Mailchimp’s New Website Builder: Where We’re Heading Next

Here’s why we’re creating a website builder for small businesses. Try it out in beta.

A person holding their website
Portrait of Ben

Posted by Ben

• 5 min read

I recently shared a story with employees at Mailchimp about what it was like for me and Dan Kurzius to start our own company in the early 2000s.

About 20 years ago, Dan and I created an internal tool that we used to help our small business clients send out email newsletters. As more clients saw the power of email, we decided to make the app self-serve, delightful to use, and open to the public.

Now, most of you wouldn’t know this, but the name of our little tool was “WeeMailer” (the app was small, fun to use, and collaborative, so “wee” covered all the bases). When I went to buy the domain “WeeMailer” I stopped to reflect a little. “Would we always be small?” Perhaps most importantly, “shouldn’t we exploit the fact that all humans love and adore monkeys?”

I made the decision to buy the domain name, “ChimpMail.” It was taken, so I bought the domain, “Mailchimp.” That one act—purchasing a domain name—is how this 19-year-old, 1,200-employee, multimillion-dollar company came about.

Back then, there wasn’t one place we could go to take our business online, start marketing our products, and grow our customer base. We had to use one provider for our domain, another to host our website, and yet another to do any kind of SEO or direct marketing.

We eventually lost track of the number of different tools we were using to run Mailchimp. It was hard to keep our brand consistent without having one place that it could call home.

We eventually lost track of the number of different tools we were using to run Mailchimp. It was hard to keep our brand consistent without having one place that it could call home. And from growing up around small businesses, Dan and I knew we weren’t alone in our experience.

Why websites?

Back in May, we introduced Mailchimp as an all-in-one Marketing Platform. Our mission has always been to help small businesses succeed by giving them the tools they need to market smarter and grow.

But we also want to give entrepreneurs everything they need to get their business ideas off the ground. Adding websites and domain registration to our platform is a big step forward.

We decided to develop a website builder that will integrate seamlessly with your emails, landing pages, signup forms, social posts, and ads. It even comes with a built-in signup form, so you can build an audience of people who want to hear more about your brand right from the start.

And we’re giving you access to our website builder while it’s in beta, so you can help make it just what you need.

websites beta email 4

Learning what our customers need

Dan and I know that starting a business means navigating a lot of uncertainty and doubt. But we wanted to dig a little deeper to find out what entrepreneurs need when it comes to building a website.

So, what did we do?

  • We worked with a research firm to survey over 500 small business owners about their startup experience
  • We tested some concepts to help us figure out what entrepreneurs who are just starting a business would want or need from a website builder
  • We invited a small group of new customers to try out our first iteration of the builder and help us figure out what we should do next

From our research study, we not only found that 31% of respondents ranked marketing as their biggest challenge, but they also told us that they wished they started promoting their businesses sooner.

This was just the insight we needed: We envisioned a website builder created for marketing, because that’s what entrepreneurs need most when they start a business.

We envisioned a website builder created for marketing, because that’s what entrepreneurs need most when they start a business.

With built-in signup forms, social posts and ads, email and landing pages, and a content studio to keep all your design assets at hand, you’ve got what you need to start marketing your business before you even launch.

The future of our website builder

We’re just getting started with our new website builder, and we can’t wait for you to try it out and let us know how it goes. Your feedback will help us make the builder even better.

Now you’ve got the tools you need to create and host a website in the same place you manage all your marketing channels:

After the beta period, your website and domain still belong to you. We’ll be adding new functionality like SEO tools, integrated pop-up forms, in-depth reporting, and more.

To bring it back to the beginning, this all started with the name, “Mailchimp.” Now that we offer websites and domain purchasing, we want other future world-changing companies to start with Mailchimp, too.