Software as a service (SaaS) has become hot in demand in the last few years. More companies and users are switching from traditional ways of doing things to the more innovative and technology driven SaaS.
If you are thinking of running a SaaS business, one of the things you would need to do is build your website. In this post, I will take you through the steps you need to build your SaaS product as fast and as efficient as possible. These are the same steps I used to create our accounting and invoicing product ‘ZapERP’.
Steps for building a SaaS Product
This is a catalog of the tools and skills you will need to get your product up and running. I won’t go in details but if you have any questions just message me anytime.
- Step 1: Simple Plan – Asana
The most important step in your business is the planning stage. I repeat. Without a workable plan, you will have nothing to execute. Your plan does not have to be perfect, but it does have to be something you (and your team) can work with. One of the best planning tools out there is Asana. It is completely cloud-based. You can either use it through your web browser or as a mobile app.
Asana is so great because it’s so simple. You can create different workspaces, collaborate with your teams and sync it to your email. Best of all, it’s free.
- Step 2: Fast Coding – Laravel
Honestly speaking you can choose any technology, however below are the three reasons I decided to use Laravel instead of using Python, Ruby on Rails or NodeJS.
- Extremely simple to use and fast to develop.
- Lots of ready plugins e.g. data tables, analytics chart or PDF, excel exports
- Laravel Spark: 20-25% SaaS complex billing work is done.
I found that Laravel is the most efficient framework to use. For simple, beautiful and effective code, this framework is the current to-go-to, with a clean user interface.
Note: other technologies such as NodeJS are extremely popular these days and they are awesome but for us, development time & speed was more important.
- Step 3: Billing Complexities? – Laravel Spark
Spark provides a perfect foundation for your SaaS business. With Laravel spark, more than 20% of the work is already done for you. This version of Laravel and Spark was designed to help you build your SaaS business from scratch and it lives up to that goal. Spark takes care of things such as billing, proration, team/user management etc. With this, you can create a SaaS business that is scalable and sustainable without worrying about the underlying moving part of the technology.
- Step 4: Quick Cloud Deployment – Digital Ocean
The next step would be hosting your SaaS site. One of the best places to do that is Digital Ocean. They provide cloud-based computing solutions. If you’re just starting out, you don’t need a big server. A $10 or even $5 server is enough to start. As your business grows, you can easily scale. Click here to get free digital ocean credits. I would also encourage you to learn more about Ubuntu Linux. It is one of the best server OS.
- Step 5: Other Cool Tools but optional
Postman: Once you have created your website, you can test, develop and document your API easily using this app.
Chat script: A chat script is essential so you can provide efficient support for your clients.
Landing page: A landing page is a web page which your potential customers see when they come to your site. It does not need to be fancy, but it does need to convert users to customers. I would recommend a site like www.themeforest.net where you can purchase really good landing pages.
Stripe: Stripe is easy to use a payment gateway, both for managing payment, and integrating it as a developer. I even use it to manage invoice payments from my clients.
HubSpot: HubSpot touts itself as an all-in-one marketing automation software and with all of these features available, it’s hard to argue: Blogging, SEO, Analytics, Land pages, A/B testing, Email marketing, CRM.
Hunter: When visiting a website or a user profile on LinkedIn, this extension can automatically find the email of people mentioned on the page. It gives us the option to save emails in different lists that can be exported later.
Apart from this, there are thousands of other tools and services available that can help you to build your SaaS product, but after doing lots of research and actually using some of them in real life – I found that the above list is more than sufficient to get you started.
If you like our article, please do share 🙂 and subscribe to our blog. You can also check our SaaS product – ZapERP– invoicing & accounting simplified. You can create beautiful, professional looking invoices in a second and get paid online. You can also manage your accounting, expenses and inventory online using ZapERP.
- Asana – https://www.asana.com
- Laravel – https://laravel.com
- Laravel Spark – https://spark.laravel.com
- Vue.js – https://vuejs.org
- Postman – https://www.getpostman.com
- Free DigitalOcean credits – https://m.do.co/c/cbd191f418e7
Disclaimer: This post explains more of a backend side to build a SaaS product and not the business or marketing. However, I would encourage you to first read books such as ‘The Lean Startup by Eric Ries, StartUpLand by Mikkel Svane, and Rework by Jason Fried’ then and only then start building your product. Trust me, it will save you years of useless product development time (I wish I had read them before I built my previous products 🙂 ). Also, these are not perfect steps, do comment and suggest.