Back in February 2009 we covered the launch of DevHub, a startup that helps users build their own blogs and websites. At the time the site creator was pretty straightforward, with a focus on monetization through some syndication deals. This week, it’s modifying its approach: DevHub now features a gaming mechanic that’s designed to help new users turn their bare-bones blog templates into full-fledged websites.
DevHub cofounder Mark Michael says that a lot of users of the old version of DevHub would create their sites and only take advantage of the most basic features, leaving skeleton websites in their wake (a phenomenon that is doubtless seen on other website creators). To help remedy this, the new DevHub walks you through creating your site step by step, rewarding you for completing actions with points that can be used to further improve your site.
When you first sign up you’re asked to choose from four tracks: blog, ‘WebHub’ (which is a portal with your social media profiles), a small business site, and a product promotion site (Michael says more tracks are on the way). After choosing a track, the site will show a wizard pointing out its main features. Finally, once you’re in the builder, you’ll be prompted to complete tasks like adding a profile photo, connecting your Facebook account, and blogging something.
Completing these actions allows you to accrue virtual points, which can in turn be used to further improve your site. Additional features that can be purchased in the DevHub marketplace include new templates, the ability to embed widgets, and a link roll. Michael says that earning these doesn’t actually take very long (he wagers you could earn them in around twenty minutes of fixing up your site) — the goal is to get people to fill everything out and build a full-fledged website, and this provides a way to handhold them through the process. Alternatively, users can purchase these features without earning them for pretty steep amounts of real money.
Obviously there’s a ton of competition in the site creation space, but this seems like a pretty good way to get users engaged to the point that they’ll keep coming back to DevHub after signing up. Along with the main site, DevHub also white-labels its platform. The company has raised around $1.5 million dollars and has around fifteen employees.