaver
The only other requirement is a Mac running OS X 10.6.8 or newer, with OS X Mavericks both fully supported and highly recommended. In late 2014, Realmac Software released its latest version of RapidWeaver, version 6.
It included a number of new features, a newly redesigned interface for OS X Yosemite, and in another interesting development, pulled it from the Mac App Store, choosing to stick to their own web store for the time being.
What to Look for in a RapidWeaver Host
If you're using RapidWeaver to build out your site, then you'll definitely want to use a supported host that makes it easy to publish your site.
Below you'll find some of the most common features you'll want to look for in a hosting provider.
- Easy FTP connection and multiple FTP accounts supported
- Bundled free domain name (a nice addition for beginners)
- Solid uptime and performance, so your site pleases your visitors
- A helpful support team, in case you run into any technical issues
- Unlimited bandwidth and storage, so you're not stuck with a tiny site
- The ability to scale your hosting plan if your site outgrows your current plan
Top Three Hosts For RapidWeaver
Not sure where to start your research for a host for your RapidWeaver site? Here are our top three hosts for RapidWeaver.
If you're looking for a cheap, yet high performing RapidWeaver host, then SiteGround might be a great option. Even though it offers budget-friendly plans this isn't a reflection of the quality of service. It not only has an easy site upload process but lets you create unlimited FTP accounts.
Plus, you'll get access to premium-level features like daily backups, CDN integration, server location selection, and a rock solid support team.
Another solid host that offers a variety of plan choices is A2 Hosting. This host is incredibly fast, has great uptime, and incredibly helpful customer support.
All at bargain-level pricing. It's also equipped with more advanced features like daily malware scans, an integrated CDN, and it's a green host, so you can feel good about your purchase. Plus, publishing your Rapidweaver site to your A2 Hosting server is a very simple process.
Finally, for those of you looking for a Mac-specific host, you may want to check out Little Oak. This niche web hosting provider is geared towards providing a solid hosting environment for Mac users. Little Oak has even partnered with Realmac Software, the company behind RapidWeaver.
There's even a dedicated support team to assist with using the RapidWeaver website builder. If you know for sure you're going to be using RapidWeaver for the life of your website and want a dedicated team behind you, and a host optimized to work with RapidWeaver, then give this host a go.