Wix.com made its name with a platform that business owners and regular Joes could use to build Flash-enabled websites. Now, as a sign of the times, the company is launching a new service to let people do the same with HTML5.
This is a significant boost to HTML5, which lets people create sites that work across both PC and mobile browsers, because Wix already has a track record in attracting users to its offerings.
Wix claims that more than one million users join its platform to build sites every month; those platforms cover not only Flash-based sites, but one specifically aimed to be used on the mobile web. In all, its CEO co-founder, Avishai Abrahami, tells me that websites created through Wix are already bringing in traffic of more than 200 million monthly users.
The new HTML5 builder is based around a drag-and-drop format and Abrahami goes very big on how this is the equivalent of HTML5 for Dummies. “We have a special tool you can use to either change, modify or build new elements on your site,” says Abrahami. “You have to know how to move the mouse and click. You need zero knowledge of HTML coding or any other technical understanding. It’s like PowerPoint, or other drag-and-drop software.”
Users can choose from 50 templates to build their sites, or they can opt for their own (but that will, again, require a little technical know-how or investment in someone who has some). Typically the company charges between $4 and $16 per month for its platform.
Wix is also targeting a growing market: although mobile apps are still a hugely popular way of accessing content on mobile devices, mobile web sites are also seeing a growth in traffic.
And while some sites and services lend themselves to creating apps specifically catering to a mobile user (say with location-based customization, or the ability to use the device’s camera), many other will be looking for an all-in-one platform, like HTML5. Abrahami says his company is the first of the major DIY platforms to move on HTML5 support, but you can expect further companies to follow suit. (And, as you can see in the comments below this post, some claim they are already doing this, although they may not have had the takeup that Wix has had to date.)
Abrahami tells me that one of the big reasons that it has chosen now to launch its new product is because we have seen a significant shift in even the last year away from legacy browsers that do not support HTML5 such as Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 7.
With browsers like Firefox and Chrome, and Safari on Mac and iOS, dominating the market, “it’s a completely different ballgame,” he says.
To date, Abrahami says there have been 600,000 mobile sites built on Wix’s platform and its Facebook page builder, used by companies for their brand presence on the social network, has been used for some 450,000 pages.
Wix, founded in 2008, last year raised a $40 million round from investors including Insight Venture Partners, DAG ventures, Benchmark Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners and Mangrove Capital Partners — partly to grow out in the very kind of area it’s launching today with this HTML5 product.
Although Abrahami says Wix is “nearly profitable” he adds that the company is likely to starting hunting for another round this year: “We are more focused on building products right now,” he says. “Our target is to improve what we offer and provide more web building services to more people.”