Q&A: Using the web to kick-start your business

Weebly is a disruptive web building platform that helps entrepreneurs bring their dream to reality with a simple, intuitive and easy to use web building platform. Driving the transition to a mobile-driven e-commerce world, Weebly is enabling businesses to trade 24/7 worldwide with seamless technology. This technology is providing the motivation and tools required for smaller businesses to become successful.

In your experience, how do you feel the market has evolved?

We've come a long way from tools like Dreamweaver and Front Page. As more people have come online and the amount of companies in the space has increased, it's got easier to create a website and e-commerce store. The market has evolved with the general shift to mobile and the always-on customer. So responsive web design, commerce and Mobile Apps has been a key evolution for Weebly.

What are the challenges micro-entrepeneurs face when starting a new website?

The process of starting a website is still pretty scary for some. It starts with the blank page - and for some this can be intimidating (what do I write, how do I do graphics?). Getting found online can also be challenging - how do I promote my website to make sure I'm found by potential customers? This takes time and a bit of SEO wizardry. We have tons of apps on our marketplace that help with this but YouTube videos and articles are also available. Entrepreneurs are also tasked with using their new website to build their brand.

Why is a website so important, when the millennial generation are embracing social media?

Websites for many (businesses) have become the modern day business card. A place where you control your image, your story and your products. Social is a huge part when it comes to engaging with an audience or driving traffic, but predominantly online e-commerce happens on the website. With Weebly you can connect all your social feeds to your site.

Is web becoming more important for entrepreneurs over traditional high-street presence?

Absolutely. We are seeing this with the number of people who started their business online-only. Online has many benefits over the high-street - no rent, no inventory etc. For millennials, over 50 per cent of our e-commerce users were online-only and the great advantage is reach. A lot of our users are selling across the world and have expanded so quickly because they didn't have to worry about retail space.

What verticals are most likely to kick-start their business online?

In the UK, we see a huge amount of service-based businesses use the platform to promote themselves and schedule bookings. The rise in artisans (people who are creating things) is a great vertical that traditionally has been local-bound in nature.

What is next for the market?

The notion of mobile-first will continue to push the industry. Nearly 50 per cent of people visiting a Weebly site are from a mobile, so the experience needs to feel great for their customers - from landing page to checkout. With our latest product launch Carbon, we enabled anyone to create a website from their mobile or tablet using the same drag-n-drop features. We also introduced a Dashboard so you can have an overall view of your business (from sales, to customer queries). I think what it boils down to is providing more than just a website builder, and really a platform that helps people run their businesses.

Finally, top tips for any entrepreneur looking to ‘kick start their start-up’ online?

Create a strong brand (business name and domain name), utilise platforms like Weebly to create not just a website but a 360 experience. In 2016 you should have a site, a blog and an online shop all-in-one. Learn the basics of SEO and Google. Invest in social.

Dion McKenzie, Weebly Country Manager UK

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