Startup Scrapyard: Google Docs for websites


Business ideas tend to accumulate. A couple of years ago I’ve taken to writing them down in an organized iOS note. Many of the ideas are, naturally, really silly (remember Pixar’s flying umbrella? That kind of silly). Others could probably turn into decent businesses, with the right team and execution. Here’s the first in what I expect to become a series of startup idea dumps.

Google Docs for any website

Many small businesses hire freelancers or agencies to build websites for them. While most sites are built with WordPress or some other CMS, some are still being built with barebones web technologies.

Editing those web sites often becomes a headache for those small businesses. If the website has a decent CMS, changing copy or images might involve logging into the admin interface, figuring out what’s going on, finding the right place to make the change and publishing it. If the website was hand coded, things get trickier quickly.

Most small business owners I know would avoid attempting to make even the smallest change on their own and reach out to their web dev agency instead. If you’re reading this, you probably know developers are expensive.

What if, when building the site, the agency could add a tiny Javascript code snippet, which would let anyone with the correct link edit any bit of text or image on the site?

Google has been doing this for ages with Google Optimize, but that’s obviously not aimed at small businesses looking to just change their website copy.

An ideal solution would offer a Google Docs-like interface, where I can add the snippet to my site, make changes and publish them, and maybe add comments to the site as well.

A possible issue with this idea is the misalignment of interests between the software developer building the site and the small business. The developer might want the repeat work generated by these small changes, and thus avoid installing the code snippet required.


If you’re looking for an easy, affordable way to integrate news search in your app or website, look no further than ContextualWeb’s free News API. I’ve been working with them for the past few months and have been thoroughly enjoying their product (as much as an API can be “enjoyed”, per se).