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Interactive Website Fastlane Business - Question!

Matthew Mach

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Jan 1, 2019
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Hey Fastlaners,

I have couple big questions, primarily for those who have experience with creating an interactive-website as their Fastlane Business (@MJ DeMarco response would be extremely appreciated as well!).

I’m fighting with making a decision with the following being my options:
1. Learn to code JavaScript and creating own website from scratch. (Costs time and little money)
2. Learn to code JavaScript and add my own features to a GoDaddy (or other) based website. (Would cost a lot of time and little money, similar to option 1)
3. Hire or contract someone to build the website. (Costs more money, but I could focus time on strategy, marketing, etc.)
4. Other option.

Perhaps I could use a website building tool, such as Wix or WordPress. However, whenever I look at big business websites, such as Amazon and LinkedIn, they don’t have anything at the bottom of their webpages saying “this site was created using this web-builder.” Is it possible to have a successful online businesses created using web-builder templates or are most successful businesses interactive websites created from scratch via programming?

I realize to create a Fastlane Business you cannot escape committing great amounts of time, but I just don’t want to spend hundreds of hours learning to code if it is unnecessary.

I’m very excited about this opportunity and have a vision for what I want the site to look like and a multiple ways on how to monetize the site.

Please give some feedback on your experiences creating web-based Fastlane Businesses and if you have a suggestion for what you think the best decision would be if you were in my shoes.

Question just for MJ DeMarco, if you created Limos.com today, would you learn code and create it from scratch or use a web-builder?

Thank you and talk soon,
Matt
 

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404profound

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My two cents is if you want to enter the app space learn to code. What do you consider the odds of success for your first attempt? Wouldn't it be nice to have the skills to develop faster each time through gained skills, instead of spend money each time you want something built? JavaScript sucks at first, but it it's not nearly as hard as C++ or something on a lower level. Learn JS then Node, then you have the world by the balls (especially since JS has mobile frameworks now like NativeScript). Again, just my two cents (from painful experience, having pissed away money on WordPress / Blue Host).
 

Amro

Contributor
Oct 5, 2018
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Schoorl
Hi,

I would advise to at least learn the basics of programming. Since javascript won't create dynamic websites since you'll probably need a database or something so I would start with PHP/MYSQL. Easy to learn but takes a lifetime to master indeed.

When designing a site from scratch there will be other issue's too apart from the front end. You'll need to be able to adjust things from the backend for staff if you might need them etc etc. And these things absorb quite some time. It must be userfriendly on the both the frontend and the backend. That's my point.

Good luck with it!

All the best,
Amro
 

404profound

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Hi,

I would advise to at least learn the basics of programming. Since javascript won't create dynamic websites since you'll probably need a database or something so I would start with PHP/MYSQL. Easy to learn but takes a lifetime to master indeed.

When designing a site from scratch there will be other issue's too apart from the front end. You'll need to be able to adjust things from the backend for staff if you might need them etc etc. And these things absorb quite some time. It must be userfriendly on the both the frontend and the backend. That's my point.

Good luck with it!

All the best,
Amro
Do you prefer SQL to noSQL db structure? I've found that a Node/Mongo setup is much simpler and provides the needed backend functionality in a lot of scenarios.
 

TreyAllDay

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I don't think you could build anything useful with wix, godaddy builder, etc. To explain it the best way I can - most software consists of a database, a front-end, and a backend to process data. I'm using a frontend right now to enter this reply. When I post this reply, the backend is going to input some data into the forum database along with my userID, then display it to me and everyone else. WIX, Godaddy, etc will just let you build static sites for displaying info based on their database. That's why they can do it so cheap, it's just a single data structure being resold with cusotmized front-ends. You can't customize the databases or do much outside of what they lock you into.

Anyway - that being said, I always encourage aspiring software entrepreneurs to just learn to code. It takes about 4-6 months if you are dedicated.

You can hire a developer out of india - IE my newest product was about $6k in salaries to finish, but to be honest they are useless most of the time unless you're providing clear direction and have knowledge of how things work. If not, the product will be strung out forever, I'm seeing someone go through this now.

Also, any software needs to constantly improve and reiterate. You'll have to keep paying your dev to do this and not be able to provide direction on how to structure data will be a big mess.

Alternatively you can seek a cofounder with coding experience.

Just learn it - lots of courses out there.

The best advice I can give you is to start with the basics, as dumbed down as possible. Like HTML/CSS to start and then go from there. Learning to code is frustrating because you'll fail one thing 100 times in some cases, but you just can't quit and eventually after 6 months you'll understand it.
 

Amro

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What coding languages are you refering too? Php? Remember that learning how to structuren code and learning how to build a framework properly will cost you 6 months.
 
OP
OP
M

Matthew Mach

New Contributor
Jan 1, 2019
4
4
13
Thank you all for the responses, they helped tremendously.

I’m going to learn the following programming languages (in this order) and create the website from scratch:
1. HTML/CSS
2. JavaScript
3. NodeJS

Does this sound appropriate? I believe learning those three will allow me to create the inter-active website and update it as needed. Please correct me if I’m missing something or anything like that.
 

TreyAllDay

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Thank you all for the responses, they helped tremendously.

I’m going to learn the following programming languages (in this order) and create the website from scratch:
1. HTML/CSS
2. JavaScript
3. NodeJS

Does this sound appropriate? I believe learning those three will allow me to create the inter-active website and update it as needed. Please correct me if I’m missing something or anything like that.

I'm not the greatest DEV, so I'm curious to know what others think but I would initially learn

1) Html/CSS
2) PHP/Mysqli
3) Javascript/Jquery once you're done.

I know limited about nodeJS but html/css is a must. PHP is just simple way to interact with the server and DB to input/output data.

Javascript/Jquery is sort of what you learn when you want to "Fancy" up a software and make it react to inputs faster and more seamlessly.
 

404profound

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I don't think you could build anything useful with wix, godaddy builder, etc. To explain it the best way I can - most software consists of a database, a front-end, and a backend to process data. I'm using a frontend right now to enter this reply. When I post this reply, the backend is going to input some data into the forum database along with my userID, then display it to me and everyone else. WIX, Godaddy, etc will just let you build static sites for displaying info based on their database. That's why they can do it so cheap, it's just a single data structure being resold with cusotmized front-ends. You can't customize the databases or do much outside of what they lock you into.

Anyway - that being said, I always encourage aspiring software entrepreneurs to just learn to code. It takes about 4-6 months if you are dedicated.

You can hire a developer out of india - IE my newest product was about $6k in salaries to finish, but to be honest they are useless most of the time unless you're providing clear direction and have knowledge of how things work. If not, the product will be strung out forever, I'm seeing someone go through this now.

Also, any software needs to constantly improve and reiterate. You'll have to keep paying your dev to do this and not be able to provide direction on how to structure data will be a big mess.

Alternatively you can seek a cofounder with coding experience.

Just learn it - lots of courses out there.

The best advice I can give you is to start with the basics, as dumbed down as possible. Like HTML/CSS to start and then go from there. Learning to code is frustrating because you'll fail one thing 100 times in some cases, but you just can't quit and eventually after 6 months you'll understand it.
Agree on the timeframe to learn (for me it was closer to 8 months before I really knew javascript). So thankful I went this route.
 

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TreyAllDay

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Agree on the timeframe to learn (for me it was closer to 8 months before I really knew javascript). So thankful I went this route.
Yep. This is why I like PHP so much.

I am pretty sure @eliquid mentioned he started a few very profitable businesses and just coded them in PHP or maybe Python?

Once I learned HTML/CSS and PHP/MYSQLI, I could build ANYTHING. It was was just a question of what languages to learn to make it more efficient.

Like - I tried learning javascript in the beginning when I just knew HTML/CSS and I understood the basic changes to html/css but nothing else. Once I learned PHP, I was able to build software - THEN move onto loops, arrays, etc.
 

Akeem

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As (almost) everyone has pointed out, you'll need to learn about the back-end as well as the front-end.

The front-end consists of the design and content and the back-end is equally as important as it'll make sure everything works like clock work (data saves, is viewable, editable etc.)

HTML and CSS are pants to learn and won't take long to get the gist. Focus on PHP and MySQL (despite what some people may say about PHP/MySQL) and learn how to send and retrieve data from a database safely and efficiently.

Other than that, you can mess around with other languages and pop in some JS/JQuery after the design and development is done to improve UX.

So, all in all, I'd advise:

  • Learn HTML and CSS.
  • Focus more on PHP and MySQL, in particular, how both go hand in hand when it comes to data.
  • Improve the user experience (UX) with Javascript and JQuery after the design (HTML and CSS) and development (PHP and MySQL) is completed.

Just as a side note, website builders such as Wix and GoDaddy website builder are mainly only great for landing pages and for sales funnelling purposes. Stay away from those as they'll just push you further from your initial goal of creating an interactive website.
 

404profound

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Yep. This is why I like PHP so much.

I am pretty sure @eliquid mentioned he started a few very profitable businesses and just coded them in PHP or maybe Python?

Once I learned HTML/CSS and PHP/MYSQLI, I could build ANYTHING. It was was just a question of what languages to learn to make it more efficient.

Like - I tried learning javascript in the beginning when I just knew HTML/CSS and I understood the basic changes to html/css but nothing else. Once I learned PHP, I was able to build software - THEN move onto loops, arrays, etc.
A lot of people are gungho about PHP, I may have to check it out. I've also heard PHP can be a nightmare to maintain.
 

daru

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A lot of people are gungho about PHP, I may have to check it out. I've also heard PHP can be a nightmare to maintain.
That largely depends on coding practices and if a good framework is used. But yeah, it's possible to mix PHP, HTML, CSS, Javascript into one big source file. And that will indeed be a nightmare to maintain.
 

daru

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It seems you want to build a SaaS (Software as a Service) basically? Basecamp is my go-to example of a SaaS.

If that's the case. Just learn a Web Development Framework like Django. Which by the way is not necessarily the same as learning to program. You will learn some programming of course but not in depth.
I seriously don't know if it's a viable way to try get around learning to program. But if there is one documentation that could make it possible it is the Django docs.

Now, if the goal is to learn programming and not get an MVP/prototype up and running as fast as possible, ignore what I just said and head over to Learn Python the Hard way or similar resource for PHP (lots of outdated crappy PHP tutorials out there so watch out).
 

eliquid

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I am pretty sure @eliquid mentioned he started a few very profitable businesses and just coded them in PHP or maybe Python?
Yes pretty much 95% of what I code is PHP.

No reason to move away. Some critical parts of our systems might be in C or C++ backed with Redis for speed and data handling, but the majority is PHP and some Perl.
 

NeatStranger

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I think that learning to code, while not being paramount to your success as an Internet entrepreneur; could definitely help your journey. For one, in the beginning you will need capital to get started if you don't learn how to code, but you also won't know how to critique your developers. You won't know if they are doing their job right or not. This is one substantial benefit to learning to program.

If you learn how to code, time that could be spend pounding the pavement, cold calling, talking to customers, will be spent writing new features. So I am split on this. If you have the money, hire a developer. Try to learn as much about the process as you can. This won't be your last internet based business and a good understanding of your developers choices can go a long way.

I took the path of learning to code. If you choose that path I would suggest the basics, don't try to go with a pre-built option like Wordpress or Wix. HTML, CSS, JS. I learned Bootstrap right away to cut down on time, and now I have taken it even further and I use bootstrap studio because front end code is not my best skill. Then you are going to have to choose a backend. Originally I started with PHP/MySQL, and that experience has truly helped me as a programmer. For a site that I am working on right now. I use MySQL for my data warehouse and I use Firebase/NodeJS to query the MySQL server. Firebase also give you free hosting, and you can basically Authenticate users without writing any code. Something that took me almost a full month to implement on my very first site.
 

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