The Crunch: Small business owners and budding entrepreneurs today need a strong web presence to promote products, attract new customers, and grow their brands. But many lack the time or the technical expertise to develop and maintain a website on their own. WebStarts provides those small business owners with the tools to create, sustain, and update a professional website. From drag-and-drop design to live-chat applications, WebStarts gives SMBs the opportunity to get in on the ground floor and quickly scale up to compete in any marketplace.
In the internet age, many brick-and-mortar small businesses are feeling the pressure to build an online presence not only to compete but also to grow. A website is a vital component of any successful business strategy and can help quickly establish a brand — especially in a smaller market.
But many local entrepreneurs aren’t savvy web designers and can’t afford to take time away from running their operations to manage a site. They also may not have pockets deep enough to pay someone to manage it for them.
WebStarts offers a solution to those problems in the form of an affordable, responsive site-building platform. With easy-to-use templates, business owners can build, maintain, and update their website quickly. This helps them stay current on advertising, marketing, and customer satisfaction.
“The beauty of all this technology is that it helps business owners manage their own time, and there’s more opportunity to run a business and still be part of the larger economic scale,” WebStarts Founder and CEO Adam Barger said. “I think our service is very popular with those small businesses — or what I call one-man armies.”
WebStarts’ options range from a free website builder to paid premium services that offer more advanced features. The company also provides clients with advice and responsive technical support, which can give small business owners more time to focus on their own bottom line.
WebStarts: An Easy-to-Use Website Builder with Templates & Tools
The story of WebStarts begins in the late 1990s. At the time, Adam had sold computers online and knew the web held the key to commerce in the future, but he encountered difficulty finding good technical help for his site.
“I got into creating an e-commerce website and I found it was expensive, difficult, and hard to work with developers,” Adam recalled. “It was pretty unreliable to pay somebody to do the job for you. You have a hard time communicating your vision and getting things done promptly.”
So Adam founded WebStarts to give businesses easier access to those tools.
The intuitive platform Adam built offers a choice of designs and ready-to-go templates, meaning users don’t need to know how to code to create and update their company’s web presence. He also wanted a visually driven process where users can drag and drop text, photos, and videos onto their page to quickly update content.
WebStarts allows users of any skill level to set up a functioning online store — complete with a catalog — to sell products and process credit card transactions. And the platform continues to add features, such as Instagram and Facebook, sharing directly from mobile devices, blog posting, and contact forms, to help SMBs grow their influence and reach.
“We try to focus on delivering the ease of use and features that people want as opposed to just focusing on the beauty of the site or the aesthetic part, which is important, but not everything,” he said. “We design the templates, so they need minimal tweaking to accomplish the objectives of the creator.”
WebStarts enables clients to collect and analyze site data to see where visitors are coming from, how they interact with the site, and how often they are converted into customers. With live chat, businesses can be more responsive to users, and on-the-go entrepreneurs can get mobile notifications whenever they receive an email or a live chat is initiated so they can respond in real time and not lose a customer.
And when users upgrade to a customized domain name, WebStarts does the technical work necessary to connect the site and an accompanying business email address.
“It’s all about giving people what they need to run a real operation online,” Adam said.
Affordable Solutions for Establishing an Online Presence
Adam describes WebStarts’ approach to serving its clients as value-driven. Businesses can start with a free website builder and work their way up to a premium plan as they scale. WebStarts says that free plan is a chance to “kick the tires and take it for a spin.” From there, business owners may choose from three separate premium level plans to add features like social media integration, contact forms, slideshows, galleries, and search engine optimization. Added options exist to increase cloud storage capacity and available bandwidth.
The WebStarts Business plan includes an online store, faster content delivery, unlimited contact forms, and business email addresses — in addition to a significant increase in cloud storage capacity and unlimited bandwidth.
Adam said WebStarts’ included live chat feature could cost $20 a month on its own from a third-party vendor.
“We try to provide a tremendous amount of value for those paid subscriptions,” he said.
And businesses are noticing that value, as WebStarts has built and hosted approximately 3.8 million websites. And offering a free version gives prospective users a way to get started with no obligation.
“There’s not a lot of risk involved in test driving it,” Adam told us, “and most of the users who start off with a subscription plan are referred by someone else who had a positive experience with WebStarts.”
For those who start with a free plan, Adam said the opportunity to connect a customized domain name to the site is usually the driving force behind upgrading to a premium plan.
“We offer a free WebStarts address with every account, but you can connect a domain name when you upgrade to our Pro Plus plan or higher,” he said. “That’s the hallmark of being serious about your online presence.”
Making Technical Support and Expertise Readily Available
WebStarts is designed to make sites easy to build, maintain, and update, but users don’t have to navigate the process on their own. Starting with a Pro Plus account, clients receive robust technical support over the phone during regular business hours. During that time, technical questions sent by email receive a response within the hour, as well.
The technical support email account is also frequently checked on evenings and weekends, although response times may be longer than one hour.
“We make it easy to contact us because, ultimately, we have a lot of experience in this sector and we can provide people with good advice,” Adam said.
Although WebStarts users have built and hosted nearly 4 million websites over the years, the company maintains a culture that is fairly tight-knit. Along with that closeness comes a commitment to remaining accessible to clients.
“We’re not so big that people wouldn’t be able to speak to somebody in our organization,” Adam said.
Leveling the E-Commerce Playing Field to Help Brands Compete
Today’s time-pressed small business owners and entrepreneurs need to have a strong web presence to build and grow their businesses. WebStarts provides them with an affordable and easy-to-use array of tools for creating and maintaining a professional website to compete in the marketplace.
With a free website builder and three premium plans that add valuable features, WebStarts helps businesses enter e-commerce and scale their website for future growth so smaller entrepreneurs can compete with bigger retailers.
“I think technology has changed the world that way,” Adam said. “It has enabled individuals and businesses, as small as they are, to compete on the same platform as the biggest organizations in the world.”