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Launchaco – Instantly generate a responsive, free, website (launchaco.com)
929 points by marclave on Dec 7, 2016 | hide | past | favorite | 164 comments

This is interesting. I'm blind, and while I can think of ideas for products/side projects, designing a nice-looking website is such a huge momentum-killer. I mean, I know that I could just focus on features, keep the site design simple, and build a good design later. Then I visit <insert random Show HN here>, and half the comments are about how some UI element or other breaks on some combination of browser or other, and the last thing I want is to have my idea dismissed because it's ugly. I thought Bootstrap would help with this, but when my sighted GF takes one look at my attempts at site design, her first comments revolve around lack of color, and I don't even know where to begin with that. And yes, I know about themes, but sometimes that feels like I'd have to make my idea fit the theme, whereas this seems to let me pick and choose what elements I want.

Unfortunately, when asked to select a hero block, I'm greeted with a series of images. Would you consider adding alt attributes to these? If I knew roughly what they looked like, I could probably pick and choose something semi-appropriate for a given project. I don't know what other issues I'm likely to hit, but I'd be interested in providing additional feedback if this at all seems like a viable direction.

Also, just noticed I can't select a hero block via the keyboard. Items aren't tab-focusable and keyboard-selectable. Maybe this won't work at all for me, but I'd really like something between "Here's a fully-formed theme" and "Here's a completely inaccessible website builder that gives you a blank canvas and assumes you don't want to touch the final HTML." :) If anyone knows of anything like that, please do share.

Thank you for this enlightening comment, and apologies that our website isn't more accessible. We'll be looking in to this through out the day and will try to add some better html to accommodate for anyone who may be in a similar boat to you. I'm really sorry we didn't think about this stuff up front, and will do my best to from here on out.

No worries, I get that we're probably not a demographic you've considered, and like I said, I don't even know if in the end this tool will work for me.

To give you an idea of what I'm thinking of, I've looked into https://github.com/dennybritz/neal-react (unfortunately the hosted demo appears to no longer be up.) I'm sure this will bring out the "JavaScript shouldn't be abused like this!" haters, and I'm not the biggest React fan, but I like that I can position a few high-level components without having to think "I need 2 divs, one that's a panel, one that's X width and another 12-X, etc." Granted, I've never built anything with this React library and don't even know if it looks good, but it's closest to what I want in a page design system. Just give me a few high-level blocks that are responsive and look good, and I'll go from there.

I recently read a really great book about issues similar to this called "politics of design". Making things more accessible to everyone honestly really excites me. I hope that every time I ever make something I get called out on all of it's accessibility flaws. So thank you for bringing it to light :)

This probably sounds idiotic, but I am so wildly inspired by how much more coherent your presence, even here on HN is, as opposed to people who can see. Big up and I hope you have all the success you seek

It's a common sentiment on HN that degradability and accessiblity are time and money wasters that have no real value since screenreaders can handle JavaScript now.


Please run your site though an accessibility validator like ACA. At the very least make sure all images have an alt attribute! I feel like so many devs ignore accessibility even though it's not really that hard.

It really tends to me an afterthought. A lot of places that i've worked for, accessibility is never factored with estimates. If it does make it, it's a rushed job, or it never makes it and after few complaints, it's added as needed.

I am a software developer/engineer/<whatever the new fad is>, and i am the only "computer guy" in the family. So i've been tasked to create a website for a bakery startup. I couldn't agree more with the previous comment, about creating a website as being a momentum killer!

So when i saw this, my initial thoughts were, hmmm another one of 'those' sites. However i'm pleasanlty surprised, sure the elements aren't perfect, and the colours could be more varied, but it's an almost complete site. Replace the graphics, the fonts and text, i'm good to go! I just need to focus on the content and not the boiler plate crap.

Thank you!

>designing a nice-looking website is such a huge momentum-killer

I agree. The simplest designs are the most visually appealing ones. I can honestly say that using a website that has better accessibility is nicer than one that is "pretty". Is there a way for you to print out your designs on a 3D medium so you can feel them? The spacing is way more important to the appeal than color.

>I don't even know where to begin with that

There are color swatches you can use and the correct colorization can be determined mathematically. Check out some of Google's guideliness at https://material.google.com/style/color.html#color-color-pal...

I skipped past a big swatch list because I think it could be annoying in a screen reader.

I implore you to keep designing websites. The fact is that designers focus way too much on the benign aspects of design and not enough on the ease of use and the mathematics that make them look good. If you focus on those aspects, you can make a great design.

I would personally stay away from most of the colors in material design. They're very bright and distracts the user from the actual content. My eyes still have to adjust whenever I see the conspicuous red navbar in the new gmail app.

But do take a close look at the text and background section. It's extremely useful for almost anything you design.

> They're very bright and distracts the user from the actual content.

Totally! Your comment gelled a few things that always bothered me about material design. It's like they toss many of the colour conventions we've spent a lifetime building.

But if you stick to more neutral colours, the design guidelines are probably fine.

We are, after all, reading and commenting on a site that renders almost identically in Lynx and Firefox.

You know, I have no idea how to make stuff more accessible. If you don't mind, could you tell us about how you browse the web, so others like me can make our content more universally accessible? Any recommended resources for that kind of design?

Since any software or training materials sold to the us government must be accessible-compatible, you can search for Section 508 information as well.


The basic stuff, like adding alt tags to images that have meaning and "skipnav", so readers can choose to skip directly to the content of a page without re-reading the navigation, are actually pretty straight forward to implement.

After you retrofit a site once, you'll find these things don't add much time as you incorporate them into the process the next time.

>You know, I have no idea how to make stuff more accessible.

It's actually more about not disabling the accessibility features which so many web designers do. They're all built in and meant to work almost seamlessly alongside your design process, but people disable them because they are so self-centered they can't conceive of how someone with a disability might feel using their website.

Accessibility has been built in to the web for a very long time. The design process is "If I were blind, would I still be able to use this website? If I had mobility issues, would I be able to use this website?" Then you address those uses cases.

- What happens if I can't see this image?

- What happens when I disable focus hints and keyboard shortcuts?

- What happens if someone needs larger or smaller text on the page?

It's not a "kind of" design. It's just being considerate to other people's situations.

There's heaps of resources out there, but honestly, just download something like NVDA (it's an open source Screen Reader) and try it for yourself, first hand.

are there any 'touchable' monitor that renders pixel-as-depth yet?

Be a web dev for a UK company - I believe they're required by law to have certain minimum accessibility standards :)

But really, the magic word you're looking for is "accessibility" (or "a11y" (eleven, not LL)) - spend an afternoon with that word and your favourite web search site.

You think it's because you're blind? I'm sighted and I have the same problem! I can't design anything worth a damn...

Have you considered Bootswatch?


It's a light set of styles that are applied over top of standard Bootstrap. If you buy a full "Theme" from Envato or where ever, even it's "Bootstrap Based" it is generally so stuffed full of random js libs and heavily customized that it's hard to work with.

I have, and it's nice, but I like installing Bootstrap via NPM/some other package manager so I can track new versions and include its JS components, and I wish these shipped as a diff or something so I could install stock Bootstrap and pull in the changes. I'm unsure what would happen if I used NPM to install stock Bootstrap, then included the modified stylesheet after. If I could see, I'd just try it myself and see what happened. Thanks for reminding me of these themes!

Two thoughts:

1. It should "just work" to load via NPM and then later include the bootswatch theme afterwards.

2. If you use the LESS/SASS file compilation it will work as well, the Bootswatch variables will just replace the base Bootstrap ones.

Hey person of the world, I truly appreciate this comment. Please keep on keeping on, so many kudos to you. As a developer, I oath to pay more attention to my development practices in the future. I feel bad, but honestly, I'd never considered the ramifications of an alt tag in the context you mention. I'm sure there are so many ways I could make the any website I develop more user friendly, but they are just things some people, including myself, take for granted. Please create a github.io page listing in what ways webpages/apps can be improved. It's not about market growth, for me, it's about exclusion... and that be bullshit. Hit me up with a link if you do. I for one, would be indebted.

I'm not sure, are you now looking for something that does more or less than Bootstrap?

While Bootstrap isn't a silver bullet in general, it's surely great if you don't want to write CSS, or only where necessary. And you can always build on top of that.

And needless to say, tastes vary wildly: I once started a side project with someone who was virtually my taste counterpart - he liked everything I found ugly and vice versa. So maybe you should get a second opinion on your designs... :P

It would be awesome to see a service that just offered user testing with feedback like you just gave.

I have no idea how big that market is, but I suspect a lot of developers are like myself - not opposed to making a site more accessible but clueless about where to start.

I'm thinking user groups like colorblind users and blind users. I'm sure I am missing more groups, so sorry for my ignorance upfront.

These are the first groups that came to mind. They may not all seem applicable all of the time but I would argue that making your site accessible to as many of these people as possible would improve the experience of all of your users.

- Partially sighted users that are not technically literate enough to use assistive technologies.

- People with physical impairments that affect their ability to use input devices and may also dictate the types of device they can use.

- People with low levels of technical literacy.

- People with poor literacy in the language of the site.

- People with dyslexia, not forgetting those with poor working memory or slow processing speed.

- People with dementia.

- People with a host of other mental and cognitive disorders.

There are many companies/organisations who can do accessibility auditing. Business is brisk at the moment due to recent regulations in the US (mainly US DoT).

I've been through various audits with System Concepts in the UK, Annanpura in Finland, and opendoorsnfp in the USA.

Well, I would think even with Launchaco, designing websites is hard if you are completely blind because this tool does not take away the task of choosing colors. Also, I have tried downloading the site and it does not look the same as the preview.

Have you considered collaborating with a sighted person who is making the website for your project?

Going a bit off topic here: would a chrome/firefox extension that adds alt tags to images using AI be useful for you?

There are quite some api's that guess tags and descriptions for images. This doesn't look very complicated and might make inaccessible websites a bit more usable for you.

This is really interesting...we are furiously refectoring our site to make it more accessible....u r comment could not have come at a better time for me.

Brilliant execution and so refreshing to just be given everything needed at the end rather than a download link via email. Throw in an optional donation button (so people can tip you $20, $50, $100, $150, etc) and careful hosting upsells to make it painless and this will become a solid earner. Well done and good luck - you're on the right track.

Thanks for the kind words. We honestly would rather people's emails then any money at all. We're working really hard to make good design more accessible, and monetization will certainly come down the line! Plus we already make a bit of money with our other tool listed on the website :)

Love the instant download as well (and everything else). One suggestion though - avoid using "download.zip" for the file name... that gets easily lost in a sea of downloads. Maybe use launchaco_template.zip or if they enter a company name, maybe something like launchaco_<company name>.

Kudos, brilliant idea and great execution! Perfect for those "blitzkrieg" sites. I love it how the page is easily entered, works fast, is small and is still nice looking.

I tried using it now and there are a few suggestions I have:

1) clicking "Let's do it" does nothing, if you are already on the "Build a website" page and the content is empty - it would be better if top <div> hid itself at least partially, or if bottom content animated itself into existance (replayed animation or sth. like that).

2) it would be nice to have an option to clean the page and start with new one (by the way, where do you save the data? I tried deleting everything I could think of and you still presented me the same page I entered... :) )

3) once the page is finished, I would like to share it with people from marketing - it would be nice if you offered a way to share the page through a randomized link

4) great work on emojis, though the selection is somewhat limited. You could probably reach a deal with flaticon.com to allow adding their icons. You could even get a referral fee for the subscriptions if someone wanted to get rid of the copyright statement.

5) selecting text with mouse doesn't work, which is a bit annoying (FF)

6) images are scrollable on lower resolutions instead of being downsized (is this on purpose?)

7) editing. I know, probably not doable, just saying...

But feel free to ignore any of the suggestions, I like the site the way it is too. :)

It doesn't have to be an either/or thing, especially if it's presented as an option to tip rather than to purchase!

Exactly. I'm a web designer/developer and even I could use something like this as a shortcut for a job. If it saves me a few hours of stuffing around, then $20-100 as a voluntary tip is an easy decision. Still free for third world businesses or students or tightarses, but at least gives people an option of saying "Thanks, this was worth it."

And while I can grab the files and set up my own hosting, being able to hit a button, enter card details and have everything done automatically would be powerful. Every web developer inevitably does quick jobs on the sides for friends and family, and making that process pain-free would be useful.

Agreed. I may use your other products, but I WILL use this and I amp happy to throw $10-$50 at you for it. Incredible work.

I disagree, donation buttons are useless, you might get 1 donation out of hundred thousand visitors, but is it worth it?

Is it worth what? The one minute you spend dropping a Stripe Checkout button on your site? Yes, yes it is.

I don't like them personally, but if they're pitched right and as an optional payment ("Pay what it's worth to you") I think this would be the right place for it. I'd have three suggested amounts - $10, $40 and $80. If the incoming funds are paltry, spend them on office treats, end of year lunch, something like that.

I agree. there are lots of these out there and this one is well done.

Really fantastic UI. And I LOVE party parrot at the end. Made me smile.

Depending on your target audience, I'd love to see some tooling to help with a signup form. Maybe offer some integration options (and an affiliate link) for Mailchimp or something else?

I'd also love the ability to easily create multiple pages linked to each other within the app. Sure I can create separate pages, but would be nice to have that done for me and add some basic organization.

Overall this is really awesome. Would love to know more about what technology you used to build this, why you built it, and what your future product/monetization plans are.

>>Really fantastic UI. And I LOVE party parrot at the end. Made me smile.

Agreed. Really nice touch.

Just to get all view points in. I hated it, made the site feel unprofessional at a crucial moment.

Completely agree. Went from moderately professional to childish meme unexpectedly. Made me question whether there would be party parrot easter eggs in the download.

Once I figured out what was going on, I liked it. But at first, I thought you were really trying to sell me domains the whole time. I thought it was a big marketing page for a hosting/domain service, and did not realize it was actually all editable. You really need to make it clear what is going on if you want to open this to a larger audience.

>...and did not realize it was actually all editable.

This. Speaking for myself, at a pinch I thought this was just a sign-up page, and that the actual designer/editor was not available.

Perhaps, adding something like 'Just click any element to edit' somewhere in the header would make it immediately apparent that its all working and ready to go.

Well I still have no idea. All I can see is a bunch of options which lead to external services, like Twitter, Google Fonts, GoDaddy, etc.

This UI fails miserably at guiding me through any sort of process.

This is fantastic. One argument people will make (just like they did with Bootstrap) is that if every product used something like this, all the webpages would look the same.

To be honest, if all product webpages looked like this, I'd be quite alright with it, because this look great.

Well done!

And the reality is that despite this, the vast majority of people have no idea what Bootstrap is, won't notice, and frankly wouldn't care. Increasingly site design is differentiated by the imagery used as images get elevated in prominence, and that is all you need to differentiate your design many times.

I disagree that people "won't notice". They totally do. The other day my gf (medical field professional, not a "techie") was looking for a good restaurant to go to and, completely unprompted by me, blurted out "OMG why does every freaking restaurant website look the same!?!" (she couldn't keep track of which restaurant was which among her open tabs.)

I think more people notice than we'd like to admit. There just isn't any direct way for them to tell us about it.

I wish restaurants used a clear and consistent format. They can differentiate with their branding, colours, and obviously food photographs. I'd prefer they had a consistent layout!

Too many have shoddy intros, tiny text, difficult to find details and then their beloved PDF menus.

> I wish restaurants used a clear and consistent format. They can differentiate with their branding, colours, and obviously food photographs. I'd prefer they had a consistent layout!

I'm skeptical. If you're trying to choose a steak restaurant to visit, for example, you're saying that you'd easily be able to differentiate grill_1 with "this" picture of a big bloody steak, and grill_2 with "that" picture of a big bloody steak, both in roughly the same position. Doesn't sound plausible to me.

I agree with the principle though, restaurant sites are often terrible, and PDF menus are super annoying.

They'd still have a logo, photos of the interior, different copy and colour schemes. How is it that much more useful to differentiate based on their web design? That only demonstrates a willingness to either spend more on their web site or not interfere with the process.

Colours help, sure, but more differentiation makes them more memorable, and being memorable makes for more repeat business. Marketing wouldn't exist and be so successful if our brains didn't work like that.

Maybe it was the same (overused) restaurant wordpress theme that has nothing to do with Bootstrap? Sites looking similar was an 'issue' well before Bootstrap.

Many wordpress themes are based in bootstrap too.

I honestly enjoy our bootstrap internet. Its like we finally found common terms for ui design and i finally instantly know where things are.

As long as all websites on the internet don't become Medium sites. I'm getting really sick of that look, and all the derivatives that have sprung up.

To be fair, all landing pages already look like this.

The builder works very well once you realize what you're supposed to do. After designing the first block, I didn't realize I had to keep going. Maybe a more apparent CTA would be appropriate?

I'm curious, will you be adding a hosting option for these? Right now they provide a good starting point, but I would love a one-click hosting option so that I can quickly made a page and push it live. The ability to plug in things like Google Analytics token would also be awesome.

We've talked about it in the past, we very well might implement something like this in the future. This is something we are exploring as a future release :) Thanks for that input, the GA plugin would be awesome!

Asking for my email after letting me download my template??

I'm not sure if it is the most effective way to collect emails, but it sure is a good UX. As a reward, I included my email :)

Maybe a candidate for a yet-to-be-built "lightpatterns.org"?

Looks like someone had the intention to start one but hasn't quite gotten there yet:


Although it pleases me that they asked for the email after download instead of before, it bothered me that I couldn't navigate back to the page if I didn't want to include my email without refreshing the page altogether.

This is the most simple and intuitive template builder I have ever played with.

Second that!

Fully agree. Unbounce and other landing page builders should take note. The simplicity of the experience was impressive.

Yes, count me in too!!

Really well done. Few quick questions...

Why not use an off-the-shelf grid system like Bootstrap or Foundation? Would probably make this easier to edit / extend for people already familiar with those layout frameworks.

For SEO... things like Page Title, Meta Description, OG/Sharing Meta Data... those would be good to add somehow. "Click here to add your fav icon / bookmark icon / social share icon / etc." At least adding them as empty fields so people know to add them in manually...

Could you add in semantic elements? Wouldn't take long to add those to the base template... http://www.w3schools.com/html/html5_semantic_elements.asp

Really nice tool, can see a lot of people getting use out of this.

Found 2 minor bugs between the builder and the downloaded version:

Body Styles break with multiple paragraphs - http://imgur.com/YOjjGkB

Emoji break when you change them - http://imgur.com/FE8VUgH

The emoji bug is an encoding issue, add

    <meta charset="utf-8">
to the generated html to fix it (and fix any accented characters issues too)

I was pleasantly surprised this worked as well as it did, without the need for me signing up or providing an email.

We hate having to sign up for things ,we firmly believe you should only ever be on boarded after you get to try out the product and love it :)!

I actually gave you my email address because the site wasn't pressuring me for it.

thank you!


Now THIS is how it should be done! Congrats to author! Where can we pay you? :)

This hits a sweet spot for me because I am in full control of HTML if I want it, but I can still put together a responsive page in literally a minute.

About missing colors and stuff - yeah, it would be nice if we could select background images, set more colors and similar, but that's secondary. Building a responsive skeleton is what this tool does for me, and first impression is great. Kudos!

Nice! Really easy to use and the templates look great. One question though:

> Launchaco website builder is licensed under CC0

Does that mean both the website builder itself and the website you build with it are CC0? And is the source to the builder available anywhere?

Apologies, copy isn't clear there - will deploy a change. The website you download is licensed under cc0, however if there's interest we wouldn't mind open sourcing our builder. It's written in Elm, & go.

Thanks for the clarification! I'd definitely be interested in the source if it were available. Elm looks promising to me and it'd be neat to check out how it was used here.

I personally would love to run this on a local server to fiddle around with. It is seriously fun, and looks like a great fit for a total newbie like me that just wants to mess around.

I would absolutely love to poke around the source code for the builder! Thanks for the awesome tool!

Interesting choices, I would definitely be interested in checking out the code behind it.

@insulinrocks you appear to be shadowbanned

That's odd. I've only mostly lurked here. Does that happen when you're a new poster or something? I've only had a handful of posts. I hope I didn't break any rules.

huh, no, it's weird, i can see some of your comments but the others seem to be dead for no reason.

If you have showdead on and see a dead comment you think is worthwhile, you can click the "vouch" button to reanimate it. That may have happened in some of the cases you're seeing. IIRC, I vouched for https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13126780 after seeing your earlier comment.

I was pleasantly surprised to receive a .zip file with the site after I made it to the bottom, rather than a call-to-action pushing me to sign up for some hosting plan! Well done.

I love this. Also a super fan of the UI. Seamlessly led me to a download button with the source. They've coupled it with an awesome hosting setup process. I can promise you I will use this service for the very next project of mine.

Commoditisation of design cannot come soon enough! ( at least the web design part :) )

So I hit the download button and got a file named download with no extensions. Am I doing something wrong (I didn't change anything just wanted to see what it spits out)?

It's a zip file containing HTML/CSS.

Wow thanks. I've never been more ashamed to say I work with computers every day.

I noticed you posted Launchaco a few months ago. Why do you think this post succeeded in generating traction while the previous failed? Love the product!

Great question, I guess the community feels stronger about this product than the name page. I read your post on "Ask HN: What are some successful products that had a disappointing Show HN?", loved the dropbox comment!

nitpick: please enable HTTPS

I just had some issues on airline wifi because they man-in-the-middle the connection to inject their crappy "flight tracker" menubar and it covered some of the builder controls. That wouldn't happen with SSL and your visitors would be more secure.

I absolutely love this and thats coming from a "professional" web developer.

I gave this to a client of mine to try for one of her personal projects and she was somewhat confused. After I pointed out the steps vs previews, she got the hang of it. But by that time she'd made a bit of a mess with a lot of extra feature blocks/steps.

She wanted a clean slate but it looks like you're storing progress in a cookie. Can we have a reset all?

While I'd love an arbitrary HTML block, the ability to add meta tags, custom fonts, blah blah...don't. If people want that kind of power there's a lot of alternative static site tools/CMS' out there.

Really awesome. Surprised by how much time I spent on there. I noticed when I tried to download it in Safari, it didn't work because I don't think fetch is supported. Would have been good to get a notice about that earlier on. Would also be nice to see what exactly the download button is going to provide (just a zip of HTML/css/JS files I assume?)

Thanks for sharing, will probably come back to this. Happy to sign up for email updates

Refresh your page! Just released a fix for safari :D

Apologies, deploying fix asap!

Love the builder feature! I, too, had a problem downloading in Firefox. It worked fine in Chrome though.

Very interesting. I did loose track of the 4 steps and was confused on how to finish the project.

Agreed, I think there's simple things we can do to help with this. The UX is flawed atm, with out a doubt.

Something like that myself. I wasn't quite sure I believed the page was dynamically updating at first.

This is, like, crazy great anyway. I'm freaked.

Fun fact: Every device is in pure css, this means adding your own app images is dead simple.

Could instructions be added to the site? I was going to add a top level comment to say "Why does every image include the launchaco name?"

Yah good idea, I'll make a readme attached to the download.

Love the builder! Wish I had seen this a week ago.

Holy smokes, this is such a useful tool! For any little updates that could certainly be applied in the future (e.g. adding more accessibility aspects, other color palettes, etc.), the sheer ease and speed with which I was able to create a website was absolutely astonishing, and overshadows any shortfall. I seldom share my email but submitted it in this case, because I believe this is a solid product, and I have this feeling the authors behind this tool really know what they're doing (as far as product dev.). Kudos to the creators! Great job!

This is just what I was looking for! I needed a simple landing page for our startup, and the layouts / design are perfect.

Quick noob question though: Do you have / are you planning to include templates where I can add video (hosted on Vimeo / Youtube) instead of the computer / browser images?

I know I can edit the HTML / CSS files, but my background is statistics / R, and I am wary of mucking up the code and spoiling the layout.

I signed up with my email. Looking forward to seeing where this goes, and would gladly pay for the service as & when you start accepting payments.

Thank you! :)

Nice work! Really like the way you provide color palette instead wild crazy color selector for your user, that simplifies things so much! However, A common problem with this product and a lot of other template based website builders like Squarespace, Weebly, Wix is, you will end up creating so many sites that looks just the same. If you just want a clone, then I have nothing to say. But more customization and more unique intelligent generation certainly needs advanced models other than naive templates.

Second that. Static site generator seems like popular those days. But they don't have much template selections so they end up look similar. Or spend $10 ~ $20 on Themeforrest https://themeforest.net/category/site-templates with nearly infinitely number of options.

Very efficiently done!

Love that you didn't force me with any annoying pop-ups or interfering spaces to ask for email. I gave you anyway, with my 100% will.

Looking forward to your finished product. My girlfriend wants to build a Yoga website to put in all her stuff and promote her private lessons. I was going to build it myself, but your product is so intuitive that I might give her this and ask her to build it herself!

I'm pretty used to being different from most people, but I'm not used to being so utterly different from the hackernews crowd as I feel right now.

Am I seeing a different website than everyone is talking about? All I see is a bunch of different boxes with links, where most links just shove me to some external service (GoDaddy, Twitter, Google Fonts, etc.)

Where's the "website builder"?

Those links and that text are all editable. It's sample content for the layout you're building. A little confusing at first.

Next to their logo at top you can either click at "name your business" or "build your website". I was also confused at first

Doesn't load at all without JavaScript :)

The problem is not that the site doesn't load without JavaScript. The problem is that a very small vocal minority mistakenly think that anyone else gives a damn that they can't surf the Internet with JavaScript turned off.

This looks great but was a little confusing at first. Maybe make it clearer to the user what's going on so they know they're just building their own site.

I think it's nice not to have to enter an email at the end, but you'll miss out on a lot of emails. Maybe provide the prompt to enter an email first, but let them skip it.

This is great - I am literally just finishing a site that looks exactly like this (single product site). I would 100% use this for future things!

I agree about the donation buttons as well - even keep it to micro-donating - you would be surprised at how many people would use it!

whoa this is the fastest product website process ever.

Super cool idea - Though one of my first interactions was to search for an emoji, which failed completely as it deleted my query when I typed more than one letter. (MacOS Sierra, Safari.) Other than that, thumbs up on the delicious UX.

Very cool - I've had ideas for a few sites, but when the time came to create the site and get a half decent design going, I found myself running out of time to work on the actual content. Best of luck to your idea/service

Great idea. This could save me all sorts of wasteful dithering. Looks like it's broken right now. When I try to download, I get a file called "download.txt" which contains the text "Internal Server Error"

would like to point out that the author has not only built a tool that is making a bunch of people happy, but is also responding brilliantly to all comments with a super helpful tone. very cool all around.

That's one of the brilliant service as I have ever tried.

Actually, I'll also consider to pay something to this wonderful service. I think producer should consider about adding premium staff for small prices.

Definitely put that "download" file as "template.zip" or something.

I was baffled getting a file without extension, and Windows 10 didn't see it as a zip, but just a binary blob.

Awesome job! It would be great if you added a pricing feature block.

I haven't even checked the site out (yet, hear me out), but this is one of the most positive reactions I've seen on HN. So congrats on that already.

Could you please make it possible to add more than one social template and more than one footer template, just like you do with the feature blocks?

After you download the generated HTML, you can just copy/paste.

Looks awesome. Have reviewed a ton of website builders and this is one of the easier ones.

Only problem is when I hit the download button the .txt file is blank.

That is indeed a big problem, we're deploying some changes atm that should hopefully fix this. Sorry about that.

Would love to see the conversion rate from visit to creat, visit to download and visit to provide email. I suspect you're going to have a super high email capture conversion because of the value you're giving up front.

When dark theme is activated you cannot see the headings "Name Your Business" or "Build Your Website" on the homepage.

Holy hell this is well done. Congrats.

Shameless plug, I made something related which makes testing out public static sites pretty easy. You can check it out at https://slugex.com/ It also allows you to deploy via the terminal. All you need is bash and curl :)

How do we make money?


Seriously, though. This is an interesting idea, but what's the endgame?

Nice UI. Bad idea to do domain lookups on a site without SSL.

Really good job! It turned out better than most templates.

Very nice. For creating a quick app site, this is perfect!

Great work. Do you have any plans to make it open source?

This. I would love to see this open sourced.

Reason I'm not getting into web development.

I am not sure if building static HTML pages represents the bulk of what web development is about.

(Disclaimer: I am a "web developer")

The other way you could take his comment is he doesn't want to have to build apps like Launchaco. Because they way you interpreted it, which is probably correct, is completely ignorant. Launchaco generates marketing web sites. Web developers build the web apps that some of these marketing sites are trying to sell. It might be a reason not to become a web designer though.

(Disclaimer: I am a "web developer")

Apologies everyone,I didn't mean to offend anyone. I was trying to imply that as these technologies become better (what will they look like in 10 years) being/finding a job as a web developer will only get more difficult. I'm very young and just starting out so when I was planning my career (very recently) I took things like these as warning signs

This is not web development. This is throwing up a static landing page while you build your actual web application.

This is fantastic.

Very Cool. Thank you. Will sign up :)

Find some excited site which you like and fit your business. Right click and there your template done!

looks great! could definitely see myself using this as a starter

Holy shit this is incredible!

T H I S I S E P I C !!!!!

nice product.

great work

Sorry to be negative, but I'm honestly mystified by the complimentary comments.

First, attempting to set up a domain name sends me to some site named shareasale.com. The site is blocked on my system because I'm using the winhelp2002.mvps.org HOSTS file to block shady web sites.

Next, I follow the 4 steps to select the Hero, Feature, Social and Footer templates. How I'm supposed to make an intelligent choice based on the shadowy outlines is beyond me.

Finally, I'm apparently supposed to click the Download... link. This gets me a little "success" message - but the end result is a file called "download" with no extension. Renaming the download to download.zip gives me something to extract which is... a single HTML file plus css and image folders. Clicking on the HTML gives me a local copy of the launchaco main page with no sort of customizations or anything.


Reply to myself... In spite of the downvotes, I'll plow ahead with this.

I see now that you're supposed to "play" with the website and put it into some sort of personally pleasing configuration and download the result. (The download feature still doesn't work properly for me, SORRY.)

People won't be surprised to learn that I'm an older programmer. I found it interesting to see how apparently out of step I am. People seem to like this and I think it cries for more structure and a tiny bit of DOCUMENTATION.

And those CSS/JS files. (f7e531b07478dedf9916.js??) There's no way I'd want to maintain something like this unless it used Bootstrap or some other established system.

So, downvote away. I personally remain unimpressed.

(disclaimed: not tied to Launchaco but I felt compelled to address your points)

#1 - can you provide an example of where buying/setting up a domain takes you to somewhere called "shareasale.com"? At worst, it seems like the links to the registrars (which are all legit, as far as I can tell) go through some sort of analytics/tracking service.

#2 - have you considered rephrasing your download issue as "Hey, this seems broken, and here's why: ..."?

#3 - what customizations did you expect there to be in the downloaded archive? are you not seeing the selected hero/feature/social/footer templates you selected?

#4 - while others have brought up the idea of using Bootstrap/Foundation/etc as a more familiar and tweakable base, the point is around easily making a website WITHOUT having to know or understand the underlying technologies. if you're already deadset of needing/wanting to do things yourself, the tool clearly isn't for you.

you may be unimpressed, but you could be a little more positive/helpful with explaining issues rather than writing about them in such a dismissive tone that sreams "i don't care about your thing, but let me tell you everything i think is wrong with it"

Thanks for the reply...

#1 At the top of the first page, where it says "Name Your Business", click on "Let's Do It." The next page is full of link for various TLDs with prices - the links go to shareasale.com. ##UPDATE## The domain purchase links are now dead and there are no prices/links. Someone must have decided to remove them (maybe someone read my comment -- or something else -- who knows).

#2 In my first message I described exactly what went wrong. In my second message I said "the download feature still doesn't work properly for me" Different wording, but pretty much what you suggested. We must think alike (smile).

#3 When I wrote the first message, I clearly didn't get how the customization was supposed to work. My second message explains and clarifies. As I said, just a bit of documentation would be nice.

#4 I think of HN as a programmer's venue. When I saw all the glowing comments, I thought there might be a nice web development tool to check out. If HN has a lot of readers who are interested in "making a website WITHOUT having to know or understand the underlying technologies" - then I apologize for my misunderstanding. If we agree that this is not a tool for technical web developers, then your comments are spot on.

As to the last paragraph, the first thing I said was "sorry to be negative." Criticism, by it's nature, is often negative. I hate knee-jerk negativity as much as you do (I'll bet). But heaps of sugary praise is also bad in it's own "awesome" way.

In/re being more helpful -- well, pointing out problems is helpful, right? I'm wondering if my comments didn't result in the shareasale.com links being removed (see #1 above). Maybe OP could comment.

In/re dismissive -- That's what you say but who cares what you think? (smile again - please note as joke)

To the author of "Launchaco" I would certainly offer a "well done!" To me, the most impressive thing that you have done is offer your work up for us to review and discuss. I hope and suspect you were looking for more than praise.

dude this is hella crazy nice yo. gonna use this for my next landing page

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