As we continued with our MotoCMS featured week, I've managed to have a few words with the man at the forefront of MotoCMS, Demetrio Fortman.
Based in New York, Fortman founded MotoCMS in 2009, and has been developing it, along with his growing team, ever since. He is also the COO of TemplateMonster.com.
To get to know Demetrio Fortman a little more, here he is in his own words.
“With over 10-year experience in Web Development, I'm never tired of inventing beautiful and easy-to-use software solutions accessible for every kind of web user out there.
I love to develop products that help people leverage the power of Internet for their business, leisure, or creative expression.
I believe that one should only do something they are truly passionate about. Thus, every project I’ve ever worked on – Moto CMS, Defrozo, MotoPress – reflects my deep interest to photography, blogging, and usable Web.”
KI: Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background? What were you doing before the launch of MotoCMS, and how did that lead to you wanting to make your very own website builder?
DF: I started in IT as a web developer. My love to computer science, programming and software development comes from the college. I was taught to create, strive for innovations and be up to date with all new in the development world.
I was grabbed by Flash, and there the issue of managing complex websites occurred. That time the most of the solutions were written by developers with PHP, “on some sheet of paper” or so. There weren't powerful WYSIWYG editors, and developers usually used simple admin panels that they had at their disposal. Basically, we had to combine many admin panels with different user logins.
Sometimes it was so difficult, and we had to develop several admin panels for managing complex websites with the help of popular content management systems. So, the idea of making own website builder with WYSIWYG editing opportunity came from there. We managed to create a unique system that offered a full-fledged WYSIWYG editor up to that time.
The times of Flash have gone, technologies develop rapidly, and now we have far wider opportunities for development at our disposal. My team works non-stop on creating more and more new features that we regularly add to the system. Generally, every item, every element of a responsive MotoCMS website can be edited and managed by means of our new admin panel.
KI: What inspired you to enter the website building market? What do you feel was lacking before your product came out?
DF: I was captured by the idea of developing a CMS that would offer me and other developers such a powerful means like WYSIWYG editor. As I already said, it was a challenge for a developer to combine several control panels for developing one website. For example, a control panel for gallery, for a shop, for articles, a guest book, and so forth.
So, we had to combine all this stuff for one client. When we started developing the first version of our website builder, the main idea was to create a user-friendly platform – a website builder with simple interface that could be used even by a beginner who didn't get a thing in coding. We wanted to make website building available for everyone. Our customers' feedback was positive.
KI: MotoCMS is visually a very attractive piece of software. How important is it to you that your product looks the part?
DF: Extremely important, no doubt on this. I have a strong belief that external beauty should be supported by a good inner base. If you offer a beautiful wrapping, you just have no moral right to put something ugly or useless inside.
Every customer should get what he or she expects from a product. And if we claim MotoCMS to be easy, user-friendly builder that means it really is. We always keep our promises. Within the latest product, MotoCMS 3, we offer our customers constant updates to the admin panel, its functionality and features. Because we know how important it is to keep up with times. And that is what we do every month – released a new update to the product.
I always say to my team: listen to your customers! You should know what they really need for their website. What functionality we’re able to add to the template to make it perfect for this particular business field. We have one of the strongest and the most professional tech support team that not only has profound knowledge of the product and its use, but know how to listen and react to every request. And that’s how we get the freshest feedback about the product and what can be improved in it.
Thanks to our customers, we always know what their urgent need in website building is and make our best to get that feature or functionality into MotoCMS. We had a lot of requests for a blog functionality, and today all the latest MotoCMS templates are powered with blogging features.
We created an eCommerce plugin that allows our customers to turn pretty any template into a fully-functional online store. Recently we added a new category of eCommerce templates that have an eCommerce functionality built-in and are specially designed for creating online store websites. And there are still many features that our customers are asking for, so there are no limits for a better website for us.
KI: MotoCMS offers pre-made websites for rather different industries. Here comes the question: what's the target audience of MotoCMS?
DF: You're right, MotoCMS has templates for any sphere and that's what we are proud of. To be honest, our clients even ask us to slow the templates' production down a little bit, because it's hard to make a choice for them.
Our very first goal about MotoCMS, as I already told, was to develop an easy builder that makes it real for anyone to have a personal webpage. It's cool to have an opportunity to learn, gain new experience and to make anything creative with own hands. Creating a website is a kind of challenge, though a very joyful one. MotoCMS has always been a website builder for the customers who have no degree in programming.
Our platform allows photographers to make a portfolio website with a splendid gallery of photos, it could be used by business companies to have modern websites with up-to-date functionality, it’s a tool for brokers to have an online property catalog. I can continue this list with doctors, models, musicians, and so on.
I will tell you one interesting thing: all our employees make a website on the base of MotoCMS on their first working day. Thus we get a feedback from copywriters, marketers, QA engineers, sales managers, recruiters. Besides it, I often ask my friends to test the newly-released features of the system and I like how they manage with MotoCMS as the new software for them.
We constantly ask our customers about how they like the system and if they wish to change anything about it. We’re creating our product for ordinary people, the same as we all are.
There is another part of our target audience that I’d like to mention here. These are the developers whom we offer a different way of collaboration – MotoCMS bulk discount plans. Thus, web developers make websites for their clients at a good price and it takes no time to manage these sites further because of our WYSIWYG editor.
I suppose that my team is moving in the right direction, especially within the latest release of the responsive MotoCMS 3, which is available for every individual who has a desire, imagination and a goal before everything else.
KI: How do you plan to compete against the big players like Squarespace, Weebly and Wix?
DF: At the time when we started MotoCMS, you could literally count on fingers the amount of website building companies. Today everything's changed. New technologies made web development more accessible than it was a couple of years ago.
The number of web developers increases every year. Of course, the competition is huge. But it's only another motivation for our team to improve our product, especially when we rival with such big companies.
MotoCMS makes its product better all the time. We have our 24/7 professional customer support that helps the rest of our team significantly. We forge ahead, collecting the feedback from our customers. Every new update is partly based on the suggestions of our community.
MotoCMS has also very large collection of website templates. It contains dozens of categories, representing most popular businesses and activities. There are various web themes, made especially for businessmen, designers, teachers, photographers, engineers, environmental protectors and many other occupations. The website selection comprises thousands of templates for very different niches.
You won't find such a diversity anywhere else.
KI: I recently included MotoCMS in my list of, “Top 25 CMS to Watch in 2016”. What are the plans for MotoCMS throughout the rest of 2016?
DF: Thanks for including us in your list. And I do advise you to watch us in 2016, because we are working on some huge updates for MotoCMS platform. In the days of an enormous competition we have to reinvent CMS every year to stay in the “TOP 25 CMS to Watch in….” ?
First of all and frankly speaking, all the time we are working on making a website builder easier for our customers. I am talking about the new system of creating and editing a website – ready content blocks. It's not a revolution on the market, but our competitors have either content blocks with minimal editing features or more complicated admin panel with advanced options. We plan to give our customers both: easy to add and edit ready content blocks and an advanced mode for webmasters.
Some of our customers need their own hosting for huge eCommerce solutions or websites with a big database. But more and more customers want just to enter their name, email and domain and get the website alive. It's really easy and gives you an opportunity to make a fully functional website in a few hours. We plan to give our customers both self-hosted product and SaaS solution due to their personal needs.
There are plenty of less huge, but still worth mentioning, updates on the go: translation of MotoCMS admin panel on more than 30 languages, update of our brand new MotoCMS Ecommerce templates and much more. Stay tuned!
KI: And finally, the MotoCMS template library has thousands of well designed options. Do you personally have any favorites?
DF: To tell the truth, it is one of the most difficult questions. I know that every template in the MotoCMS library is a great piece of work because everyday I see how templates are made. And it’s really hard to highlight some of them at the expense of others.
When I started MotoCMS, I had (and still do) a big passion for photography. Photographer’s portfolio templates are still ones of my all-time favorites. They offer a lot of features not just for showing your photos off, but for blogging, selling your services as a professional, hanging out with customers in social media.
My favourites from among them include:
I also love our medical website templates for their clean design and logical structure. Minimalist design is still one of the best options for a website, and medical templates are the purest illustration of this. And business – I see those templates as multi-purpose that can be used (with some tweaking, of course) pretty for any business sphere.
My favourites from among them include:
Today we have 200+ designs of MotoCMS 3 responsive templates for any business and personal need. And more to come.
They include the coolest trends in web design but can be customized with ease to support the owner’s idea of a perfect website. Since their customization is a no-brainer even for non-techie, they always look great and functional on screen. Take a look at our client’s projects in the gallery – you’ll see that a great website design is really easy.