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General Discussion

1 person startup questions!

Over the summer I really want to get going with my idea. It was what made me join treehouse in the first place. So I have a few questions for you guys that are doing/have done it in the past.

I want to do it alone to begin with just to see the work involved and the experience of finding things out on my own in the world of startups.

I was wondering what the startup phases are. From idea to launch day.

At the moment I have the idea planned out on paper, key features, target audience etc etc. The next few steps I am a little in the dark about. I have been reading up on it for the past few months but I think I have information overload, everywhere I look I am being told something different.

After the idea is written out in full on paper do I just dive straight in and start coding the HTML+CSS or should I begin to market myself and the brand via social media with a splash page?

At the moment I have been given a development cycle from a teacher at college, he said its a development cycle for a regular client based job at a web design studio, since I am working on a web based startup maybe its very similar. But I want to make sure im not missing anything, or maybe im doing something totally unnecessary. Here is what I have;

Research & Planning

Design - Wireframes, site diagrams & fundamental structure

Development - The actual HTML & backend

Testing - Judging by the RoR tutorials, testing is done while building the application

Sorry if im not making myself very clear. I don't really know the questions I should be asking!

If you guys have any good websites that show a plan of action or you can give feedback yourself, please do so!

Thanks in advance!

4 Answers

Kevin Korte
Kevin Korte
28,147 Points

I think you're on the right path. Personally, I just launched my first website 3 days ago. It has a large but focused audience, and will contain technical data I continue hear people asking for but can't find online based off of forums I'm on, and my current job.

I'm a one man show, though so it takes considerable amount of time for me to get any sort of quality substance built. Because of that, I haven't said anything about my new site on here until right now, and I'm not ready to put the acutal URL or name it.

I haven't done any social media at it for all. I've only shared it with a very small group of about 30 people who would be in my target audience anyway, those people I already had a relationship with so they felt comfortable giving me feedback and what needs to be changed already, and confirmation I'm on the right path.

First impressions are so crucial, I'd personally wait and get some substance built before directing people from social media to your site. Having them land on just a splash page I think would be a negative first experience.

You don't have to have your final design in place, but have a functional design in place. My site is currently heavily relying on Twitter Bootstrap for the ascetics. That's going to change more and more as time goes on and I develop my new framework and styling from scratch. But it's excellent right now because I got my site up and going in days, not weeks.

That's how I've done it with my new site.

So do you think I should do some hand drawn designs & wireframes before I go ahead and start working on the actual site?

I will be using bootstrap for my first launch too, good to know someone else is using it!

Kevin Korte
Kevin Korte
28,147 Points

You can. Mine are fast and crude. I don't spend much time on them. I just want to see how the pieces fall together quickly. Than I use Photoshop, Illustrator, and Fireworks to develop my theme, colors, layout even more...than I try to duplicate that in code.

Spen Taylor
Spen Taylor
13,027 Points

As far as Social media goes I agree whole heartedly with Kevin - Let's say you manage to direct 1,000 people to your site while it's under construction and a splash page is in place... what percentage of these people will see that there's currently nothing on the page and loose interest completely? Worse still, what if these people un-follow your facebook/ twitter pages and not be around to see updates in the future?

This could be much worse than just not directing people to the page or the company in the first place.

That said, certainly get a splash page up and running. Building up a mailing list, linking to a public-but-not-marketed facebook page and generally allowing people to find out about your coming business on their own terms can only help.

In summary - save your hard-punch marketing for when it will be most effective but allow people to follow your progress on their own terms in the meantime.

I could be wrong, but this is at least my plan :)

I think I have been misinterpreted when talking about the splash page etc. I mean exactly what you were saying, get the splash page up and the social media and allow people to subscribe to a mailing list without much of a marketing push.

Spen Taylor
Spen Taylor
13,027 Points

Sounds good dude! good luck with it btw!