No code SaaS: how to build a no-code SaaS product
All the platforms mentioned in this article are an excellent example that, nowadays, you don’t need to hire a team of developers at the initial stage of your SaaS startup.
You seem to be on your journey to your first or perhaps not your first SaaS product. Our previous article in this series had us discussing the most popular tools that current SaaS startups use, from development to management.
We’ve also gone through SaaS technology stacks that help develop your product brick by brick. But what about other types of tools? The ones that perhaps hardly require any coding whatsoever?
More often than not, putting together a team of developers and designers to create a decent and user-centric product is definitely worth it. But, at the same time, it can be quite costly.
What to do if you only want to build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), a small SaaS startup, or a microSaaS, and you don’t want to splurge, nor do you have a big team at this point?
This is where no-code tools can come in handy. A handful of them is especially fit to build a relatively small SaaS product, and today we’ll go over some of the best ones.
The recent rise of no-code tools
Automation has always been a trend, which sort of negates the connotation of the word “trend.” Regardless of semantics, tools that were created to minimize time-consuming tasks were always a thing in all industries. With no-code tools, it’s now software development’s turn.
No-code tools are programs and software that allow primarily non-developers to build applications and web solutions and automate development workflow just by using a visual interface. Coding and technical skills, in this case, are not required.
Such tools have gained popularity with the introduction of digital transformation and still continue to pick up speed. For example, about 82% of those using no-code tools in the US only started doing so in the past couple of years.
Yet, despite the rapid adoption of no-code, many large businesses prefer to create their own products from scratch. However, more and more tools show the ability to alleviate, if not all, then at least part of the hassle that comes with full-blown development.
No-code vs. low-code
Both are relatively new solutions in the IT industry. Basically, low-code tools and platforms allow automated code generation and subsequent changes in that code using a “building block-like” approach (pull-downs or drag-and-drop). No-code development, however, is an entirely hands-off approach and is best applied to less complex applications and products.
No-code SaaS development - what is it, and how does it work?
In short, it’s not like SaaS products or any other products made using no-code development don’t contain any code. They do. The code, however, is embedded in the no-code platform and is created automatically behind the scenes.
Overall, in such a type of development, you use a no-code SaaS builder, which basically means a user-friendly graphical interface, primarily with drag-and-drop features, used to organize your product’s pages and manage the workflows.
No-code SaaS tools have sets of ready-made templates and features that you can automatically select and apply to your product during development. The changes are automatically implemented and automated, making this type of product creation extremely efficient.
Benefits of no-code SaaS development
First of all, time. Time saved by skipping all the coding steps can be used to accelerate time-to-market, allowing you to focus more on marketing and customer service, etc. You also save time because no-code platforms usually handle maintenance.
No-code SaaS also means that the whole product can be created by just one person, so there is no need to assemble an entire team of developers if this is something your business is lacking at this point of your growth process.
Other benefits include reduced costs, pre-built essential features, automatic optimization for multiple devices and platforms, and frequent software and security updates by your vendors, making your product up-to-date.
Challenges of no-code SaaS
One of the drawbacks of no-code tools is how limited the design options may feel, especially if you want your product to be unique.
You also lose some control over your SaaS, as the coding is done by a third party, which can also lead to some security issues.
Another challenge will arise if you, by any chance, decide to drastically change the product and/or switch to coding, disrupting the whole flow.
No-code SaaS tools
Now, onto the best no-code SaaS examples. The list is in no particular order and relatively subjective because, given how many useful tools there are at this moment, each business would have to choose what’s best for their exact requirements. So, here are a few we consider quite handy in this regard.
The first no-code tool on our list is best suited for the speedy development of mobile applications. Thunkable offers a helping hand in the whole app creation process - from ideation to launch.
Besides a standard drag-and-drop feature, the platform additionally offers pretty effective logic blocks and third-party integrations that help create native-like applications that are also adjusted for tablet users.
This next no-code platform is considered one of the best in the market today for creating applications when you don’t know how to write a single line of code. The process of creating digital products with this tool looks like this.
First, you prototype your idea to plan all the technical resources it might need. Then you build your product using a convenient drag-and-drop interface in a matter of hours instead of months. Afterward, you make changes when needed and scale your SaaS product.
Another great no-code app builder is called Bravo Studio, which specializes in helping create native applications for iOS and Android, as well as MVPs, and publish your apps on the App Store and Google Play Store.
Bravo Studio also allows adding third-party API integrations and claims to take care of your app’s both design and backend, as well as helping with proper testing and publishing.
AppSheet is a powerful application offering various businesses a no-code platform to help create web, mobile, and tablet applications. It uses data sources like Dropbox, Office 365, Google Drive, and other cloud-based platforms.
The tool has a helpful feature that lets users preview and test their freshly-made applications while offering two levels of app editing - the basic one, where you take care of standard features like view controls or offline functionality, and the more advanced one for themes, data synchronization, etc.
Yet another useful no-code platform for SaaS applications and websites, but this time, it’s also great for building chatbots and live chat services, automating various SaaS tasks, and creating graphics for your brand.
While being very quick and affordable, Appy Pie also provides excellent support for its customers and offers seamless integrations with various data sources and applications.
Next great low-code/no-code platform for SaaS products is called Simbla, promising to save up to 90% of your product’s development time and, subsequently, costs by taking care of both coding and maintenance, which is usually handled by IT and database administrators.
Another interesting feature of the Simbla platform is its multi-tenancy, allowing SaaS businesses to manage their clients in separate tenants for the user interface and the database levels.
And with the last no-code tool on our list, Softr, you can build custom SaaS, client portals, internal tools, and other applications for your business straight from Google Sheets or Airtable.
Besides secure client or employee portals or internal tools like CRM or resource directories, the Softr platform comes in handy when building two-sided marketplaces, online community outlets, multi-page marketing sites, and landing pages.
How to quickly build your first no-code SaaS product
Ideally, your SaaS application should start with an MVP, which means you have to validate your startup. A so-called trial run of your future product can be done either with code or also using one of the tools, for example, Gravitywell.
At this stage, you’ll have to run a few tests to see if people will actually need your product, integrate it with Google AdWords, etc. Then you implement your MVP. For that, use one of the no-code platforms above. Bubble, for instance, or Softr would be nice picks.
The next step is customizing your application for smartphone users. A software named PEGA will configure your product for mobile screens, also using a low-code platform for that, to help you deploy fully native iOS and Android applications.
And last but not least, you build and launch your product. For websites, for example, WordPress is one of the best tools for that.
Examples of startups made with no-code
To take a peek at how other companies have succeeded using this type of product development, let’s look at a few notable startups that were made with no-code tools:
- Swipe Files. A SaaS marketing training tool, Swipe Files used lots of no-code options to build their platform, for example, Webflow, Jetboost, Memberstack, ConvertKit, Mailbrew, Circle, etc.
- Comet, a successful marketplace built with Bubble where freelancers and tech teams can meet with clients and vice versa, providing a suitable match for both by handling the evaluation process.
- Scrapbook. A platform for eCommerce and SaaS marketing, growth, acquisition, and revenue tactics, Scrapbook was created using Airtable and Carrd.
- Plato. Also built with Bubble tool, Plato is a mentorship platform for product leaders and engineers. They used the no-code to build their back office, plus their events’ landing pages and track systems.
- Makerpad. This one is quite meta - a no-code tool built with no-code tools. Makerpad used platforms like Webflow, Zapier, Airtable, and MemberStack to build their own no-code community and education solution.
For the most part, all the platforms mentioned above are an excellent example that, nowadays, you don’t need to hire a team of developers at the initial stage of your SaaS startup, nor do you yourself have to have extensive experience in coding.
A little patience in getting to know some of the tools will go a long way, and pretty soon, in a span of hours, instead of months, you’ll have a functional SaaS product to impress your customers with.
This model of development can be one of the best options in the early stages of your company’s growth when you’re running low on budget and time.
Later, if you desire your product to become more unique and represent your business better, the help of a professional development agency is recommended. For example, Merge can be of assistance.
Overall, we hope you now have some exciting no-code SaaS ideas to implement. And remember to stick around for other useful articles in our SaaS series.
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