uCoz is the Swiss army knife of website creation: its unique system of highly customizable modules empowers users to create different kinds of websites in short order. The secret weapon of uCoz, to my mind, is the flexibility of the platform: it is simultaneously a Do-It-Yourself and Code-It-Yourself site builder. Let me fill you in: in addition to the ready solutions (templates, modules, widgets etc.), uCoz lets customers use their own scripts and templates, while most website builders don’t open up the codes.
We recently had a chance to interview Evgeny Kurt, uCoz CEO, and get his thoughts on the site builder’s current position in the market and where it’s going next.
SWB: Hello Evgeny, thank you for taking the time to speak with us today. Please tell us a bit about yourself and how you came to be involved with uCoz.
Evgeny: Before turning to web building I have worked for several years with online-shops while earning my attorney’s degree. But my diploma thesis also had to do with domain names, so I would say that my involvement with Internet projects was preordained.
SWB: uCoz has been in the market since 2005. In your opinion, what factors contributed to its stable success?
Evgeny: The most important factor is the perseverance of the people that are involved with it. Ucoz has always been a “problem child”. Obviously the state of the Runet market during our first years was a key factor as well. The competition was rather weak. The free hosting platforms of the nineties were losing ground. There was no money in this niche so few people were interested in developing it. We were at the right time and in the right place with a good product and a determined team.
SWB: Compared to competing site builders, what do you think makes uCoz stand out? Why uCoz?
Evgeny: Well that would be a rather big list, especially if one takes into consideration, that I know more about my product’s capabilities than I do about the others’. But the main difference that was apparent from the start and that became a part of our ideology is the available functionality. We have a load of functions, some of them not even documented. It’s not only the open access to the HTML and CSS files, but the opportunity to use conditional tags, variable codes, API working with PHP scripts. To be honest, that’s taboo for web builders. Keeps us on our toes – sometimes users create things that we didn’t think would work so splendidly on our platform.
At the same time we try to create a nice environment for novices, giving them access to editing and making changes on their sites with no need for specialized skills or studying. This is what most of the users come for and why they value us. I wouldn’t say that we are the best in this particular field. But we are currently putting a lot of work into strengthening it.
SWB: uCoz devs have put a lot of effort into the platform improvement over the past few years. Among all the new features, what was the most complicated thing to implement?
Evgeny: One of the most challenging ones that I can think of would be our recent SEO module’s launch*. We have had to solve several issues, programming being one of the easiest, the high load code optimisation being trickier.
We also spent a lot of time and team efforts on unified identification, uid.me that is now available to all of our users and general public. It allows you to easily create a page that will have your social networks’ contacts all in one place.
SWB: If you could change anything about uCoz by just thinking about it, what would it be and why?
Evgeny: Well, I do have this ability and all the changes that are happening within the product are the result of myself and my colleagues thinking and dreaming about our future. I would wish for the changes to happen sooner, I guess. Lots of new ideas and projects are just waiting for their implementation.
SWB: Are there any major upcoming enhancements that your Team is working on? Can you provide a sneak peek into upcoming uCoz updates?
Evgeny: Well, everyone knows that we are working on full redesign of our control panel. The look and feel of the product will soon change a lot. We are also working on simplification of the web creation process and collaborating on adding partners’ widgets to allow for almost any functionality conceivable for the web.
SWB: Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with us today. Do you have any closing remarks?
Evgeny: I’d like to use the chance to once more stress the importance of doing new things, of taking the risk and embodying your ideas. I won’t say that it’s easy – but creating is the most interesting thing to be doing, and success is just the icing on the cake.
I’d like to thank our users for many years of support. Our success was only possible thanks to their creativity, expertise and loyalty. We’ve got a great Community. And I would really like to thank my team who is hard at work improving uCoz every day.
*Currently, this module is only available to uCoz.ru users.