I don't want this to be intended as harsh criticism of your idea, but let me share my experience with website builders:
- The market is extremely tough. Maybe you noticed how much advertisment squarespace and Wix do. The reason being that these pages typically have small businesses as customers. The issue with these type of businesses is that they go away quickly. Most don't survive 6 months. So you need new customers all the time to keep up with the high churn.
- You do not have price dominance. The price is very competitive and companies with huge backing (like Squarespace / Wix) will dominate you.
- The intended target audience is actually not that keen on doing everything themselves. They don't know about online marketing, SEO, or other "special skills". Actually, they just need someone they can call when they have an issue.
- Developers and agencies prefer open systems like Wordpress, Gatsby, or others. They also value a vivid ecosystem of plugins and themes. They typically don't commit to proprietary software, because you never know how long it will be around.
In any case, I wish you the best of luck with the product. It looks nice! I hope you can use my experiences to advance your business.
It's worth considering that Carrd didn't start from 0. He had a pretty big following already from his work that has overlap with the type of user that Carrd wants. Having momentum from the start can be huge for this kind of service.
Sadly no. The ads I get are largely for things I don't want. Occasionally they are good or interesting, but usually no.
I wish more ad providers had a way to say "please show me more ads like this." Better yet, I wish there was one that had a box where I could just type random complaints about my life and over time it would show me ads for products that might be relevant.
Google says they explicitly don’t use web-browsing data for ad targeting. They don’t say that they don’t use web-browsing data to improve your experience with their various recommendation/prediction/autocomplete APIs. So there’s no guarantee that bad ad targeting implies YouTube doesn’t have a better profile on you.
From what I understand (someone correct me if I'm wrong), the selection of ads that play on an individual YouTube video aren't actually affected at all by which video you're watching—only YouTube's understanding of you built up over all the videos you've watched so far.
It really depends from builder. Russian-built Tilda.cc and Realmag are two examples that beat Squarespace and Wix in choice of building blocks and UX for building. And these do not advertise heavily. Lonely Page has good UX for building longreads too, so I think it will find its users.
I get that this is easy, but there are 2 main cons:
1. It is $4 a month (that's a lot for a really a simple static page)
2. Vendor lock-in. These sites come and go and might not be around in a couple of years.
This is why I recommend Hugo hosted on netlify. Sure, it has a learning curve (but plenty of open source themes make it fairly easy).
Hugo spits out plain HTML so there is no lock-in, and netlify hosts for free. If Netlify goes away, I can host somewhere else.
I'm building an API right now that I plan on monetizing so I'm looking at different simple CMS programs. This one (LonelyPage) immediately intrigued me because I don't need a lot of features. Basically people can pick a pricing plan and pay through Stripe. No portal is needed for now really other than to see their API key.
I'm not a frontend web guy at all so I'm trying to avoid doing as much of that work as possible. Wordpress seems like it would be pretty much perfect, but for the life of me I can't get it working with docker and HTTPS. All of the solutions involve editing some php files that are easy enough to edit without docker, but I would probably have to make a custom docker image to make it work in a container. Bleh.
Ghost is OK but it has like 0 customization and the themes are all 4 years old and no longer work properly.
In any case what I'm getting at is I'd happy pay like $50 or $60 for a simple CMS thing that has some themes and whatnot, but I want to host it myself. And I don't want to pay monthly for it.
Thanks for the Hugo suggestion, I'm checking it out now. I had never heard of it before.
I have been working on daptin  with similar goals (self-hosted being the top priority). It is not just a static file host and actually exposes APIs which can be used in the static sites.
I’ll channel my inner patio11 and say that a business that cares about saving $9/mo vs Squarespace isn’t going to be a valuable or long-term customer. Pricing is about defining who your customer is, but also who your customer isn’t.
I'm using Gatsby (ReactJS static site builder) with Netlify + Netlify CMS for my blog, going to start doing all client websites in this way as it's easy to set up and the interface is super simple for editing, best of all the whole thing is free.
it may or may not be one page - however, that is a pretty fundamental question you ask about static site generators.
Why use them, when you can use plain html ?
Well, its because they come with nice features like componentized layouts and templates, optimized build (including minification of any js, etc) and most importantly content in markdown/yaml for easy editing.
What browsers are you supporting and testing against, both for the editor and its output? For example, the text widget doesn't allow spaces to be typed on Firefox, which makes me wonder about the compatibility of the generated code.
Edit: Also, kudos for having such easy, frictionless access to the demo. I also really like the structural parity between the desktop and mobile versions.
Edit2: How are you picking which version (desktop/mobile) to show? Are you doing some kind of sniffing, rather than relying on media queries? I'm not getting the version I expect when I change the viewport's size in my DevTools: Chrome always gives me the mobile version in responsive mode, while Firefox always gives me the desktop layout unless I spoof a device's user agent string...
Ouch, that's a nasty bug in firefox.. Will try to solve it asap.
Right now I need to serve slightly different markup depending on mobile or desktop, so I can't rely solely on media queries. I will however try to move it that direction once I figured a few things out.
My mom has started several businesses (short attention span!) and so I've tried Unbounce, Squarespace, GoDaddy pages, various WordPress hosts (HostGator and BlueHost and others)...
This one looks like it's going for the Squarespace/Wix market.
I think what matters the most in that space is getting out of the box with a very nice looking template - Squarespace excels there! (heck, their current landing page says "Make it beautiful"). And they have a nice logo creator.
This one doesn't seem to have that much design in it. On the plus side, it does say "No signup to try out" (that's a huge plus, hope spammers don't abuse it) and "simplest", which is what I expect your target audience to like.
Edit: on the builder, I think you should emphasize starter templates more.
I don't know that this is true for all users — there is logic to asking for payment details when motivation is highest, which is often before putting in a couple hours building a page. Putting down a credit card might also improve customer success, as that will help motivate the customer to finish on your platform, rather than forgetting about it for a month before going to Squarespace because they can barely remember your where they started building the first version...
The world is increasingly composed of computing devices that stay on 24 hours a day. Long gone are the days when only servers used to do this. Now most desktops have ~90% uptime while mobile devices are almost at 100%. Combine that with ever increasing, cheap bandwidth, I think the time is ripe more than ever for hosting your own simple, low traffic services including websites. The only obstacle here is that there still no simple setup wizard that can make them painless to host and take down, with a few clicks. A package that combines a simple, secured web server with a site builder.
It's a good start. However, seemingly only tested on Chrome.
After playing around with it for a few minutes, I found some issues:
On Firefox, from a Clean State, add a Row, add Text, click H2, type some text, hit space, try to type more text: the space disappears
On Chrome: I don't seem to have full control over text spans. While I can use b/I/U/S on the current text selection, I was unable to set any other style attributes just for the selected text (i.e. what should boil down to a span tag), i.e. I wanted different colors for parts of my text.
Hey, thanks for your feedback!
- Yes, changing an image defo needs be clearer.
- More templates are coming.
- Self-hosting is not an option for now, but I obviously need to state that out. However, I think people here on HN are more eager to host themselves. A "normal" user probably wants that taken care of.
To change the image, click the image you want to change, then click in the left column the icon for "Background & Border" .. i guess the icon is supposed to resemble an image, but it's not the best fit in my opinion.
This is actually perfect. Needed a super quick landing page creator and you nailed it. If you're going to make changes then recommend you develop an API for page creation, perhaps a Zapier integration. Otherwise good on you!
It seems an interesting project. Don't you think you ditched it too early? There weren't many functionalities, but the premise I think was pretty cool. BTW, I am about to launch a website builder myself and your post is a nice read. Thanks
Some usability feedback: Adding a new element to the page (+) is the first action and it was hard for me to find it. It's likely also one of the most frequent functions you'll use, so I think this button should have way more relevance, at least on the same level as "Save".
Reminds me a bit of SabreCMS, despite the options being much more limited. And Sabre allows a full export of your entire site/shop/landingpage in case you want to self host after building - And it works with all browsers which seems to be an issue here. But nicely done.
i came back to HN to thank you for putting this service. As a product manager often times i want to test ideas and i was able to put together something that looks nice using your product within an hour. I customized a template but the tools were pretty intuitive.
It was so easy and pain-free that i immediately wanted to prototype another idea but seems i can only do one per account.
Anyways, thanks and keep up the good work.
There's just no free lunch really; the simplest thing to do is host it on S3. I doubt that's ever going to disappear, and it costs cents every month. Surely a website that lasts forever is worth a few cents
The difference with regular torrent seeders is that they have no incentive to seed once they have the content. In this case the main purpose and goal is to "seed" and provide content to others, so the long tail should be more resilient.