Endurance International, New Owner of Constant Contact, Launches Automated Site- And App-Building Tool
Called Impress.ly, the new mobile-focused and cloud-based offering boosts the web hosting firm’s portfolio of marketing services for small businesses.
Today, the Burlington, Massachusetts-based company is looking to further differentiate itself by launching a new cloud-based tool for semi-automatically building HMTL5 adaptive desktop or mobile websites or hybrid mobile apps.
Called Impress.ly, the tool was created with Netherlands-based technology developer AppMachine, which Endurance partly owns. In addition to its use of what Endurance describes as artificial intelligence to make content and style choices, Impress.ly is notable because users can build a site or an app entirely through the Impress.ly mobile website on a smartphone, as well as on a tablet or desktop.
This smartphone focus, VP Curt Raffi told me, helps Endurance compete in developing markets, where smartphones are often the primary computing device.
He said that Impress.ly is more smartphone-oriented than website builders from such competitors as Wix, Weebly or Squarespace and added that Endurance has plans to release other mobile-first and intelligent tools for the small business market.
The company, which claims about five million customers, says that the new tool is “easier to use than a drag-and-drop builder” and that it can create a new site or app within minutes, regardless of the user’s experience.
For mobile, the tool can create an HTML5 site that Endurance says performs with the fluid speed of an app. For placement in Apple’s App Store or Google’s Play app store, Impress.ly can export the mobile site with an app wrapper.
To create an app or desktop/mobile site, a user of Impress.ly answers questions about the business’s existing websites, Facebook pages, Instagram feeds or other online assets. The tool automatically grabs a logo, images and text from those locations and infers style from their color schemes and font choices.
Default templates have been set up by industry types (see image at top), so all beauty salons, for instance, will have the same choices of default layouts but different color schemes, font selections and, of course, images or text. The user can modify any of the tool’s choices.
A business can create a domain with Impress.ly, as well as a straightforward, e-commerce-enabled online store. Functionality can be added for reservations, appointments, social media, maps or user reviews, and Raffi said the ability to set up email and to use Constant Contact’s services within Impress.ly are “on the way.”