Yola’s Site Builder gets a face lift!

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  • Updated 7 years ago
Well, I have to tell you, we're pretty excited around here. Because as you may have seen already, we launched some improvements to the Site Builder today, and we think you're really going to like it.

A couple of months ago we interviewed a bunch of our users and asked them to show us what they like and don't like about Yola's Site Builder. We then asked our wonderful Customer Support team what they can tell us about all the ideas you send them on a daily basis to make the Site Builder better. And then our design and engineering teams started working to make things better, so today we launched the first batch of those improvements (yes, there's lots more to come over the next few months!).

I wanted to take moment to show you what we've changed, and why we did it. So, the next time you log into the Site Builder (or create a new site), here are some of the changes you'll see:
new-sb-blog



Let's walk through these one at a time:


  1. We heard that you want to see your site's web address front and center, and be able to access it easily from within the Site Builder. Done!

  2. There was a lot of confusion around the "Publish" button. It sometimes said "Publish your site", and at other times it said "Update your site." Well, now it will always say the same thing: "Publish to the web." No confusion about what that does!

  3. This is one of the changes we are most excited about. You told us that it's sometimes difficult to tell whether or not your site has been published to the web, and whether the edits that you've made is live or not. Well, wonder no more! We have created a nifty traffic light indicator system, so now you will always know if your site is published to the web or not, and whether those important changes you've made can be seen by your visitors.

  4. We cleaned up the links at the top of the page, so that it's more obvious where each link goes. And remember, help is always just a click away!

  5. One of the most visible changes you'll see is that we've changed the color of the top bar on the Site Builder. We also did some Spring cleaning (it's Spring somewhere in the world, right?) on the links to make things a little bit neater. We hope these changes make for a relaxing, calming atmosphere to help your creative juices flow as you build your site!

  6. This tab used to be called "Content." But who are we kidding? We all know those are "Widgets"!

  7. Go ahead -- click on Properties. You'll see that we've re-ordered some of the fields, and also provide some links to excellent tutorials to help you promote your site.

  8. Many of you might not know this, but we used to have a different default Style when you create your site and don't select a Style upfront. Trust us, the one we have now is a nicer way for our new users to get started with Yola!

  9. Many new users told us they don't know how to get started with Yola. We can't have that! So we've changed some instructional messaging and also now link to a great tutorial on how to get started.


But wait, there's more! There are also a few smaller changes. Can you spot them? Let us know in the comments!

Now, let me also say this. I don't like change any more than you do. So we know that some of you might not like some of these changes. But we are confident that this is the right thing to do -- and we know this because all these ideas came from you, our loyal community. But, if you don't like anything we did here, I'd like to ask that you do the following:

  1. Tell us what you don't like here in the comments of the blog. It's not good to let all that anger build up -- this is a safe place, and we'll listen. Let it out!

  2. Give it a week. See if you can get used to it. If you still don't like it, then come back and tell us more about it.


So I think that's it for now. Have I mentioned that we want to hear from you? Tell us what you think about these changes. And like I said, this is just the beginning. We're excited about the great improvements we'll be making over the coming months.

Happy site building!

Rian Van Der Merwe (Sr. Product Manager, Yola.com)
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Rian

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  • excited

Posted 8 years ago

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Diane

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Woo hoo! I'm really excited about these changes. The Site Builder has a sleeker look to it and remembering to Publish just got easier!

Diane
Graphic Designer, yola.com
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KanThaiDecor

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I think the site builder is now very newbie friendly IMO...good idea with tutorial links in properties.
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Monique, VP of Customer Support

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Thanks for the feedback. I am glad you can see our vision for making it easier for new users to get started on their Yola journey! Let's hope it works and that we can help even more people become successful, happy website builders!
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Josh Elmer

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i am noticing when i publish, the indicator still says it's not published yet. is it just me? Lol Looks great all. it as a more user friendly feel to it.
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3dollaroutlaw

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Traffic light goes to green for me without having to refresh
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Josh Elmer

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must be my browser
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Marije, Official Rep

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Josh - can you clear your browser's cache and that will solve the problem: http://www.google.com/support/account....
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Josh Elmer

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will do.
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Josh Elmer

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that did it. thanks
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adam

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I LOVE IT
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Kershnee

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That's awesome to hear, Adam!! We are so glad to hear you love it.
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Boomer, Champion

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The new look site builder looks slick!

I have a question / suggestion:
How difficult would it be to incorporate the ability to place a text description in the HTML widget box headers? It will save a lot of "site building time" clicking on each one of them to find out what's inside. I've included a graphic below.

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Monique, VP of Customer Support

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Not sure, but that is a great usability suggestion! I will certainly make inquiries for you!
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John McCarthy

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I agree,im currently remodeling one of my pages,theres html all over the place and i have to keep checking whats what and if i need it any more.
I think this is a great suggestion
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Boomer, Champion

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Or even if it were just alt / title text, that would be good too.
The title text could grab and display the first line of text of the css / js file and display it if the header was hovered over. That may be easier?
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Rian

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Hi Boomer - thanks, this is a good idea. I like the idea of a hover alt text to show you the first line of code, or as a more involved solution, the ability to specify the header text. I will add this to the list of features for consideration in our next round of changes.
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Boomer, Champion

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Here's a shot of a page I'm working on at the moment. Get the picture :-)

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Monique, VP of Customer Support

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Boomer, just thinking of your pages gives me an anxiety attack! How you keep it all together and working beautifully I don't know! I will join the chorus on this one and say I struggle with this issue when trying to look for HTML on users' pages that may have broken the site. I usually opt out and get someone with more patience than I to do it. There - I have confessed. I have no idea how easy or difficult your suggestion would be to implement but I will certainly see if I can find out!
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Boomer, Champion

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:-)) Thanks Monique!
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gone

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Great stuff, like the way the toolbox on the right moves out of the way.

I have no it skills, but have just made mt first site, and i am now working on another.

Thank you Yola.
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Emmy

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Awesome! Thanks for letting us know you like it :)
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Laura Thomas, Social Media Coordinator

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We're thrilled to hear you like it Tony! Keep us posted on your progress and get feedback on your sites on this thread.
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BritSAL

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Love the new changes. It is SO much easier to edit my site now. The only thing I had a problem with was when I wanted to "delete a page". I found out how to do it eventually, but it was a bit of chasing around instead of being simple as it was before. Could the "delete a page" be a bit easier to find I wonder?
Way to go Yola. You rock!
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Rian

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Hi there -- thanks for the feedback.

Yes, in the past we had 2 ways to delete a page -- from the site builder itself, as well as from the Site Manager. One of our goals with this release was to clean up the site builder a little bit, and make it more focused on editing your site, whereas Site Manager remains the place to perform site-level actions like renaming, shuffling and deleting pages, etc.

Let us know if this continues to be an issue for you and we'll revisit the decision in the future.

Thanks again! -Rian
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rocker394

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I'm a little disappointed with the new site-builder. It's not really that much different than the previous. Just with a different color in the back and a little (pretty useless) indicator. I understand that this is a "noob-friendly" site builder. But there should at least be something for the professional and experienced builders. I understand the engineers are hard working and I appreciate all the hard work they do. I don't think it's the engineers decision to do the stuff they make. I believe it's from the "design group." If Yola wants to be taken seriously in the website making business, they should put something competitive. The main point they have is a easy-to-use builder. Which all site builders are pretty basic to use. I don't post much but read a lot of topics, most of them can be easily found on google, but yet they ask here instead. Nobody here is wanting to do any self exploration which is why their site struggles. I'm not trying to be offensive. I love the engineers for their dedication and expertise, just the Yola company doesn't seem to care about having Yola be the best. It really is not, just free. Which I believe webs.com is also free and have a lot more. Yes webs has been open longer, but doodlekit is only a year older and they have so many more options and a professional looking site builder. Yet, it is just as easy as Yola. The difference? Their "design group" is more serious about getting a competitive site builder. If you type in "free website builder" without quotes in google, Yola is number 8. The reason why is because they are becoming less popular because they don't strive for anything except for being easy.

Sorry for my venting, but this place has been pissing me off for 2 years. Which is why I moved all my important sites to other hosting.
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Rian

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Hi rocker

Thanks for your comments. I'm the Product Manager on this release so I can address your questions.

First, I understand your disappointment in that this release doesn't have a lot of features for experienced customers. That is true, since our focus on this first release was to provide customers with a cleaner site builder that is easier to move around in, and address some of the major struggling points we've heard from our newer customers on how to get started.

However, as I said in my post, this isn't the end, it's just the beginning. We have at least 2 more phases of improvements coming, and in the upcoming releases over the next few months you will see some new widgets and features that we have been working on.

We spent the last few months doing research with our customers on the issues they have with the current software, and how we can make it better. What came out of that is a clear plan of what we need to do to improve not just the site builder, but also the entire Yola experience. And that is what our Product team is working on this year. I encourage you to stick around for the next few release and let us know if after that you still think we're not interested in being the best software for building websites!

It looks like we agree on one thing though, and that is how hard-working and dedicated our engineering team is :)

Thanks for the vent -- it's important for us to hear to keep us motivated and moving forward.

-Rian
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diane

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I've tried lots of site builders and paid hosts and for those of us with limited budgets and know-how Yola is the best. And I honestly believe Yola's support is THE BEST of any company in any category on the planet--SERIOUSLY! I have found no other company to be as transparent and truly helpful as Yola. After Yola Pro came out, I posted a question on the forum and within half an hour Vinny Lingham had answered! How many other companies provide that?! I'm a member of Yola Experts and while emailing one of the Yola Yep managers, Seán, actually called me up on the phone and chatted for 10 or 15 minutes. So DON'T say Yola doesn't care!! Yola is the best for its target market--small business, non-profits and personal use. And lots can be done with Yola. Frankly, I find half the fun of Yola is figuring out the work arounds--it's like working on a puzzle and I like puzzles.
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Emmy

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Hi Diane,
Thanks so much for your kind words, we are so very happy you are enjoying Yola and receiving helpful support :)

Emmy
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James

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I agree on some points, Yola seems to only attempt to cater for novices but doesn't offer much for more experienced users (no PHP, upload custom templates, FTP access etc).

Although you said Webs was free as well there are a lot of limitations (eg custom domains restricted) and their packages are more expensive than Yola.

If you learn a bit of HTML and CSS there's a lot you can do with Yola though.
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gone

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Mind if i chip in, as a total novice at this.

I agree with what rocker394 is saying, but for someone like me who has no knowledge at all in how or where to start, i have found Yola very easy.

Maybe when i am as experienced as you, i will move on. but you must remember the people who help you on the way up.

Why have you been letting it p*ss you off for two years? (chill out)

When you say you have moved your importent sites, does that meen you don't use Yola anymore?

I would have rather have seen you end with something like. Thank you Yola for helping me get started.

Wish you well with your future projects.
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Emmy

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Hey Tony,
Thanks for your words about the help you have received here at Yola, it makes us really happy that you have felt helped here! It is a major goal of ours to provide the best support possible for the product we love :)

Emmy
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27ace27

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I can turn the stupid optimization off now?! HALLELUJAH! THANK YOU!!! my idea!
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Emmy

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Yes, we have implemented the ability to turn this off now, we're glad that makes you happy and will help others as well with their images.

Emmy
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27ace27

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wait, it doesn't stay off... that would be nice...
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Monique, VP of Customer Support

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See the latest on this feature here: http://tinyurl.com/y9rd4kb
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R.S VALETING - REAL SHINE

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Having trouble publishing to web.. made a few changes to my site and it wont publish it is stuck on amber and it says Publishing your site...
& Tell people about your updates using/Tell people about your updates using Facebook , but doen't publish. It has been doing this for a week now any ideas i have cleared my browser's cache and still no joy??
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JC

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Like some of the improvements and do agree with being easy/basic to use, however, find it very simple and easy to follow (plus makes one learn html and some CSS to get certain things done if wishing other items to add - so good for me personally) although do find a few hiccups with designing in Yola. Staff at Yola have been amazingly helpful, plus other Yola site holders. Do have a couple of suggestions for the next upgrade, maybe??
1. Is it possible to click on an image/graphic and have on properties right hand side a box a place to give alternate text?
2. When altering names in Site Manager, can a box come up to ask if we wish the links also to be updated, then can select yes and all links will re-link to the new name?
3. Is it also possible to have option to be able to have links at the bottom of the page,ie as per the option for the top? However, with a choice to be able to choose left/right/centre aligned? This would save having to go thru every page and changing each page and adding to each page (especially when they do not update from Site Manager, when pages changed)?
4. Is it possible to have option to have a table widget installed, and ability to choose cells/columns? Would make life so so much easier.
5. When inserting a picture (from picture widget), it will not insert into cells only into a new text box. Can it be possible to insert picture widgets into tables/cells?
These probably are the ones that would be very very very helpful to lots of users, so thought I would mention here, as you may think useful and take on board to add to the 'next upgrade' ??
I think you are great, am hooked on the Community section, as learning lots from what people are asking (as I then go off chasing on the web to see what I come up with in addition). Believe you are doing great, however, do understand if one knows more than the average person, regarding web design, then some things may be a little basic. Similarly to how I think about MSWord.
JenC
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Sanja, Official Rep

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Hello JenC

I have responded to your post here: http://forum.yola.com/yola/topics/sug...
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Charmaine Collins

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Thanks for doing such a great job for us.
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Elizabeth Attara

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I just created my own website about a week and half ago and it was horribly time consuming. The fact that there is no "Live" support or phone support makes it even more difficult. I have had nothing but problems with my text editor and the responses I've gotten are as if nobody pays attention to what I say in my email. I have the latest version of everything on my computer...Explorer, Firefox, Flash, etc. My text editing bar has not worked right since the day I started building my site. I've tried to work on it from differrent computers but the result is still the same.

My suggestions would be to either have live help (as in a chat window) or live telephone help for people having alot of difficulties. My other suggestion would be to create a text editing bar that works more similar to a program like "Word" where you can at least have the basics of "spell check", more choices of colors or color variations, and the choice to pick fonts in more sizes, among other things.

I think it's great that something like YOLA is out there for new business owners to build a site, but it has taken an enormous amount of time to build a very simple site which is time I could have spent out in the field getting business.
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jeremy, Employee

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Hello Elizabeth,
Thank you for your feedback.
I am sorry you have had such a hard time creating your website with Yola.
While we do not have "live" support we are very proud of the level of support we offer.
If you have a specific request you can email us at support@yola.com and someone will get back to you as soon as possible. Unfortunately at different times of the day we do have a higher load so then your email may be slightly delayed. You can also try our "Support Search Box" to get help - see http://www.yola.com/support.html - try thinking of keywords and entering them into it. This might be a quicker way of getting help.

While our text editor is more limited than a word processing tool like MS word we do offer a range of formatting options shown in the text editing tool bar.
If you need any specific help, pleas try emailing support@yola.com and we will endeavor to get back to you ASAP.
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Elizabeth Attara

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Thank you for responding to my email but searching for information is not my issue. I have emailed repeatedly to support@yola and I'm not making any progress. I understand that the text editing bar isn't going to have the sophistication or elaborate choices that MS Word or a similar program might have but the text editor should at least work. So far I have not gotten anyone to figure out what the problem is no matter how many emails I've sent. I have had the same problem over and over since I attempted to create the site. The "undo and redo" buttons don't work, neither does the "bullet" button. I don't mind that it takes a few hours or a day for someone to respond....my issue is that the problem is not getting fixed.
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Dré

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Hi Elizabeth,

Thanks for your patience. I see one of my colleagues has replied to your support email you sent in- was wondering if you got a chance to see if the problem persists when you try the Firefox browser as she mentioned.

Also, if there is anything you feel was misunderstood or unclear with our response from support, please feel free to reply on that email thread. It will help us deal with the issue faster as we'll be able to tell exactly which bits of advice did not work for you and will help us get down to the issue faster.
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Elizabeth Attara

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I have tried everything that customer support has asked me to do. I also explained that when I am in Firefox, I can't even work on my site. She has replied several times and made several suggestions, all of which I have done, none of which have worked. I mentioned the versions of Flash, Explorer and Firefox that I have and then I receive another email asking me which versions I'm using. She also fixed the bullets for me on my site because I mentioned several times that when I try to do bullet points on my end, they pop up all over the page and are grey'd out. No one has yet to address why the undo & redo buttons don't work at all.

I've gone through all of this before and these features still do not work right.
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jeremy, Employee

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Hello Elizabeth,
It seems that your problems are only with the text widget. Have you by any chance copied text from an external source? If you have then this is the most likely reason that your text editor isn't working correctly. If the text is from an outside source then it is possible that it has code in it that will not work well with the text editor as it wont be able to interpret it correctly. If you have copied form an external source then I suggest that you copy the text to a program like Notepad or something similar (not MS Word) that you can use to strip all the formatting (use plain text) out of your text and then add it to a new text widget.

If you haven't copied from an external source, please let us know. You can email me at support@yola.com and mark it "Attention: Jeremy" and I will respond to you.
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Modern Afghans

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Some of my basic widgets are missing. Do I have to upgrade to get them back?!?
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Modern Afghans

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Some of my basic widgets are missing. Do I have to upgrade to get them back?!?
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Brianna

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Hello,
We were experiencing a minor glitch earlier, however, everything appears to be working properly now. If you are still seeing the error, please try clearing your browser's cache and try out a new browser version. Thanks!