Hey guys! Startup Radius interviewed WebSatchel – a company that launched a quite interesting and free product. With WebSatchel you can create a copy of any webpage to access it anytime, anywhere, and from any device. How awesome is that? You can now grab websites and store them in a cloud.
Learn why they created a product that is available at no cost, how they compete with Evernote, why going public matters, and why this tool is a must-have for any digital enthusiast. Enjoy and read below!
Can you tell us about what you are working on? What is WebSatchel?
Have you ever wanted to visit a website you’ve been to and, in typical fashion, not been able to find it? That familiar feeling of frustration begins to creep up as you jump from link to link looking for that one particular page that has all the answers you’re looking for, and yet it continues to elude you. Perhaps it was that once in a lifetime deal on a product you’ve had your eye on or an article that proves your point in a contentious debate between you and your coworkers. Suppose you found a recipe online but now you can’t find it and all the other versions are missing that one key ingredient. Maybe you need to save a page that you can’t re-open once the tab is closed. Printing all these things can be inconvenient. Eventually you find yourself wishing you had just left those tabs open forever. But why keep them open if you can save them?
Enter WebSatchel — a tool designed to save a replica of a web page so you can visit it whenever you want. Think of it like bookmarks on steroids, giving you a way to search through hundreds if not thousands of pages that you’ve saved over the years and then displaying that page exactly the way you remember it. WebSatchel is your virtual shoulder bag; you can keep your pages with you wherever you go. All those pages are stored on the cloud so you can access your Satchel from any device using any browser. Its applications are only limited by one’s imagination making it the ultimate reference saving tool, and best of all, it’s free. Anyone can make an account and get their own personal Satchel where they can save the pages that matter the most, and gain peace of mind knowing they will always have access to them.
As for how it works it’s quite simple. You create a free account on WebSatchel.com and then download the browser extension. The extension adds a small green icon to the top right corner of your browser. From here you can access the WebSatchel menu. Now you’re ready to start saving pages. When you’re on the page you want to save just select the “Save Page” button from the menu. Once you want to visit the pages you’ve saved visit the menu again and click on “My Satchel” at the top of the menu. This is a shortcut that will open a new tab and direct you to our website where you can search through your Satchel with ease. There are also a few other functions, which are described in detail in the “Documentation” page on our website.
How did you come up with the idea to build WebSatchel?
It originally started as just a way to help keep answers to coding questions all in one place. So, we built a small program that let us save and search through copies of web pages from Stack Overflow and called it Googlito, as in our own mini google. Over time we began to save pages that weren’t just related to coding, like Reddit threads and news articles. When we discovered we were able to pull up a copy of a page that had been taken down, we knew we were on to something.
Thus, WebSatchel was born. The way we see it, the internet is a library composed of billions of links to over a billion websites. This library is not yours, it’s everyone’s, which means things get added, deleted, updated, and shifted around all the time and sometimes that’s to your detriment. WebSatchel aims to change that. With WebSatchel you can build your own library, one that is static and contains only the pages that you put there making searching significantly easier.
We see WebSatchel can be used in different ways, so how do most of your users actually use it?
Many of our users are college students who use WebSatchel as a means to save web pages for research papers and projects. Some of our users want to save access to risqué content, and still others just use WebSatchel to save a copy of their bank statement or a digital receipt instead of printing it out and filing away a physical copy.
We also added other functionalities such as “Collections” which allow you to save all your open tabs at once into, you guessed it, a collection. You can even open them again in that same order whenever you want. There is also the marker tool which lets you highlight important information, tags to filter pages during a search, a calendar to search only between specific dates, and many more features on the way.
WebSatchel has an unlimited number of applications and can be used to save pages for just about any conceivable reason.
We see no pricing, no buy-buttons, is WebSatchel really available for free?
Yes WebSatchel can be used entirely for free (and currently there are no ads). When you create an account, you get 1 free gigabyte of storage and access to unlimited page saves per day. After the month trial is up you can still save pages, but you will be limited to 3 page saves a day and a few features will be disabled, like the marker. If you decide you like the service, you can always upgrade to premium by going to “My Account” and clicking on the “Go Premium” link. The prices are $7.99 a month, $6.39 per month for 3 months, or $4.79 per month for a year. With Premium you get 100 gigabytes of storage and access to all the features.
We are currently exploring making the entire service and all its features free and only charging for storage along with one-time payments for a specific amount of storage.
Can you name a few examples of how WebSatchel helped people? Maybe they used it for growth-hacking or business tricks?
We have received comments from people thanking us for giving them a way to easily access information. They like the convenience the service provides, and they really wish that there was a smartphone application so they can save pages from their mobile browser. Currently, there is no easy way for us to create an app because mobile browsers don’t support extensions. For now, this is a desktop application. However, with enough support perhaps we will have the resources to create an application we can bring to the mobile market. Until then, users can access their Satchel from their mobile browser even though they can’t save pages.
We also had a few people tell us that WebSatchel is helpful in organizing online accounts, invoices, and documents for their business. We have no access to the stored contents and the entire service is encrypted from end to end. We value and respect our user’s privacy. We only know about the descriptions of the content that people willingly choose to share with us.
Do you have any major competitors?
Our biggest competitor is Evernote. They offer a similar feature in terms of saving web pages, but it’s evident that they never expected people to want to save a lot of pages. The UI gets clunky after a while and it becomes difficult to find the pages that you want. Evernote is a fantastic service but it’s obvious that the ability to save pages isn’t entirely flushed out and seems to have been added as a kind of afterthought.
We’ve heard the claim that a person could simply take a screenshot of a page, but we offer something a little more streamlined than screenshots and much more permanent. The focus is on ease of finding information rather than just being an archive. We don’t want our users to feel overwhelmed searching through their saved pages. Plus. unlike Evernote we are a small company that actively listens to their users. We have a forum and a feedback tab that we check daily for questions and comments. If you post a good suggestion, there is a high probability that we will implement it.
Last but not the least, what is your biggest business learning while building and promoting WebSatchel? An advice or few would be great!
When launching a business for the first time you rarely know what to expect. You hope people are going to respond positively to your product, but you need to brace yourself for the inevitable circumstances which bring unhappy customers your way. That’s why we rolled out relatively slowly. Once we launched, we got ourselves featured on Product Hunt which gave us a huge boost in users once people learned about us. This was promising, since it showed that people were interested in the idea and gave us a customer base to work with. So, this is tip number one: After going public, get people to know you exist. Once you get your first paying customer, you’ll know you have, by at least some measure, created a successful business. The immense satisfaction you get from even this small achievement is very motivating.
After building a user base, we spent months refining and streamlining the service. We tested different ideas, added new functionalities, created a forum and feedback tab, and rebuilt our website from the ground up with the help of professional designers. This is my second piece of advice: Once you have a user base, begin to experiment and hire professionals (Fiverr is great for that) until you are satisfied with what you would call version 2.0 of your service or product.
Now it’s time to repeat that cycle but to a greater extent. Heavily advertise yourself to bring new users to the updated version of your product or service, and then continue making improvements. Once this cycle is repeated enough times, you will get to reap greater and greater rewards with people thanking you along the way. That being said, you should always be ready for potential problems which is where my final piece of advice comes in: Anticipate the worst-case scenario and figure out how you will deal with it if it ever comes to pass. A way of communicating with your user base is extremely important here, which is where the forum and feedback tab comes in handy.
In the end we believe that your business should speak for itself and we believe ours speaks loud and proud. Still, you must never underestimate the power of good marketing; Even the best idea is no good to anyone if they don’t know it exists.