Nowadays you can create your own website in a few afternoons in front of your computer. But will the final product be a website someone will actually want to use? That’s another story.
Web publishing tools like WordPress and the like require a bit of technical know-how and special care to ensure all your content fits into their unique parameters and templates. Once you’re done, you’re still probably not sure what you’ve come up with is right for the audience you’re trying to attract.
The alternative, of course, is hiring a web designer. Designers can create unique sites designed specifically for your content and needs, but that comes at a price, and often means you need to keep that designer on payroll to update things when you need them.
Now, one company is working to change all that with a web builder called The Grid that creates a beautiful customized site aimed at your audience in just a few minutes.
“The idea is really simple. You just throw in anything: an image, video, product, text and it outputs an elegant easy to update website,” says founder and CEO Dan Tocchini.
Design-wise your site visitors won’t be able to tell you didn’t spend big bucks (or lots of time) on creating it. Using The Grid, colors can be customized to match the images you use, text can be layered over a photo and face detection ensures that that text never covers up the subject of your picture. Sites created using The Grid look good and are responsive, so they’ll look great in any size web browser or on mobile phones. They’re also optimized for specific needs, such as driving the maximum amount of product sales.
The best part, according to Tocchini? You can create one in just a few minutes.
“It’s an easy to update as a social network profile, as easy to customize as Instagram,” he says.
A browser extension allows you to share content from the web -- like a review of your awesome new product, or a tweet praising your customer support -- in just a few clicks. You can even build your site from your phone. Everything is automatically formatted, based on a template designed by Medium’s first designer, Leigh Taylor. If you decide you want a few looks, it’s as easy as just clicking on a new template design, just like you’re throwing a new filter on a photo.
Sites built using The Grid are constantly A/B tested, and change slightly to improve performance. Hosting is handled by The Grid, with everything running for $25 per month.
After building the technology for several years, Tocchni and his team -- which includes ex-Google AdSense products director Brian Axe -- are launching a crowdfunding campaign today to complete the process. Some of the early backers will be locked into a reduced $8 per month rate and will receive a NFC-enabled key ring that allows them to tap on phones to load up their site, similar to a digital business card. The Grid is expected to launch officially in spring 2015.