Happy belated New Year everyone! It has been a busy start to 2016. So, busy that I did not achieve my goal of blogging at least 1-2 times per month in 2015. So, this year I am going to fix that - this is what New Years Resolutions are for, right?
January was significant for me not only because it was the New Year but also it was my 1 Year anniversary at Weebly. It was a great year. Launching the Weebly Cloud Program was an incredible learning experience. Nick and I put alot of hours and time in to building the Program and we are seeing that work pay off at the onset of the year. Some key updates:
1. We have over 130 Resellers on the platform.
2. The common integration method has been API or CPanel/WHMCS bundle
3. Companies that have joined our program include Newtek, Siteground.com, Namecheap.com, Lunarpages.com, and Clara.net.
4. We have a number of New TLD Registries that have joined our Program including Minds+Machines, Top Level Design (.design registry) and DotVegas.
5. We have also grown our Team. We now have Inside Sales support in AZ and more Marketing assistance in San Francisco.
In 2015, we attended a number of conferences and gave a number talks on the top trends we are seeing in the Website Creator industry and the goals we have for our Partner Channel. We will continue to do this in 2016. I feel we are still in the infancy of our launch and that we need to continue to promote our vision and goals within the Hosting industry.
Another big part of 2015 for me was taking some time away from the domain name industry and focusing more time on learning about the website creator business. It has been a wonderful experience. I find this to be a very dynamic industry. Here is a brief list of the top things I learned in my first year working full-time in the website creator industry:
1.You would think that by 2016 that a "website" would be old hat and that everyone would have one. Not true at all. I deal with three main customer types every day:
a) Customers who are not online at all
b) Customers who are using an old CMS and want to move to a more modern CMS
c) Enterprises who are seeing "websites" in a new light and want to participate more deeply in this space (ie building sites at scale).
So, in short, there is alot of opportunity in both the offline market and existing online market.
2. Its amazing how involved users are in their web site. When I worked in the Domain Name space, I was very focused on the initial onboarding process. In other words, a majority of my focus was getting users/companies to register domain names. At Weebly, I am seeing first-hand the other side of the business -- Usage of the domain + website. Once people create their site - they spend the rest of their time building it, investing in it and sharing it. Its great to see this side of the business. It has opened my eyes to the needs of Users, especially the SMB segment who have very diverse needs when managing their site/online store.
3. By the sheer nature of working in the web site industry, a really cool side-effect is that you will also learn a helluva alot about Mobile. Weebly has a solid mobile app portfolio across iOS and Android. I use these apps to manage my own website. I could talk alot more about Mobile - but I will just say this -- I always knew that Mobile was important, but I really just thought of it in terms of Responsive themes. Now, I see mobile in an entirely different light. It is so much more than responsive themes. The coolest thing in 2015 related to mobile that I saw was the introduction of the ability to "create" websites on a tablet. Not just edit the site -- but actually *create* and edit a site all from a tablet. That is a pretty cool advancement on a number of levels.
4. On the same note, by the sheer nature of being in the industry, you will also learn a ton about the App ecosystem. Weebly launched our first App Marketplace in October 2015. This has been another great source of learning for me. The value-add of the marketplace makes total sense to me and I see the value for the customer. What is also interesting to me is how seamlessly these apps can be integrated in to a site. Its amazingly easy. I am very excited to see how our App Marketplace will grow this year. Another related note -- I didn't realize how many Theme marketplaces existed as well. This is also another fascinating business to me.
Lastly, I will end on one final note. In looking back at all the conferences, trade shows, customer meetings, etc. there was always one question I would be asked, "What is your ultimate goal with the Reseller program Chris?" Now that I have a one year under my belt, I would articulate it as follows: When I look around the Hosting Industry, I see alot of web hosts promoting WordPress. This makes sense - it is a great product and it is well suited for Hosts. However, I also think there is room for a simpler, easier and non-coding alternative as well. This is where Weebly comes in. So, when you ask me what is my ultimate goal for Weebly? Its the following --> When a customer wants to get online and create a website, I want them to be able to go to any web host anywhere and be able to buy a weebly site".