How To Build a Back-End in 1 hour, spending 0$, without coding skills.

I recently applied to the 4th edition of the Growth Tribe Academy, a 3-month full-time course where you can learn Growth Hacking in Amsterdam.

During the selection process, I was given a Challenge in order to test my execution power. I chose to challenge myself on preventing cyberbullying (all the topics were about good causes, btw you can apply this on your own project as well if what you need is to match users’ profile and put them in contact).

I did some research and talked with some people who manage Facebook groups against cyber bullying and I realised that it’s not only about photo leaks of V.I.P.s.

In fact, cyberbullying it’s way bigger than that. This is a real conversation I had with a Facebook group admin.

I also found out that cyberbullying is more likely to happen among adolescents, and  their parents are not even aware of it.

Fact #1 Source: nobullyng.com

 

 

Fact #2 Source: nobullyng.com

 

 

Fact #3 Source: nobullyng.com

 

 

In an era where your digital footprint will last forever this is a huge problem, so I created www.stopcyberbullying.eu with the aim of connecting people who are victims of cyberbullying with other people who used to be victims and have found a way to get out of it. The main assumption here is that victims of cyberbullying may feel more comfortable talking with strangers who experienced the same problems. Eventually, the important thing is to talk with someone, isn’t it?

It sounds like a good idea, the bad news was that I only had one week to build the website, no coding skills and spending too much time on an idea that I was not sure I was able to build it was too risky. I asked myself if there is a way to build the backend side of the website in a single day with no coding skills at all. It turns out that it can be done in one hour – that’s all!

 

How it works

 

People who are victims of cyberbullying (A-users) can choose the category that best represents their situation; if there is someone who used to be a victim (B-users) within the same category the system sends an email to A-users with the contacts of B-users. Then A-users can choose to follow up, or else their information will remain private.

This system can be built for free using:

  • 2 Typeforms to get data from A-users and B-users.
  • 1 Google Spreadsheet to store and work on the data.
  • 3 Zaps to automate the process.

 

Step 1: Using Zapier to send data from typeform to Google Spreadsheet (Time Required: 30 minutes).

 

Zapier is a powerful tool to automate workflows using a large number of the most common apps and services out there. In our case, we need to store in a Google Spreadsheet every new entry from typerform. With Zapier we can automate this process: every time we have a new entry from Typeform 1 a new row is added in Worksheet A. The same happens for Typeform 2.

Worksheet A will look like this:

Where column C is the Cyberbullying category selected in Typeform 1.

 

For B-users we need two more columns:

  1. The contact to share with A-users.
  2. A random number for each entry (I’ll explain this later).

 

Worksheet B will look like this:

…in which column D is the contact of B-users to be shared with A-users and column E is the random number.

 

Step 2: Matching people within the same category on Google Spreadsheet (Time Required: 30 minutes)

 

Now we have all the entries from A-users and B-users in Worksheet A and B respectively. To make our back-end work we need two more Worksheets.

The first one is Worksheet C.

 

Here we can match A-users and B-users. Columns A and B contain data from Worksheet A (columns B – the category of A-users – and C – the email address of A-users); columns E and F contain two Vlookup functions that search a match for the value in Column B of Worksheet C within Worksheet B; when the Vlookup function finds the value, it sends back the email of the person who can help our victim (Column E). After getting the email, the second Vlookup function find also the contact of B-users we need to share with A-users (column F).

 

The problem is that the Vlookup function stops at the first occurrence of the value you are looking for, meaning that if we have two or more people who are willing to help victims of cyberbullying within the same category, when we find a match for that category, we will always send the contact of the first one who has applied. This is why we need the random number in Worksheet B. To make the system work properly, we have to copy all the data in Worksheet B to another Worksheet: Worksheet D.

 

 

In Worksheet D we have the same data of Worksheet B, but they are sorted according to column F. Every time the worksheet updates (meaning we have a new entry) the random values in column F change. So, all the other columns change accordingly. With this simple trick every time we have a new entry for A-users (the victims), worksheet D retrieve all the B-users who have applied and sort them in a random order; when the Vlookup functions in Worksheet C run, the first occurrence that matches the victim’s request will always be a random one.

 

Step 3: Send an email to the victim of cyber bullying every time there is a match

 

Now, every time a new row is added in Worksheet C (a row in worksheet C is updated), an email is sent to the email address in column A with the contact info in column F. With Zapier it’s really easy to set up, you can choose either the built-in tool (like I did), or to connect one of the several other email tool.

 

Wrapping Up

I like the idea of democratising the implementation of a website or an online product in general. Tools like Zapier or Bubble are really powerful to help you translate your ideas into real projects even if you don’t have coding skills.

Wait, does that mean you don’t need developers anymore? Not at all!

What you need is to test your ideas as fast as possible and the good news is that you can do it by yourself. I used my project as an example, but if you can think any other products based on matching users’ profiles you can apply the same process and your website will be online in few hours instead of days or months.

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Do you want to read more articles like this? Let’s Connect! You can find me on Linkedin, Twitter! Any feedback so far? Shoot me an email!  

 


 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alessio Carrà is a Marketing Engineer. He is always looking for the latest marketing technologies to create super powerful growth engines.

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