Chris Parker founded YourSimpleSite after realising that there were no website creators on the market that delivered what people needed the most – an intuitive system based on the everyday habits of online users.
Business Advice spoke to Parker to find out more about how the business began, and his hopes for delivering affordable websites to small business owners.
(1) Who are you and what’s your business?
My name is Chris Parker and I’m the sales and marketing director of YourSimpleSite.
YourSimpleSite is an online website builder which exists to help as many businesses to create a great online presence as possible, with the minimum effort possible.
We want to open up the world of websites to the hundreds of thousands of small business owners that still don’t have an online presence. We know that a lot of them don’t realise how quick and easy it can be.
The idea for YourSimpleSite came from the number of people using Facebook for all online business due to its simplicity. If people can create a Facebook page and keep it up to date with new content, what if a website builder existed that works in a similar way?
(2) How long have you been around for?
I started putting my ideas on paper early in 2015. Rob – the co-founder – had a couple of other things he was already working on, which was a little frustrating, but he started developing YourSimpleSite in April 2015. That’s when I got excited.
I still have the first screenshot of a website he created from May 2015. The platform has evolved unbelievably since then.
(3) How do you make money?
Our business model is based on a monthly subscription, designed to be cost-effective for small business owners with even the tightest of budgets.
We also have a completely free option, providing a domain name as a sub-domain of our own name – “.yoursps.com”. This option features a small banner advert featuring our company logo (it’s never third party advertising). Our users get a free website and in return they do a bit of advertising for us.
(4) What makes you different and why should people take notice?
Even though the website builder market is a competitive one, we fill a unique space in the market. While most website builders use drag and drop technology, we have used a much simpler approach.
Instead of requiring our users to learn a new interface to create their website, our website builder takes every day internet use, such as sending an email or posting a photo to social media, and the result is a very easy to use intuitive platform. Even someone with very basic skills will recognise what they see on the screen and will be able to use our platform with ease.
You can create a website in under 60 seconds – we have a live video on our YouTube channel demonstrating it.
Also, our websites are created with the latest design trends and technology, so they look modern and work as users expect.
(5) What was key in terms of getting started?
A co-founder. I’ve already mentioned that my co-founder, Rob, is a former colleague. We worked together for a company that sells real-time information systems to the aviation industry. We were both looking for a new project and after throwing around a few other ideas, we decided to pursue YourSimpleSite. I have always been in sales and Rob is a software developer, an extremely talented one at that.
There are too many great ideas that are developed, but that no-one ever sees because the creator doesn’t have the knowledge or skills to get the product or proposition noticed. Our skill sets have complimented each other’s from the start and they continue to do so.
(6) What’s your biggest achievement to date?
Creating a platform that is truly different to anything else on the market. And making it easy for business owners, who never thought they could create a website, to not only create one, but make it successful.
(7) What setbacks have you had along the way?
There have been several.
The main one was our original name – YourSinglePageSite.com. Our websites are a single page, but they still work and look like any other website.
We spoke to many people that had the immediate reaction of “I need more than one page”. Then as soon as we showed them how it worked, they realised it was exactly what they needed. As a result, we changed the name, even though the functionality remains exactly the same.
Our other major setback with our original approach was to allow users to start with a blank page. We thought we were giving ultimate flexibility, but it was actually a huge mistake because it took quite a lot of time to create a website and there were way too many opportunities for people to close the page and lose it forever.
(8) In five years’ time, I will be…
Running YourSimpleSite as a thriving market leading business. I’m in this for the long haul. I am as passionate about creating and growing our business as I am about the profits. Most of the time, I enjoy the challenge as much, if not more, than any success.
(9) What one tip would you give to others starting out?
Don’t strive for perfection first time around. Regardless of what your business is, get out there as soon as you can. Our original platform was ready to be used about 12 months ago and when you compare it to what we have today, it is almost unrecognisable.
We would never have developed to what we have today if we hadn’t shown it as many people as possible as early as possible to learn our weaknesses.
(10) Who are your business heroes and why?
I have many, but the two that really stand out are Duncan Bannatyne and Gary Veynerchuk.
I’ve always enjoyed watching Dragon’s Den and when it started was when I first became aware of Mr Bannatyne. His whole approach to business is where we are today and what we are striving to achieve.
Gary Veynerchuk has come to my attention much more recently, but he is what I consider to be one of the best of a new breed harnessing the power of modern marketing.
He recognises how the world is constantly changing, and adapts to it very skilfully and often almost prophetically.
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