I don’t remember how many times I have been asked to build the new great “idea” by non-tech founders.
Most of the time, they just need someone that could build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
The problem is that they do not know where to start and usually it is going to cost them ($10000 – $30000). You don’t want to start throwing money at this stage.
Well, you do not need a developer at all. You can do a lot without writing a single line of code. It is amazing what is possible with few tools out there.
I will show you 3 online services for creating your MVP without coding skills or any developer needed.
Tool 1: Zapier
The first tool in my toolbox: Zapier.
This tool makes my life so much easier every time I need to add integrations to my products. You can either build these integrations yourself or use a service like Zapier.
It allows you to move data between your product and external services (e.g. Dropbox, Gmail, Salesforce, etc…). It also allows moving data between external services like:
- moving all your files from Dropbox to Google Drive and vice-versa
- moving all the invoices from Shopify to Quickbooks
- add new customers from your website to Salesforce
- and much more…
To better give you an idea, let’s start with a use case.
Let’s say that you have an e-commerce site with your favorite platform (e.g. Shopify) which has already buying customers. You need some integrations like:
- Grab customer’s email address and add it to your email list.
- Add new customers information in your customer relationship management (CRM).
- Create a follow-up email ticket in your support system.
- Send a push notification to your phone when a new order is in.
- Grab all your invoices and save them in your Google Drive.
So many things and lots of development involved!
How does Zapier work?
Zapier has a concept called “Zap” which represents a connection between two apps. Each “Zap” has the concept of “trigger” and “action”. Every time your trigger is activated, it executes the given action. That simple!
Let’s go back to our example.
We wanted to build this integration:
- “Add new customers information in your customer relationship management (CRM). ”
What’s a trigger in this case?
A trigger could be “A new order from Shopify”.
That means that when there is a new order in Shopify, this trigger will activate.
Ok, we have a trigger. What could be an action in this case?
An action could be something like “Add the customer info from the new order in Salesforce”.
It will add the customer information from your Shopify order in Salesforce.
That’s all. It’s that easy. Two clicks and you can set up one connection.
They can connect with more than 700 apps and you can find the complete list of supported apps here.
Some example of workflows:
- Create MailChimp subscribers from Paypal or Typeform: Track sales made via PayPal and add the customer’s email address to your email list to Mailchimp
- Create Quickbooks invoices from PayPal: Create an invoice in QuickBooks from a PayPal transaction.
- Generate a new ticket in Zendesk for a new order in Shopify: Follow up with customers on new orders.
In this 5 minute video, you can see how easy it create a new “Zap”:
Tool 2: Bubble.is
Bubble is for users who have never written a line of code and don’t want to!
It is a drag-and-drop platform that will let you build complex sites. You don’t need to write a single line of code.
It is based on the concept of building blocks that you move around. Each block has a given functionality.
There are predefined blocks with lots of functionality or you can create your custom one.
The platform has a great layout and always suggest you your next step.
The documentation is well done: many videos and tutorial to get you started fast. A full working website in less than 30 minutes.
It is ideal if you don’t have programming experience and you need an MVP of a dynamic site (not a static HTML site).
There is even a course where they teach how to create a clone of AirBnB using Bubble.
What else can you build with Bubble? Here few examples:
- Coffee Searcher: Search favorite coffee places based on your location (Blog post).
- Find a Trainer: Find personal trainers to help meet your fitness goals on your schedule.
- Microblogging app: A simple microblogging app
- Twitter clone: This is a clone of the Twitter website. (Read the blog post how they built this)
- You can find other examples here: BuiltOnBubble
In the following video, it shows how to build responsive apps while building an AirBnb clone
Ok, Domenico. That’s nice. Where should I start first?
Follow these lessons from the Bubble site and in few hours you will have a new site up and running.
Tool 3: Webflow
This is actually one of my favorite tools right now for building websites.
It is not for beginners. It is targeting designers and entrepreneurs with some basic HTML / CSS skills.
You will get great websites that will work as you expect without writing one single line of code.
Both static sites and dynamic sites with blogging features.
Webflow makes it easier to create smooth user interfaces without much hustle. You can add animations to any part of yours site using one from their library or creating your own.
You can either start using one of their ready templates or start from scratch. They have a great initial tutorial for learning the basic and it will not take more than 1-2 hours.
The layout of the editor is like Photoshop; if you have used it before you will feel comfortable with it.
After you create your website, you can two possibilities:
- publish it on their hosting platform.
- export the code and host it wherever you want.
I like that they have this option to export your website if you want to host it yourself.
I recommend to try it out and see if it fits your needs. As I said, it is not for complete beginners. If you don’t have basic skills in HTML and CSS, solutions like Weebly or Wix could be a better fit for you.
Here it is a video where they build an entire site from scratch using Webflow.
Do you want to see what is possible with Webflow? Look at these sites below or explore their showcase of websites.
As you can see you can do a lot without a single developer.
Building a site nowadays is super easy and it should not be an excuse for not trying to build your idea.
How did you build the first MVP of your product? Leave a comment below!
Domenico is the author of ZeroTo10. He writes on tech, how to build software products, how to manage engineering teams and psychology. If you’re interested in launching a tech startup, read more at: https://www.zeroto10.com