In 2023, Webnode is celebrating its 15th company anniversary. And there is a lot to celebrate! Are you interested in building a successful business, growing, and expanding to the world while keeping a start-up spirit and informal environment? In that case, read our anniversary series. In the first article of our series, we will guide you through Webnode’s story from its very beginning. How the company and website builder has developed over the years?
How Did It All Start?
Once upon a time… Do you want to hear a fairytale? Well, this is not a fairytale but a true story. And it did not start once upon a time, it started in 2006.
First, there was an idea. An idea to create a modular CMS (content management system), where all the editing processes would run on the site itself. In 2006, a prototype was created and began working under the name Rubicus. Its creators, including founders Vít Vrba and Ondřej Kratěna, were excited. They were working with great commitment. In 2007, they changed the name to Webnode.
In that same year, the first logo was developed and the very first portal webnode.com was launched. The following year, pioneer Webnode developers began adding more and more functionalities to the website editor within the premium packages. Domain registrations started to work as well. At the same time, we accomplished another huge success – Webnode won the LeWeb’08 Startup Competition in Paris, the biggest web conference in Europe at that time.
“There was a wave of euphoria. New and new articles about Webnode and user reactions kept coming. We were celebrating breaking the point of 1000 registrations per day.”Hynek Lípa, Developer
In 2009 and 2010, Webnode introduced webmail alongside website statistics, an affiliate program, and an option to add other language versions to the web. We implemented payment gateways and our first e-commerce platform. Even with so much progress in just a few short years, more innovative steps continued to be taken.
First Marketing Moves
Our story proceeded with the introduction of the Webnode blog in 2011. Webnode’s presence and visibility continued to grow as we presented and promoted our website builder on social networks. Webnoders were creating superior-quality content and various contests for Facebook users.
However, there is a plot in every story. In brief, the original architecture of CMS was no longer sufficient, so developers created a backup solution and assessed different failure scenarios. The effort did not let up, even for another year. Webnoders began working on special programs for schools and we created tutorials for Webnode users. Furthermore, Vít Vrba presented at DevFest, a local tech conference, in Prague.
In 2012, we defined a crucial motto – It’s in simplicity. And this holds true in all Webnode efforts.
“It’s in simplicity has immense importance in the direction of Webnode. Petr Ludwig, Czech publicist, created some other slogans for us like ‘less is more‘, which are timeless and suit us even after eleven years.”Pavel Beran, Technical Care Team Leader
In 2013, Webnode reached more than 14 million websites created on our platform. At that time, a big life change came. The company expanded with the help of Google and moved to a more suitable office space – to the new building on Hlinky street in Brno, where the next story unfolds.
“In 2013, we were equipping a new office space. At that time, we worked overtime a lot. We spent half a year of our lives on the partially finished construction site.”Pavel Beran, Technical Care Team Leader
Webnoders are equipping a new office space on Hlinky
What does it look like in Webnode nowadays? See the virtual tour of our offices.
In the video above, you are watching project registrations on Webnode on the world map over the years. In fact, the video not only captures company growth but the main principle that determines our business success story. Yes, it’s a focus on the product – Webnode website builder. Let’s take a closer look at how it developed throughout the years.
Website Builder Development
The first version of the website builder was followed by the launch of Webnode 2.0 on September 24, 2015. It was a big deal for us! In April 2016, there was a huge upgrade with new functions to the website builder 2.0 – statistics, languages, and form entries. From May 2016, Webnode 2.0 users were able to choose their own favicon, invite collaborators to edit a website, enable site indexing, add Google analytics, and edit the site’s HTML header and footer. However, we could not have done this without expanding the team.
“We were hiring like crazy. My team grew up to 12 designers and FE developers.”Martin Kleban, Chief Product Officer
During that time, the media became interested in the company’s successful development, and a Czech business newspaper published an article about Webnode. In September 2016, Webnoders introduced a blog feature. Equally important, from that year on, Webnode’s website builder has been able to run in several new languages such as Swedish, Ukrainian, Romanian, Russian, Dutch, and more. You can find the whole development of language localizations below.
Development of language versions of the Webnode website builder 2.0 over the years
From 2017, users have been able to activate the membership registration for private pages on their website and sort blog articles into categories. But most importantly, Webnode reached 30 million websites in 2017!
More big news came in April 2018. We released an online store 2.0. In September, product variants settings were added to the e-shop. 2019 brought new check-out features and starting that year, customers could also fill out discount vouchers or additional information fields while purchasing your products. From the second half of 2019, it’s been possible for users to edit all websites and e-shops on their mobile devices.
From the year 2020, users have had the ability to play around with the design of their website – changing the fonts and colors of the template. In October of that year, Webnode deployed the Czech shipping method Zásilkovna. Moreover, we launched other design options in the CMS – buttons, images, web layouts, forms, and product listings – which are all customizable.
Okay, but what happened in the last two years? From the beginning of 2021, users have been able to activate automatic backups. In May of that year, we informed you about the addition of a product search field. Additionally, Webnode launched many new e-shop functions, within the business plan. The Business plan offers automatic invoicing, editing automatic notifications, or multiple currencies.
In September 2021, developers added advanced cookie options and an additional header bar, where you can set a language and currency switcher, contact information, and social network icons. The Klarna payment method was implemented in October 2021.
In 2022, Webnode increased the storage available to its users and added a spacing block and FAQ section. Developers also finished a premium security feature and extended site search. Is that all? Not even close! In 2022, Webnode designers set a new record in the number of newly released templates. There are currently 178 templates to choose from. You can read more about Webnode’s best of 2022.
And 2023? Over 15 years, on Webnode platform was created 45 million websites! Naturally, there are a bunch of new functions this year. Users can use the move and copy section feature, Google Tag Manager ID or Conversion Tracking for Heureka, and add unit prices to their e-shops. You can find everything you need to know for setting these functions up, purchasing premium services, and more in our knowledge base. What is next?
“Right now, we are working on a big thing – migration of Webnode 2.0 projects to the project cluster in Amazon with the aim of speeding up the site’s functionality even more and switching to the most modern system. This year we are on a roll.”Hynek Lípa, Developer
Number of websites created over the years