Barley is giving a whole new meaning to the phrase, what you see is what you get. The all-in-one content management system and hosting service gives users a simple and clean website that’s the same for visitors and publishers alike. Once the owner is logged into their site, they simply click to edit the text, change the formatting, or insert media. The concept isn’t so much gimmicky as it is obvious. If you want to change a certain body of text, then you click on it and change it. Simple.
Trying out a demo of the service, the experience was straightforward and intuitive. Further, with the help of about 4 minutes in help videos, I knew all I needed to know about configuring and running a Barley site. For $18 a month you get a complete site with very little headache and very little to worry about. The price and basic feature set, however, do combine to carve out a very specific audience that currently fits into what Barley is offering, but those that do fit the bill should be very happy.
The most obvious competitors in Barley’s way are Squarespace and Media Temple’s Virb. Squarespace offers a plan for $16 a month (billed annually) and Virb offers a plan for $10 a month. Both competitors have e-commerce integration available and a deeper feature set that comes with being around longer. In comparison to the incumbents, Barley starts to look pretty simple, though to be fair, simple and easy is what they’re aiming for. At the time of writing there are some 50,000 people in line wanting to try Barley so the key for them is to capitalize on the interest and aggressively add partnerships that highlight the platforms strengths.
Seeing the person sitting in the coffee shop, updating their site on the iPad, in Barley’s introduction video, I can’t help but think about this new generation of computer-less users. Those that opted for a tablet rather than a traditional laptop or desktop. Barley’s way of building websites seems to grab-hold of forward thinking even more than their competition so while they can’t necessarily compete on check-marks (yet), there may be plenty of people whose thinking of technology does align with Barley’s.