Starting out / Website concept / Question

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Hi all, I'm new here, thought I'd introduce myself. I've been following /r/juststart for a while now, and saw BuilderSociety being mentioned a few times so I thought I'd check it out.

I don't have too much experience building websites, but I do have one website that started out as a hobby project and is now moderately successful (just under 20k unique users / month). It's not really earning me anything (barely pays for hosting costs), but it was a fun thing to try out and I learned a bunch.

Currently I'm working on a more serious website that I think has some more lasting potential. Through a hobby I've learned quite a bit about a certain industry which is quite large, but opaque in terms of pricing, reviews, and user guides. Basically it's quite difficult for someone without deeper knowledge of the industry to make an educated purchase.

My idea is to make a website listing all the products of the main manufacturers, allowing users to compare them, and most importantly to discuss them, and give each other advice on purchasing decisions, repairs, best ways to use the product etc. There is quite an active community out there, but they are dispersed over many different forums, so if you want to know some things about product X, you basically have to delve into all these forums to find some useful information. My goal is to centralize that information in one place.

I'm relatively confident in my concept, and I have some skills to develop the front-end, but I don't have much experience with backend development. I know some very basic PHP and Javascript, but that's about it. I've been looking at some low-code/no-code options, e.g. using Airtable and Zapier as a database to create Wordpress custom posts, and although I think I can make an MVP with that, I'm not sure whether that would limit me too much in the long-term if I wanted to add more advanced features.

Q: The alternatives are basically to go the low-code way I just described, learn to code everything myself, outsource it (How much would that cost?), or find a partner with backend experience. Not sure yet which way to go, any feedback about what to consider would be much appreciated.

In any case, I'm looking forward to learning from everyone on this website.
 
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mj22

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welcome to buso, good luck on your endeavor.
 

EyesExist

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Good lucK! Kill it. Never doubt yourself.

What you get out = all about what you put in!
 

Ryuzaki

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@city17, your previous hobby product can definitely earn you some cash. Even if there's no real value in the visitors, you can still monetize it. The lowest level of monetization is CPM ads, meaning that you get paid a certain amount for a user loading and viewing an ad. They don't even have to click on it. At 20k users a month, I'd think you could fairly easily get $3+ CPMs, which would be $60 a month on the low end. I guess it also depends on what country the visitors are from, etc. And yeah, that's potentially about the cost of hosting. I see the conundrum.

I'd definitely spend some time figuring out how to monetize that a bit better though. That's a solid chunk of traffic.

Regarding your new project, I'd be tempted to create a unique solution. I've done sites "kind of" like that on Wordpress though, using a CSV file as a database and then importing cells into custom fields which then help populate the pages with pre-fab content in the template. Then I'd go back and add normal the_content(); to make each page have a portion of unique content on it. It worked out fine and was extremely organized once it was done. But generating the CSV file and importing it and all that was kind of clunky. There's a plugin called WP All Import that I used for it.
 
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@Ryuzaki Thanks for the suggestions, very helpful. I had something like your CSV suggestion in mind for my Wordpress solution, but using airtable and zapier (although I didn't try populating custom fields yet, maybe that bit doesn't work). I'm actually going to talk to a friend tomorrow who's a capable coder, so if he likes the idea hopefully I'll be able to go for a more customizable solution. But otherwise I'll probably try the method you suggested.

As to the old site, I didn't expect it to be able to make that kind of money. Currently it's earning a tiny bit from affiliate links. I tried Google Ads, but they rejected me. I guess the reason is that it's a web app (although simple, it's useful to visitors) with 80% of the text below it being related to the affiliate links, because the app itself doesn't really need any detailed explanation. So I think to get accepted I would need to remove the affiliate stuff and come up with some random text to fill the page, so Google's bot sees it as a non-affiliate only page. Still think it's interesting that Amazon accepted me, and not Google, would've thought it would be the other way around.

Or is there some different ad program you would recommend? I don't have any experience with ads, just with the amazon affiliate program.
 

Ryuzaki

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We've had a number of threads about CPM Ad Networks, and I know I've done some longer write-ups but I can't find them. Here's a couple to start to give you a lay of the land:
You can do some Google searches to find list of networks and quickly see which ones are the most common. A lot of them require a certain number of monthly impressions to be accepted too, so you'll quickly get limited to which you can use.