Hey! What are you working on and what led you to building with no code? Have you got any previous experience of building sites/apps?
I've always enjoyed creating something myself, but creating complex web apps always seemed impossible to me without learning code. This was until I discovered bubble.is in late 2018. After much experimentation, I saw a lot of potential in bubble and the possibilities seemed endless. I started by creating a marketplace where designers can offer their work. I have learned a lot and especially working with APIs. These APIs really opened up a whole new world for me because I could now build on the work of others. Because by then I had learned so many new things from bubble.is, I left that project for what it was and started a project to solve a problem that I and others often encountered. There are endless products to be found on Aliexpress, but due to the large amount of junk that can be found on Aliexpress, these products often fall behind. So I thought there had to be a solution where people could only find the highest quality products. This idea was the beginning Filtur.io. This idea has been built on for months and expanded enormously through the integration of various APIs. All curated products now contain real-time product statistics that are nowhere to be found as extensively as on Filtur.io. Products can also be searched for by integrating a periodically updated database that contains more than 50 million products. By integrating the dropshipper program API from Aliexpress, orders can be made directly from the app. You can also put products directly into your Shopify shop through the Shopify API. All this functionality was built in about 3 months with all the knowledge I have gained with previous projects.
What platforms and tools have you used to build Filtur.io? How long did it take to build?
Filtur.io is completely made with Bubble.is. I have used various free plugins such as Stripe.js and the API connector. Using paid plug-ins can become very expensive very quickly, especially because the price of some plug-ins is ridiculously high. I have therefore not used paid plug-ins and I will also recommend that you only buy paid plugins if you really think you cannot do it yourself and that they are indispensable for the app you are creating. Because I did not use some of the paid plugins it sometimes took a little bit longer to get the functionality that I wanted but it only gives more satisfaction if you manage it yourself. The whole app was built using bubble only and took around 3 months. I thought it best to make the entire app with 1 specific service because this facilitated maintenance. With my knowledge of bubble I was also very easy to make a landing page.
How have you gone about growing your user base? What has been most effective?
The app is now almost ready and we can start promoting the service. To succeed, we need visitors who immediately get an idea of the service. We think the best way to get visitors is to make part of the service free to attract people to your website. That is why you can now see that the first page of Filtur is a page where the best products are listed under 10$. These products are taken from the curated product database and are therefore regularly updated. A small amount of product statistics can also be seen so that people can get acquainted with this feature. This part of the site will always remain free and we think it is a great way to attract potential customers. In the next update, visitors will also be able to save these products to their account, which is a great way to expand the user base.
Have you monetised it yet and if so, what is your revenue model?
The service is monetized in various ways. The most important is through affiliate marketing. If a product is purchased because someone clicks on the product from Filtur, we will receive a share of the price of the product. As a result, even the free part of the site is monetized. A monthly subscription is required for the web app. This is a nice recurring revenue source. Once the service is used by multiple users, different Aliexpress stores could place their products at the top of the list for a fee so that these products stand out more, but this is still a plan for the future.
What has been the hardest part of building, growing or monetising Filtur.io?
The hardest part of building Filtur was the integration of all APIs. A good solution for testing APIs before you integrate them is using a program called Postman. You can test API calls in this free program. This is very useful because you immediately have the right body for the API connector. Before I used this program I had a lot of problems with unknown errors that were all due to incorrect API calls. Secondly, I spent a lot of time designing the site. I went for a modern and simple look. When I look at the end result, I am very happy how it turned out. How the site deals with high traffic is something that will become clear in the future
Do you have any tips on building, growing or monetising a no code product/business?
I think that besides having a good idea and a well-functioning product, extra attention must be paid to the design and user experience of the app. I see a lot of apps that are made without code with very good ideas but with a very bad and amateuristic design. This will immediately deter the customer. I'm not saying you should hire a designer right away, there are very useful sites (like dribbble.com) where you can get a lot of inspiration. It is better to copy a good design than to make a bad design yourself. First impression is really the most important thing.
Also don't give up quickly! I myself know how frustrating it can be if something fails, but if you put that extra effort into it, you will see that almost nothing is too crazy to make without code. The Bubble forum helped me a lot, so don't be afraid to ask things.
Where can we find out more about Filtur.io and connect with you?
The app is now live on Filtur.io. Let me know what you think about it. Even if you have questions or need help, you can always send me a message. You can reach me in the nocodefounders Slack group under the user name 'Matthijs'. If you are creating something without code then I would love to see that. Keep creating!