We all have an idea, but when it comes to implementing them, it gets lost somewhere. Converting idea into product require time, energy, passion and the right tools & technologies.
A few months back, I started working on my idea to have a Site Toolbox where you can test your website load time, checking screenshot in another region, HTTP header analyzer, etc.
It was an excellent learning to go through lots of tools needed to build and launch and I am glad I launched Site Relic last week.
I launched on Product Hunt and was happy to receive positive feedback and voting.
So what does it takes to turn your idea into launch?
Well, here are what I had to go through so thought will be useful to share if you are shaping your ideas.
Once you make your mind, one of the first things you want to do is to register a domain. Domain registration cost less than $10 (sometimes $1 on GoDaddy promotion).
Some tips on choosing domain
- Keep it short (if possible less than ten characters)
- Avoid number, special characters
- Limit to single or two dictionary words
- Choose easily memorable name
- Check if social media handler available for your domain name
If you need some idea on a domain name, the following tools will help you.
After finalizing the domain name, you can register with a domain registrar. There are many and famous ones are:
It depends on product nature but does some research on what technologies you want your product to be built on.
There are many robust frameworks available like PHP, NodeJS, CMS, etc. so you should be focusing on what you want to achieve with the product and what framework has to offer.
You will find some open source software, and sometimes it’s challenging situation to choose among themselves. Some of the point to keep in mind while choosing tech stack.
- Is open source/software maintained by the reputable organization and supported?
- Does it have a large community so you can ask questions if stuck during development?
- Who is using them?
- Does it solve the product feature?
Some of the common options you will have:
- Web Server – Nginx, Apache (I prefer Nginx)
- App framework – PHP, Node.JS, Python (Most of the time PHP will be suitable, and development is cheaper, but if looking for real-time data delivery then Node.JS will do better. Python development is expensive)
- Database – if PHP then most probably MySQL will be ok and MongoDB for Node.js
- OS – CentOS, Ubuntu
Once you know what tech stack you are going to use, you need to choose the hosting solution. It may sound easy but trust me it’s essential to pick it wisely.
Choosing the right hosting will save you money and serve your user faster & better. Some of the questions you should consider while choosing hosting provider are:
- Does it offer what your product needs?
- Do they have a data center in your expected user location?
- Is costing within your budget?
- How is the support provided?
- Product offering & integration
On a high level, you have two main options – VPS & Cloud hosting.
VPS hosting – if you are testing your ideas and not sure the expected traffic/user-based or having a limited budget then VPS would be right to start it.
You can get it started from as little as $10 a, server and some of the known VPS hosting providers are:
- Digital Ocean
- Amazon Lightsail
Cloud hosting – perfect to build high-available, scalable infrastructure to serve millions of traffic and heavy computational tasks.
Most of the Cloud platform offers a free tier to get familiar with the system.
- Google Cloud Platform
I selected Google cloud platform to host Site Relic for three main reasons.
- Custom machine – you can launch the server based on your configuration.
- Low latency – Google is known for low latency between regions and from the Internet
- Pricing – I realized GCP is cheaper than other cloud platforms.
Pre-Launch Landing Page
During product development or testing phase, you may want to have your domain ready with a landing page to collect the emails and create a buzz.
Having pre-launch landing page can help you in many ways.
- Test the product idea
- Collect emails so you can notify on launch
- Get initial feedback
- Get beta tester
- Find potential customer
There are many landing page platform available, and some of the known names are:
- Thrive landing page (only for WordPress)
Use CDN & Cloud-based Security
Don’t wait for a user to complain about slow website or application instead implement CDN before launch.
CDN (Content Delivery Network) accelerate the web site asset delivery to serve the requested data from user’s nearest location hence faster.
Nowadays, CDN is capable of doing many things related to performance optimization and reduce the site load time. Having fast loading website boost search engine ranking and user experience.
Same goes for Security; it doesn’t matter how big or small your business is, every website should be secured. There are many ways to add security to your site, and one of the quickest one is to implement cloud-based security.
Cloud-based security protects your website from the edge (bad request doesn’t reach to your server at all).
The good thing is most of the CDN provider has security product integrated so you can pick the one which provides both CDN & Security.
Some of the known CDN with a Security solution.
- AWS CloudFront + Shield
Know your application capacity by performing necessary load time, stress testing so when user/traffic increase you know what infrastructure size you need.
Once your product is ready, you may want to test how much time it takes to load from multiple locations and the following tools will help you.
- Site Relic
If a website is loading fast (usually in less than 3 seconds) then you are ready to go. Next thing, you want to find out the capacity by doing a stress test.
The following stress test tools can help you to find out how much traffic your application infrastructure can handle.
Check your website for SEO & Security
I know you will do this anyway and you must!
Analyze your website SEO metrics to find the problem and fix it before you let Google index your site or launch the product site.
There are many analyzers out there including the popular one as below.
- SEO SiteCheckup
Don’t stop at SEO; you should also perform security scan against your website to find common vulnerabilities so you can fix before someone take advantage of it.
- SUCURI Security Scanner – basic level website malware & security checker
- Detectify – in-depth scanning to find OWASP top 10 vulnerabilities and more
To measure the traffic, you got to use some analytics, and one of the most popular ones is Google Analytics.
Google Analytics is free and gives you all the essential metrics you need like page views, unique visitors, bounce rate, referral, visitor location, etc.
Setup Google Search Console
Google Webmaster let you add your website so you can track crawl status, search analytics, index status, links, etc.
You can also submit sitemap through Webmaster and track what’s been indexed.
Google Analytics & Webmaster both are essential to almost any type of website.
By now, your product is ready and time to create a buzz!
Submit website to Search Engine
There are many search engines, but you want to focus on the popular one like Google, Bing, Baidu, Yandex.
It will take few days for a search engine to index your site, be patient.
Submit to product discovery platform
This is crucial to ensure your product works as expected. There are many platforms where you can submit your product and here are some you can’t ignore.
- ProductHunt – one of the best place to post about your product and create a buzz.
Tips: find a top hunter to hunt your product. Check out, top 500 hunters.
- BetaList – if your product is in beta then BetaList would be a good platform to find the beta tester and at the same time create a buzz.
- Hackernews – showcase your product URL
- AlternativeTo – everybody is looking for the alternative product so find your competitor and add yours as an alternative product.
You may take a look at the large list maintained by Promotehour.
On product launch date, keep an eye on website infrastructure monitoring to ensure it doesn’t crash.
When I launched Site Relic on ProductHunt, it crashed, but I was able to recover it quickly as I had setup necessary monitoring. So don’t forget, monitoring is critical.
I hope above guides give you a bigger picture about what all you need to do to get your idea shaped into the product. Those are based on what I followed/learned during Site Relic launch.
I wish you good luck with your product!