TL; DR: More than 30 million users across the globe leverage Webnode’s drag-and-drop website builder to create everything from personal portfolios to business sites and online stores. The company’s strengths lie in its streamlined platform and ability to provide carefully localized services to markets worldwide. With hands-on support and continuous product development based on user feedback, Webnode is tailoring its intuitive website builder to an increasingly diverse customer base.
The marketing team behind Kentucky Fried Chicken was likely filled with regret after the company fumbled its 1987 entry into China with the incorrect translation of “finger-licking good” into “We’ll eat your fingers off.”
The mistake underscores the importance of diligent localization — a process in which companies adjust their products and services in stride with local linguistic and cultural norms. As more and more companies go global, getting localization right becomes more important than ever.
Webnode, a global provider of website-building services, knows this well. “Our strengths are found not only within the framework of the tool but in the localization that runs through the company, both in our product and customer care,” said Slawomir Budziak, Chief Customer Officer at the company. “We want to be seen as local even if we are thousands of miles away from you.”
Slawomir said Webnode’s team of more than 100 people, segmented into six regions around the world, is the driving force behind the company’s success in that regard. “Our goal is to make sure that users all over the world are completely satisfied,” he said.
Webnode’s intuitive website builder has already helped more than 30 million users across the globe create everything from personal and business sites to online stores. The drag-and-drop tool features a wide range of customizable templates, free and premium pricing plans, and a streamlined feature set backed by personalized customer support services. With continuous product development and new templates added regularly, Webnode is providing users worldwide with the tools they need to create stunning sites.
Providing Hands-On Support to Markets Across the Globe
Slawomir said the company’s history can be traced back to the early 2000s when it operated under Westcom, Ltd. creating bespoke solutions for corporate customers. Westcom came upon the idea to provide a DIY site-building tool for the average consumer in 2006, which was officially launched as Webnode in 2008.
“We began around the same time as Wix,” Slawomir said. “They are now profit giants with a budget we can’t even think of, and yet manage to compete with them — which is a source of pride, although we are different in many ways.”
As Webnode grew over the years, the company added more functionality as well as support for a wide range of languages. That’s how Slawomir’s career at the company began. “From very early on, we’ve been trying to hire native speakers of different languages, as well as people who speak multiple languages at a high level,” he said. “I’m from Finland, but because I lived in Norway for years and studied the language, I was originally hired as a Nordic customer agent.”
Webnode’s localization strategy is centered on providing impeccable translations in over 40 languages and content in local contexts. “Not every platform follows this policy, and some of them have very crude translations,” Slawomir said. “In the eyes of our customers, we provide a local solution, whether they’re in Norway, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, or anywhere across the globe.”
Aside from Scandinavia, the company tailors its services toward a geographically diverse set of users in the U.S., Japan, Greece, Spain, Italy, France, Russia, Germany, Romania, Croatia, Taiwan, Brazil, and Portugal, among other countries. “I can say without hesitation, that we are a globally recognized brand,” Slawomir said.
An Intuitive Drag-and-Drop Builder with a Fresh Approach to Design
Never underestimate the importance of website design. It takes the average person approximately 50 milliseconds to decide whether a website is visually appealing. That’s important considering that 38% of people will leave a site they feel is unattractive.
With an expansive selection of modern templates, Webnode empowers users who lack coding skills to create professional, aesthetically pleasing sites without the need to spend precious money on programmers or designers. The company offers templates specifically designed for businesses, eCommerce sites, and blogs, as well as specific industries like music and food.
“Webnode has evolved into this modern, HTML5-based drag-and-drop editor with a preference for clean design, which is our most characteristic feature,” Slawomir said.
The professionally designed templates are customizable to suit the needs of any brand. Users have the option to upload their own photos or select images from a free photo bank. They can also quickly move graphics and text around the page as needed and include contact forms, maps, photo galleries, and other elements with the click of a button.
Webnode’s free plan includes reliable hosting, knowledgeable customer support, and an unlimited number of website pages. For customers who wish to use their own domain, the next step up is the Limited Plan, which includes 100MB storage, 1GB bandwidth, and premium support for $3.95 per month.
From there, the company offers a range of plans with varying bandwidth, storage, and email accounts all the way up to its full-service ProFi plan, which includes 5GB storage, unlimited bandwidth, and 100 email accounts.
A Streamlined Platform with All the Necessary Features
When it comes to features, Webnode’s approach is one of moderation. “We don’t give you an empty template, an entire library of widgets, and thousands of features, because our target group of small and medium-sized businesses would be a little lost,” Slawomir said. “We want to simplify the work.”
The company’s strategy is to provide a variety of customization options coupled with predefined selections that prevent clients from becoming overwhelmed. Instead of introducing complexity, Webnode focuses on delivering the features customers actually need.
That’s why the company has recently turned its attention toward eCommerce, which is continuing to gain traction in the retail world. In 2017, an estimated 1.6 billion people worldwide purchased products online — a figure that continues to grow with the increased use of mobile devices. While global online sales totaled $2.3 trillion in 2017, that number is expected to hit $4.5 trillion by 2021.
“The option to sell products online has dominated our agenda recently, and that’s something I’m most proud of because it used to be a separate product, and now it’s a common feature you can add to any existing website,” Slawomir said.
In the coming months, Slawomir said the company will turn its attention to providing a robust selection of localized payment methods as well as regionally based freight calculators. “We will spend a fair amount of time on local payment methods, which are absolutely crucial for customers who wish to sell products online,” he said.
Upcoming Product Development Based on Customer Need
The Webnode staff may have grown to include more than 100 people over the years, but Slawomir said it still retains a flexible, startup-like culture. “Our team is able to be more spontaneous and communicate more effectively than many bigger companies while at the same time providing a platform for a worldwide customer base,” Slawomir said.
The company has remained nimble enough to genuinely listen to customers and use their feedback to inform product development.
“Conceptual ideas provided by the development team have to be tested against reality,” Slawomir said. “There’s a kind of friction present in every technology company where developers have preconceptions that have to be compared to the feedback coming through the customer care team.”
Slawomir said the support team serves as the eyes and ears of the company, which then adjusts products to fulfill the expectations of customers. For example, the company recently expanded its blogging features in response to feedback.
“When we launched the newest version of our editor, blog features were not the focus of our development, but we listened to our customers, realized they required more blogging tools, and expanded our features,” Slawomir said. “I cannot imagine developing our product without carefully listening to the demands of our customers.”
With that kind of mentality, Webnode is sure to avoid any KFC-like blunders in the future.