What is a Website Builder?

What is a website builder Sussex founders Simon Kimber


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What is a Website Builder and why are they the secret to starting a business? - with Simon Kimber

Simon Kimber: Doing stuff for the planet, thinking about, how we can make a difference, for example, for our Birthday, last year we planted 40,000 trees, not personally, in places like Madagascar and stuff.  And we're making that part of our offering.  So all our packages are going to come with, a certain number of trees planted each month, depending on what package you're on and things like that. So just that mixture of how we help people achieve their dreams and make sure that there's a planet for them to achieve their dreams on.

[00:00:31] Chris O'Hare: [00:00:31] I am Chris O’Hare your Quick Win CEO, I've run businesses, founded startups, consulted for others and even won awards. But in this show where we talk to entrepreneurs and experts to help you understand key concepts for your business, along with three Quick Wins that you can take away and apply it to your business today.

[00:00:57] And every week, we'll be finding out about the entrepreneur themselves, and diving into a different but important topic. But this week we're talking about website builders, which most business owners have dabbled with at some point in their career, but that's Wix Squarespace or the company that we'll be talking to today, create.

[00:01:17] And created was established by Simon Kimber and has been around since 2001. It was actually the first website builder stablished in the UK. Simon has a really interesting story, growing Create and speaks of the husband and wife team in the early days of websites to a successful business, serving 30,000 websites, some of which have multi-million pound turnovers.

[00:01:45] And if you want to know the secret of creating your own website, using an easy to use website builder, then this episode is for you. So here we go, Simon, Kimber.

[00:01:57] Thanks for coming on this show, Simon. Firstly, tell me the last thing that you read or watched, or did that left an impression on you and it could be a Netflix series or a funny video or a book that you read?

[00:02:09] Simon Kimber: [00:02:09] I think I've been spending a lot of time with the VR headset at the moment. Probably just that, just. absorbing that as a new medium, really to watching those old animated shorts there's some interesting documentaries about different cities around the world with post COVID sort of during lockdowns and showing how different these sort of cities are.

[00:02:32] So in the, full 3d 360 views Just, yeah, just really enjoying that as a new sort of medium at the moment, nothing to do with what I do. But that’s what I when I stopped working before midnight, I'll put the VR headset on and escape somewhere else, especially with COVID.

[00:02:50] It's nice to See the world and see some other places outside of your own house.

[00:02:55] Chris O'Hare: [00:02:55] That’s it, I think a lot of people are missing going on holidays. And so this is a virtual holiday on a nightly basis. How the wife and kids feel that you’re having this escapism away from them. I'm not sure but

[00:03:10] Simon Kimber: [00:03:10] I t's little swatches of escapism here and there.

[00:03:13] Chris O'Hare: [00:03:13] Okay, then I can clearly understand, but I love VR. If I could get over the fact that it gives me motion sickness especially the cheaper ones. Im asuming this is a vibe or not.

[00:03:24] Quest2

[00:03:25] Okay. So yeah.  It's definitely something that once they solved that part of it I would be in it every day and I probably wouldn't even be in the real world. And I, for me what really excites me is maybe coding or working within a virtual environment where you could have a lot more interactivity with your work or you could have multiple screens, but.

[00:03:48] You're more about grabbing that information and then playing with it very much minority rapport. I think that was a film I very much grew up with and I was like, that's exactly what I want my work to.

[00:04:01]Simon Kimber: [00:04:01] Yeah. I'd say that without dragging it without dragging too far this into a conversation about VR, I have played around with a thing called immersed, which lets you view your Mac desktop.

[00:04:12]In virtual reality and it gives you like a virtual overlays of virtual keyboard where your real keyboard is. So you can still type and you can have multiple windows and stuff around you and you can invite other people in. And so you can have people in the same sort of space as you that's quite a cool development.

[00:04:30] Chris O'Hare: [00:04:30] Yeah, that sounds really exciting.  Think as an industry, it's. Set to become something that's I would say going to be a daily part of our lives. You see a lot of pop culture now and media around like Radioplayer One, which is really bring it to the fore. The idea of actually we can live in today's reality, but actually if we're not ha today's reality in a pandemic is very much like that.

[00:04:56]We can live in this virtual reality and I think that's quite exciting. I think I'm really looking forward to it.

[00:05:01] Simon Kimber: [00:05:01] Yeah, I think what's also interesting is I'm in the market for a VR camera. Since the quality is so good now and actually being able to relive moments with the kids and them opening their Christmas presents or being out in the snow, what little snow we've had I think is is going to be a new way to capture those memories and Also setting it up in a way that you're not living those memories through a phone screen.

[00:05:24]But actually setting up and and recording them while actually living the moments as well.  Yeah, quite interested by that. And then also an idea for a a YouTube channel using that, but yeah, that's that's another side project that may or may not happen.

[00:05:39] Chris O'Hare: [00:05:39] That's really interesting.

[00:05:40]To be honest, I don't think I've ever seen a VR camera. I'm assuming it's very much 3d panoramic type view. Is it? Describe what it's like?

[00:05:49] Simon Kimber: [00:05:49] I s like two 180 degree fish by lenses, high distance. And so you capture the 3d and and full 180 degree field of view, so you can look around.

[00:06:02]Chris O'Hare: [00:06:02] Okay. And I'm assuming that stationary. So if you wanted to do any movement, you'd basically move the camera with you.

[00:06:12] Simon Kimber: [00:06:12] Yeah. That's when people start feeling sick, I think stationary camera stationary cameras are the way to go.

[00:06:18]Chris O'Hare: [00:06:18] Okay. So in your own words, give me an understanding of what it is that you do, what your business does.

[00:06:25]And  what is it you do in your current business?

[00:06:29] Simon Kimber: [00:06:29] Okay.  My wife and I run Create.net, which is a platform that allows people to build their own. Websites and online stores. I started that up in started building it in about the year 2000 time I was Doing sort of freelance work for sort of people, like M&S and PC World and stuff building sort of a document management and health and safety reporting systems and things like that.

[00:06:53]And on the other side of that, I was I was running a site called Funny.co.uk, which is at the time it was like the biggest comedy site in the UK. So we were doing bits and pieces of that and running comedy nights and Sort of having a writers work and then those sort of two things we're bringing in the money that allow me to spend, actually what ended up being the bulk of my time, developing.

[00:07:13] The the, what became Create.net or at the time it was it was  Do your own site.com at the time, which did what it said. It did. It did what it said on the tin. And yeah. So over time that sort of, that grew until, I guess around 2000 and 2004, 2005, when the sort of the customer support. Got a bit too much for me to handle on my own.

[00:07:37]My wife, Rebecca then got involved grew fairly rapidly from there until about 2008. When we got an office hired our first employee. And and then grew, I became, it became the proper business at that point, I feel and it grew from there.

[00:07:53]And that sort of, that was the journey. Until last year where we'd locked down, we let go of the office and transitioned everyone to do a remote team and so if we've gone full circle back to back to working from home.

[00:08:09]Chris O'Hare: [00:08:09] Yeah. There's a lot of points that I'm going to pick up on.

[00:08:11] Firstly, am I right to think that you were the first UK based website builder?

[00:08:21] Simon Kimber: [00:08:21] Probably yeah. There wasn't, there was certainly, wasn't a lot of competition when we started out. And it was it was definitely a and a learning curve or an education piece around the fact that, yeah you can do this yourself. This is something that is, is actually possible that Yeah, you'd speak to what I can build a website myself without knowing any code.

[00:08:42]That was completely alien to people. Think, yeah and there just weren't, we're talking yeah, so 2000, 2001, when the only sort of online editor that was available was something that required internet Explorer. Five, I think possibly internet Explorer four.

[00:09:01]I'm rusty on my internet Explorer version history. I'm afraid. But it was a early version of internet Explorer. It was the first thing that had Wiziwig. It was able to support wizzy wig editor.  Yeah technically it was impossible for anyone else to have have come before us.

[00:09:15] Cause we were right on there right on the bleeding edge at the time. So what was it like to work with? Wife in terms of transitioning from,  this side, business or side hustle into something that you need to do, wives help. And how how did you handle that transition? I think, we've always worked, we've always worked together on, on various projects.

[00:09:41] So it wasn't it wasn't that It wasn't that different, certainly going from working on on working at home on it for a few years to the office wasn't really a much of a much of a transition for us. Yeah, I think yeah, people say, I'll go, how do you, how can you work together?

[00:09:57] Sort of an NBA home together, 24 hours a day. And I said, we don't date. We don't really know any different. I think It's probably done as well over the lockdown as well. When you hear all the all the routes and things going on there, where people are finding themselves trapped at home with people that normally only say in the evenings we've been fine.

[00:10:16] Chris O'Hare: [00:10:16] That's really nice to hear and to be so honest about it. And I think if you can find that your partner is also your business partner and you worked so well together, then I don't think you can get much better partnership than that.

[00:10:29] Simon Kimber: [00:10:29] So I think the downside is knowing when not to work.

[00:10:35]Because yeah, you can tend to yeah. Stop having a conversation about what happened today or what's happening tomorrow, right up until you go to sleep. So it can it's it's finding finding a balance and knowing when to when to say, no, I'm not working now this and that.

[00:10:52]That's probably a, that's probably the hardest thing. Creating those boundaries is always the hardest. For any entrepreneur, if you're in the if your family is involved with the business itself I definitely struggle with that. And I think for me, it's. Having different spaces where I work.

[00:11:11] Chris O'Hare: [00:11:11] That's what makes it so much better. My office is where I work and home is where I relax, but I don't have that anymore, but the pandemic, so that, that makes it very difficult. So I can understand why there's a lot of people that are struggling with the, with that transition too. But yeah,

[00:11:29]Simon Kimber: [00:11:29] I was particularly, especially with having the kids.

[00:11:32] Homeschooling and, having, we've got a, we've got a 10 year old, a 13 year old and a nearly four year old. So you know, the boys, the older boys are A failure, fairly self-maintenance, but yeah, having a nearly full year old daughter running around and wanting attention and wanting us to do puzzles and things while we're trying to have a company zoom calls Definitely.

[00:11:54] Yeah. There's definitely been a challenge

[00:11:56] Chris O'Hare: [00:11:56] and some entertainment for your company, your team as well. I'm sure.

[00:12:00] Simon Kimber: [00:12:00] Yeah. Yeah. I think the general struggle is that is we find a lot of the time, only one of us, only one of us gets to work. So we it’s a bit of a tag team thing going on.

[00:12:10]I've got a meeting with my developers okay. She goes in and does a. Does some puzzles with mum and then an index got a meeting with a marketing meeting or something. So we're back to me and it's a passer around and try not to try not to resort to using using an iPad as a surrogate parents.

[00:12:32] Chris O'Hare: [00:12:32] As the only human you're only human. But what drives you then as an entrepreneur to get out of bed in the morning? What's that feeling that you're trying to kind of fulfill inside you?

[00:12:47]Simon Kimber: [00:12:47] I guess I've always loved making stuff. Not so much making stuff as designing stuff. So that's one of the things I particularly like about the sort of situation as we've grown as a business is I've managed to focus much more on the architectural side and the design and working out how we're going to solve problems rather than actually hands-on with the code.

[00:13:08]Which I tend to my coding tends to be more my own sort of little personal side projects now I'm much more excited within create about, sketching out. How things are gonna work and the UX side of things and solving problems. So for me personally it's that as a business a big thing is the sort of the thousands of businesses that we've helped and the businesses that our businesses, because our tool was there to help them Get off the ground and have an idea and try it out and make it into a, make it into a real thing.

[00:13:44]And I think, I think even to this day the sort of, most, one of the most satisfying things that, that we get is the emails from customers who, started a free trial maybe a couple of years ago built a website. While they were doing their day job, and then they email their account manager and say, I've just quit.

[00:14:04] I've just quit my day job. I'm not doing this full time. That's amazing. To know that we facilitated that.

[00:14:11] Chris O'Hare: [00:14:11] So it's that for you basically helping people achieve their destiny in some, or some level of happiness, is that what you say? That's your company mission statement or it sounds like it should be,

[00:14:25] Simon Kimber: [00:14:25] I would say it's one of them.

[00:14:27]I think because we've because we're a fairly small company and and we've grown without sort of any investment. We don't answer to anyone. I think we've been very much that our values are very important to us.  The customer service and going that extra mile for the customers and helping them achieve stuff is way up there.

[00:14:45]I think more recently thinking about certainly with the pandemic. Working on how we create a really great environment for our staff and how we look after them in this, in these weird times doing stuff for the planet, thinking about, how we can make a difference for example, for our best day.

[00:15:04]Last year we planted 40,000 trees. And not personally in places like Madagascar and stuff. And we're, we're making that sort of part of our offering. So all our packages are going to come with a certain number of trees planted each month, depending on what package you're on and things like that.

[00:15:19] So just that, that mixture of how we help people achieve their dreams and make sure that there's a planet for them to achieve their dreams on. Lovely.

[00:15:31] Chris O'Hare: [00:15:31] That's exactly what you want to hear, isn't it? That the company that you're investing your money into is that she cares about the team that is involved with cares about the customers.

[00:15:43] It cares about the planet. And I think. It's more it's trendy these days to care. There's a lot of, there's a lot of companies doing it and purpose led mission land. However you want to describe it.

[00:15:55] Simon Kimber: [00:15:55] Okay. If it being trendy helps persuade more people to do it, then brilliant.

[00:16:03] Chris O'Hare: [00:16:03] A hundred percent.

[00:16:04] I think that's the case of. It's, it becomes less about profit and more about the causes and the values that you have as a company.  And for me, it's really refreshing. And I think the pandemic is really bringing that out as well. Th this care site. Two companies with their employees that they're worried about what they're doing and how they're feeling, rather than just saying the, to do a job because they can't see them every day.

[00:16:30] They can't have the visual representation of the mental wellbeing. So they have to do other things. To understand that. So I really appreciate your sharing that. Okay. So let's talk about website builders. Obviously, you've built this amazing business and you’re one of the leading website, builder software out there, and you have over 30,000 websites that you've built over there.

[00:16:52]Simon Kimber: [00:16:52] We've built sort of 30,000 websites over time.

[00:16:55]Chris O'Hare: [00:16:55] So in terms of a website builder, it's such a, what's your definition of a website builder then? W how would you describe a website builder software over something like, a website being built? What is the definition that you would

[00:17:10]Simon Kimber: [00:17:10] I guess  I'll goal is to provide something that means anyone can build a website.

[00:17:16]You don't need to write any code. You don't need to know about how a server works. You don't need to know what HTML is. You just get online and choose some options. And you come in with an idea and you get out there. It's about achieving the idea, not learning how to build a website.

[00:17:35] The website is a means to an end. So it gets almost getting out of the way and and just giving people the tools they need to get there, get a presence online and get themselves out there.

[00:17:48]Chris O'Hare: [00:17:48] Yeah. That's I think that's a really good definition because it's like you said it's the tool that gets them out there.

[00:17:55] Get some going. But in terms of the design that the such, this I, for me, a website builders, I always envisioned drag and drop builders where you can move things around very much mouse oriented a design on rails field. Would you say that you can almost, you could do certain things and it doesn't necessarily, break it if you move things around.

[00:18:19]Simon Kimber: [00:18:19] Maybe, I think I think so much of it is about the content. I think when. Just the difference between say the difference between a site built with us and a site built by a an agency when you've got the same content. The same quality images and the same text and the same thought gone into what actually goes on the website.

[00:18:43]The difference starts to narrow. If you've got great, if you've got great imagery then it lifts the whole site, regardless of what tool or what Avenue you was used to create that site.

[00:18:56] Chris O'Hare: [00:18:56] Yeah. In terms of  Obviously you touched on it earlier that there's no ability, there's no need to touch the code about to able to achieve what you want.

[00:19:04]And that's quite an important factor in that definition of a website builder, because obviously knowing code, having the ability to code as a barrier to entry in terms of what it is you're trying to do. And obviously that as a skill is. Relatively quite costly in terms of your time.

[00:19:22] And if you have to learn quite expensive, right? So in terms of a website builder, what you're doing is you're giving people the tools to do these things themselves without the needs to code. And obviously that, then there'll be able to create websites for the business ideas. And they can make as many websites as they want, depending on how many businesses they want and they can shut them down and open up new ones.

[00:19:49] And in terms of templates, would you say that's a big part of the definition of a website builder?

[00:19:56]Simon Kimber: [00:19:56] I guess so it's, again, it's that headstart  we've tried and we try and provide templates that are that are very flexible. So it's not a lot of website builders.

[00:20:08] It's better now, but it's in the earlier days, a lot of website builders were like, Here is your template. This is how your website is going to look. And we've always tried to be more flexible than that. So we've created templates that are actually starting points, and it's almost possible to turn any of our templates into any of our other templates, by changing all the options and the fonts and the colors and the headers and footers that you use and swapping bits and pieces out.

[00:20:34]So we almost build our templates with our tools. If that makes sense. So you can, you're not, you don't choose a red template and then you're stuck with this shade of red and you'll start with that. You can tweak every color and make it exactly how you want, but for the person who's just getting started, here's something that, works with my business or fits with the brand, that idea that I've got in my head.

[00:20:56] Great. I'll choose that template. I'll put my content in it. Great. I've got a website

[00:21:03] Chris O'Hare: [00:21:03] and obviously this added to that you're using as well as browser base. So you don't necessarily have to install software. You don't have to have, you just need a good internet connection and a laptop.

[00:21:14] Really. Exactly.

[00:21:15] Simon Kimber: [00:21:15] Yeah. And I think that's, that was one of the one of the sort of things back in the early days that I think really blew people away is that, they could, Login to edit a website. Let's say from an internet cafe, remember those I could I could order it all from, you'd be around a friends and realize that there's something wrong with their website and login on their computer and make change and have to wait until you got back to wherever you had say a Dreamweaver or Microsoft front page installed on your PC at home so that you could Make a change to your website and FTP it

[00:21:47] Chris O'Hare: [00:21:47] that was the days of Macromedia as well before we became Adobe.

[00:21:51] Yeah. I remember those days. I I was building websites in them yeah. A long time ago. Wow. That was . But yeah, that, that wasn't easy doing, especially when there was dial-up. They were showing our age now, but I think the

[00:22:09] I think it was very exciting too, to see that you could literally put something up on this new medium of the internet. And and for me that was a big part of it. It was that you could create these things that was basically permanently up there and everyone can see them. The, your online shop window is the way I used to.

[00:22:25] Think about it. It's if you had a show window less, so now I think the internet, it's not really a short window anymore. It's just a way of life. But back then, it was definitely like, a short window for me. So in terms of this website, builder what would you say the benefits are of a website builder?

[00:22:41] I've something like building a bespoke website. What would you say? People should. Look at doing a website builder. Instead of going down that road of a bespoke

[00:22:55] Simon Kimber: [00:22:55] cost, obviously it's no, you're not paying someone for, I re reasonably high rate for their time to that, to do it for you.

[00:23:03]So is there is the element of you need to have that time. To to spend on it this the speed of it just being able to get something up really quickly. Those are probably the top two, I would think. But also control  it's it's maybe less, so less.

[00:23:20] So these days where obviously agencies use. CMS is, and things like WordPress or Magento for e-commerce sites and build sites for clients on those platforms. You still have a lot of sites being built for for clients where the client has to come to them and pay them for updates to get it changed.

[00:23:40]Having that control and just being able to make a change to your site whenever you want. It's still it's still not as much, but it's still a bit of a differentiator from a lot of custom bespoke built websites. So yeah, that, that control the cost and the speed would be the would be the main benefits.

[00:23:57] Chris O'Hare: [00:23:57] And obviously there's no massive outlay of money from day one, essentially. It's a drip feed, monthly subscription. But you don't necessarily have to start a business with a capital.

[00:24:10]Simon Kimber: [00:24:10] Yeah, because I think that's one thing where we had this argument with with web designers back in the back in the old days, I remember getting quite a few nasty emails in the in the the sort of two thousands from web designers saying, Oh you're taking money away from web designers and you're putting us out of business and things like that.

[00:24:27] And it's w but the people that are coming to us. Generally, it would never be in a position to come to, you're charging, thousands of pounds to build a website. This is a person with an idea who doesn't even know if that idea is going to work and they can for, the price of a few coffees a month try that idea out.

[00:24:48]So it was never really I never really saw it as a, as direct competition. And in fact, now we've even got, we have lots of designers who use us as the platform for their clients because actually it's easier for them to knock up a website with create, and they've got to know our tools and they can really customize things that they'll use us and build amazing sites for their clients.

[00:25:09] And then just hand over and over the login so that the client can then manage the content themselves. So there really is a kind of, best of both worlds where, you know, like I say, a lot of our customers work with designers and they'll have a logo designed by a designer and a brand where with a color scheme and things like that, even maybe the the designer doesn't even touch their website, but they give them those collaterals and that brand that they then apply to their website to, to lift it again.

[00:25:36] So there's, it's really it's. There's no clear cut lines. It's very blurry. How all of these sort of different designers and website builders and things can work together.

[00:25:48]Chris O'Hare: [00:25:48] It depends on the budget, right? So if you call it a small budget, but you want a designer or a web designer to work on something relatively simple, then maybe a bespoke built doesn't make sense for them and for, but you're still getting the skillset, the knowledge and experience around building websites, right?

[00:26:08] Because a lot of our website's not necessarily about your coding ability or your skill around creating them. It's more about the user experience that you have when it comes to knowing what a structure of a site should be like and knowing what works over the years. Working with them.

[00:26:27]So definitely a hundred percent. And I think somebody else I think it was a benefit of a website though, is that you create this structure for someone to create website in terms of, it's mobile friendly, which is, a prerequisite for any website these days, you have to have mobile-friendly websites and you also create structure around SEO, which is built in which you might not necessarily have from a bespoke site, unless.

[00:26:50] The designers, putting that into the site. But also the templates gives you a good structure to make the site not necessarily exactly what you want, but it gives you an idea of where to start, like you said before. So website builders for me is about educating the audience, because, maybe you start off with a website builder, but.

[00:27:16] You learn all this information. And then perhaps when you might need to migrate to a new website, you have your arms with all this knowledge that potentially you could take away and say I know what works here because I've tried it. I've controlled. It I've been in barium involved with the process.

[00:27:33] And now I know what I want.

[00:27:36] Simon Kimber: [00:27:36] Yeah. I would say that that need to. Migrate to a bespoke website gets narrower as time goes on. There's more and more we can do to, certainly with, certainly from the design point of view, there's less and less need to to go to a bespoke designer to do that because the tools are improving all the time and the control that you have.

[00:27:59]On a platform like ours are always developing. The it's only really when you want very specific functionality that needs to be built on the server. That's the key time that you might then need to find yourself migrating to a bespoke website. And in a lot of cases, if you're trying to think of a good example, let's say you're an accountant.

[00:28:19]And your website is just about talking about your team and the services you offer. What are you going to need to have bespoke developed? Unless you want, maybe you want to build some tools for people, putting their tax return details in online. I dunno, but unless you've got some very specific piece of functionality that you want on that website, if you'll just.

[00:28:40] Putting a message out to potential customers.  The need for a bespoke website becomes less and less prevalent.

[00:28:49] Chris O'Hare: [00:28:49] yeah, I definitely think over time and that's something we can definitely get a cover as well, that boundary lies. But also there's the benefit of not being able to worry about that hosting and not worrying about the SSL certificates.

[00:29:02]And because it's all included, it's that thing of it's all in one box, it's all turnkey approach and you pay for a subscription and we handle all that headache for you. Exactly.

[00:29:15] Simon Kimber: [00:29:15] Yeah. Yeah. And I think that's one of the that's one of the other things is that support. And I think, not all website builders are created equal.

[00:29:23]So you take something like No, I think you've, I think you mentioned WordPress. So you see a lot of a lot of forums and Facebook groups where they'll say, Oh yeah, go and build your website with WordPress. And we have a lot of those people come to us. They say, Oh, I went and tried to build my own site with WordPress.

[00:29:38]And I'd just drowned in WordPress plugins and setting it up and find, and I broke my site three times and things like that. And it's a great tool in the hands of someone who really knows WordPress, but when you get stuck, who do you ask? And one of the key things with us is, you have an account manager that you have someone who's there to answer your questions and understands as has dealt with, has dealt with several people that day who are going through exactly the same problems.

[00:30:09] That you're going through in, in, in getting yourself online. So  it's not just about the tool. It's also about the support and everything else around it.

[00:30:19]Chris O'Hare: [00:30:19] Congregating around one product, one platform, and therefore your knowledge is centralized in one place. And that's why you can offer such great support and service customer service is because you have a lot of that experience and knowledge of what people are asking. And I think that's what people don't realize.

[00:30:37] Is that something like WordPress. It's very broad. It's very big. There's a lot that you can and can't do in WordPress. And if you don't have some of this experience doing that, you can't just call on someone to help you do that because it's like I said, it's very broad unless you pay someone to do that.

[00:30:56] Simon Kimber: [00:30:56] Yeah. If you've gone and bought WordPress hosting from, I don't know, Fast hosts and you've, you've pressed the button to install WordPress on a on a free or cheap hosting account. And then you set that up. It's they're not going to answer your questions on how do I fix this blog post?

[00:31:16] Or how do I how do I add this other page to my website? That they're just interested in selling you the web space. It's it's not a business model package.

[00:31:25] Chris O'Hare: [00:31:25] Yeah. It's a different business model. And I D when customers have come to me and said, we want this, we want that.

[00:31:32] And then when we try and educate them on what it is exactly that they actually need, I need, I think that's really crucial in any tech project that you starting is what is it that you actually need and what can you actually handle in terms of budget? In terms of time, but also do you want to be able to manage this yourself?

[00:31:52] And sometimes if you pay a little bit more, you get that extra support that you might need. But that's a good place to move on to what the disadvantages of a weapon. The site builder is over something like a bespoke website. For me, it was always been the limiting of potentially a website builder and where that can go.

[00:32:12] But would you like to explain where you think the limits are?

[00:32:15] Simon Kimber: [00:32:15] Obviously I'm biased, I'm not the person to ask what they are, what the limits of of what my business are. But guess one of the things is. On the flip side of saying it being a bit quicker to get something up the other, the flip side of that is time.

[00:32:30]If you haven't got the time to do it yourself and to learn at all and to build something then then that can be that can be a downside is definitely yeah finding the time to do it when you might just want someone to. To take that problem off your hands and and do it for you.

[00:32:46]Having said that that can be a bit of a misnomer because actually if you're, were you involved in building your website and actually most of the time is going to be spent on giving the right content and and providing the right content to your web designer. So actually Yeah we get people come to us who say I, I've heard great things about you.

[00:33:07] I've read, you've got amazing Trustpilot reviews and my friend uses you and he says, just support the amazing, but I just, I haven't got time. So can you just do it for me? And we've done that. Yeah.  We'll do a, a kickstart or or a conversion from. From a site that they've had somewhere else and things like that.

[00:33:23] So get them started and then they very quickly find, Oh, actually I can do this and I can update this page myself. So we've very rarely done future updates for for our customer. But we have helped them get started for sure.

[00:33:38] Chris O'Hare: [00:33:38] So in terms of the complex functionality that you may not be able to get a good example about an accountant having a bypass page.

[00:33:45]Where does the line stop with the complex functionality? If you're going to make it some kind of logging functionality or dynamic, where would you say that is?

[00:33:54]Simon Kimber: [00:33:54] Is that's a very hard question to answer without a sort of specific examples, because it's quite surprising the workarounds that, that people come up with and the ways that people stretch that are tools to do things that we never thought thought they were intended for.

[00:34:10]But generally it's that you want some specific functionality you want to, Have I know, say user accounts with specific profile data and taking in data and processing it and doing something with it and returning that in a certain way. It's a particular app or something that you're building this that's above and beyond a.

[00:34:32] A marketing website or an e-commerce store. And then I guess yeah, you can, you could get very specific within the eCommerce side of things. So maybe you've, maybe you very specifically want to I know put images on to 3d models of products and do very specific things. To your products or to your services, then, then those are the sort of times where you're going to want to go to a developer and say, I want us shop to work in this very specific way.

[00:35:02]But yeah we've built our tools to be as much of a one size fits all offering as possible. And there will always be people that, that want something. A bit more special, a bit more specialized, a bit more specific to what they're trying to achieve.

[00:35:20] Chris O'Hare: [00:35:20] Yeah. So you're diving into the realms of app development in that perspective.

[00:35:25] So it, and it's a different business model, isn't it? So it's essentially, you're taking a marketing website and you're making it more into a functional operational part of your business, which is different, completely different. And there are other tools out there that you can take that further and beyond and give you an X.

[00:35:44] Simon Kimber: [00:35:44] I'll say, I'll give you an example. We've had we had a user who left us recently who was with us quite few years and they were building a a directory of like wedding related companies. And basically they built every single page. Of this directory manually as pages in our platform and create all the links.

[00:36:04] I think that will creating large bits of the pages, HTML fragments that they were then putting into. It's just completely bonkers use of of of a website builder, really because they were building massive pages in HTML and then pasting them onto pages in our editor and had, several thousand pages.

[00:36:24] Individually,  their list of pages in their account was just crazy. And really years ago they should have had a database system built with a, a submission form for the companies and specific database with fields for each of the services that these wedding companies provided and a search.

[00:36:43] Thing that was tailored to that and all of those sorts of things, but, they liked us and I think they had some other sites with us and they found a way to make it work. I think, there, there is a case where I would have advised them and I think we did advise the value on no, you really should look at getting something custom built for this, because this is not what.

[00:37:02] This is not what create is a metaphor. So it's those specific use cases that aren't a, a straight marketing website or a straight e-commerce store. But when it is one of those two things I think, cases for going bespoke start to dwindle.

[00:37:23] Chris O'Hare: [00:37:23] I guess it's as the business changes or moves on or grows or expands, that's when the use cases become a bit more broader than something like, a marketing website would offer. But we're talking about website builders. In general, but the several out there. And obviously you are one of them.

[00:37:45] What makes a good website builder? What are the things that you should be looking out for when you're looking at all these different varieties of website builder?

[00:37:55] Simon Kimber: [00:37:55] I think obviously the it's being kept up to date. It's, there's a, there's a. There's people working on it.

[00:38:02] It's not just been abandoned. I think  from our point of view, we will always say that the key thing is support is knowing that there's even if you come in and build tight, start up for free trial, build a website, publish it. And And, run it without ever having to actually contact us, knowing that support is there.

[00:38:20] And knowing that there are people who know, what they're talking about is really important. So if something does go wrong and, you've got the backup there. But yeah, other than that it's finding the tools that, that suit you, finding something that you find easy to work with.

[00:38:33]We, we've seen, we'll have users that Come to us from our competitors and say, Oh God, you'll so much easier to use, but likewise, we've had a few people that have gone somewhere else and said Oh, actually I've found, I found this thing easier to use the newest.

[00:38:48]And we try and learn from that and work out how we can make us better. You can't be all things to all people.  But we just,  we listened to our users. We listened to the people that, that. Don't like what we do as much as the ones that do and just try and keep making our tools better and and easier for people to achieve something really good.

[00:39:08] Chris O'Hare: [00:39:08] I know obviously the values of what you stand for as well, which is, I think quite important, especially as you so eloquently mentioned earlier about how you have your green credentials and

[00:39:20] Simon Kimber: [00:39:20] that's you. Definitely. I think that's an important thing to consider that I think people don't realize the sort of carbon footprint of that website as it were.

[00:39:31]If you're not on a host that if you got a busy site and you're not on a host, that is is green and this is using renewable energy and things like that, then actually you can be you can be, I think. I should have I should've had the figures to hand, but there's there's definitely some figures around a busy website can be the equivalent of, several seven 47 trips a month.

[00:39:54]In terms of the amount of carbon that the servers can be generating and the amount of data being downloaded, video streamings insane. There's a very interesting book about it actually called I think it's called how bad are bananas. And it talks about all these old, the carbon footprint of of all these different things I've been on is how, based on them being washed and transported and all that.

[00:40:14] They also talk about,  streaming video, watching videos on Netflix is if you're worried about the environment, don't read the book. If you love your Netflix binge watching on Netflix, because there'll be a. You'll be thinking about it in a different way. But yeah so yeah, looking at it's going to become more important to look look hosts green credentials because that's all gonna make a difference.

[00:40:36] I think something like 6% of energy usage in the world is the internet now. Wow. I could be completely making that up, but I read a stat. I'm not gonna, I'm not going to be quoted on that, but I read a stat along those five or 6% of of energy usage can be can be attributed to to internet use either at the client end or the server.

[00:40:57] Chris O'Hare: [00:40:57] And now, yeah, that's amazing. That's a OSI opening, isn't it. And it's only going to go up. Yep. I will have to go and check that because I might be talking out my backside that, but no worries. In terms of, we were talking about how businesses can identify the website builder, but what about if they wanted to take the step?

[00:41:19] They found one that they like, whether that's creative or another what is the steps for them to go through to, for them to be able to actually. Create a website. What other things would you give them a recommendation to say this is what you need to think about? Is it the content? Is it the imagery?

[00:41:37] Simon Kimber: [00:41:37] What's the cliche things say that. Yeah. Content is King. So yeah, certainly. What. There's two ways. There's two ways to come at this. Obviously, you want the right content and things, but also don't overthink it. So the beauty of these tools is you can get something up really quickly.

[00:41:56] So actually think about what's the minimum I could get up. If you're let's use the accountant example again. If you've not got a website, then. Yeah. When something like create a home page saying this is my contact number, this is a summary of the services that I offer and publish, and then grow that over time  and build upon it.

[00:42:15] Don't feel like you need to have built. A huge website and every sort thing,  profiles of every single member of your team and a full page on every service that you offer, get something up and, get on the search engines and start getting traction.

[00:42:32] And you can, then you can put that web address on your stationary and all of these things. So don't yeah. Get on with it. In other words don't feel you need to have a full, a hundred page website before you can put anything live the beauty of these sorts of tools that you can do it in stages.

[00:42:51]But on the flip side of that, don't overthink it and don't get drawn into constantly updating it and changing and tweaking and cause that could become a full-time. A full-time job. So it's finding that balance of get something up there, develop it, build upon it, constantly review it and make sure it's honed and what it needs to do and doing what it needs to do.

[00:43:16]Chris O'Hare: [00:43:16] It's obviously very important to just get something up and it's a lot of entrepreneurs I speak to always say, just do something because you can iterate on it afterwards. And I think that's a sign of it. It could be a really good, quick win of yours when we go through. So let's talk about your your top three quick wins of using a website builder.

[00:43:36]What are the things that you really recommend that people think about when they start doing this?

[00:43:43] Simon Kimber: [00:43:43] I think as we've talked about, I think it's using it to test out ideas. We've got. Yeah, we've got loads of stories of customers who have maybe had a, had an idea for something.

[00:43:53] And used us because, it was affordable and it wasn't, they maybe had this idea and got quoted tens of thousands of pounds and then found us and, Tried to out and it didn't work. They throw it away. They came up with another idea, they built a new website and maybe, maybe that one was the one.

[00:44:11]So I think, yeah using a tool like that to, to try things out that just would be prohibitive if you had to yeah. Play someone or find a web designer and give them a spec and go through the process with them and pay them. Every time you had a new idea. So I think that's a fairly key use.

[00:44:34]I think, like I said before, getting something up quick the tools that back that can be a that can be an issue. With working with a with a web designer, is that they often want all the content and say, okay, so we don't want to be going backwards and forwards with you.

[00:44:49]We want all your content. We want your images, and then we can build a website for you and then hand it over to you. You're not in that position. If you're using a website builder, you can build that one page website. In a day or in a couple of hours and get something out there and then come back to it later.

[00:45:06]And and then I'd say that the third thing is, as I said before is then regularly review that and hone it and make sure it's not getting. Make sure it's not to get, not getting bloated, not going the other way. And make sure it's really getting your message across because yeah, again it's at the end of the day, it's all about the content and that’s really good vice for any website.

[00:45:29]Regardless of what platform it's on is Is make sure it's you're constantly reviewing it and because things change the way people use websites, change your services change. And hopefully it's just tools like ours. Make that a little bit easier to keep on top of because you're not having to, go to a designer and say actually this the way this page is designed now doesn't work.

[00:45:52] Even though, if you've maybe got some simple content management tools on it, maybe the design of this page no longer works for, but what you're now doing or how things have changed. So being able to have that quick control of it yourself can make a big difference.

[00:46:05] Chris O'Hare: [00:46:05] But also, I guess your skills changed as well as you're learning about what works and what doesn't work.

[00:46:12] You can go back and review and go, hang on. I know what I should do here now. But also in terms of that. Th the testing and measuring over time. So knowing what works and what doesn't work again, that kind of fits quite nicely in with the review. Very much lean startup kind of methodology. So yeah, love those quick wins really nice.

[00:46:35] And people are going to get value from those. But obviously. There's people out there that want to understand how to use website builders, what resources do you know of that people can go in and learn more about this?

[00:46:50] Simon Kimber: [00:46:50] In terms of understanding how to use website builders, that is, I think that's down to the support and documentation of the website builder.

[00:46:57] That you choose in terms of choosing it's again it's about doing your research. I think, look at things like Trustpilot reviews. I think that's where you find out, how good someone's customer service is. Look at example sites And look for, look for sites that, that work and that maybe you're doing what you're trying to achieve.

[00:47:18]But yeah, just do your research. It's unfortunately it's unfortunately for us it's very easy to find a lot of website builders on Google. Now there's a lot of competition out there. So yeah, just Do your research again, look at the values. I think that's more and more important these days is to work with businesses that, that mirror your own values.

[00:47:40]Know certainly without naming any names. I wouldn't recommend going with a website builder that goes around hunting elephants. That's yeah. Hey guys

[00:47:52] mirror mirroring of values believing in what you believe, supporting your customers. Those are the things, those are the things you want to be looking for.

[00:48:00]Chris O'Hare: [00:48:00] I understand that. And so if people have any questions directly and they want to connect with you, how can they do that?

[00:48:08] Simon Kimber: [00:48:08] Come and find me on LinkedIn, or you can email Our amazing support team. Vajra by create.net. I am on Twitter that barely touched Twitter anymore, @ SAMBR on Twitter. I've I will get notification if you tweet me on there so I can talk to you. But yeah, those are probably the easiest ways to get hold of me.

[00:48:31] Chris O'Hare: [00:48:31] Great. Thank you for your time. Like I said before, I think people are going to get a lot of value from understanding this the world of website builders are quite complex, considering the meant to simplify things, which the, I already, the the there's so many different reason and ways.

[00:48:47] And I think people are going to love hearing your advice.

[00:48:51] Simon Kimber: [00:48:51] I think so. I think they're all, I think they're all. They're all simple in their own ways. I think it's the choice maybe that there is now that's a bit complex, but I think, yeah, if find the ones that fit you then hopefully using them will be fairly straightforward.

[00:49:07] Chris O'Hare: [00:49:07] Great. Thank you, Simon. Appreciate that.

[00:49:10] Simon Kimber: [00:49:10] No worries. Thank you.

[00:49:18] Chris O'Hare: [00:49:18] That was an amazing start. 6% of all electricity consumption is taken up. By the internet. No wonder Simon is so passionate about planting trees, but what did you think of Simons quick wins, quick win. Number one use a website builder to test your ideas. It doesn't need to be complicated or expensive, a quick win.

[00:49:41] Number two, get something up fast. And that is one of the main benefits of using a website builder quick win number three regularly. Review your websites and, iteratively improve over time, but what was your favorite bit of this show? Tell me on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tik, TOK, or YouTube, where you can find me @Haredigital

[00:50:03] And remember there are several other podcasts available to listen to. I especially recommend what is SaaS or software as a service with Jonathan Markwell. And you can find that on Apple podcasts, Spotify, or YouTube, but I would be so grateful if you can subscribe and write a review for until next time your Quick Win CEO signing out.


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