Sunday, July 3, 2011

Facebook Fan Page Creation Tools 2011

10. thruSocial 

thruSocial box shot 

ThruSocial, a do-it-yourself Facebook tab creation service, offers an ample collection of widgets and Facebook layouts that will enhance your Facebook fan page. However, when evaluating its Pro service, we were unable to publish our tab into the Facebook application, even after several attempts. When we contacted its customer service department, we didn't receive a response for days. And even when we did, customer service was not able to assist us.

We were unable to post the tab on Rover's Pet Treats, the page we created to evaluate thruSocial. And we were unable to post it on any of our other evaluation pages. ThruSocial had us identify the page to which we would be publishing our tab prior to entering its design interface, but when we were ready to publish, the service did not provide the option to publish to that page. Rover's Pet Treats did not appear in its scroll-down list. We were unsuccessful when we tried to publish to our other pages, as well. Instead, an additional tab appeared on the page with an error message.

Features:
Despite the problems we experienced in trying to publish our tab, we are impressed with thruSocial's features. ThruSocial lets you create an unlimited number of tabs for an unlimited number of Facebook pages. It provides multi-layer designs with some clip art, although for best results, you should provide your own images. The service enables you to add hotspots, or hyperlinks, to images in your design. You can also add hyperlinks to text.
Templates:
ThruSocial provides Facebook templates with clip art, or you can choose to begin with a blank page, which we did when evaluating the service. ThruSocial provides tools for creating reveal-page content, or two sets of content – one that displays to non-fans, and another that may only be seen when you click on the Like button at the top of the Facebook page.
ThruSocial also offers a wide range of business-savvy widgets that you can add to your page, including the ability to add a YouTube video, a Twitter feed or an RSS feed of your blog. It provides tools to build custom forms or to run a poll or contest on your Facebook page. You can also easily add a map or background music.

Ease of Use:
ThruSocial's design interface is not initially intuitive. In our attempt to build a reveal tab, we shuffled between its numerous steps to locate the features we were looking for. But the interface got stuck, so we had to start a new template. Still, we were unable to publish a tab during our evaluation of thruSocial.
Although you don't need to know how to program to use thruSocial, knowledge of basic Photoshop functions is very helpful for using this service.

Help & Support:
ThruSocial's website offers a contact form and an email address to reach a member of its support team. A member of its customer service staff responded to our inquiry within 24 hours. ThruSocial's website provides a section with answers to frequently asked questions along with tutorials. It also provides a public forum.

Summary:
Despite thruSocial's features and extensive package of widgets, its interface experienced some glitches during our evaluation process, and we were unable to publish a tab to our Facebook fan page after several attempts. We hope the problems we experienced are flukes that thruSocial can easily remedy.

9. Hubze 

Hubze box shot 
 
Hubze, a do-it-yourself Facebook fan page creation service, offered its services using FBML (Facebook markup language) before iframes came on the scene. It still offers its FMBL service, however. When you create a design, the service will generate the design in FBML code, which you will then import into a backend Facebook application for programmers.
We evaluated Hubze's iFrame Engine ProPlus package, which is a service that does not require programming expertise, but it still comes in handy. Hubze offers a tool for inserting HTML code or JavaScript into each component of its templates. In February 2011, Facebook established iFrames that allow programmers to use regular coding languages such as HTML and JavaScript to modify Facebook pages. As a result, companies like Hubze have now been able to develop do-it-yourself tab-creation services that allow the public to create custom Facebook pages.
Photoshop knowledge is a requirement for using this service. Each of Hubze's Facebook templates include varying pixel widths, and any images that you upload need to meet the indicated pixel dimensions. That means you need to be able to customize your images in an external graphics application such as Photoshop.

Features:
Hubze offers a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) design interface that allows you to upload your own images. It also allows you to add hyperlinks to text. You can edit or delete the tabs you've created using its service even after the tabs have gone live, which is a feature that not all services provide. However, it does not allow you to customize your tab names or add a hotspot on images.

Templates:
Hubze offers seven basic templates with varying column widths and image placements. However, its templates do not include clip art. It offers some widgets but very few of the business-savvy tools that its competitors provide. For example, it allows you to upload videos and background music, and it provides tools for building a custom contact form. But it does not enable you to upload a map, a photo collage, a Twitter feed, or an RSS feed from your blog.

Ease of Use:
Hubze provides step-by-step video tutorials within each of its templates. However, the tutorials are only available once you have purchased its services. Unlike many of its competitors, Hubze does not provide a free entry-level package, nor does it offer a free trial. Its ProPlus package requires an upfront payment that will cover you for the first year.
Navigating Hubze's design interface is fairly straightforward, mostly because its templates all have a very basic structure. The templates give you font, point size and color options. You can change the text alignment and bold, italicize or underline your text. Its interface does require that you to know how to use Photoshop in order to size your images using pixel measurements. But we are pleased to say that publishing a Facebook tab with Hubze is a smooth process.

Help & Support:
Hubze does not have any contact information on its website. The only way we could contact them was by posting a message on Hubze's Facebook page. Once we did so, a member of the company's staff was very helpful in accommodating us. We exchanged messages through Facebook with the representative until we received the information we needed.
Hubze's website does provide tutorials and articles, but it does not provide a section with answers to frequently asked questions. The video tutorial on the homepage is somewhat outdated, describing its FBML services instead of its more recent and user-friendly addition that doesn't require programming knowledge. To have access to its tech support team and most of its tutorials you must first purchase its services.

Summary:
Although programming knowledge is not required to use Hubze's iFrame Engine services, Hubze still caters to programmers, both in the design of its web interface and the targeted audience in its tutorials, which make its instructions less than clear for average users. Basic Photoshop skills are a requirement if you want to add any specialized content to your Facebook fan page. Finally, we would like to see Hubze add contact information to its website to assure its customers that their investments are secure.

8. TabSite 

TabSite box shot 

TabSite is unique from other do-it-yourself Facebook tab creation services we reviewed. It lets you set up a vertical sub-tab system within your Facebook fan page that you can customize with consistent header and footer designs for each tab.
However, TabSite’s Silver package does not provide business-savvy Facebook templates with the ability to insert a YouTube video, a Twitter feed, an RSS feed of your blog, maps or music, like many of its competitors. TabSite’s design interface is not initially intuitive, and we recommend that you review its tutorials and articles before getting too far along in your creation process.

Features:
TabSite offers a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) design interface that does not require programming knowledge. It lets you add your own images and hyperlinks to your business’s website. In addition, it allows you to edit or delete tabs you’ve created using its interface, even after they go live on your Facebook page.

Templates:
TabSite does not provide Facebook layouts with variable column widths and image placements, and it does not provide templates with clipart. However, TabSite is one of the few services we reviewed that lets you upload your own design for the tab icon.
TabSite also lets you add reveal-page content to your tabs, or content that is displayed only for non-fans. You can create reveal-page content to encourage non-fans to click the Like button at the top of your page, either by offering them a coupon for a product or service, or by simply offering additional information about your cause or business.
However, TabSite does not include any of the business-savvy widgets that many of its competitors offer. Without tools such as an online form or the ability to add a map of your store location, you are left with a Facebook tab creation service that is mostly text- and image-oriented. We were not able to add hotspots to the image we uploaded but instead had to add hyperlinks using a textbox we placed at the bottom of our tab.

Ease of Use:
Using TabSite requires that you generate your own content, which means that for best results, you need to know your way around basic Photoshop functions.
TabSite’s design interface is not initially intuitive. Its key tools are located in a dropdown menu that appears when you click on Tab Options next to a pencil icon within the interface. That menu includes basic functions such as editing a tab, deleting a tab or adding reveal-page content. We experienced a malfunction when we were creating a reveal tab, so we had to begin a new template in order to publish our tab into the Facebook application successfully.

Help & Support:
TabSite is a company based out of Goshen, Indiana. TabSite’s website includes a contact form that, its design interface requires you to sign in to your Facebook account before you can submit a message. A TabSite customer service representative contacted us within 24 hours after we submitted a query. Its website provides answers to frequently asked questions, tutorials and articles, but it does not provide a community forum for its users.

Summary:
TabSite is a limited do-it-yourself Facebook tab creation service that, short of the ability to add hyperlinks, is really designed for developing Facebook fan pages with only text and images. TabSite does not provide any of the business-savvy widgets offered by many of its competitors. Because its design interface is not initially intuitive, we recommend that you review its tutorials before designing your first tab.

7. FaceItPages 

FaceItPages box shot 
FaceItPages, a do-it-yourself Facebook fan page creation service, provides Facebook templates with a variety of optional modules that can help you build your business. Its Premier package lets you add a YouTube or Twitter feed, or add an RSS feed from your blog. You can also insert a map or custom form.

Features:
FaceItPages offers a variety of Facebook layouts with clipart images and various column widths and image placement options. FaceItPages also lets you add your own images. However, while implementing the step-by-step template we used to create our tab, the interface got stuck when we tried to go back to Step 1 more than once. A prompt encouraging us to add additional images or more content appeared with a big exclamation point that made us think there was an error.
In addition, publishing using FaceItPages is not initially intuitive. Once you save your completed tab in the interface, you must click on the Facebook icon in order to install your tab. Because images you upload into the FaceItPages templates must be at least 520 pixels wide, you will likely need to alter the size of your images using Photoshop or another graphics application. However, this fan page creation service does let you edit and delete published tabs within its interface.

Templates:
FaceItPages offers a variety of templates; some include clipart and some are blank. It includes a reveal-page template that allows you to enter two sets of content – one that non-fans will see and another that may only be seen once people click the Like button at the top of the screen.
FaceItPages also comes with a number of useful, business-savvy modules that you can add to your tab to promote your business. Some of these allow you to add a photo collage, YouTube video, background music, a custom contact form, a Twitter feed and an RSS feed of your blog.

Ease of Use:
FaceItPages appears to be very user-friendly because its interface uses a step-by-step process to complete and publish your tab design. However, FaceItPages’ interface is not initially intuitive. When one template got stuck, we had to begin a new template to publish our tab into the Facebook application. It also does not provide clear descriptions within the design interface.

Help & Support:
FaceItPages’ website provides a contact form and the option to speak with a representative through a live chat window. The website also encourages you to write on its Wall or to send the company a direct message through FaceItPages’ Facebook page. However, the service does not provide tutorials or a community forum for its members.

Summary:
FaceItPages do-it-yourself Facebook tab creation service provides a robust set of layout designs and widgets that will enhance your Facebook fan page. These include the ability to add a YouTube video, insert a Twitter feed or an RSS feed from your blog. The service's design interface is not initially intuitive, however, and we experienced some problems with the interface, which got stuck at one point and did not let us finish creating our tab. Ultimately, we were able to publish a tab using FaceItPages, and we find it to be a viable service.

6. SplashLab Social 

SplashLab Social box shot 

SplashLab Social’s do-it-yourself Facebook fan page provides a number of Facebook layouts with variable column widths and image placements. However, its Business package does not provide any widgets that let you embed videos, blog rolls or a Twitter feed. It does let you add hyperlinks to your tabs, however, and we like that its publishing process into the Facebook application is a smooth process.

Features:
SplashLab Social offers a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) design interface. Its interface lets you easily edit and delete tabs that have already gone live on your Facebook page. It also gives you a long list of tab-name options that will fit most of your needs. If you don’t like the options it provides, you can still alter a tab name using the administration tools within your Facebook page.
SplashLab Social does provide some clipart options for the footer of your tab. For the most part, however, you must come up with your own images, and those images must meet different specified dimensions for each image within a template. As a result, you need to know Photoshop in order to alter your images to the dimensions required.
SplashLab Social does not have a photo-viewer widget that you can add to your tab, but it does let you add a collage of several images. The template we chose for our evaluation included spots for eight different images. In uploading those images, we wanted them to have the same proportions, so we had to make sure they had the same pixel dimensions when we cropped them in Photoshop.

Templates:
SplashLab Social offers a variety of Facebook templates with various column widths and image placements. However, it does not provide many of the widgets that its competitors offer, including the ability to add feeds from YouTube or Twitter, an RSS feed from your blog, a contact form, map or background music.

Ease of Use:
We found SplashLab Social’s service to be straightforward to use. It allows you to publish to your Facebook page without hassle, and it lets you edit or delete your published tabs within its interface. It does not require programming knowledge, but knowledge of Photoshop or another graphics application that lets you use pixels is essential.

Help & Support:
We found SplashLab Social’s service to be straightforward to use. It allows you to publish to your Facebook page without hassle, and it lets you edit or delete your published tabs within its interface. It does not require programming knowledge, but knowledge of Photoshop or another graphics application that lets you use pixels is essential.

Summary:
SplashLab Social is a great do-it-yourself Facebook fan page creation service if you are creating a tab for an individual cause or a basic tab for your business. It does not provide any of the eCommerce or online marketing tools that many of its competitors offer. In addition, you must know Photoshop to crop your images to the required variable dimensions. However, we like that this service's publishing process is simple and that lets you edit and delete published tabs within the service’s web interface.

5. Lujure 

Lujure box shot 

Lujure offers a number of widgets to enhance your Facebook fan page that let you stream a YouTube, RSS or Twitter feeds. You can also easily upload maps and music or develop custom contact forms.
In addition to Lujure’s array of widget-oriented Facebook templates, the service provides Facebook layouts with variable column widths and image placements. However, its process for uploading images is not initially intuitive. Lujure, like some of its competitors, requires the images you upload to be certain dimensions, which means you must customize the images you submit outside of the service’s design interface before you attempt to upload them.

Features:
Lujure provides a reveal-page template that allows you to upload two sets of content – one that will be viewed by non-fans and another that may only be viewed by people after they hit the Like button at the top of the screen. We found Lujure's process of creating reveal-page content to be straightforward. The service also let us add additional widgets to our tab, such as a hotspot, or hyperlink, within the image we uploaded. You can also edit and delete your tab within the interface once you have published it.

Templates:
Although Lujure provides layout templates with variable column widths and image placements, it does not provide clip art images. Instead it requires you to submit your own images that you have designed outside of the interface using Photoshop or another graphics application. Lujure does provide a number of widgets to enhance the tabs you create, including the ability to add a YouTube feed, RSS feed from your blog or Twitter feed.

Ease of Use:
The publishing process from the Lujure interface to the Facebook application is seamless. However the service's interface does not allow you to name your tabs. To do so, you must use your Facebook page's administration tools. Although Lujure provides tutorials on its website, it does not include descriptions of each of its widgets within its design interface.
We found that navigating the Lujure interface is not initially intuitive. For example, when uploading images, you have to press the Done button twice. During the first step, it creates a URL for your image, and in the second step, it associates that URL with your tab. Its process exposes a little bit of the programming side of things. We would have liked to see two distinctive buttons for this process so that you will know that the interface is processing your request.
In addition, you need to have a basic knowledge of Photoshop or another graphics application to customize the size of the images you upload to meet the required dimensions.

Help & Support:
Lujure, a company based in Virginia, provides contact information on its website, and a representative responded to our inquiry within 24 hours. The company's website provides answers to frequently asked questions, tutorials and articles. Lujure also provides a community forum for its users.

Summary:
Lujure’s do-it-yourself Facebook fan page creation service offers many of the widgets and applications of its competitors. However, we found that its design interface is not initially intuitive. Lujure also requires that you know how to use Photoshop or another graphics application that lets you work with pixels. This service does not provide clipart, and it requires that you upload images with particular dimensions. Overall, we are impressed with Lujure’s offerings and found its service to be useful and easily accessible.

4. North Social 

North Social box shot 

North Social has one of the savviest websites of all the do-it-yourself Facebook fan page creation services we reviewed. The company has a knack for branding its services. For example, it uses the same cool header format on the informative video tutorials that describe each of its Facebook templates that it calls apps.
North Social has designed its services around apps that perform various marketing functions for your cause or business that are innovative and have the potential to be very beneficial to your business. However, the service expects you to generate your own JPEG files using a graphics application such as Photoshop; it does not provide Facebook layouts with variable column widths and image placements.
Instead, North Social provides the truest WYSIWYG design interface of all the services we reviewed. In reviewing its Basic package, we found that its whole interface integrates right into your Facebook page using Facebook applications.

Features:
North Social requires the images you upload to be a certain size. For example, the image for the First Impression app must be 520 by 650 pixels. As a result, the images you upload must be custom fitted for uploading to your Facebook page using a graphics application. The service does let you add a hotspot, or hyperlink, to your image. However, it does not let you add Facebook comments to your tab or customize the names of your tabs.
NorthSocial's Basic package only lets you create one tab using its service. It also limited the number of fans on your page to 5,000. If you get more than that, you must upgrade to one of its more advanced packages.

Templates:
North Social does not provide multilayer layout templates with variable column widths and image placements, as do some of the best services we reviewed, but it does offer a variety of templates for creating powerful apps on your Facebook page. Some of the apps include the ability to create reveal-page content, which lets you set up one set of content that is viewed by non-fans and another set that be viewed by those who hit the Like button at the top of your Facebook page. It provides apps that enable you to upload videos, photo collages, contact forms, maps and music. You can also stream an RSS feed from your blog or Twitter account. However, we will note that the service does not have the most apps of all the fan-page creation services we reviewed.

Ease of Use:
With North Social’s interface right in Facebook, uploading content is very easy. The hardest part of the process for us was developing that content beforehand. North Social provides brief tutorial videos with each of its apps that explain what the app does. Selecting an app to use on your Facebook page is as easy as pressing a button. Next, you simply upload your content, and you're done. Although you don't need any programming knowledge, you will need to know how to use at least basic tools in Photoshop or a graphics software application that will generate JPEG files.

Help & Support:
North Social provides contact information on its website. When we contacted the company, a member of its customer service team responded within 24 hours. The website also provides answers to frequently asked questions, tutorials and a daily email feed with an article from its blog. In addition, the service provides a community forum for its users.

Summary:
We like North Social for its creative marketing ideas that can help you enhance your Facebook fan page for your individual cause or small business. You need to know Photoshop or another graphics application to use this service, since it does not provide layout templates, but you will appreciate its user-friendly interface that integrates right into your Facebook page.

3. Pagemodo 

Pagemodo box shot 

Pagemodo's do-it-yourself Facebook fan page creation service has achieved our TopTenREVIEWS Bronze Award for its easy user interface that's designed for individuals who don't necessarily have programming or Photoshop expertise. We evaluated its Pro package, which lets you create up to seven tabs. We like that its photo-upload tool makes it easy to crop, shrink and enlarge your images to meet the dimensions of its Facebook template's components.
Pagemodo's interface lets you choose from an array of Facebook layouts, or you can upload your own designs. It provides images with its templates, but they only fulfill a narrow window of utilization, so plan on generating your own images outside of the service's web interface.
In evaluating Pagemodo, we used one of its templates to design a Facebook tab. We will say that the service's template designs are rigid – we were unable to remove components such as the mini-captions for each of the images or the coupon code text it required us to place over our central image.
However, we found that creating a reveal-page tab is a straightforward process with this service's setup. A reveal-page tab includes two sets of content – one that non-fans see and one that potential fans can see if they click the Like button at the top of the page. We tested this function in each of the Facebook tab creation services we reviewed, and of all of them, Pagemodo has the easiest process. We also found that its process for publishing a tab to the Facebook application is seamless.
Where Pagemodo doesn't measure up to its competition is in its selection of business-promotion widgets, such as the ability to insert an RSS feed, run a poll or contest, contact forms, add a Twitter feed, maps or music to your Facebook tab. In addition, it doesn't provide a place to insert HTML or JavaScript code. However, the company will soon launch Pagemodo 2.0, which will add many of these tools.
It has only been since February 2011 that Facebook created iframes, which allow programmers to use common programming languages such as HTML and JavaScript to develop Facebook page tabs. Doing so has allowed companies like Pagemodo to provide do-it-yourself Facebook tab creation services. And it hasn't taken long for Pagemodo and its competitors to identify creative applications for Facebook tabs that will help spread the word about your cause or build your business.

Features:
Pagemodo offers many of the features listed in our testing criteria. It offers a true WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) design interface. We like that it lets you easily edit or delete a published tab. It's easy to upload or type content into components of its multilayer designs.
Pagemodo is one of five of the services we reviewed that doesn't require establishing a password to open an account. Instead, it is able to verify your identity by having you log in to your Facebook account through the Pagemodo web interface. Doing so saves you from one more password to remember, and the process is safe and secure.
The design interface lets you add links to text or hotspot hyperlinks to images that you upload to its template components. The service also lets you customize your tab label name.

Templates:
Pagemodo provides a variety of Facebook tab layouts, and it allows you to upload your own images designed in Photoshop. Many of its templates include spots for several images that you can upload as a photo array. Other templates let you upload a video to your tab. Many of the areas where the service falls short, such as the inability to upload an RSS feed, Twitter feed, map, photo slide show and sign-up forms, will be integrated into Pagemodo 2.0. Pagemodo co-founder Thomas Kjeldgaard told us that the improved version will likely be available before the fall of 2011.

Ease of Use:
Publishing a tab to your Facebook page is a snap in Pagemodo, and we like that it lets you edit or delete a tab that you have already published. Pagemodo's templates are much more limited than some of its competitors, but that makes the process of completing your tabs simpler. Its design interface is easy to navigate and it provides clear descriptions or instructions at each step of the process.

Help & Support:
Pagemodo is a company founded by two Danish entrepreneurs that is based in Bangkok, Thailand. It provides contact information on its website, and we received a cordial email response to our query within 24 hours. The website does not include a section with answers to frequently asked questions, nor does it provide tutorials, articles or blogs, but it does provide a community forum for its users.

Summary:
Pagemodo provides an excellent do-it-yourself Facebook fan page creation service that doesn't require you to have programming or Photoshop expertise. It does have limitations in terms of its tools. In addition, its rigid templates don't let you remove a component if it doesn't fit your needs, such as a caption across an image. We look forward to Pagemodo 2.0, which will be released soon and will provide additional tools to enhance your ability to customize your Facebook page. For now, we recommend Pagemodo because of its simplistic design and straightforward process.

2. ShortStack 

ShortStack box shot 

ShortStack earns our TopTenREVIEWS Silver Award for offering an exceptionally diverse set of tab templates, modules and apps. The company is designed to create do-it-yourself Facebook fan pages for individual special interests, nonprofit organizations, small businesses, corporations and third-party web designers. Additionally, ShortStack does not require programming or Photoshop expertise. You can use it to create custom Facebook pages for a monthly subscription that's a fraction of the cost of paying a web developer by the hour.
You can choose between four packages, including All You Can Eat, Full Stack, Short Stack and Surprisingly Free. What else would you expect from a company called Pancake Laboratories Inc.? When we evaluated the Short Stack package designed for individuals and small businesses, we liked that it offers attractive template designs with images that you can use for a variety of purposes and that give you the ability to upload your own designs. The Short Stack package will let you upload 10 tabs each to an unlimited number of Facebook pages. You are only limited to 25,000 fans among them all before you must upgrade to a more advanced package.
However, ShortStack's powerful design interface is not initially intuitive. We experienced some confusion when we attempted to create a reveal page tab, a tab that contains two sets of content – one that will be viewed by non-fans and another that will be viewed by those who have clicked the Like button. Even though the service displays selectable fan and non-fan buttons on each of its templates' widgets within the design interface, you actually have to go through the Options tab in the editing mode to set a widget as exclusively non-fan or fan content.
You cannot delete a tab through ShortStack but instead must delete it through your Facebook page's administration options. In addition, once a tab goes live, you cannot make changes to it. Instead, you must make a new tab with the changes you wish to reflect. We understand that ShortStack is set up this way to measure a tab's analytics, which the service provides in its more advanced packages. However, we found these factors to be somewhat of an inconvenience, particularly when many of ShortStack's competitors provide these services within their interfaces.

Features:
Despite these factors, we love ShortStack's creative widgets and apps that really capitalize on Facebook's forum. For example, the service offers poll and survey widgets. Your poll can be something entertaining to your followers, such as "Who should have won American Idol? Lauren or Scotty?" Or you can use the tool to get feedback about your products or services. Both purposes help advertise your business and maintain contact with your followers, which can lead to sales. Other examples of ShortStack's brilliant widgets include:
  • Custom forms to create such modules as restaurant reservations or contact forms
  • The ability for your followers to give virtual gifts to their friends
  • Campaigns for your followers to invite their friends to join your page
ShortStack has established a number of partnerships with other online services such as MailChimp, Flickr, Google Maps, YouTube, Vimeo, SoundCloud and FourSquare. ShortStack also lets you add a hotspot, or hyperlink, to an image within your tab design. It offers rich-text widgets that let you format the font, point size, text alignment or add hyperlinks to the words in your design.
ShortStack also offers advanced tools that you can use if you are more program savvy, including a place to insert a Flash movie; HTML, Javascript, or Google Analytics code. Or use the service's iFrame widget to display an external web page inside your tab.

Templates:
ShortStack offers a variety of Facebook templates and Facebook layouts – some with images and some that are only layouts with a number of column width and image placement options. You can add widgets to any of the templates, or you can insert your own images designed in Photoshop without using the templates, which is what we did when we created our tab. You can also easily insert an RSS feed from your blog, Twitter feed, video or photo collage.

Ease of Use:
When evaluating ShortStack's design interface, we didn't even have to think about its programming until we were ready to publish our tab. We thought we had developed a reveal page tab with content for both fans and non-fans, but when we saw the tab on our Facebook page, it didn't appear the way it displayed in ShortStack's preview window. However, we were able to discover what the problem was by using the service's Help menu after the fact. We deleted the first tab attempt using our Facebook page administration options. Then we applied the correct settings to a new tab in ShortStack's interface. Although we deleted the first tab through Facebook, it still appeared in ShortStack's Tab Manager.
ShortStack provides two different publishing methods: Quick Publish and Custom Publish. You can publish up to 10 tabs per page using the Quick Publish option, or you can publish unlimited tabs without the ShortStack label using Custom Publish. Custom Publish requires seeing a little more back-end communication with Facebook applications, but ShortStack provides step-by-step instructions to help you through the process.
It's clear that ShortStack has a solid partnership with Facebook, which permits them to display prompts that maintain ShortStack's pleasant rapport during the publishing process.

Help & Support:
ShortStack's customer service team is very responsive and helpful. Its website provides a contact form, and we received a practically instantaneous response to our inquiry (although that is probably because we are a member of the media). The website also provides answers to frequently asked questions, some tutorials, a list of articles in its help section and a community forum.

Summary:
Since the technology of creating a Facebook tab is so new, companies like ShortStack have the burden of not only educating its users about how to use its services, but it must explain the purpose of Facebook pages and how they can assist you in building your cause or business. It's clear to us with the creative widgets they offer that ShortStack's leadership took great care to consider the needs of their customers when designing their business plan.
ShortStack is one the most powerful tab creation services we reviewed, but its web interface is not initially intuitive. We like that it provides floating captions that describe the purpose of each of its features, but we would like to see the service add a get-started tutorial that provides a step-by-step overview of the basic processes. When we reviewed ShortStack, the service inspired us to think of ways we can customize the tools it offers to promote our own Facebook fan page.

1. Social Page Builder 

Social Page Builder box shot 

The recipient of our TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award, High Impact Designer's Gold version of Social Page Builder offers a well-rounded selection of Facebook fan page layout templates and other features that are easy to modify and customize for your individual or business needs. Its multi-layer template designs help you build an attractive page tab without having to know HTML code or much about design techniques. Additionally, this online service is the only one we reviewed that provides a spellchecker.
Like all the do-it-yourself Facebook templates we reviewed, Social Page Builder has the challenge of educating its potential and existing customer base about utilizing not only its user interface, but also the technology and marketing tools that Facebook pages offer individuals, organizations and businesses. The tools are simple and yet powerful, so it is worth subscribing to Social Page Builder's frequent newsletter. The possibilities are endless as to how we can use this technology to promote businesses and individual causes efficiently and inexpensively.
Social Page Builder lets you develop and publish up to 15 different fan pages with 15 tabs each and unlimited fans. For example, in addition to the Wall and Info tabs, you may add tabs such as a photo gallery, YouTube feed, welcome page or seasonal promotions. Assign one as the default landing tab through the Facebook Edit Page options. Send emails to your clientele or customer base with links to tabs to advertise sales or organizational announcements.
Individuals and small businesses can now utilize custom Facebook pages like never before. Social Page Builder provides templates that encourage followers to share your messages with their friends and family. For example, you can offer a limited-time discount to followers' friends and family members who Like your page and then use it to access your website.

Features:
Through Social Page Builder, you can publish up to 15 tabs for up to 15 Facebook pages, and it lets you update them or delete them through its interface. You can also add eCommerce links to your website for individual products you sell or links to pages with information about upcoming events. You can even add Facebook comments to a tab that provides direct feedback about an article you've posted or an event your organization is planning.
Social Page Builder has a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) design interface that lets you preview your page throughout the building process to see how it will appear when it goes live. The interface also provides a tool for inserting HTML code if you have coded tables such as Contact Us forms that you would like to add to a tab.
We had a few problems using this service's design interface with the Firefox browser, so we recommend using the latest version of Internet Explorer for the best user experience. The WYSIWYG was not accurate using Firefox. Additionally, the interface is generally more user-friendly in Internet Explorer, where the toolboxes are larger and more colorful.
Take advantage of the user manual that you can access by clicking the Help button within your account. It includes step-by-step instructions for utilizing the web interface. We had to use the manual because the interface is not initially intuitive.
To add new images or change text within your template, you must double click on an image to open the Image Editor, which will access a new layer within the template. Make sure to also use the Image Editor when you want to override a whole section within a template. When we deleted a major portion of a template from the base level and inserted our own image, it somehow attached as a separate unit of the template and appeared just below the template design when it went live, even though it did not appear that way in the service's preview window. Also, the functions to crop or shrink imported images is somewhat faulty, leaving a lot of white space around your image. We recommend cropping your images in another application before you upload them into the interface.
Note that if you want to build a reveal page tab, which has a different appearance to fans versus non-fans, choose the My Reveal Tabs button on the left side of the Template Browser page when you first log in to your account. The reveal pages are stored in a different place than your designs are.
Once you select which template you want to use, you then choose a title for your tab. Although the service doesn't let you customize the name of your tabs, it gives you an extensive list of tab names from which to choose. It also has you identify the page to which you want to publish the tab. You can also customize the names of your tabs by clicking on Apps in the Edit Page functions within your Facebook page.
You're equipped with a full toolbox of fonts, point sizes, text alignments, and text affects. It also gives you a robust and easy-to-use color pallet, as well as formatting, editing and table features. We like that you can easily add Smart Elements which are images added to a third layer of a template that consist of shapes and text that you can place on top of images to add emphasis and character to your page. Choose from image categories such as bubbles and captions, buttons, dates and times, frames and sockets, seals and guarantees, masks and sale images.

Templates:
We are impressed with Social Page Builder's variety of Facebook layouts that use multi-layer templates, but we will note that the designs focus almost exclusively on building advertisements for retail pages. You can still override the images, however, and upload images related to nonprofit causes.
The service offers fan-gate or reveal page functions and templates for inserting a photo collage or YouTube feed, but it doesn't provide many of the interactive tools of competing services, such as the ability to insert an RSS feed, Twitter feed, maps or background music.

Ease of Use:
In our review of Facebook template services, we gave particular emphasis on each service's ease of use for the general user. The more you know about HTML, Photoshop and design techniques, the better off you'll be when publishing tabs to your Facebook page, but Social Page Builder does a good job of providing templates that you can easily customize for your own needs without programming knowledge.
Publishing to Facebook applications through the service was seamless in our experience, but it took a few tries to get our design uploaded with all the pieces in the right places. Once we became familiar with the process, however, we no longer experienced problems.

Help & Support:
We found that Social Page Builder has a helpful customer support team that responded to our email inquiries within 24 hours. The service, which is based in Cambridge, MA, lists its physical address, email address, toll-free phone number and fax number, as well as its business hours, on its website.
The website also includes a page with answers to frequently asked questions and tutorials, and it offers a free newsletter subscription to give you convenient access to its blog. The service also provides a user manual that we recommend reviewing when you first open your account.
In addition to Social Page Builder, its parent company High Impact Designer also offers Email Design Builder and Landing Page Builder design and web hosting services that provide services with comparable quality to Social Page Builder.

Summary:
We like Social Page Builder's well-rounded offerings that make designing and publishing a Facebook Fan Page tab possible even if you don't know HTML code or lack design skills. However, it also accommodates users who do have some of those skill sets, and it is a lot less expensive than employing a custom Facebook page web designer.
We found that the service is geared primarily toward creating Facebook pages for retail stores, but you can override elements or whole pieces of its templates and design them the way you like. We did experience some hang-ups using this service with a Firefox browser, and we once again recommend using Internet Explorer for the best user experience. Overall, however, we are impressed with Social Page Builder's well-rounded offerings that equip a variety of users with easy-to-use tools that will give you or your small business a professional social media presence.

source : toptenreviews.com

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