1 Year Old
April 17, 2007
UGAL turned 1-year-old last week. Like any first year, ours has been exciting, surprising and challenging. UGAL now powers a number of small businesses websites and we love to hear customers say that they have fun updating them. It is our raison de vivre.
We voluntarily took baby steps (normal for a first year) and spent a lot of time talking to small businesses to gain a deeper understanding of the marketplace and to evangelize web hosted applications and content management systems. And of course, we made a few mistakes along the way. Here is a bit of what we've learned and where we are going.
Not for everyone.
Content is clearly THE KEY to driving traffic to a website and UGAL provides powerful tools to manage web content. But it's only a tool and to work at its best UGAL requires a commitment from its users to keep updating their website. It means that UGAL is not the best choice for the more static, brochure-like websites.
We have plenty to write about website content including tips for better search engines rankings. Our own commitment is to fill this space with such information on a bi-weekly basis.
UGAL has been build from scratch so that our mothers could use it. My father started a website last week, so I only partially achieved that goal. While UGAL considerably lowers the barrier of entry to creating a website (by hiding things like HTML, FTP and CSS) there will always be the need for a minimum of computer friendliness to use it. It's a factor that we have underestimated in our early days.
Not for everything.
We tried to provide email services to our customers to become more of a "one stop shop" for your domain name. Guess what? We learned there are plenty of email service providers who will always do a much better job than us because email is their specialty. So we have decided to stay away from email services and prefer now to recommend other services.
We will soon (tomorrow?) release a new text editor that will allow the user to embed rich media (videos, audio, slideshows, maps) to any web page. We could have tried to host the media ourselves, but YouTube, DailyMotion, Flickr and Google Maps are best at it. That's why we have decided to integrate our text editor directly with their systems. Our users will not only benefit from better tools, they will also benefit from the extra exposure on those web services.
The 100 million websites mark was passed in November 2006. 3.2 million websites were created just last month, and only a fraction of them is powered by UGAL. We're working on it, and it should keep us busy for the next few years!