The Role of Website Builders During the Startup Boom

October 26, 2021

The pandemic has ignited a startup boom. A record 4.3 million new businesses were registered in the United States last year, a 24% increase from the previous year. 

For these entrepreneurs, software tools that exist today make it easier than ever to launch, run and grow their businesses. One such category of tools that is getting renewed attention is website builder software, which provides a platform for creating websites by utilizing templates with drag-and-drop capabilities to customize and maintain a site.

Website builders in the spotlight

Perhaps it’s no surprise that there have been several recent investments in this space. Earlier this year, Microsoft launched its own website builder platform, Smart Pages, website builder Squarespace debuted on the New York Stock Exchange, and Bay Area website builder Webflow became a tech unicorn after a $140 million funding round.

Most recently, Universe, a codeless mobile-first website builder, launched a new version of their grid-based builder in early October 2021. The grid platform gives users a wide grid into which they can drop content, so there is no need for coding. 

The new update, GRID System II, brings improved creative controls along with a more user-friendly graphical interface, which allows for control around block padding in the grid and granular text spacing, which Universe hopes will make website building a more intuitive experience.

Tools like Universe have reduced the website development time from months to days. 

Universe founder, Joseph Cohen, states that the company has seen around 10x growth in the number of users since the beginning of the pandemic. He attributes this growth to an increase in people starting new businesses or side hustles, especially since Universe released selling or shipping capabilities early on in the pandemic. 

What is behind the new business boom?

Economists are unsure if this upward trend in new businesses is here to stay, as the country is reopening after the pandemic lockdown and things are seemingly returning to normal. However, new data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that 2.9% of the entire workforce quit their jobs in August, which some are calling the beginning of the great resignation. This suggests that things aren’t so normal yet and perhaps, the startup surge isn’t temporary.

While layoffs due to the pandemic may be the initial catalyst behind this surge in the founding of new businesses, other factors, such as migration away from cities and flexibility due to hybrid work structures, are also at play. 

These occurrences also indicate an overall cultural shift in perspectives about work, a significant factor that makes this profound shift possible is an increase in technological capabilities. Foundational tasks that would have to be done in-house or by a paid contractor, such as bookkeeping, customer acquisition, marketing, data analysis, and a whole lot more, are now automated through software.

G2 data on website builder software

G2 data offers some insight into interest in the website builder space. Traffic to the Website Builder category on G2 has grown significantly since the beginning of the pandemic, particularly in 2021. Since January 2020, traffic to the category has increased by 335%. 

While website builders can be used by businesses of any size, they are most often used by small and medium-sized businesses. For the 8,500+ reviews for website builder products on G2, the number of reviews is negatively correlated with business size. The table below shows the percentage of website builder reviews attributed to each company size:

bar graph showing percentage of website builder G2 reviews by company size

Software tools like website builders help to create important building blocks for new businesses. With hybrid work becoming the norm, and the great resignation upon us, it’s likely the upward trajectory of startups and entrepreneurs will continue, with many utilizing tools like Universe.

Find the best Website Builder Software, here.

The Role of Website Builders During the Startup Boom As the number of new businesses in the US rise, it’s interesting to evaluate the role of tools like website builders in making this startup surge possible.
Priya Patel Priya is a Senior Research Analyst at G2 focusing on content management and design software. Priya leverages her background in market research to build subject matter expertise in the software space. Before moving back to Chicago in 2018, Priya lived in New Zealand for several years, where she studied at the University of Auckland and worked in consulting. In her free time, Priya enjoys being creative, whether it’s painting, cooking, or dancing.