Advice on developing website with no experience

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by mikeyPotg, Jul 2, 2011.

  1. mikeyPotg macrumors 6502

    Mar 20, 2006
    I came up with an idea for a simple social networking site and got some friends interested in the idea. I registered the domain name and even registered it as a company in my state. My main developer decided to go with ruby on rails, but he's the only one with experience. My other guy still has to learn ruby, and my 3rd is mainly just working on the design.

    I have no web developing experience and at this point I feel a bit lost as to what I should be doing. My main developer has been real busy with other obligations (no one is getting paid at this point) and he's the only person really working on the coding.

    Is there anything you suggest I should be doing to help get this site off the ground? Any tips on motivating my guys, or how to make the developers job easier? I can attempt to learn some developing, but I honestly doubt my ability with that. I hate to be just the guy who came up with the idea, and I want to keep my guys motivated and help in any way that I can.

    Any advice on how I can further contribute to my idea/site is greatly appreciated!
  2. iDisk macrumors 6502a


    Jan 2, 2010
    Menlo Park, CA
    Yup!.... How about get some web development education?? Learn, educate yourself. Network with more people who develop web sites, pick their brain, even see if they would be interested in teaming up with you (but make sure you have web knowledge yourself if you go this route).

    You already have the site protected. Now go and implement your vision. Again educate yourself on the programming languages you want to have as technologies that developed your site. Find one language and study study study, practice practice practice with it. No need to rush things.

    Amazon is a great place to find cheap books so get started educating yourself and contributing to your dream. Cause for your dream to succeed, you need to be the one who fuels it, not others... also a little bit of prayer for guidance goes a long way :) :apple:
  3. AFPoster macrumors 68000

    Jul 14, 2008
    Charlotte, NC
  4. digitalField macrumors regular

    May 21, 2004
    sooo i am going to make the other argument.. the one that starts off with me saying 'dont try and be the coder'

    when getting a new business/idea off of the ground there are lots of things that you can be doing that help move things forward and the actual coding is just one part of it.

    do you have a business plan? do you need investors? do you have a roadmap? do you have your elevator pitch? do you have a plan for how to get people to your site? do you need to develop partnerships? do you have wireframes? do you a version 1 feature list? do you have a version 2 feature list?

    these are just a handful of things that you could be working on while the coding is being done.

    and for those telling you to go learn how to code.. i would only advise you to do that if you want to be a coder otherwise fine talented people who also believe in your idea... or hire people or use a site like to meet talented people

    good luck.

  5. res1233 macrumors 65816


    Dec 8, 2008
    Brooklyn, NY
    This may sound strange, but I found that the best way to get into development is with AppleScript. It has to be the most English-based language out there for programming (scripting really...), and it takes very little time to learn. After that you can branch out into any language. It isn't very powerful, but it lets you learn basic logic used in most languages, without actually having to learn much syntax. Worked for me at least.

    If you know what Basic is, well AppleScript makes Basic look needlessly complex, although you can make real apps with Basic. AppleScript is just a starting point.
  6. digitalField macrumors regular

    May 21, 2004
    OP never asked for advice on the best way to get into development...
  7. mikeyPotg thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 20, 2006
    Thanks so much for all the responses!
    I've done a bit of research as far as plans, versions, and elevator pitches. I have a goal and version 1-3 planned out as of now. I saw a video interview by some google venture capitalists and they actually said that I shouldnt even need a business plan because who is to say where this website will be in 1-5 years from now, let alone profit-wise. At this point it's a concept and idea and the exciting part will be seeing how my concept develops as it goes through phases. I have a lot of things planned out but nothing official, I guess I'm just waiting until the alpha version before I start inviting more people to sign up.

    I'm glad you didn't recommend me to learn coding because I really don't think I'll be of much help that way. Have you ever used a website to outsource coding? The video I saw recommended against that... And as of now the coding is off to a start (slow but it's something)... So I'm hoping I won't have to go that route for now.

    Can you give me some insight as to creating a wireframe and how I should go about doing it and what it should include?

    Again I really appreciate all of your suggestions and advice!
  8. Curren~Sea macrumors regular


    Jun 21, 2006
    Vancouver, BC
    Focus on what you enjoy and what you're good at.

    Trying to learn web development on your own is a walk down a very slippery path. Take my word for it, you'll end up spending countless unproductive hours learning things that will end up just frustrating you. I'm not saying that you personally may or may not have the aptitude for it. What I am saying is that web development is a massive field of study and I do not recommend that you dive in unless you are dedicated to becoming a coder.

    You sound more like an idea guy. That's good! A website needs the content and inspiration that you can provide.

    Work on documenting a specification that clearly outlines your desired outcome with as much detail as you can. Sit down with your developers and make sure that they fully understand what you expect and what your timelines are. If the developers are friends or people who are working cheaply then it may be hard to motivate them. If you think your ideas will generate income then it is worth your $ to invest in real professional developers. There are a ton of developers out there with real skill and you can probably find individuals who will work within your budget.

    When I do web development, I often work from hand written drawings that were created by the website owner. After a bit of focused discussion I'm usually able to come up with what they want. I don't think you need to create elaborate wire frames but you should document as much as possible and be prepared to have a few meetings with your devs on the functional and technical design.

    Best of luck!
  9. digitalField macrumors regular

    May 21, 2004
    at work right now, so i cant give a long reply but wanted to share this article with you.
    its about paperprototyping which is one of my favorite ways to wireframe

  10. MarianoE macrumors newbie

    Sep 10, 2008
    Avoid Dreamweaver as it will not teach you how to code, instead pick up some books on HTML, CSS, JavaScript and your backend language of choice, could be PHP, ASP .NET, etc. Then use Coda or just the code view and FTP functions of Dreamweaver. The other functions in DW will just create messy code.
  11. mikeyPotg thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 20, 2006
    I was thinking of mapping it out in a notebook. I've drawn a few (bootleg) sketches, but I was thinking it may be a good idea if I make a notebook and on each different page I show a different function. For example, on the first page would be the "main page" and within the main page would be a lot of other numbered links, and if you click the "home" link, I would write down (page 5) in the notebook, so when the reader "clicks" any link in the notebook, it would take them to the specific page.

    Does that sound a bit too complicated or do you think it's a good idea?

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