The internet is a big and complicated place, with billions of different websites out there. Also, those websites have been created and are hosted by a range of different specialist companies, one of which is Web.com. Through Web.com, small businesses can access a variety of internet services that allow them to succeed and compete online. This website builder focuses strongly on small businesses, no matter where in the stage of the life cycle they may be. They offer a variety of different subscriptions, all of which are affordable. The company has a head office in this country, but it also has offices in the United Kingdom, specifically in Stockton-on-Tees, London, and Leeds. The company currently has around 3.3 million customers worldwide.
Web.com Group was originally founded when Web.com, Inc. and Website Pros, Inc. merged together. Website Pros, first of all, was founded by Darin Brannan in 1999. The company’s goal was to become the biggest website design company in the country, offering SMEs (small to medium sized enterprises) a variety of value add services, using the SaaS (software as a service) model. What Website Pros aimed to do was to offer all of these services at a tenth of the price offered the competition, as well as in record time. It went public in 2005 and quickly started to dominate the world of web design, undercutting thousands of smaller companies. The particular focus of Website Pros was the cottage industry.
Website Pros received a wealth of funding. In fact, some $65 million was provided by Dell, Office Depot, Verizon (Bell Atlantic), Chase, Crosspoint Ventures, and Norwest Venture Partners. Then, just before its IPO, it received further investment from Insight Venture Partners. Some of this money was used to develop the SaaS platform for the site builder, for which they were the first in the market. They also used it to develop a call center, or servicing infrastructure company, called Atlantic Teleservices Inc. This was founded by David Brown, who also remained the company’s CEO. They then hired a board and senior management team. The Board had members from Intel, Kmart, Office Depot, and a range of other companies) and they got to work in creating a sales and operational plan.
Those happened before the market bubble burst, which meant lots of cash was available for Web.com to have indirect and direct sales strategies. However, in 2000, the market went into a downtrend, and the company responded by closing their direct channel, focusing instead on the cheaper, indirect model. They got rid of the senior management team and consolidated all their operations into Florida.
They also asked David Brown to become CEO again, a challenge that he accepted. He got to work on ensuring that the company, while leaner, would still be able to survive. Under his guidance, focusing on building a new business model, Website Pros was able to make a number of important acquisitions, including 1ShoppingCart, eBoz, Submit-a-Website, Renovation Experts, Leads.com, Innuity, and NetObjects. Then, in 2007, they acquired Web.com and this led to the company changing its name, one year later, to Web.com Group.
Web.com, meanwhile, began as Micron Electronics. It was a company that sold computers to the government. Joel Kocher was Micron’s CEO and he decided that it was time to move away from computers and towards web hosting instead. To achieve this, they made a number of important acquisitions. After one such acquisition, the company dropped its MicronPC name, adopting Interland instead, which happened in 2000. It quickly became the largest global hosting company, but it stopped growing when the CEO stopped making acquisitions. Kocher was quickly replaced by Jeffrey Stibel’s team in 2005, whose first order of business was to change the name of the company to Web.com. Quickly, the company started to grow again with organic revenue, and Web.com’s subscriber count started to grow rapidly again. Lastly, in 2007, it merged with Website Pros. When Web.com merged with Website Pros, it had a $7.15 stock. This was more than three times as much as what it was worth under the old management team.
In 2009, Web.com Group sold NetObjects Fusion. That same year, they acquired Solid Cactus from Joe Palko and Scott Sanfilippo. The next year, they spent $135 million to buy Register.com and, one year later in 2011, they spent $405 million to buy Network Solutions. In 2012, they acquired the PGA Tour’s development tour’s naming rights. Up until then, this was a position held by Nationwide Insurance. The tour has now been rebranded as the Web.com Tour.
Finally, in 2014, Scoot, a UK business directory service, was acquired.
Web.com offers a wealth of different services. These include:
- Securing a domain name.
- Developing search engine marketing (SEM) efforts
- Leading on website design
- Building a social media presence
- Improving existing websites so that they are optimized for local, Facebook, and mobile devices
- Web hosting
- Website management
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Local sales leads
- Online marketing
- Ecommerce solutions
The company also has a strong focus on marketing, offering services such as:
- Local search
- Lead generation
- Social media
- Listings management
Web.com offers a number of specific features. Their editor is driven on content, which means new users have to answer a short questionnaire in order to be directed to the right type of site. When they first start using the editor, this content will automatically be uploaded to the website. It can take a little bit of time to actually get into the editor. However, once access is achieved, all sorts of information are already preloaded, meaning the site is ready to be worked on. Unfortunately, people often find that Web.com’s website editor is quite difficult to use. Very little help is available for those who are starting, it has a dated control panel, and functionality is quite lacking. Users are also restricted because they cannot put objects wherever they want to place them.
Web.com offers a huge number of templates as well. These are quite nice to look at, although they could do with being upgraded somewhat. Most of the designs that are available relate to certain types of businesses. They are quite basic to look at, but you can change things such as the color scheme on each of the template. This enables you to create something totally unique that stands out from the crowd.
Webs.com doesn’t offer the greatest number of features compared to other website builders. However, it does offer the standard features such as polling, social media, and multimedia options as standard. Those who want to use ecommerce features, however, need to sign up to a more expensive plan.