Life abroad

Published on August 16, 2011

Life abroad

    It all started with the fact that I began to think about where I would move to live. I wanted to move somewhere nearby, in a warm climate, to one of the European countries where you can move without being a millionaire. I started to study, read ... and then I realized that I didn’t have a website where I could find information about any country, communicate with people who already live there and those who plan to move. Of course, there is more than one forum and blog in each country - but
    I did not find such a site that would unite all Russian-speaking emigrants. And what I found did not at all satisfy my needs.

    That is why I decided that I need to make such a site. This site will be discussed further.

    Short outline of the article. You should read this article if you want to know:

    1. About the project
    2. A few words about "design" and a little about the technical stuffing.
    3. About where and how I advertise and what resources were the most effective.
    4. About monetization
    5. A story about where I’m moving and why it is there
    6. We are looking for moderators.

    about the project

    I'll start with the name of the site. For about two weeks, my friends and I came up with a name. The first thing you decided was that the site should be in the .com zone. It is prestigious, promising, etc. Yes, and all the popular social networks in this zone. Even the beloved / hated (underline as necessary) contact on gets over. But it turned out that there is a problem with the choice of name. After all, as you know, this is the oldest and most popular zone. Most of the
    delicious names were taken. We began to think about what should be in the title. We thought that the site was about people and about countries. From here they took people and, accordingly, countries. And combined these two words.

    It turned out - - and fortunately - this domain was free. Hooray, move on :)

    I wanted to make a site with a social focus. So that people can find each other in any country, down to the district and city. That there were photos, blogs, ratings, personal messages, groups and other things of a social orientation. That is what I began to create.

    A few words about the “design” and a little about the technical stuffing.

    All this was long ago. Last year. 12/11/2010 - Date of registration of the domain. After this month 3-4 I tested various engines. Initially, the engine of the social network social engine 4 was installed. Month 2 we tested and tuned. I realized that for this engine you need initially gigantic resources. On a regular VPS - it slowed down with only 10 people online! The engine, of course, is good ... but such gluttony upset me. Because the project is a startup (i.e. there is little money, but I want to make it), I had to abandon
    this engine. Although time was spent significantly. But it would be worse if we decided to start on it.

    At that time I was very depressed and disappointed - so much time was wasted. But ... Habr came to the rescue! An article about the engines of social networks caught my eye. It was there that I learned about the Chinese (!) Discuz! Engine. I found Russian localization , read about the license of the engine (you can use it if you don’t remove copyright, and if you remove it, it’s a wild cost), I realized that it suits me.

    Tested ... and started digging again. Fortunately, this turned out to be what I needed. Well, of course, I finished what I could myself, made integration with Facebook (I found a good Chinese fellow who
    made a module that I translated and integrated into my website). By the way, during this time I started to understand a little about Chinese and Chinese :) Which is also useful.

    “Design” was also made by me (not a designer) “on my knee”. But all this is secondary. It’s important - that it works, it’s not too scary and repulsive, I decided. After all, the most important thing is the demand for a resource. To make the topic interesting, people come in, register, communicate, etc. After all, when the funds will appear - you can always improve the project - that’s how I reasoned and I am reasoning to the present. And I think this is the right idea for a startup. The main thing is to launch, check the
    efficiency of the idea. And then to improve.

    So, the site is up and running. Now you need to attract an audience. The most difficult thing was at the beginning. Then he made several mistakes that he quickly corrected. The error was that I wanted "all at once" - i.e. develop immediately across all countries. Darted like this for about a month - there were no results. After that, I decided to focus on Bulgaria and the Czech Republic .

    About where and how I advertise and what resources were the most effective.

    I tried many different tools: advertising on twitter, facebook, vkontakte, directadvert, advertising on bloggers, Yandex - direct, Google - AdWords, SEO, on specialized sites in areas. I check the return through , and

    I will write briefly for each.

    Twitter microblogging is effective, but very short-lived.
    Facebook turned out to be one of the leaders in terms of efficiency, the cost also turned out to be very attractive - high-quality and not expensive.
    VKontakte advertising - the quality of traffic is lower than from facebook, the price is more expensive. Apparently due to the fact that the audience is younger than the one that is needed for my project. An average of 25 years.
    Directadvert is an interesting option. Something like contextual advertising, but it looks like news on sites. More expensive than social networks, but a good conversion is obtained, registered.
    Blogger Ads- effectively. Short-term effect - a large number of transitions at once. And over time, it gradually drops, but does not reach zero. Bonus - SEO effect.
    Yandex - a lot of traffic, low price, but a low percentage of conversion from visitors to registered users. Compensated by low price.
    Google is the most unexpected failure. Low traffic, dear, conversion is close to zero. Perhaps I didn’t cook it correctly, but the results did not please.
    SEO - for new projects - is tight. But this is a promising channel. Therefore, work is ongoing and a small effect is already there.

    To summarize, then for the price / quality of our project, the most effective was (surprisingly) Facebook. The second is direct from Yandex. The third is advertising by bloggers. All the rest are about the same. Worst than everyone else is AdWords from Google. Perhaps this information is useful to you :)

    About monetization

    What will we do when the site is operating at full capacity. Where to get the money and so on. This question, as a rule, always interests habr-people, that's why I decided to talk about it.
    We will sell advertising for each individual country. Services of legal support companies for relocation, companies selling real estate, specialized business aimed at a Russian-speaking audience, travel agencies, hotels, air-auto-railway-carriers and other business aimed at this industry. In general, there is someone to take money from;) And, importantly, these companies are already accustomed to the Internet.

    The story is about where I’m moving and why exactly there :)

    Perhaps the reader will be interested in where I decided to move. I will tell you about this. I am moving to live in Bulgaria . From the east it is washed by the Black Sea. It borders with Greece and Turkey in the south, with Serbia and Macedonia in the west and Romania in the north.
    Why exactly Bulgaria? Because:

    1. Sea
    2. Near Russia
    3. Real estate is 2 times cheaper than Russia
    4. Car prices are lower than times ... sometimes 4 (!!!) than in Russia
    5. Prices in general. For products - below. For rental apartments - below. Prices are generally lower for almost everything. It seems except gasoline and cigarettes :)
    6. Language. People over 35 years old mostly speak Russian, the forum says about Bulgaria . Learning Bulgarian is easier because there is cyrillic, as well as ours. Many words are similar.
    7. It is easier to legally register to live in Bulgaria than in most European countries.

    But about the move to Bulgaria, I think, I will write in detail more separately. I think this information will always be interesting and relevant.

    We are looking for moderators.

    If you live in one of the foreign countries, if you are interested in being a moderator on our project, if you are an adult and not a stupid person - welcome! There are many countries in which we are still developing. For example, in the USA, France, Turkey - and so on. Everyone can have their own reasons to be a moderator.

    If you have any wishes, questions, suggestions - I am waiting in the comments.
    If you find any mistake - I'm waiting for you in PM :)