WASHINGTON, July 5, 2012 — As the importance of online branding exponentially increases, both at a company and personal level, the web site still remains the first tool for that promotion. From left to right, Avishai Abrahami (CEO), Giora (Gig) Kaplan (CTO), Nadav Abrahami (VP Client Development) are working to change the way we approach web development.
No longer does someone need to know HTML, Django or Python code to build a quality website, Facebook page or a mobile site. A small business, an indivdiual, or an event creator can use a template from the free website builder Wix to efficiently express what they have to offer.
There are a lot of effective personal and professional sites that are now using WordPress templates. For those persons or companys with large amounts of content and frequent updates, Wordpress makes sense.
Wix also has its advantages. The visuals are aesthetically dynamic and, as you are working, you can see the edits that you make. The integration with mobile and social networking media also has them well positioned to be a leader in the market.
HTML5, the exciting next step in markup language, allows Wix to integrate a consistent web presence over multiple channels.
As web watchers know, mobile scanning, made evident by the recent success of Instgram and Socialcam, of sites is the future.
Avishai Abrahami answered my questions about how Wix got to where they are now and what the future looks like for them.
1. What need in the market did you recognize when creating Wix?
Before Wix, creating a professional-grade website yourself was nearly impossible without knowledge of code. The templates available at the time were bland and creative freedom was practically nonexistent, again, without some coding knowledge.
Of course, the option to pay a high priced designer and webmaster was always there… if you had the money and the time. Most didn’t then, and perhaps even fewer do today. This conundrum limited vast numbers of would-be entrepreneurs and countless individuals from really taking advantage of the web.
Before starting Wix, my other two co-founders and I had an idea for another start-up. Being an experienced coder I took it upon myself to create the website for it, thinking it would be simple. A couple of days into it, the words ‘piece of cake’ and ‘easy’ were no longer part of my vocabulary. Frustration and aggravation took their place. At this point I called my partners and told them we have to go in a different direction – simplifying website creation so that anyone could do it.
So we ended up building the Wix platform in order to let anyone easily create professional and beautiful websites and allowing users to truly express their personality, brand, hobby, business, art or event in a meaningful way for little or no cost at all.
2. What is the growth, statistics to date?
Having been online for close to 5 years now, I can confidently say Wix is hitting its stride as more people create and build their online presence. We currently have more than 22 million users worldwide and nearly 300 employees, and it’s Wix’ goal to provide everyone on the web with the hammers and tools to build virtual real estate of their own.
The Flash website builder, which has been our core product for years, has more than 15 million sites built. Our newest platform, the HTML5 website builder, launched in April 2012, is rapidly approaching more than a million sites developed, while our year-old mobile website builder is also approaching the 1 million site milestone. This makes Wix not only one of the biggest publishers of HTML5 content on the web it also makes us the largest mobile site producer as well.
With more people online than ever before, building everything from SMB websites to their own online portfolios, we couldn’t be more proud to sit where we are.
3. What sets you apart from other competitors?
LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, etc. are certainly complementary to our portfolio of services, but they are essentially just applications on the web. Wix and the websites we enable are the web.
Wix offers a very personal customer experience you can’t get anywhere else. And because a stand-alone, professional website remains the internet’s Gold Standard, it’s really the level of personalization, creative freedom and professional results one can attain within Wix that really sets us apart. When you build with Wix, you get an end-result you’ll be proud of and that truly represents you or your company online. Today that is more critical than ever before.
The future of the web heads toward HTML5, and Wix is the only one in the industry to support it.
We’re giving each user a platform to build a quality do-it-yourself website accessible from every device —enabling users to reach you anywhere, anytime. People don’t like complicated things and we simplify web creation. Wix’ drag-n-drop editor provides anyone from beginner to pro with every possible tool to stand-out. We have created thousands of easy-to-customize templates and the ability to create from scratch, including animated galleries, effects, music players, social components and much more.
Web usage has evolved. Increasingly, people browse with their phones and spend a massive amount of time on social networks, mostly Facebook. Why settle for what Facebook offers when you can create something that will stand out from everyone else? Why would you frustrate your site visitors with a website that isn’t optimized for mobile browsing? Realizing that, we have tailor-made solutions that bring Wix’ “wow” design and function to mobile-specific sites and to Facebook pages.
Lastly, Wix users are our core business and without them, what would we be? So we’ve built a global support call-center, located in San Francisco, where all our users free or premium can get the same level of assistance from our team.
4. What do you have planned in the next 12 months? Any innovations?
Though I’m not willing to tilt my hand and show you everything we’ve got happening, I can say that we have some very big plans for the next year. Our HTML5 website builder is the foundation of everything on our plate. We have a whole slew of product enhancements guaranteeing that Wix will be the best and easiest way for small businesses, organizations or individuals to create fantastic websites, mobile sites and social applications. We couldn’t be more excited about providing a deeply immersive and intuitive product that empowers anyone to just start creating.
5. How do you see online branding evolving?
Online branding is essential today with consumers spending more time online than ever before. It is no longer something reserved for large companies. In the digital world we now live in, a positive identity that you control on the web is crucial for establishing credibility as well as differentiating yourself from others.
From first dates to job interviews, an online Internet search of who you are, how you portray yourself and the things you say is one of the first, if not the very first, thing people do after they hear your name or see your resume. Your existence on the web is 1,000 times the size it will ever be offline, and the way it’s being managed can either harm or help you.
Sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest go a long way to building your online identity. Yet they are, for all their popularity, limited by the structure that those companies have imposed i.e. Facebook’s “timeline”, LinkedIn’s ubiquitous blue layout, Twitters 140 characters, etc.…
As it turns out, only a website gives a company or an individual the complete range of flexibility to define and refine their online brand. At Wix, we now see more websites in every imaginable business vertical. Furthermore, online portfolios are popular with creative professionals using them to highlight their art, photography, music or design work. Even individuals in more traditional sectors like finance, law, medicine and academia are building sites to anchor and leverage their online persona. To no surprise, recent graduates are also building online portfolios to build their personalities past the paper resume to get a leg up on the competition.
Jeff Barrett is a recognized leader in public relations, experiential marketing and social media. Co-Founder of Status Creative, 2011 PRNewswire Award Winner for “Best Use of Video In Social Media” and record holder for Most Strikeouts in Tee-Ball.
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