Website creation startup Weebly has quietly grown to power a large number of publisher and e-commerce sites over the years, and now it’s rolling out a whole new way for users to build experiences on its platform. With the launch of a new iPad app, the company is launching what could be the easiest website creation tool out there.
Weebly now has more than 25 million sites created with it, and hosts an increasingly diverse group of companies using its tools. Today, those sites receive about 200 million unique visitors each month, and about a third of visitors are accessing them on mobile devices. The platform is built to make all sites responsive and shrink or expand to fit any screen on any device, but until today the company didn’t have great site creation tools for mobile.
Weebly has had mobile apps for a while, the iPad experience is a full-fledged website creation tool. Users can literally build sites from scratch within the app, spinning them up from nothing and publishing them without ever having to log in to Weebly’s web interface.
Built from the ground up for iOS 8, the app is designed with a drag-and-drop interface for adding images, text, videos, maps, or whatever else you might want to add onto a site. The Weebly app also includes the same ability to restructure and resize all the different elements that are included. It’s a truly “what you see is what you get” creation tool.
I saw a demo of the app earlier this week, and it seems like a drop-dead simple way for users to customize sites even if they have no idea how to code. All site editing tools are hidden in a tray that can be swiped out from the right side of the app and made accessible at any time. Doing so expands or contracts the maximum viewing size of the screen on full-size and iPad Minis. And images and videos stored on the device can easily be added to new or edited sites.
The app is also available in multiple languages, including English, Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Turkish.
Weebly operates on a freemium model, allowing users to create websites for free but charging for premium features like e-commerce or advertising. Offering up an easy-to-use tool for building apps on the iPad seems like a good way to get more people initially signed up.
And that new growth could help justify some recent funding Weebly has raised. Although the company has been cash flow positive for years, according to co-founder and CEO David Rusenko, it recently brought on $35 million in Series C financing from Sequoia Capital and Tencent.