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RandomMrdan's avatar

So, I have an awesome idea for a website...what next?

Asked by RandomMrdan (7439points) July 2nd, 2009

I’m not sure what steps I should take for creating a website like this…can I build this on my own given enough time?

The idea of my website, has a similar format like Fluther (forum based, and can see live time feedback), but isn’t a Q&A site, but rather a site that people can exchange goods and services in real time (much like a craigslist website).

How much work would this be for a novice like myself, and maybe one other friend to help assist? What kind of startup costs would one expect from this?

I would like this to be some sort of side project that I can manage from within my apartment, and since I get a pretty good discount on computer hardware, I could probably put together a decent server of some sort.

Any helpful suggestions? Thanks!

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37 Answers

RandomMrdan's avatar

removed by myself

jrpowell's avatar

Well you can start small. You can get hosting for 10 bucks a month. If you get hits you can move up to a dedicated server.

I would just grab a a few books on HTML, CSS, PHP, MySQL, and Javascript. <—in that order.

You could probably write this yourself if you have enough time.

RandomMrdan's avatar

Where can I get hosting through? And thanks for the book subjects, I’ll have to pick some books up on those topics.

And what is everyone’s thoughts on this type of website? Imagine Craigslist and Fluther combining into one site, but interfaced like Fluther, and organized in a way like Craigslist.

rawpixels's avatar

Best hosting:

Tell them rawpixels sent ya. :) Seriously

rawpixels's avatar

By the way, if you need a designer for this project, I can help. Here’s some of my work:


Mitch Wein

Organic Minds

Landy Cognac


Flatiron Media


Lost October

jrpowell's avatar

I use Nearly Free Speech.NET for my hosting. It is like pay as you go hosting. I normally pay about a buck per month and I host a bunch of stuff with them.

RandomMrdan's avatar

Hey thanks guys!! I can tell there is a lot I have to read about, a lot of this is like reading another language…I need to catch up on this quite a bit.

What do you both think of this type of website that I’m describing? Think there is potential for something like this?

rawpixels's avatar

I use Craigslist and Fluther on a regular basis, so I think it could be a great idea if done right.

jrpowell's avatar

It could work. But you are looking into a legal can of worms you might not want to open. People will sue you if the person to deliver the goods doesn’t deliver. Get a lawyer to help write some kind of Terms of Service.”

RandomMrdan's avatar

@johnpowell good point, thanks for that input, I actually didn’t even think about that.

@rawpixels thanks for the input! I use both sites daily, it’s why it dawned on me to combine them!

RareDenver's avatar

Thanks for the website idea, I’ll run it past my colleagues at the web company I work for tomorrow…

I jest of course, I don’t work for a web company and probably can’t offer any real advice except take at least 3% of any deal done by your users and offer a discount on that for high value deals.

Best of luck

jrpowell's avatar

After I finished reading what RareDenver typed and put down my punching fist. (just the first sentence had me irate.)

But RareDenver brings up a good point. Taking payments over the Internet can be tricky. There is PayPal, but rolling your own is going to be hard. Security is hard.

For example about a year ago had someone hack into all the passwords for users. Imagine if someone did that to your users credit card info.

I’m not trying to discourage you. Just letting you know of some problems you might face.

augustlan's avatar

I like the idea, but wonder if you’d have enough people on in any one field at the same time in order to actually produce real-time services. Maybe you should have an area where people can ask about goods or services and other people can make suggestions in real-time too.

StellarAirman's avatar is who I’ve used for hosting for years and years. They are much cheaper than Media Temple, but MT does have good hosting (but so does Dreamhost).

I would definitely not worry about running a server in your house. Much easier to get some shared hosting to start out with, then maybe move to a co-located machine with a hosting company. If your site was at all successful you would very quickly outgrow any type of residential internet connection you can acquire. Plus you don’t want to have to worry about securing a server, keeping it up, maintenance, etc unless you already know how to do all of that.

There are tons of scripts out there that can probably be modified to do what you want. Either forum software or other types of scripts. Do some searching around on Hotscripts and other script sites and see if there is something you can modify for your needs. Will save you a ton of time and money to get the site up and running.

Also do some research on potential competitor’s web sites. There are thousands of classified ad web sites out there already, many of which have very few users which makes them almost worthless. You really have to build a good base of users before a site like that would become valuable, so you should expect to have to stay at it for quite a while to build users.

Craigslist is basically a fluke. It is an absolutely horrible web site in almost every possible way, but somehow it caught on (mostly because it’s free and focused on a particular city I would imagine) and is now huge despite the crappy site. Not everyone gets so lucky and is in the right place at the right time.

brettvdb's avatar

The best advice I can give you for starting a website, is to keep your ideas to yourself or you’ll lose all your money.

walterallenhaxton's avatar

It will not happen. There are people out there with many more years of experience than you have. That means that they have failed at it many times and know what those failures are. You don’t and they will not tell. Try a lot of simple ideas and see if you can make them work. If you find something that sells then sell all of it that you can and keep looking for new products to see. What ever you sell first will not be what you sell last.

The idea you talk about is far too complex.

RandomMrdan's avatar

@walterallenhaxton I’m not creating a product, simply combining two websites to be alike in some way. And I’ve seen websites similar to my idea, but Chinese. I’m told they work out pretty good, but instead of forum based chat like it is here on Fluther, it’s an actual chat room.

I’m not sure what you think is too complex about my idea. Forum based chat with categories like craigslist, buying, selling, trading goods.

walterallenhaxton's avatar

Have you been to Farmtown? You would need many rooms. A lot of rooms and a lot of processing power. It would be a search engine with a more complicated interface. It would not work for retail but maybe wholesale. I don’t know. You can only do it and learn. These things can not be predicted.

RandomMrdan's avatar

@walterallenhaxton are you at all familiar with craigslist? And since you’re already familiar with Fluther, it wouldn’t be a chat room, just forum based chat.

walterallenhaxton's avatar

Crags list seems to already have a forum feature that is used for chat. I think that Crags list has that niche covered. I am trying to tell you that you should try the shotgun approach. Go after as many uncovered niches that your imagination can come up with ideas for. Copying someone leaves you with the crumbs ot that particular niche.

RandomMrdan's avatar

I meant a forum for the items one is trying to sell…so if you wanted, you didn’t have to email someone and wait as long, and you can see what offers everyone else is already making…I’m not sure you’re fully understanding my idea to be honest.

Thanks for the input, but I’m still going to try.

walterallenhaxton's avatar

You are trying for a virtual marketplace. I believe that the American stock exchange is like that. Your project is most ambitious. There are lots of products available. Including them all will be formidable. Actually I think you might be trying for a virtual economy.

StellarAirman's avatar

I think you’re looking way too much into his idea walter, he’s not trying to create a virtual economy. Basically just a forum with a section for people to buy and sell things from what I can see.

Sounds like you could easily use one of a hundred different forum scripts to avoid a lot of the work in developing the site. The challenge will be in setting yourself apart from the thousands of other forums that have places where you can buy and sell things. For instance a lot of car enthusiast forums have sections for members to buy and sell parts or whole cars, etc. They already have thousands of members built up by their interest in discussing cars. It will be difficult to attract members from all different interests to your forum. Not saying it’s impossible, but will definitely take a long time to build up a user base, like any new community.

mzdesigns's avatar

dont let anyone steal your idea.

benseven's avatar

I’m no expert, but I could build something like this. It’s not overly complex, wally over there is talking a load of nonsense! If done well, it could really take off.

msright1981's avatar

I usually host with hostgator they have been doing great for me. Though I would not waste time trying to code the site from scratch. It will be a lot more cost effective to get a professional coder with plenty of these free lancers on the net you should not have to pay too much for that. Just make sure you get some one with a long term commitment, so you can find him around when you want to modify the site in the future.

RandomMrdan's avatar

how much would it cost to have someone code this for me?

msright1981's avatar

I would recommend you try &, though I have mainly been using I heard some good stuff of What I like about is that you can post your project for free. Freelancers will bid on the project. If you like the price you can proceed forward, & if you don’t like it you always can opt out or look for the next quote. Ah make sure you don’t pay money till you get your full project delivered, though you can escrow the money with & wait for the lancer to finish it to release it. I hope that help, & I am sure you will have quotes between $100 to $10000 so use your senses of finding who is good and fit in your budget.

Hope that help you out & I am sorry that it seems too many links in the answer & hope you will see it before fluther remove it. ah yeah definitely I have nothing to do with either sites as well :), so don’t blame me for choosing the wrong lancer pick it carefully.

StellarAirman's avatar

I still think you can use some forum software already out there and spend $0. Your idea doesn’t sound much different than a forum with certain buying and selling categories to me.

msright1981's avatar

@StellarAirman buying and selling process usually make things more complicated that you usually just want to handle using a normal forum. At lease the way he mentioned it running :). I might be wrong though.

StellarAirman's avatar

If he actually plans to handle taking money, then yes, but if he is just doing classifieds like Craigslist or most other online classified ad sites, then it is not any different than a regular forum and doesn’t really require anything unique at all.

RandomMrdan's avatar

yeah, I don’t plan to handle the money, it’ll be classifieds like craigslist.

walterallenhaxton's avatar

It is not a niche idea. It is in direct competition with what others are doing already. Don’t be surprised when it is ignored.

StellarAirman's avatar

At the same time, it definitely won’t be successful if you don’t try. MySpace already existed before Facebook took over, and lots of other social networks existed before MySpace. And cell phones existed before iPhones and lots of answer sites existed before Fluther.

Link's avatar

It’s definitely gonna be tough to get this launched with zero experience. Stop the chatting, start learning, and then get working. Best of luck.


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msright1981's avatar

Well, your competitors got an army to depend on. I hope you good luck with this, but you will have to work too hard on it.

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