Excited to share with you my latest website project, BestDealsMalaysia.com!
I built and launched this deal-finding platform in seven days, but had the idea since 2009-2010, when I was still studying in the UK. At the time, I was a big fan of HotUKDeals.com, ‘UK’s biggest deal-finding community’.
That’s not an exaggeration. HotUKDeals has over 3.5 million fans on Facebook. People really do love user-submitted deals that can be sorted by votes.
To be honest, I’m surprised there weren’t any existing equivalent of HotUKDeals.com in Malaysia. I’ve looked and searched for years, until finally decided to make it myself.
This article outlines the exact steps I use to build and launch BestDealsMalaysia.com.
Day 0: 28 November 2018 (Wednesday)
I wasn’t actually planning to start building a website on this particular day. I was simply browsing online for remnants of CyberMonday deals, in case there were any last-minute deals for martech (marketing technology) tools, subscription services or other digital products. In previous years, I snagged 70% off from Grammarly and 50% off for website themes.
However, while browsing at ThemeForest.com, I found a website theme that has the exact functionalities I was looking for! Even though I missed the CyberMonday discount (I could have bought it at 50% off!), I was so excited that I bought it anyway. I paid USD51.13 in total, including an extra year of support.
(If you’re not familiar with website building, themes are website designs. When you make a new website, you can either:
- hire a website designer to create a custom theme, or
- use a free theme (usually pretty basic-looking), or
- buy a theme and customise it yourself.
The last option is the much cheaper route for professional-looking websites – both RinggitOhRinggit and BestDealsMalaysia’s themes were just $39 each, roughly RM160.)
Now that I have the theme, there’s no looking back. I decided to make the deal-finding platform of my dreams right there and then!
The next step to create the website is sorting out the (1) domain name and (2) hosting plan. After some research, I decided on the name BestDealsMalaysia.com. It’s not the catchiest name, but the domain name is available and ‘best deals malaysia’ records around 280 million Google searches, so it’ll work.
I paid $27.95 for the BestDealsMalaysia.com domain, then happily discovered my hosting plan under SiteGround allows me to host multiple websites, which means I didn’t have to pay extra! AWESOME!
By the time I did the above, it was already 3am in the morning. But I wasn’t tired; I was experiencing this amazing state called flow – I was in the zone, I was focused, I was completely absorbed in the project. I worked on it until the next afternoon, without sleep.
Day 1: 29 November 2018 (Thursday)
Here’s (almost) everything I did on Day 1:
- Installed the theme
- Installed SSL certificate (for https:// )
- Installed plugins
- Made a makeshift logo
- Tweaked settings and website design
- Sent support tickets to fix issues
- Decided on the layout of the page
I did all of these in one night, but it took me three years of self-managing Ringgit Oh Ringgit website to learn the skills. (Tu pun tak perfect, still learning)
To my immense surprise, delight and gratitude, lots of people volunteered. Over 50 people responded in the span of two days. I know I’ve said thank you a lot, but seriously, thank you. I am so blessed to have such supportive community members.
I sent each of the beta-testers a set of questions to find out what they thought about the user experience. At around 4pm, my brain and body felt the fatigue, and I knew I had to rest. Off I went to bed, smiling.
Day 2: 30 November 2018 (Friday)
User feedback started coming in, and I spent the day taking notes.
A Friday blessing: I knew my DIY logo sucked, and a friend of mine thought so, too, so she sent over some designs. That’s how
Thank you Sha for the pretty logo 🙂 Check out her art portfolio here.
Days 3-4: 1-2 December 2018 (Weekend)
More user feedback came in. Took more notes, while aggressively resting and chilling. It’s the weekend, after all 🙂
Days 5-7: 3-5 December 2018 (Monday-Wednesday)
In these three days, I spent a lot of time tinkering with the layout, based on feedback received from beta-testers. I also submitted the website to Google Search Console, hooked it up to Google Analytics and opened the BestDealsMalaysia Facebook page.
To the beta-testers: I love all of your suggestions. Some of you even sent pages of review documents! I haven’t done everything, but implemented what I could while improving as I go along. I didn’t want to wait to launch, or it’ll take forever. As Cheryl Sandberg said, done is better than perfect 🙂
Launch day: 6 December 2018 (Thursday)
On Thursday, I scheduled the announcement post on Ringgit Oh Ringgit Facebook page and Twitter. The response was amazing. BestDealsMalaysia.com recorded almost 1.3k pageviews on its first day! (In comparison, it took months for Ringgit Oh Ringgit to break 1000 views per month when it first started.
Some of you asked how I’m planning to monetise BestDealsMalaysia.com. The answer: I’m going to use the exact same strategy for Ringgit Oh Ringgit – provide value by proving its usefulness to the audience first, then figure out ways to monetise it.
Here’s how YOU can make money from the platform, though: submit deals and include your referral links. I’ve included some examples to show how it’s done
See how I’ve included my referral link in the above submission? You can do the same 🙂
You can find deals all over the place, including from:
- Individual stores you love (updates from their website, social media, physical store)
- Your own stores (but if you rig the votes, I will ban you from the platform)
- Banks and financial platforms
- E-commerce platforms like Lazada, Shopee, 11Street, Lelong
- Telco providers
- Price-comparison platforms like Hargapedia & Smartshopper
- Other deal-finding platforms like MalaysiaFreebies.com
- And more
You can also find inspiration from HotUKDeals.com – see what kind of deals are submitted there. I would also encourage you to include deal submissions that don’t have referrals, because if you submit good deals, other users can click on your profile and find out your other postings 🙂
Challenges going forward
I’m lucky to be able to leverage on the Ringgit Oh Ringgit audience to get some traffic to BestDealsMalaysia.com. However, even with the head start, I know I must do the hard work in improving and growing the website. The main challenges now are:
- Technical – How do I add some functionalities requested by beta-testers, such as sorting by location? Is the foundation strong enough to scale?
- Avoiding spams – I’ve installed a reporting plugin and in the process to allow the team of moderators to delete bad posts, but what else can I do?
- Marketing – Which communities, aside from the personal finance community, can I approach? Should I organise a contest?
- Encouraging users to submit deals and vote – How can I further improve on the user experience?
- Figuring out automation – How do I easily share deals without much time commitment?
I’m so excited to solve these challenges one by one 🙂 I’m also interested to hear your advice – what would you do to solve the above problems, if you were in my shoes?
Doing BestDealsMalaysia.com is such a joy. It’s nice to see deals shared for sharing’s sake. It feels amazing to kick-start a community which goal is to help others save money.
I need your help to grow the website. Please share it to your networks, submit deals of your own, and upvote deals you like. If you have suggestions and feedback on making BestDealsMalaysia.com even better, leave them in the comments section, I’d love to hear it 🙂