A great way to come up with ideas is to look at tools you rely on every day, but are too complex or expensive.
A good example of this is Typeform. It’s great for building good-looking forms and is super powerful - you can pretty much build an online store with it. But it’s also rather expensive.
Sometimes you don’t need all the bells and whistles. You just want a form that looks better than the one from Google. Cue Tally.so and others, made by indie makers, for indie makers to provide similar value for less.
Or look at landing page builders - tools like Carrd.co are cheaper and less bloated than Unbounce or Instapage.
This week, we’ll use the same approach and come up with an opportunity in a different space - blogging.💡 IdeaA super lightweight blogging platform.🐣 Idea genesis
- I was recently looking for a tool to build a simple blog. I really wanted to stay away from a bloated WordPress installation and Ghost is just way too expensive for what I need.
- Doing my research I landed on Super.so. It’s built on top of Notion and allows you to create a website by hooking up a Notion folder.
- But it’s also meant for a lot of use cases (portfolios, landing pages, blogs…) This means there is some setup and design required.
- I wanted to find something even easier to setup and maintain.
- My hypothesis is: Yes, the world needs another blogging platform, one that is super lightweight, easy to set up, and doesn’t cost more than $19/year (yes, year!)
- Creating a simple blog outside of proprietary platforms like Medium is still hard.
- Available tools are either overly complex for the job (WordPress) or expensive (Ghost) or lock you into a closed platform (Medium).
💵 Possible Monetization Streams
- A lightweight blogging platform that loads fast is SEO friendly, has standard blogging features (RSS, tags, comments, etc.), supports own domain, does not cost a fortune.
👍 What are the benefits?
- Freemium with payment for advanced features like own domain, removed branding, or just a premium product with a free trial.
- Offer low yearly pricing. You’d need to run the costs on this, but I’m thinking $19/year.
🤑 Are people currently spending money on this?People are using different tools to achieve this job:
- Even though newsletters are all the hype these days, blogging is not dead either. Search traffic is valuable in the long run and a blog should be part of everyone’s audience-building strategy.
- For people that are building a personal brand, a blog makes a lot of sense. You are publishing content on Indie Hackers, Twitter, Reddit. I want to build upon these ideas and bring them all together in one place.
- I want something that’s as easy to set up and maintain as Medium or Substack but doesn’t lock me up into their ecosystem.
- I don’t need a landing page, I’ve got mine in Carrd.co. I don’t need to have a ton of templates to choose from, I want a few that are minimalistic, fast to load, and look great on mobile.
✅ What do I need to validate?
- Self-hosted WordPress: paying for hosting - cheapest, but you need to add a ton of plugins and WordPress is a mess.
- Hosted WordPress: $4/m and more
- Ghost: $29/m and more - fast, SEO friendly but also too powerful for what I need with a high price tag (you can self-host for less, but installation can be hard for non-technical folks).
- Super.so: $12/m and more - requires some setup, missing blogging features like RSS, comments.
🧰 How I’d validate?
- What are people planning to use as a blogging platform for their next project? Are they happy with the available solution? Why?
- Are people willing to pay a small amount each month for a simple blog?
🤔 How will I get first 10 customers?
- Reach out to people working on a lot of side projects or starting multiple side projects in a short amount of time.
- Ask them about what they are using for blogging and dig deep into what they like and what they hate about their setup.
- Figure out pain points and validate if they would benefit from a super lightweight blogging platform.
📈 Will it be sustainable?
- Build an MVP. I’d focus on one very specific use case - blogging. This means your app won’t offer landing pages, portfolio pages, contact me pages. Just posting and publishing blogs.
- Target one group of people - for example, people building side projects.
- Resist the urge to build customization features. Maybe you just offer one template, to begin with, no customization. I know it sounds crazy, but you want to limit the amount of work you put in before you go and validate the MVP.
- I would build this as a markdown first editor - it’s a simple standard, indie makers know it, formatting will be easy.
- Go back to people you validated with and co-build the product with them. Offer it to them for free and use their feedback to hit all their pain-points.
👉 Am I the person to build this business?If you are excited about publishing online if you think there is still space to improve publishing tools if you like indie makers and like building tools for them.
- If you can find a big enough fan base, this product can be sustainable. I’m a huge proponent of Carrd.co - for me, this is an amazing product for landing pages and I’ll recommend it every time. This is the type of following you need to build for your product.
- In the future, you can add cool integrations such as:
- commenting via DISQUS
- content monetization via Memberspace or Memberstack
- tipping via BMAC or Patreon
- analytics via Google Analytics or Plausible
- signup forms for major ESPs (Mailchimp, Convertkit, Sendinblue Emailoctopus, Revue…)