I’ve been working on a problem for about a year and a half, and the first attempt at a solution is in the wild.
It’s called Evermore.
It’s designed to give people the power of open source (favorable licensing, community, broad platform support, etc.) without forcing them to learn about FTP, SSH, MySQL, PHP, SSL, and all the other complicated acronyms. Just pick a theme (or don’t, or request a quick consult), sign up, and wait for us to spin up a site for you within 24 hours or so. It’ll come to you completely configured and ready for your content. Security and caching and hosting configuration and all that is done for you.
Further, I wasn’t kidding when I talked about cancellation as a feature. I think it’s crucial, and it’s built right into Evermore. When you’re ready to move on, we help you do so. You’ll get all the files and information you need to take your website to almost any host in the world. We’ll suggest hosts to you based on your needs. There’s no contract, so you won’t be out a bunch of money.
This approach wouldn’t matter if we didn’t structure the business of running Evermore to support it. Here are a few core tenets that give us room to relentlessly pursue creating a product that will serve people well.
Not for Everyone
I spent the entire year of 2013 researching this concept, talking to people, and running a very private pilot program with a few clients. My original hypothesis was confirmed over and over again that whole year: there’s a huge gap between easy-to-use platforms for websites (e.g. Squarespace, WordPress.com) and hosting your own website.
Yes, WordPress has a Famous 5-Minute Install, but that’s only if you already understand the elements of a LAMP/LEMP stack.
Yes, WordPress is free and open source, and so are countless plugins, but that doesn’t mean they can’t become costly if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Yes, WordPress has countless themes to choose from, but you may not know how to vet code to ensure proper performance and SEO.
Evermore gives you all the power that comes with open source without asking you to learn new technology. It’s built for people who that concept will benefit most. You can’t upload your own themes and plugins, and you can’t edit the code of anything—thus, no one can accidentally break your site. Since Evermore has a particular selection of themes and plugins, the hosting environment can stay optimized instead of worrying about supporting bad code.
So, it’s not for developers. It’s not for huge companies. It’s not for people who think their website isn’t worth much of anything.
It’s for people and businesses who want to grow, and want to do so by focusing on content—not server architecture, caching configuration, or what SFTP is.
Safe from Failure
I’m proud to be working on this with my friend and business partner, Kyle Bowman. We’ve structured Evermore so that it’s profitable at any scale (including right now, with a handful of customers). That’s good for everyone, because it means that we’ll continue to support customers and improve our services. And, if we find that it doesn’t solve the problem we hoped it does—thus staying at a smaller scale—no one is ever at risk. It doesn’t have to be shut down, because it’s simply well-configured WordPress. Cancellation as a feature comes into play once again, and everyone’s data is always their own.
Instead of trying to have the perfect product from day one, we’ve chosen to move forward with the most important pieces of the product and wait for feedback on things we’re not sure about. It’s easy to make way too many assumptions about customers before customers even exist at all. Instead, we’ll maintain an open line of communication with folks using Evermore, and value their input over our own assumptions or the suppositions of other people.
We baked these tenets in because we’re more concerned with helping our customers grow than we are with growing our company. We hope one of these three things happens:
- We effectively ease a pain point for our customers and continue to grow
- Others take what we’re doing and do it better
- We find out that this approach doesn’t solve the problem we’re trying to solve, and we can be a part of the solution because of what we’ve learned