Rocketspark launches towards change in 2021

This spin around the sun is set to bring about many new and exciting changes for Rocketspark’s customers, new and old.

Rocketspark in-house storyteller, Kyra Piccione, took time to catch up with some of the founders and team to learn what customers can expect this year.

It turns out automation, a new modular approach to design, multiple logins for one site, possible vector animation and a website import programme are all on the cards, along with lots of other improvements, read on for more detail.

Head of Design, Jeremy Johnson, said two of the more exciting things coming up this year were Rocketspark’s move towards a more modular approach to design and ways to use automation.

“In the first part of this year a real key focus for us will be on finding ways to use automation to streamline the design process. So, designers can spend less time in the nitty gritty details of layouts and more time curating beautiful colours, typography, illustration and photography. We’ll have more information on that soon, so keep an eye out.”

Another focus is on removing restrictions around what people could change in certain areas.

“The top of the website, which is effectively the feature area and usually consists of photos, is the only area where you can have a feature at the moment, we are going to retire that. Eventually we will design that kind of content with stacks. That means it won’t have to be right at the top of the page, it can be anywhere, giving a lot more flexibility.”

The Rocketspark headers had also been tied into a template, making it hard to change the position of a logo or heading text.

“We are heading toward a much more modular approach to headers so you can easily make changes to your header on the fly without having to change templates. This will make it easier for DIY builders to get the look they are after,” Jeremy said.

Another key improvement involved looking at the way a team interacts with Rocketspark. 

“If you are a business that has multiple team members interacting with one website, like an online store, a school, or you’re involving a third party service advisor to have access to your site, get ready for improvements. We are looking at opportunities and ways we could do that better with Rocketspark, such as multiple logins for one site. The new feature will also allow you to see who’s made changes.” 

The last thing Jeremy teased was the use of vector animation and animation on scroll effects on Rocketspark websites. 

“We’ve been doing some research in that space over the summer and it looks to be possible, so watch this space for more announcements.”

Founder & CEO Grant Johnson said a key thing the Rocketspark development team would be working on this year was scalability and growth. 

“The developers have been doing thousands of tests not only to work out automation, but to make sure our platform is robust and reliable, and looking at how our infrastructure is scalable. We are going places, but we’re not naive to the fact that we have to develop.” 

Rocketspark has launched so much design capability over the last year and Grant said that would be continuing into the new year with much more to come. 

“That means that the quality of websites that people are creating just keeps getting better and better.”

Grant said Rocketspark strived to help people not only to have a good looking website, but to have an effective website.

“What we see time and time again is people making websites, but they’re not thinking about what they need to do to get up the search rankings. 

“There’s a few fundamental things you need to do to tell Google what your website is about, those include your title and description tag. We’ve got top notch content on terms of how to do that, but not everyone looks into it.” 

Luckily, Rocketspark has an AI tool called Flint that helps with your search engine optimisation (SEO), part of what it does prompts the customer to create those snippets of text that the page needs.

“Flint has been a complicated beast to get right. We’ve done it in phases. It started in 2018, we started piloting it in 2020 with various people and now we’ve done a soft launch and turned it on for everyone. 

"It’s super helpful, but it’s not perfect. When it comes to artificial intelligence (AI) it takes time to do it’s machine learning so it won’t be perfect for a while. It’s only been trained on certain industries so far, but if you go to use it for a section it’s not trained for, it notifies us that you want it for that so we can get started on training it.”

Grant said another aspect of SEO was making sure that keywords are on the page that people are searching for. The thing that people search for in Google needs to be on your website enough times so that Google has enough evidence that that’s where they should send people. 

“So, we’ve built the ability into Flint to generate the content with the keywords in it and it then provides a count of those keywords on the page. What it’s really doing is helping people that are not doing any SEO at all to create the basics. That makes those people miles ahead of those who have done nothing at all.”

The last thing Grant wanted to touch on was his excitement about expanding on past achievements. 

“In the past we’ve helped so many people in the not-for-profit sector with their websites and this year we want to be really intentional about that. Who are the people that we can help and make a significant difference and help people tell their stories? That’s something we are keen to explore this year.”

Head of Partnerships, Jason Tiller, said he was really looking forward to seeing how the launch of Rocketspark’s new website import programme takes off this year. 

“The website import programme is the idea that you can import your current website onto the Rocketspark platform from any other platform.

“We have had great interest from people looking at moving across to Rocketspark and how they can bring their portfolio with them to Rocketspark, so we’ve been piloting the website import programme that we are looking to ramp up this year. We want to make the transition easy,” he said.

Jason said Rocketspark was also looking forward to continuing its partnership with Wintec.

“Last year we partnered with Wintec so its design students could build websites for small businesses who needed help."

Wintec will continue to use Rocketspark as their learning platform, enabling students to get equipped with website design while helping the wider business community by having easy access to website designers. Read more about that here.

Founder & Developer, Richard King said one thing not everybody knew about Rocketspark was that they had made it possible to host and build on the same platform.

“A lot of our customers are still going to buy a domain name from a host we have nothing to do with before building their website on Rocketspark, because they don’t realise they can do that with us too. It’s an integrated solution so you don’t have to worry about it. 

“And another thing that people don’t realise is that we never ‘version’ our software, you don’t have to pay for our upgrades, they are part and parcel of the package,” Richard said.

Rocketspark is a website builder for beautifully simple websites. Learn more here.