You have an idea — for a blog, or an e-commerce site, or a campaign to drive users to your new service. You write the copy, create visuals, and plan social media posts — but you need one last thing: a website.
Unfortunately, most web projects, even simple ones, can take weeks or even months to complete and usually require a technologist. If you’re a marketer, you often have to outsource.
“From a developer’s perspective, I always knew what a website was, I always understood what a web page was. But what I didn’t understand until then was what it meant to a marketer, from that perspective,” says Pledger. “And once we learned about that, I thought it was interesting to see this disconnect. You had these multiple website builders and CMS systems — but why do you need multiple systems to make a really simple page, so simple that I could probably code it up in a couple of days?”
“This was all a symptom to a larger problem,” says Pledger.
Pledger says that the current web management system is a clunky relic of an earlier Internet age. But now, in the age where SEO and social media reign, it’s become outdated — and is overly complex.
“The way people navigate the web is completely different than it used to be,” says Pledger.
“The whole idea of a home page made sense back when Yahoo was just a directory of homepages. That was the starting point — you would type in a URL and go to the website. But now, search and social media are the new home pages. There are so many entry points.”
So, with a team of technical founders that had worked together on other startups and consulting jobs for years, Pledger set out to build a solution. The result was Landing Lion, an intuitive and fast platform that Pledger says can make anyone a website builder.
A simple landing page generator like Unbounce or Instapage, which right now are Landing Lion’s main competitors, may be fairly easy to use, but create pages that float by themselves in cyberspace.
Unlike those services, Landing Lion integrates search and data-rich analytics into each page, allowing marketers to track any organic and paid traffic to see how well their campaign is performing.
This version of the product is available for free as long as you keep the Landing Lion branding on the page. Once you remove that branding (which Pledger says any company will have to do), the product moves to a paid version — users pay on a subscription based on the site’s reach and number of visitors. It also integrates with Mailchimp, so marketers can manage their email and website campaigns at the same time.
They’re already got almost a thousand users on the platform, with about 10 percent of those paid. And they’re growing at an average of 35 percent revenue growth month-over-month since March.
But the startup is planning much more. Their product roadmap eventually aims to scale to take on larger Content Management Systems, such as WordPress and Squarespace, to help companies transition over their entire website to Landing Lion’s improved interface.
Pledger says the ultimate goal is to end the current practice of being forced to use 5 different tools to manage one company’s website. Landing Lion could be used for an e-commerce section, blog, homepage and more.
“It’s like a web page is a web page is a web page. You don’t just use Illustrator to build brochures; it’s for brochures and posters and invitations and everything else. There needs to be a website builder that works the same way — it’s for an event page or a website page or an e-commerce site or a blog post,” says Pledger.
But the team isn’t in a rush. It’s taken them two years to even get to this point, despite the fact that Pledger, a Georgia Tech graduate, is one of four technical co-founders (another is his dad) on a current team of 10. Almost every single member of the team has coding responsibilities.
They’ve taken this much time because of their intentionality, says Pledger. They built the entire foundation of the platform from scratch, refusing to use components of anyone else’s product.
“That’s the big thing our competitors haven’t done in a while — rethink the entire component architecture. It’s all still the same basic text and images. We want to create integrated components, carousels, things that you haven’t even seen yet,” says Pledger.
“It’s a crowded space, but there’s a reason why there’s no clear winner,” says Pledger.
They’re also closely watching the reactions of their users.
“There’s this emotional reaction that we get. It’s a visceral reaction which is just this sense of pride. And it’s also this sense of empowerment, where people are like, this is the one thing in my day job where I was locked,” says Pledger.
“Our tool allows them to blow past through that. We’ve had marketers say, I built 10 pages in a morning.”
Landing Lion is currently raising a pre-seed round to continue scaling the product development, and plans to raise a heftier seed round spring of next year to execute on their full vision.