Let me start off by saying that I have a lot of ideas for different products, services, what have you (Maybe too many?). Sometimes they pop into my head when I'm reading a book, reading an article online, buying another domain (need to stop btw), or just going about my day and actually paying attention. Well, not too long ago it started getting colder. You know the thing that happens when it becomes winter in New England. And then it snowed, and my snowblower wouldn't start. Leave it to me to have a non-existent urge to maintain small gasoline engines. Anyways, I suddenly knew I had two options. I could either find someone to plow my driveway or I could shovel it. Well, after searching for a short while on Google I had difficulty finding any reliable or credible-seeming plow services directory. Then in my caffeinated state, I wondered if SnowplowFinder.com was available. I didn't expect it to because the name is first and foremost a .com and secondly because it's a relatively straightforward name for a niche type directory. I pulled out my trusty iPhone an opened the Namecheap app and bought it. Win. Well as far as locating a domain I wanted. Now comes the real part. Building and launching an MVP of this thing. It needs to provide clear and simple value not only to someone looking for such services but also for independent and larger contracted snow plow operators looking for new jobs. Oh, and it needs to be monetizable through at least a listing fee cost.

Figuring Out What SnowplowFinder Should Do


At its core, I needed and wanted SnowplowFinder to be a reasonably straightforward directory for people to search through and businesses signing up and paying to list to use with user login functionality to manage listings. Now I previously stated that I wanted to build this quickly to launch and test, which requires a decision on how it will be built. Now I’ve set up sites on a variety of different CMSs before and launched static sites on my DO droplet, but I’m not adept enough (yet) to rapidly build what I wanted as quickly as I wanted.

Side note: I’ve been diving into using Laravel with Forge for deployments and a local Homestead dev environment thanks to following along with Mubashar Iqbal’s (Mubs) side project building and progressing quite well if I do say so, especially with all of the available resources to get started.

Because of this, I decided to go with Wordpress. Love it or hate it, Wordpress can help you get something built with a significant amount of functionality without spending a massive amount of time before launch.

Hosting


In my previous side note, I mentioned that I’ve been using Forge with Digital Ocean, which is exactly what I decided to use for the deployment of this project. Forge makes it super simple to spin up a server, setup a site, add a LetsEncrypt SSL, and easily pull from a repo or deploy Wordpress. The only additional step I had to complete when setting up Wordpress through forge was to create another database and user, which was again made easy by the database setup area located directly within Forge. I’ll then be able to get started setting up the site, and before launch, I’ll set it up with Cloudflare to help with those page load speeds.

If you’ve enjoyed the beginning of this build story, feel free to follow me here and see what comes next.

Thanks for reading!

-Eric