Hosted Sitebuilder Trends To Watch in 2011

Crystal ball - Photo: BBMat / Flickr

With the holidays long over, we’ve taken the first few weeks of 2011 to discuss and look at what we think are trends to watch in the new year.

We’ve listed three areas that we expect will see major developments in the coming 12 months.

The Rise of Mobile
The Rise of Mobile - Apple iPad 2up

We reported in 2010 on both Weebly and Moonfruit announcing their commitment to stronger support for mobile and tablet platforms.
Expect this trend to continue for both viewing sites and for editing, including along the lines of the WordPress iOS app.

Stronger Design Customization Options

Customize Design

Design customization options with different hosted sitebuilders are currently pretty much all over the place, from limited options to set a typeface and size, to the extensive control that the likes of DrupalGardens or SiteKreator offer.

Although we will probably continue to see some platforms cranking out more and more templates, our bet is firmly on high-quality designs combined with stronger customization options for users. Sitebuilders like SquareSpace and SiteKreator already offer extremely high-quality templates that are virtually indistinguishable from handcrafted designs. Add to that well-thought-out customization options, and we’re sure to see remarkable sites being produced using hosted sitebuilder solutions.

Total Applification

Total Applification - Photo: Darren Hester

Most sitebuilders already cover all the basic functionality. The truly interesting development is in how new features will be added. Sure, you can continue to just bolt on new features, we think applications (or widgets if you like) will be the preferred choice for 2011. Many platforms, including WordPress, Yola, Wix and SquareSpace, already use applications or widgets. But all these closed format: users can not create and upload their own functionality. So far the only exception has been SiteKreator, which released a developer kit for its application platform earlier in 2010.

Our prediction for 2011 is that we will see more hosted sitebuilder platforms opening their application platform for user-created applications, possibly even leading to the appearance of app stores for hosted platforms.

What do you think will be the trends to watch in 2011? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo: bb_mat / Flickr

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