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Tell HN: I grew Visa List to $5k per month in a year
226 points by 1hakr 36 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 129 comments
Visa List started out as a simple list of visa requirements for all countries with detailed visa process and documents for 50 countries so that travellers can go anywhere they want easily. This was a solution to visa issues I faced when I wanted to travel. Since then it's grown to 100+ countries and now features visa exemptions, dual passport requirements and many data points like flight prices, weather, distance, economy status and travel advice. I’m adding new countries every day so that you can use Visa List for all your visa requirements. Visa List makes money mostly from ads and affiliates. Most of the site is freely usable but to use some filters, community chat and visa advice, you need to pay. Users pay monthly, annual or once for a lifetime membership. Revenue ranges from $5,000/m to $6,000/m. It became profitable after 2 months of launch.

But it didn't start making $5000 immediately, it started with $500 per month and grew slowly over the span of a year.

Initially I placed ads on visa list and was getting around 100K pageviews around a month. But the ads revenue was not that great at all. I tried to apply for skyscanner partnership because I knew that there would be good need after getting visa, but unfortunately I got rejected. I think the main reason was it was I was not getting a lot of traffic.

With a heavy heart I tried different ad networks like video ads, content ads but none of them improved the revenue. All this while, i never lost sight of my goal to increase the SEO and along the way get more users to Visa List.

Suddenly after a month I got an email from skyscanner from saying that they are interested in partnering with, this was another team. I was so happy and realised that things come around eventually. In a month I integrated skyscanner and it started a good stream of revenue from visa list.

After 5 month around june, people from iVisa contacted me. They provide visa service and visa assistance across the world which was perfect. I was very happy to partner with them as well and thus opened 3rd revenue stream.

Along the way I also learning AdOps so i could monetize the traffic I was getting and finally after 6 months things started working out. So my first channel also started contributing a good chunk to overall revenue.

After around 8 month i started an experiment with Visa List membership which i have been sitting on it for a long time. I was not really sure what was the most valuable information that travelers really need so they won't mind paying. Looking at Nomad list and starter story, i finally put in a set of features that i thought can be useful for Pro members. I'm happy that the experiment paid off adding to the 4th revenue stream.

So looking back, it was not a single thing but a lot of small things done right over a year.

https://visalist.io




I'll grant that the site is well designed, but I can't see myself relying on this site or any of numerous "visa info" sites on the web. Visa requirements change all the time. How can I be sure that the info is accurate?

Personally I like Wikipedia as a first pass. Search Wikipedia for "visa requirements for Australians"[1] or "visa requirements for Indians"[2] or whatever your nationality to see very comprehensive info without any ads or animations or fluff. Then before I book travel, I'll go to the actual consulate or embassy website.

Wikipedia is trustworthy, organized, and detailed. However, the consulate or embassy website is the only authoritative source. Every other "visa info" site on the web leaves me nervous.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visa_requirements_for_Australi...

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visa_requirements_for_Indian_c...


You points are valid but thats where visa list is different. It actually takes the basic information form Wikipedia and detailed information from government/embassy websites. On top of it, you can also see all the government where this information was gathered and verify it yourself. It saves a lot of time researching and interpreting the visa requirements. Also it has users tips for visa aswell.


No, it's not very different, I think @computator is right.

I tried a first basic check: Ukrainian passport and any Schengen country, I tried Romania. VisaList says "Ukrainian citizens don't need visa for travelling to Romania as tourist." and "Standard travel documents like passport / national ID card will generally be sufficient". It's not true, since you need a biometric passport to travel to Romania visa-free. Usual (non-biometric) foreign passport and especially national ID card is definitely not sufficient for visa-free travel.

Wikipedia knows this: "From June 11, 2017 Ukrainians with biometric passports can travel to Schengen Area countries visa-free for up to 90 days.", IATA database (https://www.iatatravelcentre.com) knows this as well. But visalist.io doesn't :( So it's definitely "trust but verify" in this case...


> So looking back, it was not a single thing but a lot of small things done right over a year.

That was almost exactly the same case for me and what I posted a few hours before this as well: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21795979

It seems like the scenario where one specific hack works unbelievably well is much less common (though more desirable) than just doing everything 1%-5% better.


Great job. The website is well designed, nice UI and everything is just super clear and accessible. I wonder is it a React app...

This is exactly the kind of project I would have thought of and then never bothered, thinking its already been done, its on wikipedia etc...Although you were fortunate with your partnerships, thats a bit of a jackpot, but in fairness you made the effort so well deserved. Good luck with version 2.


Thanks, it's a Vue app built using NuxtJS.

See i thought that too until I faced a visa related problem when I was trying to visit Philippine. Long story short I ended up cancelling my tickers as I didn't get the visa in time which I thought i didn't needed in the first place. So I decided to solve the information inconsistency, contradicting and confusing information out there.


The classic, building something to solve your own problem, fantastic!


I get pretty bad lag when scrolling visa-requirements page on Safari (with quite a few AdGuard plugins).


I... would like to sign up but I can't because I don't want to use Facebook, Google or Twitter. Can I just give you my email and you send the login token per email instead of through a third party?


I'm sure it's crappy for the 1% of normal users that don't want to login through one of these services but really who wants to manage a first party user system, the fake accounts, the security breach risks, and updating that system just for 1% more users on a 60k/y project. Bigger fish to fry.


Please change my mind: I don't see the difference between keeping access tokens and keeping a password (in technical terms).

You also mention fake accounts: I don't know what this site does (I wanted to filter on a field and it told me I needed to login for that, not sure how a fake account would help me defraud the owner using that) but I would hope that random website owners can't tell Google/Twitter/Facebook about how naughty I've been and get me banned from Google/Twitter/Facebook. Therefore, the site owner will still have to ban spammers that created a Google account, same as they have to ban spammers that created an email address.

Every time I've tried to implement a third party login, it has been quite a pain. "First party user system" is a fancy word for what is actually the simplest option. At least to me, as a developer, so I don't see the advantage from that perspective either.


Password reset logic is the big difference. A lot easier just to use a third party token authentication service than to code all that logic. Wouldn't it be just as easy for you to create a new google account and use that to sign in?

I totally get it from your point of view, but whenever I make passion projects - if I don't have to build user management features in terms of passwords - it's a big load off my plate.


The 3rd parties have went out of their way (via incentive) to make this the easiest possible option. Access tokens "just happen" from a process perspective. There is no need to create a password reset system, a "forgot username" system, a 2 factor auth, password policy, or enforcing password resets in certain scenarios. Tokens shift all of that work to the 3rd party the user already does this with and allows your app to simply integrate and be done, to never have to think about these things again. If the user wants to use TOTP, SMS, a second email, or interdimensional VR dance greeting in 10 years you don't need to worry about it, the 3rd party does.

"Therefore, the site owner will still have to ban spammers that created a Google account, same as they have to ban spammers that created an email address."

Sure, but instead of trying to be better than Facebook/Twitter/Google at making it hard to create spam/fraud accounts you simply have to block the ones that get through the already best systems in the world. You don't need to track IPs, fingerprint patterns, phone numbers, emails, etc to try to filter out automated systems the 3rd party does it for you and is always getting better with 0 effort on your part.

It's also frees you from ever needing to ask for more information than needed. Don't need their phone number? Great, you'll never leak it because you don't need to request it from the 3rd party or user or account when requesting the token. Just have a token instead of a password? Great, if the user practiced poor password security Google/Facebook/Twitter are more likely to block suspicious logins than you ever were AND you don't have to reset their password and send them an email, the 3rd party will. Also tokens auto expire/renew as part of the app logic, down to minutes if you want, all without bothering the user.

If you've tried to implement 3rd party logins as additional steps to your already first party system you don't really gain any of these benefits . If it's all you implement it can save quite a bit of work.

In the end though nobody should be changing your mind, it's you that should explain why the developers should support a 1st party only system and turn away those that don't want to create yet another web account or why they should support both and the associated burden for the 1% that won't login via 3rd party.


Really? Last I checked it wasn't as simple as running your own password/session system unless you have a pretty complex app set up. Oauth is kind of insane honestly.


There are plenty of libraries that manage OAuth for you.


1% it is much higher than you realize. 30% on the low enn and upto 85% on the highend.


When I made login, I just wanted to keep it simple as it all mostly data.


What is mostly data? You mean the site is mostly static content and you wanted to keep it all the same level of simplicity? I've found making websites where one can create a username and password to be way simpler than implementing design-by-committee systems, so I don't really understand why that wasn't the obvious choice.


It’s simpler to create a db, password, keep up with correct salted hash scheme, email password reset, mail service, getting through spam filters, user profile icon? As soon as you’re dealing with customer info you took on a bunch of requirements.


I'm actually traveling next week and one of the things I had trouble finding was the customs rules, what I could and couldn't bring into the country. You don't seem to surface that info either.

I also noticed that when I click on a country there's no info about my country's embassies and consulates which is something as a traveler is very important to know.

Additionally, I didn't see anything about membership


I have customs data in my plan and I'm working on it as I'm typing. There is information about embassies of every country on visa list, you can find it from side navigation. Also the membership dialog comes when you click on advanced filters.


Are customs rules ever complicated for a typical person?

Usually it just seems to be common sense rules that you can bring something like $10k cash or large quantities of alcohol or tobacco, which aren’t practical concerns for almost any traveller.

Have you found rules that may trip people up that we should know about?


There’s nothing common sense about knowing the limit on how much money you can carry (in one specific form), or kinds of foods and drinks which are allowed. The very nature of a border is that what is common (or common knowledge) on one side isn’t common on the other. Every day I see drivers in my state perform acts which are legal in other states but not here, and US states are much more similar than most nations.


There's definitely some bits and pieces that are relevant to the average traveller. For example over the counter medication in one country can be considered a controlled medication in another, so if you're found to be bringing the medication in to the country you can get in trouble.


Define large?

Norway, for example, allows only 2L of spirits or 200 cigarettes IIRC. If you're a heavy smoker that's less than a week. I believe Switzerland is similar.

I don't smoke or drink, but I'd imagine that would be fairly easy to get tripped up by if you were travelling around Europe.


New Zealand just changed their requirements to 50 cigarettes which means any normal "duty-free" pack you buy isn't allowed.


Litres of spirits and hundreds of cigarettes is not a normal thing to pack on a trip.


It really depends on the person.

When I lived in Japan, I had access to very high end whisky and sake that was not available in the US. When I visited the US, I wanted to share some of this with my friends and family.

One good bottle of sake is 1.75 liters. One good bottle of whiskey is 0.75 liters. It doesn’t take many bottles to surpass the limit, and the items were definitely unique enough to warrant bringing.

If you start talking about things like Christmas presents, it starts getting nuts. All of your friends want you to being them the good stuff that they don’t have allocations for in the US.


It might not be normal for you, or a huge percentage of trips, but it's certainly normal for people I know to bring food and drink on holiday.

Certainly if you're driving around in a camper.


I meant more that it’s not hard to avoid getting into any trouble by just never taking these things across borders, rather than trying to learn the rules. Nobody needs to move alcohol or tobacco - it’s always going to be available at your destination unless it’s banned in which case you still couldn’t import.


YMMV, like I said. When I go on road trips I don't really think about what I'm taking; you "pack" for a flight or train journey from your home.

It just happens to be the case that I don't drink or smoke. There are other restrictions like meat, plants, blah blah, the list goes on.


> Nobody needs to move alcohol or tobacco - it’s always going to be available at your destination unless it’s banned in which case you still couldn’t import.

This isn’t necessarily true. Many great whiskeys and spirits aren’t necessarily available to purchase in other countries. Another commenter mentioned the case of Japan. Many great whiskeys and sake produced in Japan aren’t available to buy in other countries.

Apart from that there is a matter of taxes.


I can easily see people bringing a few bottles of wine and beer on a 4-week caravan trip to a country where it's expensive to buy locally.


Medications are another huge area. Medications that some people depend on to live may be either banned, regulated in quantity, or require some kind of proof (doctors script etc) to bring into some countries.


Indonesia complains when you travel with a case of bottled water in your checked luggage (10/10 will do again)


Meat products, some vegetables/fruit, ... are also banned/regulated in some places.


Why would anyone be travelling with ‘meat products’? You can buy food at your destination. I can’t see it as a practical problem for most people.


https://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2019-11-04/pork-filled-moon-c...

"A Vietnamese man carrying four kilograms of pork-filled mooncakes has been turned away from Australia after failing to declare he was carrying food.

African Swine Fever has spread to 50 countries and killed an estimated 25 per cent of the world's pigs

A Vietnamese woman was deported last month for failing to declare 10kg of food in her baggage including pork

Australian migration laws were amended in April to shorten or cancel a visitor visa, for biosecurity contraventions and the importation of objectionable goods."


Lots of people from other cultures travel with food and meat products.

Some common scenarios I have seen:

* bringing foods that is unavailable over for their friends that live overseas

* bringing home presents of food

* bringing over food that is far cheaper from one country


Why wouldn't I bring food I like with me? Not everyone is flying everywhere, when taking a car bringing some food is no effort at all. Or I might bring some local stuff as a gift for my hosts, because they tend to enjoy that kind of thing. Or prepared camping food because I'm more or less straight going away from civilization. Or I pack some fruit, a packed sausage, ... as a snack for on the way, before I go shopping. Or ...


> Why wouldn't I bring food I like with me?

Because it's a customs faff. That's the point of the thread.


> Because it's a customs faff

It wouldn't be if there was some nice website laying out all the rules in an easy-to-understand way...

Your logic is "nobody needs a site detailing customs rules because they shouldn't be traveling with the things that I personally already know might conceivably cause a customs faff". The point is the website would solve the problem.


But all these are things ordinary people might want to bring and might not even be aware are a problem, which is what you asked about. You seem to have a quite limited idea of who an "ordinary traveller" might be.

So make it easy to look up and don't let guesses at what some random country in the world might object to dominate all your travel packing and planning (Guesses because until I checked earlier I wouldn't been sure an apple would cause problems anywhere, but apparently at least Australia objects to any fruit). Which was the point of the comment you replied to.


I have very strict dietary restrictions, I absolutely need to bring my own food with me when I travel, knowing the limits without spending hours on the phone would be a real service.


I set my passport country to Sweden and clicked on Germany, and it said I don't need a visa for a 90-day tourist stay. But within the EU and EEA, no visa is needed even for a longer stay, under the freedom of movement laws.


The freedom of movement agreement gives you exactly three months stay, same as Schengen, exempt from border control. It can be extended to six months max, and over that you need a work / residence visa.

https://ec.europa.eu/info/policies/justice-and-fundamental-r...


“Agreement”? I am referring to the citizens' rights directive. Even if de jure you might need a visa for a very long visit, they don't stamp your passport when you come in and out, and they can't deport you. And no visa is required to work or study for unlimited periods.


At least in Germany, the answer is nuanced:

https://www.bmi.bund.de/EN/topics/migration/law-on-foreigner...

you are apparently not allowed to just move there if you aren’t self-sufficient:

> EU citizens have the right of residence for longer than three months if they

- are workers or self-employed persons in the host Member State or are seeking employment (for a certain length of time);

- are not in employment or are students or trainees and have sufficient resources and comprehensive health insurance cover;

- have the right of permanent residence (following legal residence of five years).

- Family members, regardless of their citizenship, accompanying or joining an EU citizen who satisfies these conditions also have the right of residence for more than three months.

> So the underlying idea is that in order to reside for more than three months in another Member State, EU citizens must have sufficient resources for themselves and their family members not to become a burden on the social assistance system of the host Member State.


@1hakr Your website design is good. What is your design process. As being developer I struggle with designing.

May I know your design process and how you improved the website design. What was your approach and any resources etc.

Thanks


I follow material design, it is very detailed and covers basic concepts very well. Secondly I use other famous website like nomadlist.com for inspiration.


Could you provide further details about where to start for material design?

Sorry for bothering you. But I lost my inspiration at the design step. My many projects struggle and lost motivation at design phase.


I used this library which also has predefined templates https://vuetifyjs.com/en/


@1hakr: Your no-javascript shame-screen is very funny and well-made, thumbs up. Too bad I can't see anything else on that site.


Ya my whole website is built on NuxtJS framework ️


In the very first page I immediately wanted to input the country where I wanted to go, not the one of which I hold the passport. Yeah, I know that you wrote the instruction bellow but I just didn't see them. Moreover the "Let's Go" button did not help.


Aah I see. Any suggestions how I can improve the experience?


Not sure, maybe change the button?

Something like "Discover easy to visit countries" ? But maybe it is too long?

Maybe re-iterate the message on top or bottom, "Tell us where you from to discover easy to visit countries".


Good suggestion


Use From and To as input, where the From is automaticly loaded like you do now and To is selectable.

No?


Actually the main purpose is to discover, if there is option for to country, the purpose is lost.


Default value : any?


Just a heads up, the info about visa free travel to Belarus is not correct. You can enter Belarus as an EU citizen visa free in 3 specific ways, and this only lasts for up to 5 days depending on how you entered. Otherwise you will need a visa to travel to Belarus.


Thanks will correct it


I can't tell content from ads. Glad you have monetized, but the UX has suffered as a result.


This has been a dilemma for a long time. I personally don't like ads at all but had to do it to sustain. That's why I'm building alternative streams of revenue so when they become big, I can remove ads altogether.


I would set a goal on where/when you decide to remove ads... It's really easy to keep that extra revenue as it will tend to grow with your site. Beyond this, having the paid subscribers get an ad-free UX when logged in?


Yes with pro membership, you get ad free experience and many other features.


Please stop displaying the Product Hunt nag if I already clicked on the “vote” button.


Got it, will fix it soon. Thanks.


Great work on this. There are a lot of hackers here who only do some limited coding and a project like this can be a wonderful inspiration.

There has never been a better time to be an indie maker.


the dawn of indie hackers!


Cool site, this would have come in handy a few years ago when I traveled a lot more.

You might want to add a few exceptions to the "best countries to visit" list. It shows "North Korea" as one of the best countries to visit with a Japanese passport. I think most people would not agree... (North Korea has a history of kidnapping Japanese citizens) Also it looks like "Visa refused/Travel Banned" countries are still shown in the list.


Thanks for the suggestion. I will make the changes.


I always find these kinds of posts motivational. Thanks for sharing!

How long did it take you to build and launch your initial version? How many hours per-week do you spend working on it now?


I believe in sharing with community which has been crucial in my overall journey. For the first version it took me 4 weeks to learn VueJS and make a fully working MVP. I have been a full time Indie maker for 3 years now.


Great story! Seems like you should convert this to a writeup on a blog about your experience (so you can include charts, for example). Congrats!


Thanks. Good suggestion.


Dunno if this is relevant to you. But some thoughts on the frontpage ux, nothing major of course. I checked with a mobile.

Remove the emoji. Not really visible anyway, detracts attn from the text Shorten the copy after the "hero", maybe using some A/B testing so no blunders are introduced. Switch the illustration footer and the logos, they are more important. For first time users the Pro popup is completely irrelevant, particularly on the start page where I still know nothing about the standard service Add a copyright footer so I know I can stop trying to scroll down, put your Hakr signature there as well and dont "float" it. The hero and the site header overlap when scrolling, obstructing the text of both.


The United Kingdom is now undoubtedly going ahead with Brexit, and based on recent history of now-powerful politicians, and the announcements earlier this year on billboards everywhere, it looks likely that new visas will be required to travel between the UK and EU from 31st Jan 2020, and new conditions will come into force.

Those new visas and conditions are likely to be different for different classes of people as well. E.g. EU citizens, non-EU partners of EU citizens, EU partners of UK citizens, non-EU partners of UK citizens who entered via EU treaty rights, non-EU partners of UK citizens in well paid jobs who entered not-via-the-EU (different rules and status apply to them), the same but in non-well-paid jobs, EU citizens in well paid jobs, EU citizens in poorly paid jobs, children of EU citizens, students, recently graduated students, etc. And it seems that quite a lot of people don't know, yet, what class they are in, or whether they will be allowed to stay in the UK, either in the short term, or the long term.

A huge number of people regularly travel between UK and EU for work, holidays and family visits. Travelling between EU countries is almost like travelling between states in the USA - a lot of people do it fairly casually, and some do it almost as a commute.

Because of the changes, a fair number of people are interested in rules around dual citizenship, changes of citizenship (either people whose home is in the UK but they didn't need citizenship before, or people from the UK settled elsewhere in the EU who are now deciding whether to apply for change of citizenship to continue where they are), what rights they may have based on ancestry or other family connections which they previously did not need to investigate, the rights of their children, how much they need to earn to obtain different rights, how long applications take and how much they cost, etc.

On top of that, travelling across the border can jeopardise a person's applications, because it creates discontinuities of residence and the institutions judge such things arbitrarily, some of the time.

So information on visa requirements, conditions, and how different rules apply to different people may be something people will really need starting fairly soon.

Just saying, as I think the information could prove useful to many if it's made presentable and accessible (and isn't misleading), and for your site there might be a lot of visitors if it's the place to find out.


> it looks likely that new visas will be required to travel between the UK and EU from 31st Jan 2020

This is not true. Johnson's victory in the election makes it almost certain the EU withdrawal agreement will come into force, so there will be no new requirements until at least the end of 2020, due to the transition period.


Definitely, i will start working on it right away, so lot of brits can benefit from visa list.


TIL that my home, Hong Kong, has been demoted to "developing"


This seems....odd. HK is now a city within PRC. So is Shenzen a "developed" area? What exactly is the distinction between Shenzen and HK now that they aren't exactly proven to be a city-state?


There is a border and passport control between HK and Shenzhen.


Apologies, fixed it.


It would be great if you could include alternative spellings and shorthands in the country dropdown at the start. For example, I searched for "USA" and it didn't bring up a result. Had to type "United" to find United States of America.

It would be a minor but noticeable improvement to UX, in my opinion.


Thanks, it currently supports to digit search. Usually works for all countries but apparently not for US.


Looks like a useful site, I like the design and everything seems really snappy.

One issue I noticed is it seems like line wrapping is messed up on mobile. The line breaks sometimes happen in the middle of words.

For example:

"

o Japan as tourist. The maximum duration of sta

y is 90 days. You can also find usful tips from fe

llow travellers.

"

This is in Firefox iOS.

I think there's a CSS attribute to fix this if I recall.


Oh thanks, I will look into it.


Hello 1hakr and congratulations!

I was looking at your open startups page (love the initiative) and if you show the pageviews for the last year, you can see everything flat and then it pretty much explodes in December. What is the reason for this? Was this the ProductHunt feature?


Thanks. Yes including hacker news and reddit.


Nice job! What vendors for video/display ads did you try? Do you think your eventual success with those was more from learning the basics of supply side ad ops or from finding the right vendor/demand source?

I see google ads, are you using anything else? Adsense or dfp?


Your website is very nice and I came across it when I was looking for a place to go travel.

However I still don't understand one can make so much money with a website like this.

I would personally never pay for any services like this when everything is free on the internet...


If you think about it, almost all the data is free. Visa list saves time for you, that's all.


Exactly, and why / what for paying ?? Especially sincd since you typically need this website like twice a year at most.

Its not a critic or w.e. I just cant understand from which need your 5k per month can come.

Contrats anyway.


People pay for convenience, it's as simple as that.


Congrats on launching, but according to your own webpage, it's had only one $5K month, and that was 2 months ago. It might be a bit early to claim "$5k per month".


Yes but I saw the trend, as of now I have already crossed $3k for this month.


Congrats! I just glanced at the site for a few minutes but it looks nice and I really enjoy hearing about people finding success from hobby projects. Best of luck!


Where did you source your data for this? Now that you're monetizing off subscriptions primarily, have you considered trying ads? Or not worth it?


I'm a massive fan of this site, and it has brought a massive amount of value to me personally. Glad to see that it's doing ok.


Makes me so happy to hear that.


@1hakr How did you get your initial set of users?


So last year I launched it on Product hunt and reddit and hacker news and it went viral everywhere with 150k users in a month but then it made a free fall to 20k and it took me 5 months to slowly grow it to 100k monthly users using just seo.


Where to get started with SEO?


I used this in the beginning https://www.clickminded.com/


So how exactly did you find apps/sites to partner with? I've never heard of either of those.


I didn't, they found me


Massive congrats! Visalist is the best for travellers info and this is such an inspiration!


Thanks man


The website doesn't work without external dependencies, uMatrix blocks Cloudflare for me.


I see. I had to use CDN to serve 300k users every month. Any suggestions how I can make it available for everyone?


cloudflare is a cdn, something like 30% of the internet uses it. seems like a silly block


Congratulations. Solve a real problem for people and make a nice income stream.


Thanks. I'm hopeful more and more people will find it useful.


Congrats, this surely will inspire more than one fellow HNer to start his side project.

Also great thing that you answer such specific questions like how to get started on design/seo. Keep it up!


Thanks for sharing your inspiring story!

How did you start the marketing of this site? I mean what where your first steps to tell the world that this site now exists?


Really great site.

How did you get the first 100 to 1000 users/visits?


I did a public launch on product hunt and then it become viral and got me 150k users in a week.


How/did you market it initially to be ranked?


Great story, good job!


The link just takes me to a webpage that hangs.

No story about growth, or anything else I can see.

Android Chrome fwiw, old device


Actually the link is the stats of Visa list, it actually loading page views and users from data studio charts. It also has revenue of visa list.


It's horrifically slow. After 90s, more than 30 MB downloaded and still no content showing I gave up too. (and this is on desktop)


Damn you datastudio, I should find alternative to show stats. You can browse the website which should be fast https://visalist.io


That page is almost 60 MB, to show 3 small line charts and a country map. Welcome to Web 2.0.


Visa List started out as a simple list of visa requirements for all countries with detailed visa process and documents for 50 countries so that travellers can go anywhere they want easily. This was a solution to visa issues I faced when I wanted to travel. Since then it's grown to 100+ countries and now features visa exemptions, dual passport requirements and many data points like flight prices, weather, distance, economy status and travel advice. I’m adding new countries every day so that you can use Visa List for all your visa requirements.

Visa List makes money mostly from ads and affiliates. Most of the site is freely usable but to use some filters, community chat and visa advice, you need to pay. Users pay monthly, annual or once for a lifetime membership. Revenue ranges from $5,000/m to $6,000/m. It became profitable after 2 months of launch.

But it didn't start making $5000 immediately, it started with $500 per month and grew slowly over the span of a year.

Initially I placed ads on visa list and was getting around 100K pageviews around a month. But the ads revenue was not that great at all. I tried to apply for skyscanner partnership because I knew that there would be good need after getting visa, but unfortunately I got rejected. I think the main reason was it was I was not getting a lot of traffic.

With a heavy heart I tried different ad networks like video ads, content ads but none of them improved the revenue. All this while, i never lost sight of my goal to increase the SEO and along the way get more users to Visa List.

Suddenly after a month I got an email from skyscanner from saying that they are interested in partnering with, this was another team. I was so happy and realised that things come around eventually. In a month I integrated skyscanner and it started a good stream of revenue from visa list.

After 5 month around june, people from iVisa contacted me. They provide visa service and visa assistance across the world which was perfect. I was very happy to partner with them as well and thus opened 3rd revenue stream.

Along the way I also learning AdOps so i could monetize the traffic I was getting and finally after 6 months things started working out. So my first channel also started contributing a good chunk to overall revenue.

After around 8 month i started an experiment with Visa List membership which i have been sitting on it for a long time. I was not really sure what was the most valuable information that travelers really need so they won't mind paying. Looking at Nomad list and starter story, i finally put in a set of features that i thought can be useful for Pro members. I'm happy that the experiment paid off adding to the 4th revenue stream.

So looking back, it was not a single thing but a lot of small things done right over a year.

https://visalist.io


I think you should tag your submission with Show HN, see rules here: https://news.ycombinator.com/showhn.html


Given that this is a submission with stats about visalist, Show HN doesn't seem appropriate.

There was a Show HN a year ago: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18640880




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