December 9, 2019

Announced HTML export. I'm panicking! 😬

Alexander Isora 🦄 @alexanderisora

I've just announced the most desired feature ever - HTML export. I understand why people want this: it is much cheaper to host an exported website somewhere else (e.g. AWS S3). This requires a huge amount of time to edit something, you do not get updates, but yes - it is definitely cheaper, especially if you need dozens of websites.

From one side I'm happy and excited to deliver a feature many people want. After all, this is the mission of Unicorn Platform - to provide high-end landing pages to startups. And HTML export helps to do it.
But on the other side - honestly - I'm a little scared everyone will cancel their subscriptions and switch to a self-hosted solution. This will be a strike to the project, hopefully not so huge since it is still an amateur and vulnerable to huge turbulence.

Anyway, my job is to provide an A-grade service. Now I will work even harder to ship more epic features and attract more paid clients in the future. I believe if I bring good service everything will be fine 🙃

  1. 9

    Nice work getting a new feature out in the wild. If you are worried about people exporting and churning, I'd really put a lot of work into making your hosting better than the competitors. I know this sounds a lot easier than it actually is, but I'd see if you could do things like auto add an SSL certificate, ensure your hosting is wicked fast, etc..

    Once you are sure your hosting is damn good, I'd really make sure to let your users know this. On the export page, you could have a little message "Heads up! We see you are trying to export your template to HTML, did you know that our hosting is extremely fast? We have proven that users convert X% more when using our super fast hosting! P.S. Hosting is already included in your package." I think leadpages had a message similar to this on their export page. I was planning on hosting the site myself, simply because I just thought that was the way the world worked. After seeing that message I decided to just use their hosting.

    1. 3

      You are so right, Shane.

      Being a developer, I tend to forget that solving those geeky hosting problems such as CDN, auto SSL, caching, gzipping, taking care of 100% uptime and lowest response lag actually requires skills, time and money. Even though my test page is scored 96/100 in Google Speed Insights, I still see room for improvements and can reduce loading time even more.

      After I baked 100 cakes baking the 101 one is an easy-peasy lemon squeezy task for me. But my first cake was actually "difficult-difficult lemon difficult".

      I will drag the attention of my users to this. And of course, continue to provide high-standard service. Which I believe is the key to success.

      Thanks for your message! 🙏

    2. 1

      This. If the hosting is good enough, I doubt I would recommend my clients to switch away from using Unicorn hosting, for my sake and for theirs. It's just so convenient!

  2. 3

    Hey Alex, congratulations on releasing a brand new feature :) In regards to your concerns: I don't think you should be worried if the majority of your target is non-tech savvy, instead if you're also serving developers and agencies, it could be a problem!
    Maybe you could limit the feature for just yearly-plan, so they don't run away after they created the website :)

    1. 3

      Hey David. Thanks for your wisdom. Limiting the export to a yearly plan sounds reasonable and fair. I will monitor the export activity and maybe consider some limitations. I will keep you suggestion in mind 😺

  3. 2

    Congrats on the release Alex! I find your customer service a great one, and I think it would be a reason for people to stay.

    1. 1

      Hey Alonso. Thanks for the warm words.
      I really spend 25% of my work time supporting customers (both free and paid). I believe this adds value 🙃 And it is also fun to help!

  4. 2

    Good luck Alex! I initially wanted to export so I could host the landing page on my own server, without using a subdomain (maybe you don't need to do this? I'm not knowledgable on domain hosting), and also customise more..but with the blog feature coming, I no don't see a major benefit of export - Unicorn Platform will be the marketing site, and I host my app separately

    1. 2

      I initially wanted to export so I could host the landing page on my own server, without using a subdomain (maybe you don't need to do this? I'm not knowledgable on domain hosting)
      Unicorn Platform will be the marketing site, and I host my app separately

      It is a common practice to host a landing page (marketing site) on the root domain (my-project.com) and the service (app) on a subdomain (app.my-project.com or dashboard.my-project.com).
      However, you can connect any subdomain to Unicorn Platform and use e.g. hi.my-project.com as a landing page and host the app on the root domain.

      1. 1

        Thanks for the clarification. I think Unicorn platform is going to be better as the main root domain if it evolves into a CMS 🙌🏽 - I think it's better for SEO to have the marketing page as the main one, and the app as subdomain

  5. 2

    Hope all goes well for you. I like the landing page. It looks amazing.

    1. 1

      Hey Mido, thanks for the compliment ✌️

  6. 2

    Huge fan and current user. No need to panic. This feature gives potential users peace of mind. This will boost the confidence of potential users who are on the fence.

    Giving them that feeling that they can export their content to another platform in case your platform pivots or goes away (Am sure that wouldn't happen), will definitely boost sign up. KUDOS!

    1. 2

      You are so right, Justin. I forgot, that trust is important when one chooses a website builder 😬 And an ability to have a tangible backup anytime boosts the trust. Thanks for dragging my attention to this!

      1. 1

        No prob. LOVE your platform.

  7. 2

    Congrats on the release. I'm a big fan of your stuff, and I'm curious to see how this affects my usage.

    Some quick thoughts/initial reactions:

    • this might cause some churn, with the product as-is. I currently have 2 websites on Unicorn. One doesn't really get updated (and I don't foresee it being updated often), so I don't see why I would keep it there. The other site gets updated more, so I wouldn't want the hassle of exporting/re-exporting;
    • the product seems cheap enough that I'm not necessarily motivated to churn despite it being cheaper to put a static export on Netlify for free. I mean, it's cheap enough, I'm not that price-sensitive, and it's nice to have the option to quickly edit something;
    • one thing that comes to mind, which could help keep people from self-hosting, is something like A/B testing. Even if a website doesn't update content much, you might still want to run tests on copy/CTAs

    Good luck! Still a big fan of the product (10/10 NPS right here), and can't wait to see what other great cool features are coming down the road 🚀

    1. 2

      Hello Jki! Thanks for the kind words 🦄

      Also big thank you for sharing your motivation. I really needed this and sincerely appreciate you input 🙏 I can only suppose what my clients really think so when they share what is in their mind - this is absolutely priceless.

      Some killer features such as A/B testing, blogging, smart mockups will definitely increase the value of the product. All those are already on the roadmap: https://trello.com/b/P5mOquUI/unicorn-platform-product-roadmap

      can't wait to see what other great cool features are coming down the road
      I will do my best to keep providing new features and improve the product. I plan to stay flexible and open to suggestions.

  8. 2

    For what it's worth, I'm a developer and know servers/hosting, but I would always rather someone else take care of that for me.

    Plus, look at Webflow. They let you export code, and people need to know that to feel comfortable committing to the platform, but it certainly doesn't seem like churn is a problem for them.

    Sounds like you've got the hosting skills to boast a few stats, too, so I agree with the other comments about calling attention to that!

    1. 1

      Sup Drew.

      I'm a developer and know servers/hosting, but I would always rather someone else take care of that for me.
      There are dozens of details in hosting static pages. But even all of them are handled, the page edition still sucks. Especially when you need to add an edition on all pages. E.g. add a new link in the footer 😒

      Plus, look at Webflow. They let you export code, and people need to know that to feel comfortable committing to the platform, but it certainly doesn't seem like churn is a problem for them.
      I did not know they allow HTML export. I think I need to research my competitors more carefully. Thanks!

      Sounds like you've got the hosting skills to boast a few stats, too, so I agree with the other comments about calling attention to that!
      👍

  9. 2

    Hey @alexanderisora, Really great product. I am not going anywhere for now :)

    1. 1

      Hello Karthik. I'm really glad to hear that 🦄

  10. 2

    What would be dope, is offering your users the ability to consistently updating their landing page using your app and your UI while continuously deploying new versions on the hosted environment they want.

    Technically it must be hard to do, but that could be dope. I think this what Forestry kind of offer but for blog generated with Hugo etc ...

    You could APIfy the export of the website, and allow user to configure webhook on every update ? I'd see a lot of value in this.

    Just my 2 cents :)

    Good luck and good job!

    1. 2

      That would be truly dope. I have added this to the to-do list, thanks! It is not the priority at this moment though.

      Do you mind if I will contact in the future you when I begin developing this feature to ask you more ideas about this functionality?

      1. 1

        No problem at all!

  11. 2

    Really nice product, I'll give it a try! And... everything with a Unicorn is cool!

    1. 3

      I love unicorns too 🙌
      They are intelligent, powerful and elegant. What a combination!

  12. 1

    This might actually lower a barrier to entry for some people who want to use your service. I'm always reluctant to use anything that locks me in, so you may find that you gain more customers than you lose.

    1. 1

      I believe this Eric!

      I hate myself when someone limits me. All social networks and SaaS wants you to be attached to them tightly. This is a part of their business - I understand it. But the understanding does not remove the hate :)

  13. 2

    This comment was deleted 4 months ago.

    1. 1

      Sup Alex ✌️

      I had been building a non-subscription business in the past. I must say it is way more stressful to maintain. Simply because it is unpredictable.
      Maybe it is just me who is not flexible and courageous enough 😺 By the predictable income from a SaaS gives you the freedom to create more awesomeness for your users.

      As you say, if you bring good service everything will be fine! 🙌
      The main rule of life.

      1. 2

        This comment was deleted 4 months ago.

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