January 16, 2024
Evolution of the Tella Homepage
Tella started in 2020.
In 3 years, we went through, roughly, 8 iterations of our website.
Let's break them down 👇.
V1.0 - July 2020
This was our very first version! It was for the alpha version of Tella which was a video editor with real-time collaboration.
When we got into YC in the summer of 2020 we barely had a product and we didn't have a website. So we put this together during the batch for our first product launch later in the summer.
The idea was just to say what the product was and showcase different use cases. We knew that a video editor was quite a broad thing so we wanted to talk about the specific use cases that it was relevant for.
Real-time collaboration was the main thing we wanted to highlight. But you could also upload videos, add text, stickers, record, edit.
It's not the prettiest site in the world but this was before I knew how to design a half-decent site. I suppose it was an okay starting point though!
V1.1 - August 2020
By the time we worked on this version we had a clearer idea of which use cases Tella worked best for. We also had better examples that we could show. The 'Examples' page was a way to showcase all of those.
We talked about creating engaging videos and camera recordings but the problem was it kind of clashed with the headline.
At this stage, we were still kinda figuring out the best direction for Tella. You can see this in the way the title ('collaborative video editor') classes with the subtitle ('screen and camera recordings').
Not long after this, we removed the upload feature in Tella, which was the first big change we made to make Tella simpler and more focussed on solving a specific set of problems.
V1.2 - October 2020
Here, we changed from being a 'video editor' to a 'video creator'. We wanted to shift people's expectations away from editing videos to just creating them.
We weren't quite ready to say that we're a recorder though. Because we still had a lot of editing features and workflows we still tried to talk about that. Again, we were still figuring out what we should be and these old sites are a good example of that!
But by this time we had proper users so finally we could put some logos on there: Gather was from a YC batch, Happeo was a company that's been using us for a while, plus some people at YC's Startup School were using us.
We also started talking about benefits: we wanted to show how you could start with something easy, like a screen recording and then turn it into something much more valuable, like a launch video or tutorial.
Around this time we had a better idea of the features that people really liked about Tella: different ways to record, re-recording, and combining different clips.
But we still had this collaboration angle which was holding back the messaging and the product. Not for much longer though!
V2.0 - February 2021
This version marks the time when we made the biggest change to Tella. We stopped sign-ups and went into a closed beta while we rebuilt our video renderer (for the first time).
You can still do titles, GIFs, and stickers. But as you'll see soon, this was just about the end of all that.
In the past versions, we had more examples and clear use cases compared to this one. We switched back and forth between this, trying to talk about things more broadly versus more specifically. Specific is probably the better thing to do though — we were still learning!
V3.0 - April 2021
It was around this time that we were close to launching the new video renderer.
This was the start of the 'Not another screen recorder' angle. Now we were fully acknowledging we were a screen recorder and not a video editor. Tella became all about recording first and a workflow for editing and sharing after that.
We saw that people really liked scenes or clips as we call them now, so we tried to push that more on the site.
We also tried to push the creativity benefit of Tella. We were a screen recorder but we were trying to say we're not just another screen recorder, and that you can do all this other cool stuff that you can't with other tools.
Our list of examples wasn't great though, probably because we had restricted access to the product for a while.
V3.1 - September 2021
Now we started saying, We're a screen recorder but what is that? What do you really do with a screen recorder? and we wanted to say it's about capturing your best work.
We started to push the use cases again, to show that we're a screen recorder designed for a certain set of use cases.
We also saw that our use cases were mostly external-facing videos. So product demos, tutorials, courses, and presentations. This was what people liked using Tella for the most.
More testimonials were added as well. We were beginning to get a growing number of real fans: users who liked us and were vocal about it.
Another thing we started to push in this version was the idea of record, customize, share. The three simple steps to making videos with Tella.
V4.0 - December 2021
Before this version, we had this great product launch in the summer of 2021 and we got Product of the Day on Product Hunt. So we started to see some solid growth.
Michiel, my cofounder, convinced me that we should just get a designer or an agency to do a proper website. We found this agency in Rotterdam, Evers & de Gier, and started working with them on this version.
For the design Evers & de Gier gave us a bunch of options. They were all great but they tended to feel like more traditional SaaS websites.
But at the end of the presentation, they said they had a few more out-of-the-box ideas they had worked on, but weren't sure if we'd like them.
The first one had this giant rainbow gradient that stretched down the full height of the page. It had big gold text and fun shapes. It was goofy and exciting. We were like "that's the one we want!"
So they iterated on that with us until they got this 👆 and we loved it. The idea here was to push the use cases and help people understand the customers behind some of the use cases.
This was the first time we pushed in real examples with quotes, social proof, and talked about the features. We kind of overloaded these things. In hindsight, it was probably a little bit too much but at the time it was a fun way to highlight how people were using Tella.
We put all our features in a big list in a fun way. So visitors could see all the features in one place.
Since we're not selling complex SaaS or enterprise, we're selling just a tool for individuals, the decision process to start is relatively small. If it feels like you're having to consume content and information before you click get started, then you're probably not the right person. This website felt perfect for that.
With this update, Evers & de Gier basically created a visual identity for us, which was awesome. And even though we've redone the site since then, the visual style lives on! (Thanks Koen and Mans!)
V5.0 - January 2023
The main reason we did this one is that we couldn't update the previous website easily. Michiel coded the entire thing so any change or experimentation we wanted was extra work for Michiel.
Then Framer for websites came out and it looked really good. We could make any change we wanted without any code.
So I decided to rebuild everything in Framer. My design skills had gotten a little better and the agency we worked with set the tone for a real brand. I managed to continue the brand and tweak it in the way that I wanted.
We also felt like we were getting closer to our core audience — creators and entrepreneurs — and we wanted to appeal to that. The idea here was to tell people that making videos with Tella with help grow your business. A little on-the-nose, but it was fun.
We tried to keep the thing that we had in the previous version, which use cases integrated with social proof.
I tried to do the big list of features thing again but also hopped on the bento box bandwagon. 🐎
We also had three apps that we could showcase: the web app, the Chrome extension, and the Mac app.
We topped it off with a proper social proof section too.
In true Tella fashion, expect even better versions coming in 2024!