Create Websites on your iPhone with Zapd

Web design is a big profession, but some iPhone owners might not have the skills to develop nor the budget to hire a designer. Luckily, blogging platforms such as WordPress and Tumblr come with their own collections of themes for your free use. Theme design is a big business too and they have become very functional due to the massive number of features available in platforms like WordPress.

However, all those additional functions come with an added complexity and that might not be suited to everyone’s tastes. Maybe you just want to setup a quick blog to share some photos from your trip, or perhaps you just wanted to post links to some interesting articles you’ve found on your ventures around the internet.

Zapd might be the perfect solution! Zapd is a very simple website builder based entirely within a iPhone application. If you like Tumblr, you might just love Zapd.

Getting Started

Getting Started with Zapd is super simple. As soon as you launch the application, you are encouraged to “Start a Zap” with the tap of a large orange button. It should be noted that this app does require a Zapd account, which can be created through a free signup right on your iPhone.

After choosing that you want to start a new website, a selection of mobile-optimized themes are presented with a variety of styles. The premade layouts are exactly like most Tumblr themes: single column layouts with multiple post types. Simply tap on the preview image to select your design.

Next, you move onto the actual content creation aspect. Unlike Tumblr, Zapd only has the three post types: text, photos and links. No video option is available (at least that I can find), which is a slight disappointment, especially with the tap-to-focus HD video recording of the iPhone 4. By tapping on a post type (called a “widget” in the app), you can add a new post in the same way you’d expect from almost any other iPhone blogging application. It’s a super simple process and entirely straightforward. There’s little opportunity for you to go wrong.

  • Text Posts are by far the simplest. All that is needed is to write the body text that has no character or word limit, and an optional heading if you wish.
  • Photo Posts are just what you’d expect. You can snap a photo right on your phone and the move/scale them. A caption can be added too.
  • Link Posts are just like text posts, but instead of body text, you can paste in a URL.

Posts are also super simple to reorganize. A standard grapple button can be used to drag any post up or down to reorder their appearance on your website.

When you’re ready to publish your first site, another orange button leads the way and asks you to login, which you can do so individually or by connecting to Facebook. Zapd has some convenient social networking integration to share your site with Facebook, Twitter or via email.

Posting on the iPhone app

Next Steps

Once you’ve published your Zapd, the process isn’t over. You can continue to edit your site by adding new content modules and even swapping out the site with an alternative premade theme. Zapd will recognize your changes and prompt you to republish.

I really love the ease of Zapd’s publishing process. It’s super simple to update your blog and the same Facebook, Twitter and email sharing options are available each time you republish too, so your friends and followers can keep up to date with little additional effort.

My own test blog made on my iPhone

Web Editor

Zapd also has a web-based editor for updating your site on another platform. The web editor maintains the same minimalist and simple style of the iPhone application. You can’t do much else and the trio of post types remain your only options for posting content.

This is a really nice companion to the iPhone app allowing you to use Zapd for longer text posts when a larger keyboard can be used to avoid writing several hundred words with your thumbs. Since this is an iPhone-oriented site, I won’t get too much into the web-based functionality, but the fluidity of that whole experience is something I actually prefer over my experience with the native iPhone app.

Zapd's web-based editor

Where Does It Go Wrong?

For what it does, Zapd is an awesome application! However, I can’t help but think Tumblr is still a better option. In terms of posting, Zapd and Tumblr’s iPhone apps are nearly identical, although Tumblr offers more post types and formats.

I also didn’t appreciate Zapd’s random URLs. There’s no option to set a custom address or even point a custom domain to your blog. There’s a lot of potential in Zapd, but a clear URL for your visitors to return to is vital to keeping users coming back.

There’s also no option to change the formatting the theme of your site. Even basic options like resizing your text aren’t present, which feels like a major omission. I’d like some more functionality in setting up the blog, but I guess that’s not what Zapd is going for.

Is Zapd Useful?

Honestly, I’d say not much. But then again, I like a lot of functionality in my sites and I love Tumblr so my overall judgment of this app might be a little biased. In reality, Zapd’s simple approach pays off and the overall experience with posting new content is fast and easy. It’s also free, which is always good.

Zapd targets a different audience than regular blogging applications. In my opinion, it’s not for a full-fledged blogs to be run from. Instead, it’s great for small blogs when you’re, for example, going on vacation or working on a short-term project and you just want a temporary home to share some items on. Zapd also has a lot of photography potential and some of the themes seem more oriented towards photos than anything else.

If you’re looking for a temporary home to host a few photos and bits of text, possibly to extend your content on social networks, Zapd is great. Be sure to check out my test blog and share yours in the comments.


Summary

A quick and easy way to produce a website on the go for simple blogs with simple aims. Great for photography and as a companion to your Twitter account.

  • Zapd  | 
  • Free  | 
  • PressPlane
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