Does anyone here develop tool focused websites?

Joined
Sep 4, 2021
Messages
22
Likes
11
Degree
0
I've always found web based tools extremely helpful. And I can't write that well (nor do I have a huge interest).
I however, can write software with the best of them.

Are there people here that have gone that route? Less about articles and more about tools. Maybe not necessarily a full on SAAS, but more of helpful stuff.

Curious if there are any case studies related to people with this sort of approach!
 
Joined
Sep 4, 2021
Messages
22
Likes
11
Degree
0
Ah the fact that he now works for stripe isn't a great sign :/

I'll go through it.. Lot of articles haha
 

secretagentdad

American Dad is the Best Show Of All Time
BuSo Pro
Joined
Jan 29, 2015
Messages
766
Likes
667
Degree
3
Yeah.
I don't really do much else anymore.
I got tired of having to write new shit constantly to keep my audience around.
Nobody wants to read the same article over and over. They totally will use the same tool daily for years though.

My suggestion is make some free shit, do some shit branding.
People say there is some magic special sauce but there really isnt.

Free no sign up tools spread like wildfire and have really high stickiness with users if you don't fuck up the accessibility with an over-complicated interface.

The best part is you can build a habit. Once you have people habituated you can login wall or pay wall.
Conversion rates after you have people used to using your stuff regularly are insane. They will make you laugh in the faces of the AB testers and other incremental bsers. Changing up elements or headlines does absolutely nothing compared to being in everyone's heads as their go to for something because you had a low friction free to use tool they got used to using.

My biggest tip that might be totally wrong and just my wuwu internal religion is to stay the fuck off major platforms. Value capture for tools is much higher than content sites so you have to deal with big tech profiling your audience and subjecting them to unending retargetting campaigns. Keep your audience away from fb pixels and your churn will be far lower. Twitter and youtube are the biggest trap and straight up user retention cancer if you're not in the big tech in club. They use their side bar suggestions to funnel your users to the competition that they're invested in. This kills off your network effects(a word Google executives are now banned from using in writing) by exposing your userbase to sustained messaging campaigns for substitutes.
 
Last edited:

bernard

BuSo Pro
Joined
Dec 31, 2016
Messages
1,645
Likes
1,301
Degree
4
Keep your audience away from fb pixels and your churn will be far lower. Twitter and youtube are cancer if you're not in the big tech in club. They use your social media presense to funnel your users to the competition that they're invested in killing off your network effects by exposing your userbase to sustained messaging campaigns for substitutes.

This is very interesting.

I've seen this happen to me.

Once I look up one tool that can do something, I get spammed ad nauseum with ads for other tools. Often within minutes.
 

secretagentdad

American Dad is the Best Show Of All Time
BuSo Pro
Joined
Jan 29, 2015
Messages
766
Likes
667
Degree
3
This is very interesting.

I've seen this happen to me.

Once I look up one tool that can do something, I get spammed ad nauseum with ads for other tools. Often within minutes.
Covid was murder for me. Viral spread occurs in real life just as much as the internet.
The level of interference / thumb on the scaling going on in the background of digital reality is nuts.

I dunno how we will ever return to a vibrant and diverse web eco system as long as HUMAN DATABASE centric targeting is allowed. You do something innovative or funny and the only thing you end up doing is funneling money up the chain as they intercept and divert your traction by adding interest flags to the massive phone-book sized DOSSIERS they're keeping on LITERALLY EVERYONE.

The line item preventing the free market from working its magic to correct things right now is retargetting. It allows the monopolies to crush new players via personalized messaging sequences. On top of that if you try to play ball by going on the platforms and bidding competitively they just totally fuck you over by giving their insider buddies 50% rebates, free ad credits and special access to bid you up and bleed you dry.
 
Last edited:

bernard

BuSo Pro
Joined
Dec 31, 2016
Messages
1,645
Likes
1,301
Degree
4
@secretagentdad

You're absolutely right and I've noticed a marked increase in effectiveness and aggressiveness in retargeting.

I still find it very unpleasant and scary when I get a tailor made ad seconds after spending a few seconds on a Youtube vid or something like that.

It happens so fast now and so efficiently with video ads and so on.

The European Union has a "right to be forgotten" law, that has been used to scrub Google, but it should be implemented for retargeting. Do a forced reset, since all of us got tracked and catalogued long before we had any clue what was going on.
 
Joined
Sep 4, 2021
Messages
22
Likes
11
Degree
0
Yeah.
I don't really do much else anymore.
I got tired of having to write new shit constantly to keep my audience around.
Nobody wants to read the same article over and over. They totally will use the same tool daily for years though.

My suggestion is make some free shit, do some shit branding.
People say there is some magic special sauce but there really isnt.

Free no sign up tools spread like wildfire and have really high stickiness with users if you don't fuck up the accessibility with an over-complicated interface.

The best part is you can build a habit. Once you have people habituated you can login wall or pay wall.
Conversion rates after you have people used to using your stuff regularly are insane. They will make you laugh in the faces of the AB testers and other incremental bsers. Changing up elements or headlines does absolutely nothing compared to being in everyone's heads as their go to for something because you had a low friction free to use tool they got used to using.

My biggest tip that might be totally wrong and just my wuwu internal religion is to stay the fuck off major platforms. Value capture for tools is much higher than content sites so you have to deal with big tech profiling your audience and subjecting them to unending retargetting campaigns. Keep your audience away from fb pixels and your churn will be far lower. Twitter and youtube are the biggest trap and straight up user retention cancer if you're not in the big tech in club. They use their side bar suggestions to funnel your users to the competition that they're invested in. This kills off your network effects(a word Google executives are now banned from using in writing) by exposing your userbase to sustained messaging campaigns for substitutes.

Appreciate this reply! I know you don't want to give away your secret sauce, but what kind of tools typically?

How did you typically come up with tool ideas?
 

secretagentdad

American Dad is the Best Show Of All Time
BuSo Pro
Joined
Jan 29, 2015
Messages
766
Likes
667
Degree
3
There isnt any magic sauce unless you count naming things in ways that cause abnormally high click through in feeds. My largest exposure engine is is auto complete followed by google related search because I typically follow the format of topicality word + some kinda hook or brand identity designed to draw clicks.

If you want the most basic blatant example, Keywordshitter.com

Cost estimators and government data reformatters are really low hanging fruit if you want to get your feet wet.
Check search volume in adwords for your topic item + tool, calculator, estimator, planner, ect to make sure there is at least some measurable demand before you go nuts on development.
 
Joined
Sep 4, 2021
Messages
22
Likes
11
Degree
0
There isnt any magic sauce unless you count naming things in ways that cause abnormally high click through in feeds. My largest exposure engine is is auto complete followed by google related search because I typically follow the format of topicality word + some kinda hook or brand identity designed to draw clicks.

If you want the most basic blatant example, Keywordshitter.com

Cost estimators and government data reformatters are really low hanging fruit if you want to get your feet wet.
Check search volume in adwords for your topic item + tool, calculator, estimator, planner, ect to make sure there is at least some measurable demand before you go nuts on development.
Ah Cool! Keywordshitter is yours. Makes sense. I've never used adwords to do that sort of research.

Say you wanted to make a PDF Converting tool or something... you'd just adwords: "PDF Conversion to Jpeg" or something?
 

secretagentdad

American Dad is the Best Show Of All Time
BuSo Pro
Joined
Jan 29, 2015
Messages
766
Likes
667
Degree
3
If I was in your position, I would brain storm all the tool topic ideas I can.
Mass grab auto complete and adwords suggestions for them.
Grab adwords search volume + cpc data, "keyword results" and "all in title results".
Pull out the specific items that appear to be directly related to tool demand and combine the results for them into clusters. You have to do this manually as adwords already shows combined data for a lot of line items so you have to make sure not to double count by accident.

Sort the clusters and go with the ones that either have the most demand that seem logically easy to charge a high premium for and support lots of vendors or appear to have an abnormally low amount of other solutions targeting them.

Big is almost as good as low competition because well established verticals have round up posters and other influencer types you can use to get your initial traction. Don't be to scared of competition unless its really intense. Lots of competition just creates more opportunity to phrase your tool distinctively and segment off a sub set of the market. Google allows you to harvest a bit of very qualified traffic from your competitions brand names via related searches and on occasion auto complete when the stars line up right. Plan around this and USE topicality keywords in your brand name to bat above your weight class.

One of the biggest mistakes I used to make was trying to be to creative with my branding. You gotta have topicality in your brand name. Partial match + a memorable brand is best. Exact match is second best. Branded with out relevant topicality entanglement is by far the worst and requires extra effort.
Its is VERY VERY VERY important that you put the topicality keyword first as auto complete is driven mostly by the first word and you need to be able to intercept people looking into the niche and expose them to your brand name.

The very best niches are the ones where the competition consists of highly priced well funded tools that are spending money on demand generation. I like to compete with them on pricing increment, accessibility, or even straight up price to just steal their investors lunch money. When someone else is paying to do the demand generation you can always find a way to start compounding organically. Just think of yourself as their second order of effect investment.

Good luck with your tool building. Hope I didn't get to off topic.
I have a fetish for stealing scraps from 10,000Xers so you got a sermon.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Sep 9, 2021
Messages
7
Likes
3
Degree
0
Pardon my technical ignorance..how would you guys decide what tech to build something like this with? I assume a basic JavaScript tool will work in most cases for an app that doesn't require a database. And if a database is needed then something like Django would be a better option? Can you build a tool that pulls from a 3rd-party API easily with just frontend tech?

Reason I ask is because I have more experience with backend than JavaScript but want to avoid over-engineering if possible.
 
Joined
Sep 4, 2021
Messages
22
Likes
11
Degree
0
Pardon my technical ignorance..how would you guys decide what tech to build something like this with? I assume a basic JavaScript tool will work in most cases for an app that doesn't require a database. And if a database is needed then something like Django would be a better option? Can you build a tool that pulls from a 3rd-party API easily with just frontend tech?

Reason I ask is because I have more experience with backend than JavaScript but want to avoid over-engineering if possible.
You can probably find some stacks already done on github.. but I like MERN stacks (MongoDB, Express, React, NodeJs).. You do have to make an 'api' layer to communicate with your data.

Probably a case by case for each stack. but the LAMP stack and the MERN stacks I know are really popular.. MERN... all your logic would be in JS