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Question for the web designers out there
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Enigma Offline
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Question for the web designers out there
I have an idea for a site that on the surface would function something like a Tripadvisor (without the bells and whistles to start off). But it's dealing with a niche within a niche business and it's something no one is doing and I believe there's a market for.

Anyways, I want people to be able to search and rate businesses around the country. So essentially you could go to New York ---> New York City and there would be a list of different businesses with a rating out of 5 and maybe some stuff like their address with a Google maps link or something like that. Then you can click on it and read reviews or write your own.

But I'm not sure how to implement it. I'm just looking to get the basic infrastructure going myself to make sure there's a market, if the shit ends up looking like Craigslist in the beginning that's fine. If it does well, I'll pay someone to design something better in the future.

I don't mind doing the work and research, I'm just looking for someone to point me in the right direction and help me avoid spinning my tires. Can I pull this off with Wordpress? I've found a review plugin but I don't know how many businesses, cities, etc. I should add from the beginning. Am I better off creating bigger categories (state) to start off and then creating more subcategories (big cities -> small cities, etc.) as there are more reviews? Should I just manually create a listing for each business off the rip? I'm almost thinking I should just focus on my city and state first and then expand to other areas as it grows.

Thanks in advance.
12-19-2013 08:37 PM
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JackDavey Offline
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RE: Question for the web designers out there
Google has this functionality, if I understand you correctly. Google Places integrates with Google Maps and Google Reviews to provide this. If I were implementing some niche subset of nationwide business listings, I would start with the Google Maps API and the Google Places API and build off of that. Not sure if there is a Wordpress plugin for those.
12-19-2013 11:23 PM
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Enigma Offline
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RE: Question for the web designers out there
(12-19-2013 11:23 PM)JackDavey Wrote:  Google has this functionality, if I understand you correctly. Google Places integrates with Google Maps and Google Reviews to provide this. If I were implementing some niche subset of nationwide business listings, I would start with the Google Maps API and the Google Places API and build off of that. Not sure if there is a Wordpress plugin for those.

Interesting. Would that allow me to have my reviews separate from Google/the rest of the internet's reviews?

My original description was a little confusing. The businesses themselves aren't niche and I don't simply want to make a database for them, I want the site to focus on reviews on a certain aspect of those businesses that appeals to a niche.

To use an analogy, say you wanted to go day game. You go to this site, go to your state and city, and you'll see malls, coffee shops, parks whatever with reviews specifically about day game. How many girls are there, best times to go, etc.

You don't want to see the reviews about good deals on shoes or that the bathrooms were dirty from regular Google reviews focused on the normal features of a mall. And the average person isn't going to get any use out of day game reviews. So I want my reviews to be completely separate from Google's reviews and any other reviews on that business across the internet. They would be completely specific to my site and submitted by my users only.
12-20-2013 12:19 AM
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JackDavey Offline
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RE: Question for the web designers out there
I don't think the API would work out of the box for what you're proposing, but I think you could add your own functionality on top of it to achieve your results. From the documentation:

Quote:Place Actions allow you to supplement the data in Google's Places Database with data from your application. Data added using Place Actions is application specific, and will be available to applications that share the same API Key. With Place Actions you can add and remove places, schedule events, or allow users to Bump the priority ranking of a location or event. Supplementing Google's data with your own allows you to:

Differentiate your application from other apps with similar functionality.
Instantly update the data in Google's database for your users.
Create applications that are targeted to a specific user base or geographic location.
Influence the results of a Places Search issued from your application.
12-20-2013 12:28 AM
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Enigma Offline
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RE: Question for the web designers out there
^Nice, that does sound like it would work. I'll have to play around with it a little. Thanks.
12-20-2013 12:43 AM
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JohnQPublic Offline
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RE: Question for the web designers out there
(12-19-2013 08:37 PM)Enigma Wrote:  I have an idea for a site that on the surface would function something like a Tripadvisor (without the bells and whistles to start off). But it's dealing with a niche within a niche business and it's something no one is doing and I believe there's a market for.

Anyways, I want people to be able to search and rate businesses around the country. So essentially you could go to New York ---> New York City and there would be a list of different businesses with a rating out of 5 and maybe some stuff like their address with a Google maps link or something like that. Then you can click on it and read reviews or write your own.

But I'm not sure how to implement it. I'm just looking to get the basic infrastructure going myself to make sure there's a market, if the shit ends up looking like Craigslist in the beginning that's fine. If it does well, I'll pay someone to design something better in the future.

I don't mind doing the work and research, I'm just looking for someone to point me in the right direction and help me avoid spinning my tires. Can I pull this off with Wordpress? I've found a review plugin but I don't know how many businesses, cities, etc. I should add from the beginning. Am I better off creating bigger categories (state) to start off and then creating more subcategories (big cities -> small cities, etc.) as there are more reviews? Should I just manually create a listing for each business off the rip? I'm almost thinking I should just focus on my city and state first and then expand to other areas as it grows.

Thanks in advance.

The Google Places reviews idea sounds interesting, but the answers to your questions depend on what you want to do with the site. If you want it to be something like a passive income generator that makes a couple of thousand a month, wordpress and google places are fine. If you think you want it to get bigger, or if you want to invest more once you know the concept works, then you might want to invest a little bit more in the beginning to make it easier to grow. Getting a database built of places that display on a map with ratings and reviews should cost $1000-2000 on elance.com or something like that. WordPress is great for simple to intermediate things, but once you try to go beyond that you'll wish you weren't in wordpress.

Most successful community sites got big by growing one market at a time rather than trying to grow all of them at once. Facebook, went Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Stanford or something like that. As each one reached a critical mass they added another. Yelp did the same thing, starting with San Francisco, then adding one city at a time. That's called the domino strategy and it works.
(This post was last modified: 12-21-2013 11:40 AM by JohnQPublic.)
12-21-2013 11:10 AM
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Enigma Offline
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RE: Question for the web designers out there
@JohnQ: Good insight. It'd be great if the site got big but it will never be Yelp, Facebook, etc. It will serve a more focused demographic and it wouldn't be something you used every day. I'll still be targeting millions of people but it won't be something everyone and their mom is using.

Right now, this is mostly just a side project. What I planned on doing is just reinvesting any money it did make in the beginning. Or I can just divert money from somewhere else as needed. Couldn't I just have a completely new site made in the background and then redirect the url there when the time came? I don't see this as something that's just going to explode over night.

I like Yelp's layout and that would actually be more complicated then anything I'd ever need. I literally just want people to click on their city, see a list of businesses, and read or post a review. That's it. A little map in the corner showing the street location is about as much Google integration as I really need.
(This post was last modified: 12-21-2013 02:38 PM by Enigma.)
12-21-2013 02:37 PM
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Enigma Offline
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RE: Question for the web designers out there
I might actually post a job on Elance on Monday though just to get an idea of what it'd cost me and then I can go from there.
12-21-2013 02:42 PM
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JohnQPublic Offline
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RE: Question for the web designers out there
(12-21-2013 02:37 PM)Enigma Wrote:  I literally just want people to click on their city, see a list of businesses, and read or post a review. That's it. A little map in the corner showing the street location is about as much Google integration as I really need.


For that you just need something like:
http://www.gossamer-threads.com/products...mer-links/

There are also some cheaper directory products in the $100-200 range, but they also do less.

If you can do some web development, these will also require some significant learning/customization work to get it setup the way you want. It's not hard, but it's like learning a new CMS. If you don't do any development, you can go into their forum, post what you want to do and some of the guys who answer will be consultants who will build it for you. You can compare the cost of doing that with the cost of freelancers using PHP,etc.
12-21-2013 03:33 PM
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Enigma Offline
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RE: Question for the web designers out there
Nice. I'm going to check out their forum and see where it leads me.
12-21-2013 03:40 PM
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AntiTrace Offline
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RE: Question for the web designers out there
Are you doing this in order to make money?

My advice: go to local web development company.

A website is a lot like a house. If you build it with a fucked up foundation its not going to last long. If its a pretty simply build that doesnt require much customization and can use some pre-built back end software the price will be reasonable.

Go in for a consult, they are free. Its a face to face sitdown with a project manager and one or two other team members. That will last a half to an hour based on the complexity of the site. They will identify what your needs are and how to get it done. Approach multiple companies, at least three, as each different company may come up with a different solution. Have them work up proposals.

Now you have at least three written proposals. Read them through each and determine what the timeline, price, and finished product will be. Also make sure you review the terms of the contract. If you like the solution offered to you by company X but the price from company Y, you can ask X if they will do it for the lower price. Or you ask Y if they can do what X offered for the same price. As long as the prices aren't too far off, they will most likely agree unless they are loaded with too many projects at the time.

I've wasted thousands on dollars on trying pay a penny for a dollars worth of work.

Having face to face interaction with your development team is worth every extra penny you will spend. Trust me.

edit - even if you don't decide to go with any of the proposals, you now have a much better idea of the functionality you will need and how you can do it. Take very good notes and then hire a freelancer if you really really want to.

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(This post was last modified: 12-21-2013 04:00 PM by AntiTrace.)
12-21-2013 03:58 PM
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TopPanda Offline
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RE: Question for the web designers out there
I'm a web developer. My worry is that you don't have a clear idea of what you want the site to do. So sit down and make some walkthroughs and mockups of the pages. i.e. like the Simpsons animators do when they're planning an episode.

Business review sites are common. My friend has one but he needs a massive marketing campaign to get it off the ground.

Stuff I've seen on my travels...
Chinese Ladies Mapped by Province
12-22-2013 04:28 AM
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Enigma Offline
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RE: Question for the web designers out there
(12-22-2013 04:28 AM)TopPanda Wrote:  I'm a web developer. My worry is that you don't have a clear idea of what you want the site to do. So sit down and make some walkthroughs and mockups of the pages. i.e. like the Simpsons animators do when they're planning an episode.

Business review sites are common. My friend has one but he needs a massive marketing campaign to get it off the ground.

I know what I want the site to do. I'm just flexible with how it's implemented because I don't know enough about the field to know what's going to be difficult or expensive. Hence the thread asking those things. Creating a walkthrough doesn't help me when the vision it describes is too much for me to figure out myself and costs more money than I have to spend.

This site is not common, as there is not a single site I can find which does anything like it. It's also an industry which I have the knowledge and connections in to market myself.
12-22-2013 03:28 PM
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