ShowIH January 8, 2021

Show IH: I made a WebApp that turns Google Sheets into Webpages

jian2587

https://sheetui.com/

This took a while, but I finally switched over my domain from V1 (free) to V2 (trial + paid), and within a few days I got my first subscription customer! And just a few days ago their trial ended and got converted into paid subscription. At $19 MRR with the potential for churn, it's not much, but I'm really happy with my first steps!

My stack:
react + firebase auth + firestore + bootstrap + google sheets API + stripe

I appreciate any constructive criticisms and suggestions!

  1. 4

    first of all congratulation 🥳. how do you manage to create subscription thing, any resource on that would be helpful.

    1. 3

      I did it through Stripe subscription API. @Gabe's divjoy (a project generator) helped setup the scaffolding necessary to hook up with my Stripe account.

      The basic idea is, when your user decides to purchase something, you call Stripe's API endpoint to setup a billing session, then the user gets redirected to Stripe's billing page. Once that's done, Stripe will call your server (through a webhook you expose) to let you know, and you can store that information in your db.

      1. 3

        Love that you used Divjoy to create a website for making websites. We must go deeper [inception meme here].

        1. 2

          Hahaha. Don't drop your totem @Gabe!

      2. 2

        I use roughly the same process (Stripe Checkout/Stripe Portal), except I don't bother listening to the webhooks or saving any response to my DB. When I fetch a users account I just make a call to Stripe API as well to check their subscription. It may not scale as well but works for now.

        1. 1

          Oh interesting. This certainly helps get around web hook failures (or just customer status going out of sync due to bug), tho I'm not sure how often that happens.

          What service do you run?

          1. 2

            Yep webhook failures and getting out of sync were the reasons I did it this way. I use it with Jamform my main project as well as ImgMark a side project. No real issues yet that I know of.

      1. 2

        Very cool. I'll have to figure out if I can use this to make my life a little easier.

  2. 2

    Did you launch it on product hunt?

    1. 1

      V1 was launched months ago, got bit of a traction. How do I relaunch (but for V2) on product hunt?

      1. 1

        Did you get more traction launching on IH?

        1. 2

          Not really. I got more eyeballs from hitting HN frontpage, but traction surprisingly came from other places. When you hit frontpage of HN (or any other major sites), other sites will start talking about your site, bringing in even more traffic.

      2. 1

        I think you need new features. I heard you have to keep launching as a start up. I think the main thing is to be significantly different form the first version. But not sure.

  3. 2

    can i use my custom domain?

    1. 2

      Not at the moment, but it's something I'll add in the near future.

      In the mean time, you can just embed it on your own website.

  4. 2

    Wow, I was just contemplating this idea yesterday I'm glad I didn't start on it. Looks really nice!

    1. 1

      There are quite a number of companies in this space, each occupying a different niche. I'm just looking to carve my own niche, not to eat anyone's lunch :]

      1. 2

        Makes sense! Btw I wonder if a "menu" template would be a valuable addition. All these restaurants and breweries wanting to host their menu online but don't know how to set up a real CMS, I'm sure they'd like the idea of just using Google Sheets.

        1. 1

          That's a great idea! Do you know of anyone who might need this sort of service?

          1. 2

            I'm looking to set up a directory for African based businesses in Australia soon. There's a lot of restaurants in small communities who don't have much of an online/digital presence, so I can see the appeal in targeting restaurants

            1. 1

              Got it! I'll see what I can do and will reach out to you again when I have a plan.

      2. 1

        What niche are you going for?

        1. 1

          An editor with very few knobs for you to tune. The goal is to get you from a sheet to a page as fast as possible.

          1. 1

            Thanks. It seems like a useful tool. Will I be able to get a custom domain on it?

            1. 1

              Not at the moment; it's definitely something I'll work on very soon.

              You can embed the generated page on your own site for now though.

  5. 2

    Very well done. It looks like it will be an easy sell.

    1. 1

      Thank you! I hope my value proposition is clear.

  6. 2

    Congratulations @jian2587

    I can totally understand your feelings when you got the first customer on MRR. :)

    Wishing you a great luck.

  7. 2

    @jian2587 was this a request build or something you thought would be helpful to x,y, or z? If it's something you thought of - who is the target user?

    Congrats on launching.

    1. 2

      I started out with Tapdiv (https://tapdiv.com), a webapp builder, but feature creep meant I couldn't quite launch it yet, so I decided to work on something with a much smaller scope. I talked to some folks and realized this is something that could be useful to them (think non-profits or small businesses wanting to present something but don't want to deal with creating a webpage, and just want to be able to easily update it from their spreadsheet). SheetUI is the result of all that coming together.

      1. 2

        Could definitely see this being useful for craft makers/small time farmers who go to market every week/weekend.

  8. 2

    Congradulations TJ!
    Suggestions:
    With this kind of tools, you'll be always limited with your time and how much you can add but the real value (IMHO) will be opening it as a marketplace where designers can upload pages/websites and users will just pick a template and start updating contents. Imagine a user journey instead of buying a template on Themeforest and start updating manually will be a click and update for variables in a sheet!

    Feedback:
    In contact page the emails is sheetui@sheetui@tapdiv.com why not an email @sheetui.com?

    1. 1

      Hi Oras, thank you for your ideas! Marketplace is a great idea, and the user journey you described sounds really lovely. I will put them on my roadmap when SheetUI gets bigger. It's too much to run a marketplace by myself as it is now.

      In the rush to launch V1 I didn't bother to setup proper DNS record for the email lol. I'll fix that.

  9. 2

    Is an awesome tool, Congrats man

  10. 1

    Congratulations @jian2587

    If you understand that you have different competitors maybe good idea to create a separate page with a comparison. E.g. Sheetui vs product 2. and show features that you have.
    This page can generate additional search traffic.

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