CEO David Chen Talks Strikingly — How Marrying a No-Code Philosophy With a Dedication to Quality Mobile Design is Bringing Site Building to the Masses

CEO David Chen Talks Strikingly — How Marrying a No-Code Philosophy With a Dedication to Quality Mobile Design is Bringing Site Building to the Masses

TL; DR: Most businesses understand the importance of connecting with their customers wherever they are. Unfortunately, not all organizations are equipped with a development staff versed in mobile site design. Luckily, Strikingly is here to help. Strikingly’s site builder offers the ability to craft and publish responsive web designs within minutes. We recently caught up with CEO David Chen, who told us how Strikingly’s toolset is empowering businesses of all types — from startups to enterprises — to break down technical barriers and build high-performing mobile web applications that drive revenue and growth.

Strikingly developed its unique startup culture with ideas born in CEO David Chen’s college dorm room. His experience running for student government and putting up a campaign website gave him a firsthand glimpse into the struggles of making web design work.

Having had to personally overcome the challenges of creating a site that stood out, David leaned on the simplicity of one-page design. And he took this concept and ran with it when designing Strikingly’s website builder.

“[Building a website] is not something the average person can do,” David said. “We really loved the [one-page] design style and said ‘let’s just do one-page design.’”

Photo of David Chen and the Strikingly logo

Strikingly CEO David Chen told us the company’s mission is to make website building accessible to everyone.

This strategy proved to be wildly popular among Strikingly’s growing customer base.

Single-page design is “inherently a mobile thing,” David told us, so the two ideas work seamlessly together. With mobile usage now outpacing desktop usage, it’s essential to consider mobile when creating a website.

“There are people who grew up with mobile — whose first device wasn’t a PC,” he said. “It’s not a new hot and trendy thing. It’s a necessary piece at this stage.”

By allowing anyone to quickly craft a beautiful site with no coding involved, Strikingly is helping SMBs leverage the power of mobile to reach customers and build an online presence.

The Goal: To Optimize the Web Experience for Every Device

David told us it’s imperative to consider the end user’s point of view to create consistent visitor experiences across devices — whether it’s a desktop, TV, tablet, or phone. Strikingly focuses on providing tools businesses of any size can leverage to build sites that provide optimal customer interactions, regardless of how those sites are being accessed.

“Responsive design was something that we did from day one,” David said.

The combination of a single-page format and responsive design for mobile devices gives Strikingly websites their sleek and readable look. Rather than simply being a directory of content, these sites tell a linear story that engages users.

Screenshot of Strikingly's web builder interface

Strikingly’s site builder was developed specifically to ease the creation of stunning responsive websites.

“We realized this is the perfect format for mobile,” David said. “Instead of being a computer kind of screen where you have a big enough space to have two dimensions for design — horizontal and vertical — on mobile you really just have one dimension. Everything stacks up. You are forced into a more simplified format.”

This simplified format, it turns out, looks great no matter what device you’re using. Strikingly also provides add-ons and customizations, but the core philosophy is still presenting information in a mobile-centric way.

“The idea in one sentence is ‘mobile first,’” David said.

Setting the Speed of Site Publishing as a Measure of Success

At Strikingly, client success is closely tied to speed of service. One of the company’s top goals is to lower the tech barrier while increasing efficiency. Strikingly achieves this is by making well-designed websites in as little time as possible.

“The most important quantitative measure is how fast it takes you to set it up,” David said. “We did the calculation — on average it takes 15 minutes to publish a site.”

David told us, compared to its competitors, Strikingly makes it much easier to put a site together with no experience or knowledge of design. Some website builders work well for clients who want precise control over the site design, but for many businesses, this isn’t necessary. They’re more concerned with getting a website that looks good up and running quickly.

Photo collage of the Strikingly team

The Strikingly team is dedicated to developing innovative tools and delivering top-tier customer support.

“If you use Strikingly, it’s much more streamlined,” David said. “The time you spend grows proportionally to how much you need to do. We’ve managed to make sure that time is short.”

At the same time, Strikingly’s customers still feel like they get a well-designed website. Each site can be customized and is differentiated enough in its design that it doesn’t look like any other website. And, as David noted, the ability to quickly generate a quality site that’s unique is one of Strikingly’s greatest strengths.

“We assume more responsibility from a design perspective,” he said. “Having the information laid out in a logical order is one thing, but having it look good is another thing. Once you get on, you only have to exercise your decision in curation instead of your decision in creation.”

Strikingly also developed a reseller program that enables entrepreneurs to build mobile-friendly web apps for clients. The suite of tools the company provides makes client account management and earning additional income simple.

Building Solutions that Meet at the Intersection of Social & Mobile

Strikingly also empowers users to create a personal website with its one-click builder. The novel tool loads information from social media into the builder and generates three websites from which to choose. From there, it takes only about five seconds to publish.

“That says a lot about the efficiency of being able to own the site before doing any additional work in the future,” David said.

With Strikingly’s LinkedIn app, users can connect their LinkedIn profile with the one-click tool to create a personal website. This connection between social media and mobile is what David believes to be the future of website building — and part of what will eventually make it possible for anyone, anywhere to build a website.

Screenshot of the Strikingly LinkedIn app interface

With Strikingly’s LinkedIn app, users can create personal websites with just a few clicks of the mouse.

“This trend of social networks is taking more of a cut of our personal life and our digital activities,” David said. “The future is definitely going to be the intersection of those two trends of mobile and social, and much more so than ever before.”

Strikingly’s mobile editor is another step toward catering to these trends. With the Strikingly app, users can harness the power of Strikingly’s desktop website builder on the go. Whether you want to start a new website from scratch or make edits to an existing one, the mobile editor lets business owners in a time crunch publish content.

Website Building for All — Dedicated to Helping SMBs Get Online

David predicts the intersection of social and mobile trends will lead to a solution for a big problem that still exists in the website building business: not everyone can build a website. The ability to get online is becoming essential for SMBs to survive, yet this gap still exists. Even if someone can learn website building skills, they don’t necessarily have the time to do it.

“This problem is still not solved, and we’re talking about 2018 now,” David said. “Most traditional businesses have not been served really well yet.”

His ideal is “the democratization of website building” so that time and skill are no longer factors in obtaining a well-designed website. Through the company’s focus on quick publishing and responsive design, Strikingly is creating a path for SMBs to go from offline to online without a struggle. It’s that level of service that’s been a guiding principle in Strikingly’s culture.

David said he believes in the value of human interaction and customer support when dealing with the technical side of business. Along with providing the website building application, Strikingly launched a program that offers assistance to businesses using the website builder.

“We’ve been testing it in a smaller audience and it has shown great results to bring this mobile only kind of trend to traditional businesses,” David said

David told us the team at Strikingly always knows who’s in charge: the customers. By ensuring quick response and resolution, Strikingly’s service model aims to deliver not just short-term customer happiness, but also long-term success.

“We want to be our users’ ambassador,” David said. “We want to grow with them and become their friends. That level of commitment is something that we really care about.

Jennifer Young

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