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Class 3: Introduction to web technology entrepreneurship
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Class 3: Introduction to web technology entrepreneurship


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  • 1. Allan ChaoStartup ConsultantStartup V8allan@startupv8.comUC Berkeley Extension, Summer 2012
  • 2. Question of the day:What do you need for an idea to be a viable business?
  • 3. The Agenda Quiz Quick review of last session 4 topics today…  Website Introduction  CMS Tools  Market Research  The process of building a website Team hands-on time!
  • 4. Quiz Time Good luck!10 minutes max
  • 5. Quick review of prior material Pitch  Pitch Deck Elevator Pitch  Cover Components  Mission / Vision Focus is critical  Summary Angel Investors  Team Investor’s fund  Problem  Investor’s point of view  Solution / Demo Pitch deck (details at right)  Technology Naming Tools  Marketing  USPTO, domain, Secretary of State  Business Model   Competition CrunchBase  Milestones / financial forecast Dropbox  Conclusion
  • 6. Components to a Website Domain Registration  $10/year  = the data record of who owns what virtual property Email  (free with google apps)  = what happens to an email to Web Hosting  varies greatly, $10-$2,000/month  = actual physical server cost, with hard drives, networking, and electricity Web code  code is free, engineers cost $$$  = the HTML, PHP, or anything else that happens when the website is accessed by a visitor
  • 7. Domain Registration Getting the ownership of virtual property A lot like owning real land.  Once you own it, you can build on it, sell it, or anything. Generally very cheap, $10-20/year per domain Registrars:   Godaddy  Use a dedicated registrar, not a “secondary” reseller
  • 8. Buying already-registered Domains Domains that are already registered  Legitimate reasons  Domainers (domain name speculation)  Cyber Squatters (typos, near existing brand names) Depending on the name, cost can widely vary  Usually at least $1,000, up to millions  Private sale (sometimes through broker)  Auctions: SEDO, Godaddy Entertaining website that is not accurate at all: Why? Because it’s the brand.
  • 9. Pro tips for domains Top Level Domains  .com, .org, .net  The rest only get for branding protection Some companies/products are named for the domain  , , , , ,  Domain hacks better for tech-savvy crowd, not for mainstream For startups, register domains for 1 year  Startups tend to die or change their names, so no reason to register for longer Get the privacy add-on to avoid junk mail and scams.  Lots of scams out there! Be very careful with your domain.
  • 10. DNS = Domain Name System Foundation of how the internet works  Technically, converts   Commonly called the “internet phone book / address book” Frequently part of your registrar, you can tell it what to do with the domain for various instructions     Email to
  • 11. Google Apps Free* and Awesome!  * free for small accounts, like startups.  Better than the alternatives Lots of great collaboration tools  Email  Calendar  Documents  Chat Moderately-easy setup (requires DNS changes)
  • 12. What about the website? Must set up DNS Point to someone else’s server  We will do this for the market research phase  pointing to other web apps (launchrock or CMS) Point to our own server (must buy hosting)  A CMS like Wordpress or Joomla running on our server  Or, our own custom code (web application)  We will do this in a few sessions
  • 13. What are CMS? Content Management System  Modify a website without programming  Generally built for non-techies, but even techies use them  Easy to install, easy to update, easy to manage Examples  PHP-based: Wordpress, Drupal, Joomla, CakePHP  .NET-based: DotNetNuke, Umbraco  Proprietary: Wix, Weebly, SquareSpace, Moonfruit  Many, many, many more
  • 14. Pros and Cons of CMS Pros  Cons  Easy to install  Limited by feature-set of the  Easy to update chosen platform  Easy to manage  Platform change cost is very high  Requires minimal  Not a good foundation for a programming or custom web application engineering effort  A lot of things “out of your control”The Bottom Line: Sometimes, use a CMS to start, but plan to start over later.
  • 15. Launch Page Send people to it while the “real site” is in development  Real website will take lots of time to build  Launch page gives some info, gets them interested Collect email addresses for a mailing list  Contact them as you progress.  Do a “hot” launch, not a “cold” launch Assess business opportunity  Run advertising to see marketing costs (CPC, CPA)  Analytics on visitor data
  • 16. Launch Page: (a.k.a. Coming Soon) ,
  • 17. Building a Launch Page Use an online Launch Page builder.  You will replace it later, anyway. Consider it temporary.  May have a small cost. Consider it a “bridge” cost.  Will need to set DNS records to point the domain to the host Online Tools that build Launch Pages  LaunchRock  Kickoff Labs  Unbounce  MyBeta List  Wordpress theme: Launch Effect
  • 18. Wordpress Platform Much more robust than a simple launch page…  Lots of very useful features  Lots of customization Can run a whole business website  Many small business websites are running on Wordpress  It’s my tool of choice for small business websites Can even be customized at the programming level  Extensible to be like a custom web application  Very simple custom web applications can use a wordpress foundation.
  • 19. What is Wordpress? Wordpress.ORG  A free, open-source platform. Managed and improved by the goodwill of many programmers around the world.  Built for all (simple) websites, NOT just blogs.  Easy to use, but requires installation Wordpress.COM  A company (for profit) that makes it simpler to get started with wordpress.  Free to start, but charges for “add-ons”  Can be limiting, and doesn’t have the full flexibility of Wordpress.ORG
  • 20. Step 1 - home
  • 21. Step 2 - signup
  • 22. Step 3 – theme
  • 23. Step 4 – dashboard
  • 24. Step 5 – editing
  • 25. Step 6 – site is live
  • 26. CMS vs Custom Application CMS  Custom Application  Easier, faster, cheaper  Harder, slower, costlier  No technical skills  Lots of technical skills  Limited by platform  Unlimited… dream big! Our strategy: use a CMS to put something together quickly, as a placeholder, while we develop our main web application
  • 27. Our Goals Is this a viable business opportunity? What is the market interest in this product? Who are the competitors?  Who are the ones we need to be most concerned about? Who are our users/customers?  Do some customer development!!
  • 28. Google SERPSERP = search engine result pageJust do Google searches for relatedkeywords… see what comes upWhich ones are direct competitors?Which ones are niche focused?Which ones are unrelated?
  • 29. Google Insights and Google Trends
  • 30. Google Analytics The purpose is to understand who your visitors are  Where are they coming from?  What are they looking for?  What are the trends? Requires minimal setup Complex tool with lots of data Learn it during the marketing pilot, then use it for the real product.
  • 31. Google Adwords The purpose is to understand what kind of advertising works best What keywords are best? What ads work best? What is your conversion rate? How much does a user cost? Costs money to run  set a budget before starting Requires significant setup Complex tool with lots of data Learn it during the marketing pilot, then use it for the real product.
  • 32. In-Person Market Research Run focus groups  Ask them lots of questions  Have them take surveys Do interviews with potential customers  Use your existing relationships  Reach out to new people
  • 33. When to stop? It’s a judgment call, stop when you feel comfortable.  Perfect results don’t guarantee a successful product  Yet, a product can still succeed despite terrible results
  • 34. Before we begin… Building a “web startup website” is very different from building a “small business website”  Just like starting a “web startup” is very different from starting a “small business” – remember last session? By a factor of at least 100…  Much more difficult  Much more expensive  Much more time consuming You get what you put into it (money, time, effort)
  • 35. Why so different? When you build a web application, you’re actually building something completely new that’s never been done before. When you build a small business website, you’re actually just using someone else’s web application All the small business website builders are web startups   Wix  Weebly  SquareSpace  Moonfruit  If you use that, you are just a customer “user” to their startup.
  • 36. Software Product Development Creating the Minimum Viable Product (MVP)  Functional Requirements  Wireframes  Graphic Design  Code  Content (Copywriting, Social Media accounts, analytics, etc.)  Deploy (aka Release)
  • 37. Functional Requirements Questions to answer  What customer problem does this product solve?  What are the customer use cases?  How will the customer use this product to solve his problem?  How will the product make money?
  • 38. Sitemap
  • 39. Wireframes
  • 40. Graphic Design
  • 41. Content Every single screen… text, images, videos Instructions to the user Search-Engine-friendly URLs and content  Long tail keywords  Content Uniqueness Any emails that are sent? Blog posts? PR releases? Social network accounts (Facebook, Twitter)? Analytics tools
  • 42. Code HTML, CSS, Javascript, Jquery, Node.js, Django, python, Ruby on Rails, PHP, .NET, Java, ….
  • 43. Traditional Software Development
  • 44. Agile Software Development Start Small  Minimum Viable Product Iterate quickly  Track user data  Flexible software  Release frequently Cycle weekly or every two weeks
  • 45. Homework (In Teams) Register the domain  I recommend namecheap. A different registrar is OK if you already use a registrar.  Set up Google Apps (for the email and calendar) Set up Launch Page  I recommend LaunchRock. Using a different launch tool is OK, but may be more time consuming.  Get it the launch page running live, and test it Market Research  Investigate the Google SERPs for related keywords  Set up Google Analytics, optionally Google Adwords  Spread the word about your new startup and send people to your launch page Begin the Design  Write out the functional requirements  Design a sitemap Don’t forget… Work on the pitch deck as much as possible with your team.