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New To Web Development Forum

    
Getting Started on Something Big
Help Needed
OmegaMan

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3776435 posted 4:24 am on Oct 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

I have been putting together ideas for what my friends have referred to as a "very original website idea" and I am finally ready to begin the process of putting it in the works. As a rookie with minimal website experience I have considered taking a 2 year program to aquire the skills needed to pull this off. However this program only starts in September and I dont want to waste any time. Does anyone have any advice on how I could jumpstart this project aside from getting a domain name/web host. Should I start by working with the dreamweaver program? This site I plan on launching WILL require quite a bit of space, is there limitations on how much I can aquire for my site? Where do i start?

 

nomis5

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3776435 posted 7:09 am on Oct 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

Space costs money but if you pay the money then you can have as much as you want.

Using Dreamweaver will give you some basic skills and experience but it will not get you into a programming language. If there is some programming required for your idea then pick up a good book on the programming language of your choice.

I would be very wary of spending 2 years of your life on a course in the hope that it will equip you for your plan. Get some experience now and test out the water.

tangor

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3776435 posted 7:12 am on Oct 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

Get the domain name first. Dang, they are cheap these days. PROTECT that now, or regret it later. Do research regarding "space/bandwidth" and budget. And while you can't be specific regarding your widgets website, are you REALLY SURE this will be the world-beater?

Can't say squat about Dreamweaver... still using Homesite4. :)

OmegaMan

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3776435 posted 10:30 pm on Oct 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

Cool thanks for the replys, any recommended reads for programming languagees? perhaps something for 'dummies'?

batto

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3776435 posted 3:53 pm on Nov 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

Hi OmegaMan

If you want to do it by yourself start learning by yourself.
(2 Years? Thats sounds waaaay to much).
I think PHP is most described website language on the net. There are
a lot of tutorials, help sites and forums wher you can ask for help
for free, if you would stuck on something.

(My route from begginer was - I read a book, started to program, asked on forums,
programmed more)

You wrote that your project can take a lot of space.
Later when you will know some programing language you will be able to use
[aws.amazon.com...] ,specialy S3-simple storage service.

Amazon is expesive solution compared to normal webhosts,
but has at least one advantage, you dont pay monthly for host just sitting idle.
So you can start small and grow big, eventualy move to cheaper host.

Wish you success in your project.

mack

WebmasterWorld Administrator mack us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3776435 posted 4:31 am on Nov 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

The first stage is having a good idea, now to get the ball rolling.

Type out a website plan:
You have no idea how useful this can be. All to often people have an idea and just open up FrontPage or Dreamweaver and start building. The problem being later on they realise they need to make a fundamental change. If this is a large project this can cost you weeks or even months of development time.

Work out exactly what skills you will need to put it together:
As has been said before, buy books and read the forums. You can learn a lot in a short time period if you are prepared to stuffy. Don't just so a bit of learning and then go for the main site, you need to walk before you can run. a php programmer has to be able to print hello world on a screen before they can build a complicated web application.

Experiment:
Do small scale experiments on your host. Build small sites that are practical lessons and will better equip you to tackle larger projects.

Outsource:
If you find any aspect of building the site to be to much for you, you can always pay someone to do it for you. You don't have to give away your secrets to a third party, you can simply have someone do a little bit for you, maybe someone else doing another part. For example I recently wanted to build a VB.net app, I started to hit problems, to save time I hired a freelancer to do one section of the app. I also hired a 2nd programmer to do another part. Then I got the code from both programmers, plugged it into my user interface and had both parts of the program working.

Testing:
Before you can release you need a period of beta testing. This can either be a group of friends/family members who have restricted access to the site, or do a soft launch and just let people find the site and use it. You can use this period to iron out any bugs that may be found.

There isn't an easy answer, it all depends on how much time you want to spend leering before you start to develop the actual site.

Hope this gives you some ideas.

Mack.

OmegaMan

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3776435 posted 6:54 am on Nov 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

hey thanks again for the information, this is really helping me to get started on my project. Although Ive been keeping ideas in a journal and adding to it for months now I am going to start rolling online and getting my formats down in software. From what Ive seen so far I think my best option is to use a program like Dreamweaver/Microsoft Frontpage/CoffeeCup ? so I can have full creative design of my site. I havent yet familiarized myself fully with these programs so I am unaware of my limitations, but I will take the advice of Mack and outsource if i run into any problems i cant tackle myself. My only big concern is with bandwidth (how did youtube get away with having millions of people upload videos onto their site? I read that they had to pay about a million a day for that kind of bandwidth, of course making it back through advertising and the like. I know it costs money to make money (that being said I have no money), and I dont think my idea will be the next youtube or facebook, but I do believe in this site and wouldnt be this committed if i thought it would fail. My project definatly wont have the audience that facebook or hotmail has, so im getting space isnt an immediate concern, but there are enough people out there to eventually flood the site, hopefully, if the idea catches on.
Again I wanted to thank all of whom who have replied to my posts with helpful info, I will definatly be keeping you posted of my progress and problems along the way. Cheers.

tangor

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3776435 posted 9:49 am on Nov 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

My project definatly wont have the audience that facebook or hotmail has,

Sounds like you have vid/music in mind. Tough row to hoe. Bandwidth will be the killer/cost. You're in the right place to get preliminary advice, but if you are NOT a programmer, html coder, or Flash kind of guy you will need specific help to get your idea off the ground. mack said it best (in short) get a business plan in place, then find the tools/people to get it done.

boomtown123

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3776435 posted 9:10 pm on Nov 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

This may be blasphemy, but I recommend you hire a good coder to build your site. Especially if your site is complicated. There are a couple really good websites out there that will help you find a web designer by letting them "bid" on your project. The website keeps the money in escrow until both you and the designer are 100% satisfied by the work.

If you decide to hire a coder, make sure you are very clear with them about what you want. Get as technical as possible. I also recommend that you hire a graphic designer to make a layout of the homepage. That way you're not leaving it up to the coder to design your logo, pick your colors, etc.

Just my two cents.

wheel

WebmasterWorld Senior Member wheel us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3776435 posted 6:24 pm on Nov 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

To coordinate a couple of the previous posts, you really should consider your role in all this. You might be better served to outsource the design of the site and the coding (assuming the site needs some custom programming). Your role might be better served working in other areas, rather than doing the gruntwork involved with HTML level stuff. For example, I can program, but I don't. I design the specs on paper for my stuff, but I don't spend my time writing PHP code. Others can do this faster and cheaper, while I'm busy making everything work.

It's not clear if you need a nice layout or custom programming, or both. If you're unwilling to hire out the design work, you might consider just getting a premade design template. You should be able to find nice stuff, inexpensively. It won't be unique, but you probably don't need unique when you start. As for any custom backend coding, definitely outsource that. You'll be two years just trying to write the code.

Also, 'friend's' telling you it's a great idea doesn't mean it is a good idea :). There's miles between people saying they like something, and them actually using something or paying for it. So be cautious.

mack

WebmasterWorld Administrator mack us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3776435 posted 7:22 pm on Nov 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

Wheel is spot on....

To coordinate a couple of the previous posts, you really should consider your role in all this.

You can't be the great at everything, well unless you're me! (ducks) :)

Seriously though, even if you learn great coding skills, that's only part of the equation. You still need to work on design and graphics, that's an entirely different field. By trying to learn everything yourself you will be diluting your efforts greatly.

You would be advised to outsource at least some aspects of your project.

Mack.

MrTDude

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3776435 posted 5:47 pm on Nov 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

A further note of agreement about your role. Can you learn to build, market and search engine optimize a worldbeating website from scratch without much finance and expert help? Dont know if you are from the UK but there are loads of grants available at the moment for good business ideas. Have you researched that option?

ergophobe

WebmasterWorld Administrator ergophobe us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3776435 posted 12:31 am on Nov 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

My only big concern is with bandwidth

Two observations:
1. You can offload bandwidth/storage in a variety of ways.

There's Amazon S3 as batto mantioned, or for video, Youtube or some such. Ask yourself if you can leverage some free/cheap resources. Remember, if you host it yourself, you need to have capacity sitting around unused 90% of the time for those few traffic spikes you get. If you can find a way to get that load off your server, you'll be way ahead.

2. Many people worry so much about scalability, that they never actually build anything.

The people who build the totally killer site that everyone is going to love often find that bandwidth isn't an issue because when all is said and done, not enough people on the web actually agrees that it's a totally killer awesome everyone loves it kind of site.

You might want to figure out how much bandwidth you would expect one user to use and figure out what happens if you scale that to 1000 users and so on so that you have some idea of whether your business model is reasonable. But it's just plain foolish to start out by building a system that scales to a million users before you even have any idea whether you can get six visitors. If the business model is sound, you can figure out scale when you have a proof of concept and it seems to be taking off.

OmegaMan

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3776435 posted 7:28 pm on Dec 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

Hey Everyone!
I put together a business plan and introduced the idea to a friend of mine who is connected with the web development world. He agreed it was a good idea with much potential to make money from affilaiate sites, etc. However he informed me that it would take alot of work to create a database, and therefore alot of money. We are working together now to put together the look, feel and content of the site together into more of a professional business plan from where i will be able to present it for a government grant or some sort of loan to get this off the ground. He estimated it would be around $50,000 to initally cover the startup costs. My question to you now, is where can i get funding for website startups? i need investors and don't know where to start looking, google hasnt been much help for me.. any suggestions?

Shaddows

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3776435 posted 10:55 am on Dec 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

Hmmm. A startup by someone without web experience without a proper business plan, in the current climate.

Seriously though, get your plan written up, preferably with your webdev friend, and someone wiht statup experience. Then you have two main routes- bank loan and investor. The bank generally will not lend (even in good times) without any provable income. An investor will need to see a project in developement. Both will need a business plan, and both will tear it to pieces if it tends towards the optimisitic

The third route is a director loan. Think hard about this.

wheel

WebmasterWorld Senior Member wheel us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3776435 posted 4:29 am on Dec 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

The fourth route is to figure out how to do this without spending $50K. Start with your own resources, whatever you can afford. Build from there.

You're going to get nothing just because you've got a good idea. In fact, it's not that good of an idea because you have no experience, no measurement of the market, no proof of potential revenue, no experience (did I mention that already?), no traffic, no experience getting traffic, no webmarketing experience, nothing.

If you're looking to get an idea off the ground, you should build the following list:
- what do I have experience in
- what do I know really well
- what have I done before
- what do I know I already do better than others

And that, whether you like the results or not :) is where you should be looking to build your next great idea. Not trying to enter full scale into a business environment you're not familiar with that is full of sharks.

Habtom

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3776435 posted 4:45 am on Dec 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

...full of sharks

As a pup myself, I think wheel hit the nail on the head.

Nashville Web Design

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3776435 posted 10:10 pm on Jan 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

Go to school first, get some experience, save some money and wait out the recession! In the meantime develop that business plan (Which will change as you get experience!) Most businesses fail because of lack of funds and unsound business plans. I know it sounds harsh, I never discourage people from going after their dreams, but nothing beats experience and plan to help ensure success.

Lovejoy

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3776435 posted 10:54 pm on Jan 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

Don't try and reinvent the wheel, take some courses and use available software where you can. Chances are very good what you need is already available for less than $500.00. I started my first online business in 1996 with a free 20MB website from my isp, a borrowed deskpro 90 and
all the free software I could find.

I've seen online business's ( my past competition) that have failed after blowing through $5,000,000- $14,000,000 on websites one could put together over a long week end with free CMS. The key is use the K.I.S.S principle

Lovejoy

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