I’ve been in the hookah website business for over 6 years now. Started HookahLounge.net as a simple blog, turned it into a blog plus forum community, then added a directory, and eventually an eCommerce store. I continued modifying and improving the site with the online store for about 3 years and along the way moved the site to BuyHookah.com.
Last month (August) I completely re-designed the site and took it back to its roots. It now has a blog, forums, gallery, directory, and most importantly a hookah wiki section. It’s (IMO) the most complete hookah website online.
The response from users on the site has been overwhelmingly good and I’m super excited about it. Right now we have a blogger from LA, one from Dallas, one from NY City and soon few international bloggers.
Here are some things that I paid attention to when creating the new version of the site:
- User friendliness: I spent hours and hours watching users actually use the website, took surveys from them and tweaked every detail of the design.
- On-site optimization: all SEO stuff, site speed, compatibility, etc.
- Clean coding
- Social media (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube), blog, aweber
- Unified user account and login across the whole site (Forums, Wiki, Blog, etc).
- Facebook login/connect feature
- iPhone and Android hookah app
- Google custom search (premium)
- And honestly a lot more that i can’t remember.
I can now say that BuyHookah.com has truly matured. It’s a true community website with a large number of visitors and enjoys great search engine ranking for it. Only if I could make more websites like this.