Over the past few years, there’s been a flood of drop-dead simple website creation platforms for those who don’t want to bother with WordPress or Drupal. Weebly, Wix and others offered WISYWIG drag and drop tools combined with lightweight themes to allow individuals and small, non-tech savvy businesses to create decent looking websites.
In one sense I’d suggest they were going after what I’d term the Squarespace market since, after all, Squarespace has been at this for a decade. Squarespace’s Anthony Casalena started the company after the first wave of clunky site builders offered from the likes of Yahoo gave would-be site owners the ability to build websites resembling something not much better than a Geocities page.
Over the time the platform has evolved, offering attractive, flexible templates that enable customers to create sites that look comparable to more expensive, professionally designed sites. The company was also early to mobile design and just last year introduced commerce, putting them into play for small online entrepreneurs who had previously opted for customized WordPress commerce solutions or those who used storefront-centric sites like Shopify or BigCommerce.
And today Forbes Jeff Bercovi reports on the company’s plans for 2014, in which they are looking to double their staff from its current levels of 270 as well as bump their marketing budget to $40 million. Of course the company, who’d long been known as a dedicated podcast advertiser, just dropped some serious cash for a Super Bowl spot a few weeks ago, showing they’ve clearly been upping their ad spend.
According to Casalena the growth is being fueled by strong demand since the move to Squarespace 6. Given the numbers, it makes me wonder at what point the company looks to either go public or whether, at some point, they become an acquisition target for a Yahoo or someone similar.
Either way, $40 million should buy quite a few podcast spots (as well as a few more Super Bowl ads).