Social Question

raven860's avatar

What are some of the different steps one would need to setup a website business such as Facebook or Twitter?

Asked by raven860 (2120 points ) August 12th, 2012

Once you have an idea, what is the next step?

What kinds of people will you need if you are technically challenged?

How much can you expect to be spending?

Other information one must know?

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9 Answers

marinelife's avatar

1. A strong sense of belief in your idea and zeal for it.

2. A lot of money, You can start on a shoestring, but to grow you need capital (and thus investors). At least a million to start.

3. A good technical team for designing the site. A chief technical officer.

Read this book by Guy Kawasaki The Art of the Start.

dabbler's avatar

I like @marinelife‘s answer a lot, sounds right.
“People will you need if you are technically challenged” this depends a lot on what your site will do. There’s the basic site design but services/features offered often require some technical facility. There is almost always a database, and the ways to get content in and out of that.
And if your site’s features are bandwidth or computing intensive there should be ways to accommodate and load-balance high demand when you get brilliantly popular.

CWOTUS's avatar

Starting from “an idea” you need the technical person (maybe just one at first) to help bring your idea to a physical state. In the computer world, that means “coding”. Creating the database to store the information to be captured by the website, whether that’s for orders and sales (like Amazon and others) or users and personal data (like Facebook) or searches and website URLs (like Google and others). Your idea is brought to life via code. (And that database of goods and prices and suppliers, or personal information, names and addresses of clients, etc. – that database is gold to you. You have to treat it that way. You even have to consider how you protect it from some of the people who will be working in it day after day.)

So you need a database expert (and later a database administrator, analysts, etc.) and you need an HTML expert. Again, for the prototyping and modeling these could perhaps be the same person. Considering the value of your database, you definitely need a security team.

Once your idea seems at all feasible, and you have ideas – even if they’re still untried yet – about where the money will come from, then you can start to beta test the idea. You may still not be “online” yet; you might do all of your testing in a closed system that only resembles the Internet, but now you need testers and probably more database people.

Later on you’ll probably go online for real, but without a lot of fanfare. You’ll still be working out bugs and finding and plugging security holes – there are always security holes. You might start testing the water in taking real orders, making real sales, attracting real customers and advertisers, but at great discounts, because you still need to find how to deliver service, answer “help” questions efficiently (and start building your FAQ database, and setting polices which you’ll also have to codify), and you’ll always be looking for more cash to pay the people who are doing all of this for you. You’ll be working late nights and early mornings, seven days a week, and probably maxed out on your credit cards and tapped out with all the borrowing you can do among friends and family.

If the idea is still working, and if you can scrape together enough equipment (including servers and web hosting services, especially), then you might make some kind of modest invitation to a select group of people (either people whom you assume would be interested because of expressed preferences in online groups, or people in a local geographic area, or the like) and “go live” among them. You’ll find and fix more problems than you had ever considered before.

Someday, assuming you’re still alive and interested in the idea, you will absolutely need a lot more cash just to keep it going, as well as to grow it. So you’ll have to pitch the idea (that is, “sell it”, not “throw it out” – although the parallels are apt) to venture capitalists who will be willing to give you the huge cash infusion you need, for a piece of the pie.

Either that, or you sell the whole thing, as-is, to someone or some group who has also been sold on your idea, and you… may be thoroughly sick and tired of it by now.

raven860's avatar

@CWOTUS @dabbler @marinelife

So are there classifications for different types of business websites? If so, what are their names or types?

For examples sites such as Facebook, Myspace, Twitter come under one category whereas websies like the Homepage for Bestbuy or amazon.com come under a different category.

Thanks.

ETpro's avatar

@raven860 I’m a professional web developer and as such, this advice may be costing me potential business. But based on the questions you are asking, forget about it. You aren’t ready to launch the next Facebook.

funkdaddy's avatar

All of the sites you mention weren’t their creators first projects. You’ll need to take several shots, fail fast and learn the most you can from each.

Start with something you’re interested in, build a site for that, learn the basics and ask lots of questions. By the time you’re done you’ll have a lot of the information you need, connections to continue, and can better decide if this is something you really want to pursue. There’s no “become an internet millionaire” manual, but if you really want to, start by learning the part that seems the best fit for you and you’ll find some of the other pieces you need.

Remember that facebook, twitter, myspace, amazon, and even bestbuy aren’t unique. The difference between them and the other sites with the same (or better) technology is traffic. Eventually it all comes back to making something people want to use and then letting them know about it.

You can make something great, just don’t expect it to be easy just because its “the internet”.

raven860's avatar

@ETpro @funkdaddy

Well, I don’t expect myself to be making the next Facebook. I do realize that it is not easy but I wanted to know that if someone has an idea then what should be the next step.

As someone who knows nothing about Web site creation, I wanted to know if there is a difference in a architectural sense between the websites. Like are they completely different from the platform up or only at the surface?

Like websites like amazon.com and Bestbuy seem like Data entry websites where as Facebook seems like a highly interactive website. I am not sure if that makes sense.

mazingerz88's avatar

@raven860 You could figure out what your next step would be after understanding these three prerequisites. You need to possess at least one if you want something to happen…before you could even begin taking any real steps at all.

1. Money to invest.
2. Ability to write code.
3. Internet marketing skills.

Money trumps the other two. If you have money to invest, you could hire people to build and manage the website for you. Done. If you don’t have money but can write codes, you could still build your own website. Start small. If you don’t have money or coding skills but can contribute, in this case internet marketing, it’s possible you could convince those who can by partnering with them in a venture based on your idea.

Bottomline, you always have to bring something to the table. But never just an idea. In Facebook’s case, Zuckerberg stole an idea and wrote the codes himself. People started flocking to it. So, what he did was execute an idea successfully. Money was sure to come in later.

As for your other questions, you would do well getting more answers by meeting people in this web universe face to face. You could attend web building meet-ups if there’s any near your area. You will learn a lot by interacting with them. Try it at Meet-up.com

I sincerely hope you believe in your idea enough that you would be able to execute it and succeed. Goodluck. : )

( Btw, I too have an idea for a website. During my research I happen to stumble on a Q & A site and posted a question about it. The website is called Fluther. )

funkdaddy's avatar

@raven860 – the web is such that by the time the architecture (what kind of language, database, and “platform” you use) comes in to play, you’re already successful. If you run into those walls, it’s because your creation is popular. There are ways to fix them at that point.

Get started with whatever you’re comfortable with and go from there.

If you’re looking for a roadmap to the actual building of a site, I’d learn things in this order. Some people would make a few changes, but it’s generally agreed upon to some extent.

1) HTML
2) CSS
3) Javascript
4) A server side language – PHP, .NET, Python, Ruby, try a few and find one you like
5) Database use and design
6) Handy libraries of all the above

If you get to #6 you’re already there. Have fun and keep building stuff.

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