Y Combinator alum Strikingly launched earlier this year to enable people to build websites in just a few minutes. With the launch of its new one-click site builder, the startup has now reduced that time to seconds.
The one-click site builder, which Strikingly bills as “the world’s fastest Web site builder,” automatically fills in a mobile-optimized site with information from your Facebook account, including your profile picture, work experience, hometown, current city and contact information. You then have the option of customizing your site with new content, photos or additional slides.
Strikingly’s goal is to appeal to customers who want the legitimacy of their own site but have little or no coding and design experience. The startup competes with other site building and hosting services like Wix, Weebly and Squarespace, which also advertise their ease-of-use.
The one-click builder stands out from competing products because it is comfortable to use even on a smartphone (an important selling point for regions such as Southeast Asia, one of Strikingly’s target markets and a place where many people access the Internet solely through their mobile devices). One of the ideas behind the product is that once customers enjoy the satisfaction of completing a site in seconds, they will be motivated to move onto Strikingly’s other services when they want to create something more elaborate.
“What [Strikingly] has done so far is bring the time spent on site building down to minutes, but even that is still too high a barrier of entry for regular users who have only a couple minutes in which to learn how to use a product and then put something up,” says Chen.
Chen says Strikingly wants to make building a website even easier than filling out a social media profile. The one-click builder is “not the end of our simplifying process, but a very important step,” he adds. The startup’s users have included Walter Tsui, a blind man who used his iPad and Strikingly’s templates to create a site with information about his professional experience and volunteer work with an advocacy organization.
The one-click builder is aimed at individuals and very small businesses. In addition to other site-building platforms, Strikingly’s one-click builder also competes for those customers with products like Facebook Pages, LinkedIn profiles and About.me, all easy ways for a person or business to establish a Web presence.
Chen says Strikingly’s advantage over social media is that a Web site helps establish credibility.
“Anyone can set up a social media account, but if you have a domain name associated with a Web site that is beautifully designed, you immediately have a statement of legitimacy,” says Chen. “People see your site on your resume, look it up and can see that you spent some time building up a personal brand and storyline.”
Strikingly’s one-click builder seek to differentiate from About.me by giving users more control over how content is presented on their sites. About.me sites, which have one page with a background image and links to social media profiles, function like online business cards. Strikingly wants to take a more flexible and creative approach, says Chen. For example, the one-click slide builder automatically includes a slide titled “what I believe in” which users can fill in with a quote.
“People want to tell a story about themselves,” says Chen. “Instead of saying ‘hey, check out my Facebook,’ our Web sites say ‘let me walk you through my philosophy.’”