How to collect data for starting a website


HI, I am about to launch my new web application which deals with exchanging info about a certain city among the users.

but in the first launch, i will not have any users. So even if i advertise to people, and when somebody comes to this website, they will see no information and will be disappointed.

So, my question is how to fill up the database for my website so that it can be launched and able to hold users and provide them whatever info they need. After wards, when i have the user base, they themselves will populate the database. But for the initial launch, how to collect the data?


asked Nov 26 '10 at 18:25
116 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll

3 Answers


You run into the same challenge with social networking sites, dating sites etc.

There are two options:
1. Sample data, which doesnt provide much value but gives the impression of what the site will do.
2. Incentives, you can provided an incentive to build the system. Giving each subscriber some sort of value either in Money, credit or recognition on the site.

The best thing with these projects is to indeed start small. Focus on each city. If you are talking about strictly city data, you can at least populate your DB with some local facts to keep things a little more interesting than empty.

Dont like this issue discourage you.

Last, you can always have someone register before they are granted access to the full site. The first few hundred to register might be disappointed due to the lack of data once they are an active member, but they will be able to help you build your data.

I did a dating site once where you had to first register to view singles (helped fill up the db), and if you were the first 100 to register from your city, then you would have a FREE for Life account. The reason we did this is because we did not want bad reviews after the 1st client had registered in say "Miami" and could not find local matches.

answered Nov 26 '10 at 19:01
2,079 points


I'm afraid there are not many clever solutions. You can

  • start filling up the database yourself
  • start with a close beta of friends, family (or very motivated people) who will start using the website even if there's no much to look/use
  • hire somebody to write the first contents

My only suggestion is to avoid doing any serious PR or advertising before the website has some valuable contents in it. You need to be sure your service offer some value to the user before spending any money in advertising it, otherwise people will signup and immediately leave.

answered Nov 26 '10 at 19:03
Filippo Diotalevi
2,573 points
  • I have seen that for promotion, some companies make their customers fill out questionnaires. Will that work here (to collect data)? because, hiring somebody for this will take a lot of money and as a startup we dont have that much. Please comment. – Anand 13 years ago


Fillipo has some good Points, fill the DB manually.. or outsource it (oDesk/elance) to be done cheaply.

From my point of view "city-data" might be easy to gather, expecially if you focus on one city to build critical mass there, then (if the one city is flying) move to the next.

Best Regards

answered Jul 5 '11 at 17:52
101 points

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