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How to Develop a Question-and-Answer Platform like Quora?

  • Rating — 4.7 (142 votes)
  • by Elena
  • Updated on July 19, 2021
  • Read —
    9-10 minutes
How to Develop a Question-and-Answer Platform like Quora?

Q&A websites are not new on the internet, but they are getting more and more attention of users nowadays. Since the main goal of such platforms like Quora is to share knowledge, the need for such services will never expire. After all we tend to trust other peoples opinions and pay attention to the expertise they are sharing. Many people tend to look for information online before they buy something or choose where to go and what to do. The Q&A websites will stay on top for a long period of time, of that we are 100% sure.

Nevertheless, staying on top is hard, even for such giant like Stuck Overflow, Amazon’s Askville, Answers.com, and Yahoo. The best example is Yahoo Answers which is losing its popularity steadily despite all the efforts. But why do some websites fail while Quora prospers?

In this article we would like to share with you some insights regarding Quora-like websites – what features are in demand, how they attract users, how you can manage such a solution, and what it takes to build a custom one.

  1. What is Quora and why it’s so popular
  2. How to attract first users to Q&A platform
  3. Features of Q&A platforms
  4. How to manage the Q&A website
  5. Engage users
  6. Provide users with relevant information
  7. Use emails or notifications

What is Quora and why it’s so popular?

Simply saying, Quora is a platform, where one user can ask a question, and another one can answer it. One question can get multiple answers that are showing the opinions of different people. In addition, users can not only respond to queries that have an expertise in, but also to arrange and edit them.

What makes Quora such a popular resource is the quality of user-generated content it provides. This is achieved thanks to the fact that users have to use their real names during registration in order to reduce the number of bots. But these features are not unique as well. Here comes the question, how to make your Q&A website remarkable? How to engage users and make them return all the time?

The secret is in focus. For a long time, Quora was focused on the niche market rather than capturing all categories of questions. At the very beginning, the platform was mostly concentrated on such topics as entrepreneurship and marketing. Starting with one niche, founders managed to create a place where like-minded people could share their experience. Such engaged community later developed into a huge platform, collecting knowledge on various business domains, starting with software development and ending with fashion.

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Tip #1
Our first advice to you is to determine your niche. Choose one domain niche and then enrich it with a few side ones. This will attract more users to your platform.

How to attract first users to Q&A platform?

Basically, everything starts with content. At the very beginning, Quora or Reddit had a problem of having zero users, hence, there was no content that could possibly attract visitors. Therefore, developers decided to solve this problem in the most trivial way – they added the content by themselves. They created fake profiles, they were asking and answering the questions of each other, upvoting the answers and spicing them up with infographics. And it worked!

The websites did not look like they were managed by one person, so later on the activity was seamlessly taken over by the real users. More and more users started visiting Quora, reading answers, creating profiles and sharing their personal experience and knowledge. 

So if you are building your own Quora-like solution, you need to choose your niche, and start generating your own content to attract first visitors. But this strategy only works if you’re an expert in one domain, which would allow you to create a content of a high quality and increases your chances to be noticed.

👍
Tip #2
Be an expert and share you own knowledge at first in order to create an engaged community of like-minded users.

Features of Q&A platforms

If you decided to create a new question and answer platform, you should take a look at the main competitors, for example, Quora. The first thing you see is simple yet intuitive design. Opening the website for the first time, user can see latest questions from random categories and read the answers if interested. After creating an account, users can choose the categories and receive the questions on these topics by email or directly in the feed.

The main features every Quora-like application should offer:


Users profiles
there should be an easy way for users to sign up and fill in their profiles, add picture, interests and status. So while building your own Q&A website make sure the registration process is seamless and profiles have all necessary thigs. 
Activity feed
on Quora people can subscribe to different spaces, specify their knowledge and see the interesting answers in the feed. Activity feed is crucial and therefore it should be properly designed and organized.
Following topics
let your users follow topics and questions so that they can get all updates regarding new answers that will appear under the question of their interest.
Social media sharing
people like sharing their opinions and start discussions on various social media websites, so it is preferable to let you Q&A platform users share their answers in Twitter, Facebook, or else. 
Internal messaging system
users of the same interests would want to communicate directly and discuss some questions in detail. So messaging is a must-have feature for your platform.

How to build your own Q&A website?

To begin with you need to define your niche and find a team of developers. That team should be experienced enough and offer you a full development cycle – starting with the research stage and ending with the website building and release. To develop a custom Q&A website you need the following specialists:

  • Business Analyst to help you complete Discovery phase, select tech stack and write specifications;
  • Scrum Master who will manage all processes and guarantee preservation of the deadlines;
  • Web developers (and front-end coders) who will write high-quality code;
  • Designer who will wrap that code in a beautiful ad user-friendly design;
  • Quality Assurance specialists who will perform all kinds of checks before your website release.

The development itself includes several steps. It all starts with writing of technical documentation, then comes prototyping and design concept. Once your team is done with that, they proceed to coding and quality assurance. After that come final checks and release.

What is the development cost? 

Speaking about the final price, we should mention that it will depend on the feature set and kind of your Q&A platform (whether it will be a web-based only or there will be a mobile app for iOS/Android). In general Q&A platforms cost $25,000 – $30,000. However, there is a possibility to build an MVP of such solution with a basic feature set. The MVP will cost you less and will let you test you idea, see how the audience reacts and interacts with the solution and consider further improvements.

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How to manage the Q&A website

As you can see, building a Q&A website like Quora is not that difficult, but managing it right is the key to success. The success of Q&A platforms is based on content and audience. So, how to manage these parts to please users and keep all the content relevant?

Engage users

Take it as a golden rule: the time spent on a website is the best indicator of how interested your audience is. Therefore, every business is trying to increase this time in order to turn clients into customers. Thought such websites like Quora don’t sell goods and don’t provide any services, they are also working on engaging people to stay online for longer. The more page views a website has, the more revenue it can get on advertising. If you have the monetization strategy based on advertising time and amount of traffic is your best friends.

But how to engage your users and make them stay at your website for longer? For instance, Quora’s users can follow the unlimited number of topics, categories, and users. Once they open a website, each second new piece of information appears. Moreover, each question has a section “Related Questions” allowing users to surf the website for hours, thus increasing the number of page views and time spent on the platform.

how to build a website like quora

Provide users with relevant information

By offering users the relevant content, not only saves their time, but also makes them loyal. Meaning the next time they need to find any information, they will probably search it on your platform rather than others.

One more thing you can do to retain user is to properly organize the content. For example, Instagram, Facebook, and others put the most relevant content on the top. Or, vice versa, the latest content stays on top. This creates the feeling that you can miss some important information, so you open the website, again and again, to stay tuned.

Another trick is to somehow indicate the users who are experts in a certain domain. This will encourage users to share their knowledge and get that “expert” badge.

Use emails or notifications

If you decided to increase your visits by sending multiple emails to your users, don’t do that. Overloading users’ inboxes with daily emails will only annoy them. Instead, send fewer letters but add as much value as possible. For example, sending weekly or monthly digests based on users’ topic preferences is a good idea. You can also insert the links to the most relevant questions or notify users of the latest answers to their questions.

If you also have a mobile app, consider replacing emails with push notifications, so that they would not duplicate each other.

Conclusion

Having decided to develop question and answer website like Quora, start with the competitor’s research to determine the niche, where you can show your expertise and create an engaged community. Don’t be shy to upload the first content by yourself, believe, it will bring the fruits later. Take care of your audience as it’s the biggest value of businesses in this category.

We can say for sure than in the next decade such Quora-like solutions will gain more popularity and audience. People like sharing their expert opinions, discuss urgent and important matters and engage in casual discussions. So don’t wait up, build your Q&A platform now and benefit from it later.

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We have experienced tech takes able to build a Q&A platform of any complexity from scratch and in no time.
Elena Elena is the business analyst passionate about everything connected with startups, business ideas, and analytics. She’s aiming to find the solution for every challenge, young companies meet on their way.
Anna - Technology Author and Strategist I am mainly focused on enterprise mobility (Apple, Android), and digital transformation, highly curious about all emerging tech trends, always pay close attention to crucial details and try to find answers to a lot of questions before writing about something.

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Natalie Revelle
Apr 15, 2020 at 7:38 PM

thank you for this article

It really helped me to understand the concept of Quora and to start one like that.

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Andrew
Oct 08, 2019 at 4:40 AM

I gotta agree with you, Elena. A lot of that I already do and it’s very important to have a set of strategies and follow them carefully. I actually took a course where they trained me on most of that stuff and it was a game-changer lol literally!

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