No-Code April 1, 2020

No Code is No Good

nocodenoah @noahb

Okay, first of all, I apologize for the clickbait title. I don't really believe no code is no good. If you know me, this should be obvious because I'm not a developer and have built 5+ websites and side projects using no code tools. Clearly I'm a big fan of no code and how it empowers everyone to build things.

The only reason I've been able to build so many projects is because of these great no code tools:

  • Webflow
  • Zapier
  • Sheet2Site
  • Airtable
  • etc.

If you're reading this, I have to assume you have a decent amount of knowledge about no code tools. If not, let me give you a brief overview.

No Code Democratizing Software

These tools (and plenty of others) allow anyone to create websites, web apps, and mobile apps. I'd venture to say that 90-95% of your side project/business ideas can be built without needing to code. No code tools are democratizing the software industry and making it possible for anyone to build their ideas without needing to code.

The first project I built was Roaster List. I had the idea for Roaster List because I was curious how many specialty coffee roasters exist and compile them in a single spot. I decided to use Sheet2Site because I could create a simple list website within a few minutes. Then I researched specialty coffee roasters and added as many as I could in an hour or so.

I was able to launch within 24 hours and officially built my first website and software product. I was hooked.

But now I have a problem with no code.

My problem is that I have spent way too much time building tools and dividing my time between 3+ projects at a time.

"That's not a problem with no code, that's your problem."

Yes, that's true. But because of the capabilities of no code, I've halfway built multiple side projects without following through on my plans any of them. Here's a quick list of my projects:

  • Roaster List - Crowdsourced list of specialty coffee roasters
  • Art Shield - Intellectual Property tracking online for artists, designers, and photographers
  • MineAid - Mine cryptocurrency using your computer to give to charity
  • Boom Roasted - Coffee affiliate site
  • Maker Spotlight - Newsletter spotlight for side projects
  • Churnkey - Personal failed payment recovery for SaaS
  • JobBoard.Best - Find the best niche job boards for your job openings
  • Coach Tree - Coaching trees for sports writers and reporters
  • Showings.io - Virtual showings for real estate agents

To clarify, these are just the projects that I started and built a website for. I have plenty of ideas that I've considered but haven't pursued. No code has given me the ability to do that. In fact, I recently tweeted a list of ideas that I decided I didn't have time for.

But the cost to this is that I haven't really focused on any of these.

I've decided that I need to narrow down my focus, stop building things for the sake of it, and stick with one idea until I know it is (or isn't) the one.

If you need a half-baked idea with a great plan to revenue, feel free to take a look at what I have. I'll be more than happy to give you my path for each idea/project and help you get it off the ground.

If you've read this far, I hope you realize that no code can enable you to flex your creative muscles. I love what I'm capable of doing with no code tools. I will absolutely be coming up with new ideas, but will be a lot more careful with what I decide to pursue.

  1. 10

    I don't think this is specific to no-code, people in general have the tendency to start a new shiny project before finishing the current one.

    1. 1

      Although as long as you actually release things, you occasionally hit upon something that even if half-baked hits a nerve. Once you have traffic and people showing interest, it's much easier to keep motivated to keep going and improving.

      1. 1

        Yes that's true. But there's a point where I'm no longer focused on an idea and distracted by something else, which is why I have so many that have lost momentum.

        For me that takes focus, which I haven't been able to give to (m)any of mine.

      2. 1

        I second this. As a prof, my side project https://www.colorsandfonts.com gets 14k plus users monthly the most was 26k I have made 78 bucks in 2019 because I tried adsense but I removed it, for the sake of the UX.
        I still haven't got a sponsorship either, but the users are there..
        The site keeps growing every month and despite I am not making a penny, even having codefund and I am already redesign the site and adding more tools. See here how is going.

        Having no pay users won't give you money but at least you create value that can be used to drive traffic to a paid service....

        1. 2

          Have you tried placing a link for Buymeacoffe.com ? Let users pay if they want to.

          1. 1

            I vaguely did in the beginning but,...it didn't feel right to implement it...

    2. 1

      Yeah you're 100% right. Just no code for me because that's what I know.

  2. 4

    same problem when someone can code? You should not ask yourself: "can I build this?" (probably yes), BUT --> "Should I build this?" (probably NO)

    1. 2

      Yes, you're definitely right @bramk. My problem is more with building too much rather than no code itself. I'm a big fan of no code!

  3. 4

    Everything you wrote is positive. I don't see any problems, only progress. The fact that no code let you crank out so many projects is great. That you are able to launch and experiment with lots of ideas is great. That you realize you need and want to narrow your focus is great. Keep on trucking!

    1. 1

      I agree that it's mostly positive. The problem is that I don't give enough focus on any one of them to give it a chance to be successful. I either stop because I get worn out or I get distracted by something else.

      Thanks for the encouragement!

      1. 2

        Given how far you’ve come, I’m confident you will get to where you want to be 👍

        1. 1

          Thanks Steven, I appreciate that!

      2. 1

        I'm a fan of this scattershot approach. You might see something work if you keep at it for long enough. I've kept a list of mine, and out a little over 50 random things 5 worked well enough that it justified all the other attempts.

        1. 1

          It definitely has some advantages - test a lot of things to see what works.

          But the disadvantages (no focus, little progress, distractions) seem to be too much for me.

  4. 2

    Hey @noahb you generate so many ideas and execute it even with a very exciting velocity. My respect, man. Have you ever seen marketplaces for existing products?
    I can point you from my recent memory

    1. 1

      Thanks Alex! I have...I tried posting Roaster List on 1 or 2 but still haven't been approved.

      I haven't seen either of the ones you just listed though, so I'll check them out!

  5. 1

    Great progress! Congrats on the projects you have made with NoCode.

  6. 1

    It doesn't seem like you're bereft of ideas. great. And it doesn't seem you have a problem with launching. Keep launching. What does seem like a problem is A) Monetizing and B) Quitting.

    Money has a way of making a project stick. You have proven it's useful and you have a real user to talk to!

    I too fail in quitting. I find myself thinking I can work a little bit more on that and it'll work.

    Be honest with yourself and let them go. Sell them on https://indiemaker.co/ (former 1kprojects). You'll know how attached you are then.

    Move on.

    Every new idea, should exist. And I won't stop you. I like your ideas. I'm glad they exist.

    Take a moment before launching. Think about a sound business model. This shouldn't be much effort. Try something.

    Lots of ways to make money:

    • Subscriptions (newsletters, communities)
    • 1 time payment (Lifetime access)
    • Transaction Fees (marketplace)
    • Commission (Affiliate)
    • Ads.

    Build your marketing around the paid aspect.

    Selling ads? Programmatic sucks. Put a fake ad up selling your ad space. I sold an ad on nocodeblackfriday.com that way.

    Make sure your UX and landing pages are directing the user to pay you.

    Then do one of the three, or all three:

    Set a timer. 1 week, 2 weeks. After that, stop working on it.

    Or setup a set amount of effort you will put in. For Example: I'm making google sheet tutorials and my goal is to produce 100 videos. I'm up to 10 paid now. 5 free ones.

    OR if you're spending money, set a limit: $100. My side projects now won't get any more expenses beyond domain name... until I make money on them. Learned the hard way by spending $3k last year creating a web app and making 0 dollars. yes Z-E-R-O.

    1. 1

      This is some really great advice! About " Put a fake ad up selling your ad space. I sold an ad on nocodeblackfriday.com that way." Curious as to how do you do this?

      1. 1

        You can see an example at nocodeblackfriday.com it says something to the effect of buy this ad.

    2. 1

      Thanks for the reply, you make a lot of really good points.

      I definitely think a time frame or revenue goal would be really helpful.

  7. 1

    I'm confused when people say no-code! So do you use a platform like bubble.io/webflow by designing the webapp then you add integrations using zappier, stripe, and slack into the webapp design through bubble? how does this work? This is unclear.

    1. 1

      Yes you nailed it!

      Basically the line between a developer and a non developer is blurring because all of these tools (Bubble, Webflow, Zapier, Airtable, typeform, and more) can all hook up together and let you build ~90% of your business/website ideas without needing to code.

      Sure, it might not look as good or scale forever, but it's easy to set it up quickly and get an MVP/idea of what you're trying to build.

      1. 1

        Are zappier and air table alternatives to bubble.io? do they serve the same purpose of design? or are they just plug ins?

        1. 1

          It depends on what you're looking to do. Bubble can do a lot of connecting itself, but Airtable and Zapier are arguably easier to use. If you're using Bubble anyway, it's got an easy way to manage everything.

  8. 1

    why do people say bubble.io is trash? I like it. but maybe it is? integrations work the same i think.

    1. 1

      I haven't heard anyone say that. Perhaps it might be difficult to make things look really good but it's definitely not trash

  9. 1

    To be fair, I am more impressed with your marketing and your copy.

    I do truly believe that anyone who buys your half-baked domains will make money with your business plan associated with each one.

    I felt cheated by the clickbait title but in the end, I came out pretty satisfied.

    1. 1

      Haha! Thank you, that's really kind. I wish I had an endless amount of time to build all of them, but unfortunately I need to focus on one to make decent progress.

      I figured the title would be annoying, but wanted to get my point across in an eye catching way.

  10. 1

    I think the ultimate use of no code tools is when it's paired with code.

    1. 1

      There's definitely a place for that. I know personally it would be really helpful to know how to code.

  11. 1

    The clickbait title got me. I've been wondering a lot about this "no-code" ... thing?... that's been happening. I only recently learned that people are calling things no-code, but am skeptical for two main reasons.

    1. There have been no-code tools for decades... Why is "No Code" now gaining such buzz? The fact that this "idea" has accelerated so quickly makes me think that it's a term that has become a fad.
    2. There are so many awesome services that enable you to do a lot more with a lot less effort than it would have taken to build from scratch. However, I still find it hard to see no-code products actually having the depth that custom built ones could have.

    I'd love to know your thoughts. I'm asking these q's / putting these ideas I have out there because I'm genuinely trying to learn more about the actual possibility of No Code.

    Thanks!

    1. 1

      Those are great questions.

      1. It can definitely seem like a fad at times, but then I find websites and products that were built with these tools, and it blows my mind. If you haven't, take a look at Webflow, Bubble.is, Airtable, Zapier. Then think about any idea you have and how you could build it using one or all of those tools.

      2. There's definitely a limit on what you can do with no code. With that being said, the limit is constantly growing and the tools are getting more and more sophisticated over time.

      There are tons of complex products and tools built with no code tools. You can take a look at any of the no code directories to find them. I don't know all of them but one place to start is https://www.nucode.co/ https://www.makerpad.co/

      cc: @bramk @cuhpajo @bentossell

      1. 2

        Interesting. I've heard of Bubble and Airtable. I've tried zapping a few things in the past. Thanks for the perspective and the other links, I'll dig in some more.

  12. 1

    I am sure most of us have a lot of half baked projects. It's kind of strange to me to spend further effort on selling them. Why? Because time is money and even if you sell half of them, wouldn't this be too little money for all the effort? Keep us posted if you can sell them:). Good luck.

    1. 1

      Hey Josef, You're right in a sense. However, the mental capacity I have for projects is only so high. Plus, counting the costs of these can make it not worth it in the long run (up to $20-$30/month for each).

      I definitely will, thanks!

      1. 1

        Ah that's 100% true. What I meant was to simply close it/end it without sale.

        1. 1

          Yeah that's definitely an option. If nobody wants any of these, I'll likely just close it down and make sure not to renew the domain.

  13. 1

    I admire your productivity though. You might find @tylertringas' post The Idea Meatgrinder useful to help narrow down and select ideas

    1. 1

      Thanks, I appreciate that!

      I've read that before and really liked it. Thanks for sharing!