I'm launching a static site generator that comes with a fully-featured CMS so that your non-tech friends can edit the site. It allows frontend engineers to build a custom CMS through a form-builder and then scaffolds templates out of them.
I'd love to have some general feedback on the concept and what would keep you from using it. I'm worried that we're targeting too small a segment (frontend engineers that don't want to touch backend code).
http://www.webhook.com has a video demo, and there are more in the blog.
How I can help:
I've launched a few businesses before, including a few with decent sized exits. I can give you some honest feedback on your product as well as your design. I also do open source design work, recently redoing the theme for readthedocs. If there's something small you need design help on, feel free to contact me. Usually I only have a couple hours a week to hack on open-source, but always looking for engineery projects to spruce up.
Unfortunately we're probably too far into dev at this point to switch (we went with a rails app), but this problem comes up pretty regularly for us and I'm looking forward to giving Webhook a try.
Here's a suggestion on the video: instead of having one long recording, create multiple, much shorter ones that explain pieces of functionality.
I signed up for the beta, I look forward to testing it.
In fact, I had someone pick my brain just a few days ago because they want to build a professional-looking site for a friend, and they're comfortable with HTML and CSS, but they don't understand how Wordpress works.
I did find a few things that I think needs some work though.
You're presenting a commandline interface. I love commandline. I much prefer a sensible CLI to even the best graphical interfaces. But your target market? I'm not sure they'll like that nearly as much. If they were comfortable with CLI, they'd be probably be comfortable enough to find their way around a server. Is there any way you can manage testing & deployment without the CLI?
On your site, you advertise the virtues of a static site as being fast. But, in the video, images are loading slowly on your demo page. It really stood out to me. You might consider having the page's images already in your browser cache when you load the demo page.
And the video -- the video is really a bit rough. You're clicking around way too fast in the video. I had trouble keeping up with what you were doing. The page template you're using in the video isn't sexy at all, so that makes it less attractive to designers. Having some kind of default page template along the lines of what you'd find for Wordpress would probably be good.
The video was also too specific. You went into some detail on embedding podcasts or Soundcloud stuff, but didn't really explain any of the rest of the interface. In your intro video, I don't necessarily need to know step-by-step how to embed a podcast, I maybe only need to know that it's possible. At the end of the video, I still felt like I had no idea what Webhook could do, which sucks because although I'm not your target market, I probably know 6 people who are. Along the same lines, there were a number of typos and miscapitalized things in the video, and some of the dialog was a bit hokey (like when you remembered that you actually had to go into chat to invite a participant). This adds to the "rushed" feeling in the video.
And the thing is, it looks like you've got a really polished product! Then you have the video, which makes it feel a lot less professional.
Also, it seems like you could tap a secondary market, by hosting a template shop on your site and taking a cut from sales of the templates. Just because someone's comfortable with HTML & CSS doesn't necessarily mean that they want to start from scratch. With the explosion in popularity of things like Bootstrap, I think there's pretty good evidence that people are avoiding that as much as possible.
Also agree about the theming. The nice part at least is that theming in theory is very easy. Themes are just git repos that are downloaded and installed through the browser and unpacked via a websocket. I think you're right though that we need a few solid, well-designed themes there in the beginning though. It'll likely be my primary concern over the next month now that the product is finishing up. Although opening a store might be a good way to go, I'm thinking we'll likely just try and partner with one of the many buy-a-theme sites out there and simply let them continue serving that niche.
Part of the fun of startups though. Trying to octopus your way through a launch, building every little bit.
Again, thanks for the comment.
With Webhook being Node (I'm guessing based on the distribution via npm?), you'll feel right at home. As a Node guy myself, I found it immensely valuable when I was building a toy desktop app.
Great job with this by the way. I started on a similar project a few months ago (fell by the wayside), and it makes me really happy to see someone execute it, especially this well. Keep it up!