Sunday, November 29, 2015

PageCloud Review – Is This The World’s Best Web Publishing App?

What is PageCloud?

Page Cloud is web design software for dummies, and provides a What You See is What You Get (WYSWYG) editor for making all sorts of creative designs.  In the words of the creator and CEO of PageCloud:
“…it’s the first to deliver this professional level of desktop publishing experience to the Web.”
Craig Fitzpatrick

We all want to know what the benefits are of the self-proclaimed world’s most advanced web editor. They know the world wide web is about to change and they want to invite us all to be part of the change. Let’s review PageCloud and find out what this web publishing company is up to.

The Company

Craig Fitzpatrick, founder and CEO of PageCloud, is motivated by helping people to create and edit their own websites.  He believes HTML and CSS coders should not be the only people who have the “freedom” to create websites.  Therefore he has designed, with his team of seven employees, some software to help the small business owner make his or her own website.  He also envisions granting the “marketing people” the capability to make website edits, rather than having to rely on the tech people.
Mr. Fitzpatrick showcased PageCloud at TechCrunch 2015 and was well-received by the moderators.  The company raised $2.2 million in March, before TechCrunch, from angels Tobias Lutke (CEO of Shopify) and Sarah Imbach, former Chief of Staff at LinkedIn plus more.  Looks like some pretty important names believe in PageCloud.
Like Shopify, PageCloud is based in Ottowa, Canada.

The Product

Citing the small business owner as the typical customer, Fitzptrick is basically selling a drag and drop, cloud-based web design platform that incorporates media integration with YouTube, etc.  Users also get the “freedom” to do Photoship-ish things like fade images.  In fact, one of the main features is that users are able to monkey around with images on their old familiar Photoshop software, then publish directly to the web.
The software also makes your website mobile.  It also connects your widgets to database-driven components like contact forms.  These are also available to manipulate via drag and drop.  Founder Fitzpatrick claims users can imitate the Apple website design with his product.
Users get full access to source access code and customized widgets.  According to Tech Crunch reviewers, the product stands out among its competitors because of the drag and drop capability.  Founder Fitzpatrick likens this feature to PowerPoint, which offers users the same feature.

The Opportunity

PageCloud is still in pre-launch until this Fall (2015).  During this time, anyone who signs up gets a special pre-launch subscription price of $99 per year.  That comes to $8.25 per month.  This represents a savings of at least 65% since the price will go up in the Fall to $25 per month.
The opportunity is that you refer three people (get them to sign up for a subscription to PageCloud) and get your first year for free.

The Verdict

Not sure what PageCloud offers that you can’t get with WordPress plus a ton of plugins, plus some basic image editing software.  Plus, what happens when the customer stops paying the monthly (billed as annual) fee?  Are you left with some files, which would be usable in a non-PageCloud world?  You do own your files, but in what form do they come to you?
Also, what if the user needs a feature that is not offered in PageCloud?  They’ve invested in the software but now they need to hire someone to code in what they really want?  And work with the bloated code the PageCloud software generates, if it’s anything like what Word makes when it publishes to the web.  PageCloud seems limiting in this way, but I could be wrong.
Some would also say that Instapage, a competitor, was there first with the no-coding website generator…contrary to what Craig Fitzpatrick claims in his Tech Crunch presentation.
And shouldn’t there be a demo, a trial period, or at least some screen shots before we commit to $99 (nonrefundable)?  Finally, at $99 a pop (per website), this is expensive, especially considering you can do pretty well with WordPress and a few premium templates.

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