I Know How to Code. Here's Why I Chose No-Code For My Meal Planning Site.

Published on
July 23rd, 2019
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Sometimes the best ideas are the easiest to execute.
My name is Dianna Allen and I’m the founder of Budget Meal Planner. I share meal plans that are designed to help people easily cook at home and eat for $5 a day.
I started this project back in March, and by July budgetmealplanner.com has gotten 22,500 unique visitors, 120,00 page views and 2,300 mailing list subscribers. These are numbers I’d never thought I could hit.
How did I do it?
Honestly, I had the urge to start something. I didn’t know what, but I sat and thought about things I was familiar with in my day-to-day life that others would find interesting. So I zeroed in on the fact that I was eating for $5 per day.
Eating for $5 a day is a habit that I’ve held for the past few years. Disclaimer: I eat delicious food.
I had a hunch that sharing this lifestyle, and showing that it’s possible with proven recipes, could help others. There are many reasons why someone might be interested in eating for $5 a day, like to control spending habits or save for a vacation.
So I went public with my idea.
I started with Reddit, because hundreds of millions of people hang out there. I found a few subreddits that were related to eating on a budget and posted my idea. I didn’t pose the idea to ask people what they thought, but instead posted a realistic weekly meal plan for a $5/day budget (organized around Tex-Mex-related foods).
At the end of the post, I included a simple CTA. It was something along the lines of, “If you’d like me to share more of these meal plans, sign up here. I *might* write more.”
I gained nearly 200 sign-ups.
From there, I dedicated one day per week to writing a themed meal plan to share with my newfound email list. Over the next month, I wrote meal plans inspired by different cultures and kept growing my subscriber list by sharing new meal plans in the same subreddits where I found my early success.
Then I tested the waters with monetization. Nothing extreme, but I started a Patreon. If people really liked my content and wanted it to continue, they would support.
And sure enough, they did.
Two months into the project, people began asking if I could share previous meal plans. I would email all the PDF’s to those who asked, but I quickly realized that others wanted this too. That’s when I looked into giving this project a proper home on the internet with a website.
I know how to code somewhat decently, but I didn’t want to invest time into doing so. I knew that if I were to begin coding a website, it would be at least two weeks before I had something up and running. I didn’t have two weeks. I needed a website yesterday.
So I went the no-code route. I didn’t want to waste time comparing options, so I went with the first one that offered all I needed, which was e-commerce and membership functionality. I didn’t have a plan for the future of Budget Meal Planner, but I knew offering a membership was a high possibility.
After five hours or so, the website was live. I only shared about half of the content I had saved, as I wanted to slowly roll out the meal plans. This gave people more reason to join my email list.
The next day, I announced to my subscribers that my website had launched. I gained 1,300 visitors that day!
Another month passed, and I debated whether or not to launch on Product Hunt. I was hesitant because I wasn’t sure whether it was “enough” for the platform. After checking in with a few communities that I’m a part of, I quickly gained the confidence to do so. I scheduled Budget Meal Planner to launch the very next day.
Saturday, June 6 changed the future of Budget Meal Planner. Well, maybe not changed, but it certainly escalated its success. I wanted to launch on Product Hunt to gain exposure, and it did just that. Not only did I get exposed to Product Hunt’s audience, but LifeHacker also picked up on my meal plans and wrote their own post about it.
Since then, it’s been a snowball of events. My motivation and determination has ignited and I’m beyond excited to pursue Budget Meal Planner to its full potential. It goes to show you really don’t need much to put something out into the world from a small idea.
Comments (9)
Ahmed Almassry
Inspiring, thanks for sharing.
Aditya Karanth
Thanks! What product did you use to setup your website in 5 hours? Similar situation, help would be muchas gracias!
Vlad Pekh
@aditya_karanth1 @lynettechandler Yes, Wix 100%. You can see it in the source code.
George Kiknadze
Thanks for sharing your experience. Thanks 🙌
Zaid Ikhlas
Congrats Dianna. Great work and thanks for writing about your journey
Catherine Jue
👏👏 One of the most powerful tools of knowing how to code is knowing when not to code