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'm currently working on building a retail eCommerce store called Tee Tweets. It's considered a no-code product because it's technically built on a no-code platform, but to be completely transparent, I have messed with a little bit of the backend in order to implement some more advanced features.
When I first started Tee Tweets, I had virtually no experience—in anything. Building a website, SEO, supply chain, manufacturing, digital marketing, production, etc. Needless to say it's been a huge learning curve, but that's always a positive because you learn so much from it.
I had a solid foundation on understanding the financials and doing some guerrilla marketing (thanks to an internship at an Alderman's office and a SF startup job, respectively), but everything else I just had to learn day after day.
What platforms and tools have you used to build Tee Tweets? How long did it take to build?
My research started broad (as it usually does), and then I started narrowing down some platforms. Because of Shopify's strong SEO, it was a top result across my research. Nevertheless, I still made sure I read up on other platforms like WooCommerce, OpenCart, Magento, and more. Even website builders like Wix and Squarespace offer eCommerce capabilities, so I looked at those.
Long story short, I settled on Shopify. I can't remember an exact timeframe for how long it took me to build the initial website, but it was a couple of weeks as I learned how to maneuver the platform and the specific theme I was using at the time. Shopify also looked very different back then (they did a UI/UX overhaul in 2018 if I remember correctly), so it was a bit harder to catch on and use it compared to how it is now.
Some delay in building the website also had to do with the available content I had at the time. When you use a template it's much easier of course, but you still have to have quality content for it, so building its structure was only part of the puzzle.
How have you gone about growing your user base? What has been most effective?
One of the most valuable things I've come to learn is the importance of SEO. I had just graduated college (with debt) when I launched Tee Tweets, which meant I was due for some hefty loan payments soon. This "little" detail basically wiped out my entire marketing budget, so I had to make sure that Tee Tweets was going to be discovered some other way outside of digital marketing. Enter SEO.
I spent countless hours researching various SEO techniques, both white hat and black hat. It's important to know what to do as much as it is to know what not to do. That lesson, unfortunately, came a little late, as I wasn't even aware at the time what "black hat" SEO techniques were in the first place. It was not until I had executed on them that I realized I had made the wrong decision.
Fortunately, I was able to backtrack on those black hat SEO techniques and start implementing some white hat techniques. With time, Google rewarded me for fixing those mistakes, and now, you'll see Tee Tweets rank in the #1 position for many keywords and in the top 3 for others.
SEO is a long, painful, competitive, and never-ending strategy. And quite important.
Social is of course another effective method, particularly Instagram for its visual aspect. Tee Tweets is all about tweets, so obviously we're also on Twitter. However, the psychology of each platform is very different, so it's important to take this into account. Just because you had success on one platform doesn't mean it'll translate to another.
One great example of this is the Wendy's Twitter account, which has a full-time team behind it to hop into conversations and start roasting (pun intended) people in the Twittersphere. Needless to say, it's usually only the big corporations that have the budget for something like this, but the point is that you'll notice a huge difference in the account't tone on Twitter versus Instagram.
Have you monetised it yet and if so, what is your revenue model?
It's retail eCommerce, so the revenue structure is simple: Tee Tweets generates revenue on the sale of shirts, hoodies, and crewneck sweatshirts (and soon tank tops).
What has been the hardest part of building, growing or monetising Tee Tweets.
You have to get really creative with marketing when you have such a low budget. I always try to be less transactional and more about brand building, getting the message out, and really letting people's creativity take control.
I know that sounds quite cheesy, but something else I've learned is that people interpret tweets differently. Some wear tweets sarcastically, some wear them for spur social change, others to make fun of the tweeter.
This is great, because my goal since the beginning was to let the fans shape their voice and determine how the tweet is to be worn. Tee Tweets might curate it a bit, or give it context, but in the end, how the fans shape and interpret tweets is one of the best aspects of running this company.
I've seen some really famous tweets be worn a certain way, and I've had really obscure tweets be given new meaning in another context. Many customize their own for friends and family, and I've even had celebrities order some Tee Tweets. So that's always fun to see because it gives you an insight into what they're following on Twitter. Employees from Twitter, too. After all, what's more awesome than repping the company you work for in a creative, audacious way?
Do you have any tips on building, growing or monetising a no code product/business?
This'll sound basic, but get familiar with some of the no-code tools out there. I can't tell you how many business and app ideas I've had for years that I forgot or didn't act on because I always figured if I didn't know how to code in Swift or Java I wouldn't be able to build them. You'd be surprised at what some no-code tools can do. Hell, Shopify has been around for 15 years. WordPress has been around a long time too and powers something like 74% of all websites today.
In a more broader sense, the best advice I can give is to care. Legitimately care about your customers. I'm so legitimately thankful for each and every one of our customers. To think that 50 cents out of every dollar on the internet goes through Amazon, and instead, someone in the world decided to splurge on some Tee Tweets instead of Amazon, is amazing.
Focus on the experience all around. Not just the website, not just the product, but the after-sale experience as well. Try to stay connected with your customers and build genuine relationships, even if they're small. And again, don't be so transactional that you're just looking to build a relationship for the sake of your sales.
Honestly trying to improve their experience and building brand equity will pay dividends in the long run.
Where can we find out more about Tee Tweets and connect with you?
You can find Tee Tweets all over the web:
Official website: TeeTweets.com
If you'd like to connect with me directly:
Let me know that how/where you found me—that helps me filter out spam from people who actually want to connect.