Wanted to make an overview of the process of building a low-code Wordpress website, that I made for the language exchange community. I will tell you about the challenges I faced with low-code development and will welcome your suggestions about the possibility of reincarnating this idea in the form of the mobile app.
If you want to learn to speak a foreign language, somewhere on the level A2-B1 you will face the most common challenge:
- How can I practice the language and gain vocabulary?
- Is there anyone out there willing to help me with that?
- Can I do it for free?
So to tackle this challenge, I wanted to create a web space for tandem language exchange, with one caveat: free internal currency (aka “points”), that would facilitate peer-to-peer language exchange education. When you register on the website for the first time, you receive 60 points to kick off the language exchange. You can get an extra 30 points if you refer the friend. For the rest - you have to be ready to “give” and “take” in this language exchange community.
This approach enables people to have tandem language exchange, but not necessarily linked to one pair of languages. If I study FR and my native language is RU, it is rather hard to find a FR person learning RU. Point exchange system allows to implement the following approach: I might teach RU language with person A → earn points → spend points practicing FR with person B.
To build this in Wordpress I used the following plugins that worked well together: Ultimate member (for profile creation), Cometchat (for online text and video chat functionality), MyCred (for point-based management system), Events Calendar (to post time slots and availability).
I’ve invested $1500 in advertising to kick off the website and got a good volume of registrations (>800). What was flattering, is that people gave an overall good feedback about the idea for the community. If community was live, and free points were actively used, I considered an opportunity to monetize this website by selling “points” for real money via PayPal.
And that’s where I faced the dead end, which I couldn’t overcome no matter what. Lack of daily active users. People registered, clicked around, maybe even had a chat with others, and never visited the website again. I’ve plugged in email marketing and made certain hours dedicated for one language pair exchange, but nothing worked.
Maybe community didn't kick off because UI was non-intuitive. Here is a demo of how it looked.
Maybe people are just lazy and unreliable when it comes to self-learning. Maybe people need a better notification system to stay in touch with the community. Maybe just more money was needed for marketing to get to the point of a “large enough” community. Honestly, hard to say.
Over time it was hard to keep all the plugins up to date, without crushing the site. Without advertising, number of daily active users did not stay stable, so I decided to close the project for good.
Daily active users of the web-based community was not big enough, so it's hard to say if it's flogging a dead horse, trying to revive community in different form.
I thought about exploring the world of low-code mobile app development in order to try the same idea in a form of the mobile app, with proper messaging and notification system.
What do you think about this idea? Any low-code mobile app platforms to suggest? Did you get any luck in promoting online peer-to-peer communities?