TL; DR: Website World, an Auckland, New Zealand-based web development company, is on a mission to help customers build top-notch ecommerce websites that empower them to compete in our digital age. The company’s all-in-one site-building and content management platform provides everything users need to achieve that goal, from free payment gateways to loyalty program enablement. With continuous usability and feature improvements, Website World, founded in 2000, is poised to provide valuable ecommerce solutions for decades to come.
The city of Hamilton, located on the banks of the Waikato River on New Zealand’s North Island, is known for its opportunity-filled business landscape. The innovative city is part of the area’s golden economic triangle, which also includes Auckland and Tauranga.
The Hamilton area has experienced sprawling business growth for years. Back in 1999, Reuben Jackson set out to create Hamilton Info, an online directory for local companies. Each business in the directory was allotted a webpage for contact information, event schedules, recent news, and general information. The only thing missing was a unique website address for each listing.
“It was then that Reuben realized that he had the beginnings of an online tool — one which he could use to create and update websites,” said Jackie Procter, Content Strategist at Website World (owned by Web Widgets Ltd.).
Reuben founded what was then known as Web Widgets in 2000. “Over the years, we have helped customers from all over the world build awesome ecommerce websites as well as informational websites,” Jackie said.
Web Widgets, a content management system, was created to serve the needs of the company’s earliest customers. Through the use of widgets, these customers could easily manage their websites and add or remove features.
Since then, Web Widgets has evolved into a full-fledged site-building tool. It was renamed Website World to stand apart from those providing basic website builders.
Today, Website World provides everything ecommerce teams need to build and maintain a lucrative online presence — from free plugins to point of sale (POS) and inventory management tools. The company is always working to update its products for better usability and add new features in step with the needs of customers.
A New Zealand-Based Web Company Founded in 2000
Website World has gone through a few name changes since it was founded in 2000, which Jackie explained to us in detail.
“Reuben began brainstorming possible names for this business, with a key focus on the future development of more tools that would make great websites,” she said. “Web Widgets was the result, and he purchased our first domain name, www.web-widgets.net, an international website. Web Widgets was always about building useful utilities online, which is why this name was used initially.”
Reuben continued working his day job during the company’s earliest years while building up a customer base. By 2002, he had enough customers to officially register Website World and resign from his job.
“Since then, we have continued acquiring several domain names, focusing on our predominantly NZ business at www.websitebuilder.nz, which is a much more SEO-friendly web address,” Jackie said.
However, the company could not secure the dot com version of the same name and was concerned that consumers would confuse that site — a competitor — with its own.
“Our brand was tainted by an overseas competitor with poor service,” Jackie said. “So we then refocused on our trading name as Website World at the address www.website.world.”
During the company’s 20 years in business, it has helped several thousand businesses create and evolve their online presence.
“The fact that we have powered close to $1 billion worth of ecommerce over the years demonstrates just how effective our ecommerce platform has been — and will continue to be,” Jackie said.
An All-in-One Ecommerce Platform with No Hidden Fees
Today, Website World offers a comprehensive content management and ecommerce platform for building mobile-responsive and feature-rich online shops. Customers never have to pay extra for plugins or add-ons, and there are no contract terms.
Users can build their sites independently using Website World’s free, drag-and-drop site builder or content-box page editor, plus gallery pages, shopping cart, and page banner options. The platform includes tools for engaging with customers via blogs, news, and forum pages and staying in touch through newsletters and subscriptions.
Businesses that operate under a membership model can use Website World’s tools to set authorization levels and define pricing groups. They can also manage membership lists, reports, and members-only content.
Website World’s content management system comes free with the company’s paid web hosting packages. All hosting packages also include free website building templates, web statistics, and email accounts for one simple monthly fee. Most of them also include a free SSL certificate, shopping cart, and bulk emailing tool.
And, because the company is international, all websites are supported by a content distribution network with points of presence in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, and the U.S.
As far as support, the company provides free online video tutorials. step-by-step instructions, and a guide to frequently asked questions. The Website World team also provides in-person help via email and phone during New Zealand business hours.
Sustainable Business Objectives and a Living Wage
A living wage is defined as an income that empowers a full-time worker to afford life’s basic necessities, including food, shelter, health care, child care, utilities, and transportation. In New Zealand, many large employers pay a living wage, as do small, ethics-focused companies such as Website World.
According to the Website World site, paying employees less than they need to maintain a decent standard of life not only hurts workers, but it also affects customers who are more likely to receive inadequate attention. “Our team earns a living way,” the site states. “Looking for the cheapest international hosting service only results in poor quality service with poor quality support.”
The company also ensures the staff has flexible working schedules that allow them to achieve work-life balance — and for good reason. Studies show that companies that value productivity over people pay the ultimate price, leading to higher turnover and negative interactions with customers.
Website World also flexes its ethics muscle by regularly donating to various charities and provides discounted services for qualifying groups. Finally, the company does not permit gambling, pyramid marketing schemes, or any illegal content on its servers. All servers are bound by laws in Australia and New Zealand, as well as some international regulations.
Up Next: Usability Improvements for Site and CMS
Website World hasn’t stopped updating its CMS software since it was developed in-house by the company’s CEO in 2000, and it doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon. The ultimate goal is to continually customize the software to suit the changing needs of customers in New Zealand and beyond.
Jackie told us that, while no one knows quite how the company will evolve over the next two decades, there are certainly good things to come.
“One thing for sure, though, is that we’ll continue to improve upon the usability of our website and CMS, make it easier for customers to sell online, and provide exceptional customer support to all users,” she said.