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Show HN: LonelyPage – One page is all you need (www.lonelypage.io)
216 points by bigge a year ago | hide | past | web | 126 comments | favorite

I don't want this to be intended as harsh criticism of your idea, but let me share my experience with website builders:

- The market is extremely tough. Maybe you noticed how much advertisment squarespace and Wix do. The reason being that these pages typically have small businesses as customers. The issue with these type of businesses is that they go away quickly. Most don't survive 6 months. So you need new customers all the time to keep up with the high churn.

- You do not have price dominance. The price is very competitive and companies with huge backing (like Squarespace / Wix) will dominate you.

- The intended target audience is actually not that keen on doing everything themselves. They don't know about online marketing, SEO, or other "special skills". Actually, they just need someone they can call when they have an issue.

- Developers and agencies prefer open systems like Wordpress, Gatsby, or others. They also value a vivid ecosystem of plugins and themes. They typically don't commit to proprietary software, because you never know how long it will be around.

In any case, I wish you the best of luck with the product. It looks nice! I hope you can use my experiences to advance your business.

Counterpoint: a similar service called Carrd.co is doing encouragingly well for its sole developer.


This market is huge. If you can carve out a niche somehow you can do fine and not everybody needs to become the next SquareSpace.

It's worth considering that Carrd didn't start from 0. He had a pretty big following already from his work that has overlap with the type of user that Carrd wants. Having momentum from the start can be huge for this kind of service.

> Maybe you noticed how much advertisment squarespace...do

I would intuitively estimate that about 15% of educational youtube videos are sponsored by Squarespace.

Actually I would estimate 15% of all youtube videos are sponsored by Squarespace.

And the other 85% of YouTube videos are sponsored by Grammarly. :)

Podcasts too

I suspect the percentage of podcasts sponsored by squarespace is probably even higher than that

Still it's behind Audible ;).

I think google has just profiled you (and me, and everyone else on HN)...

We go on web-dev related and business start up websites, and google is watching us.

Sadly no. The ads I get are largely for things I don't want. Occasionally they are good or interesting, but usually no.

I wish more ad providers had a way to say "please show me more ads like this." Better yet, I wish there was one that had a box where I could just type random complaints about my life and over time it would show me ads for products that might be relevant.

Google says they explicitly don’t use web-browsing data for ad targeting. They don’t say that they don’t use web-browsing data to improve your experience with their various recommendation/prediction/autocomplete APIs. So there’s no guarantee that bad ad targeting implies YouTube doesn’t have a better profile on you.

I’m order to square these requirements, they would just have to use your browsing data to target you with the version of the instructional video which always plays relevant ads to you

These are not Google ads, but the creator sponsorships

Which is analogous to squarespace targeting.

Well, as none of you bought into google glasses they still have to do it the old way.

Maybe, but I've also heard ads for Squarespace on terrestrial radio.

In Australia, Squarespace is running ads maybe 5 times a night with Keanu Reeves. And that's on one channel I've noticed. Must be a huge budget.

Cooking channels, too.

And just about every photography channel.

The market is also, like, the entire world though...

Good critic, well done.

The market is also, like, the entire world...

I get that this is easy, but there are 2 main cons:

1. It is $4 a month (that's a lot for a really a simple static page)

2. Vendor lock-in. These sites come and go and might not be around in a couple of years.

This is why I recommend Hugo hosted on netlify. Sure, it has a learning curve (but plenty of open source themes make it fairly easy). Hugo spits out plain HTML so there is no lock-in, and netlify hosts for free. If Netlify goes away, I can host somewhere else.

I'm building an API right now that I plan on monetizing so I'm looking at different simple CMS programs. This one (LonelyPage) immediately intrigued me because I don't need a lot of features. Basically people can pick a pricing plan and pay through Stripe. No portal is needed for now really other than to see their API key.

I'm not a frontend web guy at all so I'm trying to avoid doing as much of that work as possible. Wordpress seems like it would be pretty much perfect, but for the life of me I can't get it working with docker and HTTPS. All of the solutions involve editing some php files that are easy enough to edit without docker, but I would probably have to make a custom docker image to make it work in a container. Bleh.

Ghost is OK but it has like 0 customization and the themes are all 4 years old and no longer work properly.

In any case what I'm getting at is I'd happy pay like $50 or $60 for a simple CMS thing that has some themes and whatnot, but I want to host it myself. And I don't want to pay monthly for it.

Thanks for the Hugo suggestion, I'm checking it out now. I had never heard of it before.

I have been working on daptin [1] with similar goals (self-hosted being the top priority). It is not just a static file host and actually exposes APIs which can be used in the static sites.

For customizations, I have built "Actions" which can basically do anything (to the extent of executing javascript or call external apis) and as for themes, you can upload any static site/design/template (be it vue or react or hugo).

[1] https://github.com/daptin/daptin

I don't think $4 a month is a lot to pay for a not-so-tech-savvy small business looking for an easy way to have an online presence, though of course there is only one way to make sure.

I’ll channel my inner patio11 and say that a business that cares about saving $9/mo vs Squarespace isn’t going to be a valuable or long-term customer. Pricing is about defining who your customer is, but also who your customer isn’t.

I'm using Gatsby (ReactJS static site builder) with Netlify + Netlify CMS for my blog, going to start doing all client websites in this way as it's easy to set up and the interface is super simple for editing, best of all the whole thing is free.

Open source here: https://github.com/csi-lk/csi.lk

Blog link: https://csi.lk

if the page builder is able to export to something like Gatsby or Hugo templates, then that eases the fear of lockin

Since it is just 1 page, I think you should be able to just save the source with all the dependencies and then host it somewhere else afterwards

wget will do that for you nicely, also. I've used it to make static archives of fairly complex Drupal-based sites, so a one-pager should be a breeze.

Templates? If it's just one page, just download the HTML.

it may or may not be one page - however, that is a pretty fundamental question you ask about static site generators.

Why use them, when you can use plain html ?

Well, its because they come with nice features like componentized layouts and templates, optimized build (including minification of any js, etc) and most importantly content in markdown/yaml for easy editing.

For me, the reason to use templates is so that the navigation, header, footer, etc. is internally-consistent without O(n) human effort.

What browsers are you supporting and testing against, both for the editor and its output? For example, the text widget doesn't allow spaces to be typed on Firefox, which makes me wonder about the compatibility of the generated code.

Edit: Also, kudos for having such easy, frictionless access to the demo. I also really like the structural parity between the desktop and mobile versions.

Edit2: How are you picking which version (desktop/mobile) to show? Are you doing some kind of sniffing, rather than relying on media queries? I'm not getting the version I expect when I change the viewport's size in my DevTools: Chrome always gives me the mobile version in responsive mode, while Firefox always gives me the desktop layout unless I spoof a device's user agent string...

Ouch, that's a nasty bug in firefox.. Will try to solve it asap.

Right now I need to serve slightly different markup depending on mobile or desktop, so I can't rely solely on media queries. I will however try to move it that direction once I figured a few things out.

Thanks for your feedback!

My mom has started several businesses (short attention span!) and so I've tried Unbounce, Squarespace, GoDaddy pages, various WordPress hosts (HostGator and BlueHost and others)...

This one looks like it's going for the Squarespace/Wix market.

I think what matters the most in that space is getting out of the box with a very nice looking template - Squarespace excels there! (heck, their current landing page says "Make it beautiful"). And they have a nice logo creator.

This one doesn't seem to have that much design in it. On the plus side, it does say "No signup to try out" (that's a huge plus, hope spammers don't abuse it) and "simplest", which is what I expect your target audience to like.

Edit: on the builder, I think you should emphasize starter templates more.

You should let the user go through the entire process of creating the page before you ask for money. Then they have the extra desire of wanting their finished thing.

(I started building a site and put in a form, only to be told that was a paid thing. Closed the whole thing and immediately came to write this.)

I would be so mad if I put in the effort to build everything only to be pay-walled at the end. Just, livid.

I mean, you don't "spring it" on the user at the end. You say something like "try full features now for free! If you build something you like keep it for low low price of....."

It's an effective way of removing friction.

I don't know that this is true for all users — there is logic to asking for payment details when motivation is highest, which is often before putting in a couple hours building a page. Putting down a credit card might also improve customer success, as that will help motivate the customer to finish on your platform, rather than forgetting about it for a month before going to Squarespace because they can barely remember your where they started building the first version...

Actually, I disagree with this premise. It would anger me more if I happily thought that I could do everything 'as is' on the free plan only to be hit with a paywall at the end to finish.

I would far rather see what I CAN'T do up front so that I can decide whether that feature is really worth $$$ to me, or whether I can work around it somehow.

Logojoy does this. It's incredibly effective I imagine.

They're the ones that gave me the example. It's perfect.

This is how the page looks on firefox on android http://imgbox.com/i6mbiHi5

Doesn't seem expected.

Android 8 + firefox 58.0. 2 + https everywhere & ublock origin extensions.

Uh oh, thanks for reporting that.

I've found carrd.co to be a great version of this. Super-simple templates. I think they allow more than one page, but very clean layouts.

Yeah, maybe $39 a year is pretty much if you compare it with carrd.co

The world is increasingly composed of computing devices that stay on 24 hours a day. Long gone are the days when only servers used to do this. Now most desktops have ~90% uptime while mobile devices are almost at 100%. Combine that with ever increasing, cheap bandwidth, I think the time is ripe more than ever for hosting your own simple, low traffic services including websites. The only obstacle here is that there still no simple setup wizard that can make them painless to host and take down, with a few clicks. A package that combines a simple, secured web server with a site builder.

Totally agree, have you heard of http://ipfs.io? What you describe will be the new norm due to the advances blockchain is enabling for the distributed web

This is the kind of thing I wish I thought of right when I saw it.

These naysayers are silly. The amount of investment you put into it will undoubtedly be offset by the passive income you generate with it, not to mention the fun/learning you did while building it.

Thanks a lot for your kind words! And you're right, it was a fun experience just to build it, if I can make some money from it - even better!

Found a typo / grammatical mistake: Icons is an essiental part of modern web design. -> "Icons are an essential..."


Does anything stop me from building my page, copying the HTML and hosting it myself?

I can't think of any way that could be possible. In the end people who are comfortable enough to rip the source and setup/maintain hosting probably wouldn't need the service.

It's a good start. However, seemingly only tested on Chrome.

After playing around with it for a few minutes, I found some issues:

On Firefox, from a Clean State, add a Row, add Text, click H2, type some text, hit space, try to type more text: the space disappears

On Chrome: I don't seem to have full control over text spans. While I can use b/I/U/S on the current text selection, I was unable to set any other style attributes just for the selected text (i.e. what should boil down to a span tag), i.e. I wanted different colors for parts of my text.

Keep on hacking and I hope you'll have success!

Can’t watch the video on an iPhone, “The requested video is not allowed to be played in embedded players.”

Also, going directly to lonelypage.io doesn’t work.

Pretty nice. I'm still in the market for a good lander builder.

initial feedback:

- I can't figure out how to change the image in a template, close to giving up

- more templates please

- and maybe more content in the templates (easier fill in or delete content than to figure out how to add new sections and content)

- I didn't read site that closely (who does), do I get the generated html etc? I'd like to host myself

- the "pick a palette" is great

Hey, thanks for your feedback! - Yes, changing an image defo needs be clearer. - More templates are coming. - Self-hosting is not an option for now, but I obviously need to state that out. However, I think people here on HN are more eager to host themselves. A "normal" user probably wants that taken care of.

> A "normal" user probably wants that taken care of.

For sure, no need to worry about that!

To change the image, click the image you want to change, then click in the left column the icon for "Background & Border" .. i guess the icon is supposed to resemble an image, but it's not the best fit in my opinion.

There's also an icon/button in the upper left corner to let you do that, after you have selected an image. Thanks for your feedback.

Pretty sick! I'll be using a pro plan for a new project. BTW, gradients not working in mobile.

Cool, feel free to get in touch if you need any help. What mobile OS is that?

This is actually perfect. Needed a super quick landing page creator and you nailed it. If you're going to make changes then recommend you develop an API for page creation, perhaps a Zapier integration. Otherwise good on you!

Thanks a lot, glad you like it!

I can't load the website. All I see is this :/


Maybe activate js ?

I haven't disabled JS neither do i have any extension besides uBlock origin that would change the DOM.

Am I the only one having this problem? Because except this website I don't have trouble browsing any other.

P.S: I'm using Chrome Version 64.0.3282.186 (Official Build) (64-bit)

I also get a rather empty page on Firefox. Running uBlock Origin, but I've disabled JavaScript too.

Reading this far to comments I've gathered it's some sort of landing page generator?

I wish people would at least include a short description that one could read.

Too many submission to HN just land you on an empty page if you don't feel like executing their JS. I wish they would just put an accurate description to the submission as well.

I usually just skip and move on but I guess the address was enough to poke additional interest this time around.

Cool site. If it'll go down anything like my own you'll get 30'000 views and like 3 buys, but no recurring revenue. You may be interested to read my experience: http://code.krister.ee/mybest-project-so-far-shutting-it-dow...

Don't think twice about contacting me :)

It seems an interesting project. Don't you think you ditched it too early? There weren't many functionalities, but the premise I think was pretty cool. BTW, I am about to launch a website builder myself and your post is a nice read. Thanks

Interesting read, thanks for the link.

Absolutely agree with "STOP building things and START TALKING TO CUSTOMERS."

Cool editor, Undo/Redo is missing. I made similar SPA for other project and implement this feature in Redux pattern was a breeze

Thanks! Undo/redo is available as soon as you sign up, but not in test mode.

This doesn't seem to render well without enabling Javascript, which gets a failing grade in my book.

I would suggest that, in 2018, you are in the minority.

2018 or not, the site appears severely broken without enabling JS, instead of asking the user to enable it

Nice work!

Some usability feedback: Adding a new element to the page (+) is the first action and it was hard for me to find it. It's likely also one of the most frequent functions you'll use, so I think this button should have way more relevance, at least on the same level as "Save".

Great feedback, thanks a lot!

Reminds me a bit of SabreCMS, despite the options being much more limited. And Sabre allows a full export of your entire site/shop/landingpage in case you want to self host after building - And it works with all browsers which seems to be an issue here. But nicely done.

You could try to compete with this guy: https://www.sitebuilderreport.com

He realized the world didn't want another site builder, so he just reviews all of the existing site builders. Pretty genius.

Great job! Very intuitive design. Much better than the majority of services I have tried before for simple pages I've wanted to put out.

Once a page is built and live, can the user then save the HTML and host it on their own server? (leaving the by: lonelypage logo at the bottom)

Thank you, glad to hear that! There's no way to export or download the page right now. I didn't expect that to be a requested feature to be honest. Maybe in the future, we'll see.

It's really discouraging that not even your own started page doesn't support SSL...

Recently move a bigger webapp to AWS elasticbeanstalk, I had to add a few lines to redirect from http to https. We still have a long way to go.

In case of https://lonelypage.io the cert isn't for the correct domain....

Great start!

Now if I were to give you one piece of advice I would say, find a niche or a couple of niche industries that have specific needs and sell to them.

This can be anything from setting up an event and taking payment for it to creating a local sports group.

Thanks, that's some good advice, I definitely believe in finding niche groups as well. Often, it's not the ones you think of initially.

i came back to HN to thank you for putting this service. As a product manager often times i want to test ideas and i was able to put together something that looks nice using your product within an hour. I customized a template but the tools were pretty intuitive. It was so easy and pain-free that i immediately wanted to prototype another idea but seems i can only do one per account. Anyways, thanks and keep up the good work.

When I type in text, it doesn't remember spaces, for example: http://spacesmissing.lonelypage.io/

Problem fixed, it was a strange CSS issue in firefox only. Thanks for reporting.

Why not use github pages?

Looks good. Still haven't had my coffee so this is all you are getting. Sorry.

The submit form zooms in on mobile (iOS). To avoid that the font size needs to be set at 16px.

Small bug with the text field: https://imgur.com/N7SVdMp

What browser is that?

Chrome on macOS. Write something in text field and deselect it.

I've been looking at something like this to host a landing page for a book I wrote years ago. Great work, I'll give it a try.

Cool! Feel free to get in touch if you need any help.

The page builder tool is seriously impressive. I love that you've even covered things like image filters (blur, contrast, etc)

Thanks, I tried to focus on the small bits as well as the big ones. I hope it pays off.

Did you forget the most important on your page?

Where's the button create my own page? How can I test your product? Is your product scam?

Maybe click the big button that says "Try LonelyPage now!" ? Otherwise I'm afraid it's scam, you got me.

Couldn’t figure out how to sign up

There's a button in the upper right corner that says "Save page". Click it, and you will sign up and save your page at the same time.

Do a ICO or blockchain page generator for April 1st. I'm sure people will love it :)

for all the posts on firefox bugs, on firefox 61 everything seems to be functioning properly btw

How long will they be around? I'm kinda sick of putting up a page about some random thing then a couple of years later its gone.

There's just no free lunch really; the simplest thing to do is host it on S3. I doubt that's ever going to disappear, and it costs cents every month. Surely a website that lasts forever is worth a few cents

I'm really looking forward to this kind of problem being solved by ipfs/dat

How would it solve the problem?

Well, since it's distributed / decentralized you wouldn't depend on a particular company (or service). This way you wouldn't need to worry about it being shut down.

You would still depend on the constant availability of an origin for your data.

IPFS is not magic in that regard: if whoever is your origin disappears, then your data is likely to disappear at some point, especially if it's not super popular.

There is no free lunch: you either become your origin yourself, or you pay someone else to be.

But because it's distributed, you can be the origin for hundreds of pages on a tiny $5 vps and when popularity increases you would not have to shoulder all the load.

Though : would that lunch be as expensive as $10 per month or would it be almost free like $0.1 per year ? I consider that to be pretty much free :)

Can't speak for Dat, but for IPFS, your content is alive so long as at least one node has the site pinned. (Think of it like seeders for a torrent)

With torrents, long tail stuff frequently runs out of seeders, no?

Yep! But there should hopefully be an efficient + cost-effective incentive for others to host your content when they implement FileCoin.

Or you could just host it on your own devices, so long as you're okay with it only being reliably accessible so long as at least one device is up and running.

The difference with regular torrent seeders is that they have no incentive to seed once they have the content. In this case the main purpose and goal is to "seed" and provide content to others, so the long tail should be more resilient.

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