The $10,000,000 Story from Andrew Wilkinson

Flow” is an early mover, bootstrapped startup, focuses in project management / to-do list tool.

The company was a big hit right from the beginning and hit $20,000 monthly recurring revenue first month.

The sky looks bright…… until Asana – a direct competitor lead by well-networked, well-funded founder, who also happened to be the Facebook co-founder, came into the picture.

Andrew, the founder of Flow, lost $10 million in 12 years and declared defeat publicly. You can read his story here: https://twitter.com/awilkinson/status/1376985854229504007…

Not every fight in the competitive venture capitalist funded market is worth fighting. And Andrew’s new company Tiny could offer a window for founders who wish to exit.

(Which is why he made the Twitter thread and shared his story I guess?)

* This short note was originally posted on my Facebook wall.

Pricing Your Work

Most European marketers I met were worried that they are charging too little.

Most ASEAN marketers I spoke to seem afraid that they are charging too much (and lost their customers).

I still remember, during one conference’s lunch break, a Swiss guy frown his face and asked “am I charging too little?” when a Malaysian guy “wow-ed” after hearing his hourly rate.

Pricing a project is an art. Finding the right balance is never an easy task.

It’s something I have been trying to learn.

Tom Hirst has some good points in his Twitter Tread.

You can read the whole thing in one page on his blog here – https://www.tomhirst.com/pricing-freelance-projects/

The key thing I took away from this:

You can’t charge a premium if your individual value isn’t obvious.

Things that increase perceived value and thus project price:

The scarcity of your time (availability)

What you’ve done before (credibility)The project price itself

Reducing your price means reducing your perceived value if you don’t also reduce scope.

* This short note was originally posted on my Facebook wall.

Scary Smartphone Location Tracking

ExpressVPN analyzed 450 apps and found location trackers in every one. See image below to understand roughly how and where your data is being sold.

Some key findings quoted from the report.

  1. We identified location tracker SDKs in 450 apps that have been downloaded at least 1.7 billion times. Though U.S. government scrutiny continues to grow, 67% (305) of these apps remain available at the end of January 2021.
  2. Location trackers appear in 42 messaging apps with at least 187 million downloads, including apps masquerading as popular services such as Telegram, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat.
  3. X-Mode, the subject of a ban by Apple and Google, is prevalent in many more apps than previously reported, appearing in 44% (199) of the apps we analyzed that have been downloaded at least 1 billion times. Despite the ban, only 10% of these apps have been removed from Google Play.
  4. Surveillance of Muslim audiences via apps is much larger than previously reported, with X-Mode and related location tracker SDKs identified in ten religious and cultural apps with at least 67 million downloads.
  5. Dating and social apps are a notable target of location tracker SDKs, making up 64 of the 450 apps we analyzed with at least 52 million downloads.
  6. Quadrant, a location tracker with over 60 million daily active users, is present in two apps that have been central in recent privacy scandals.
  7. References to OneAudience, which was sued by Facebook for privacy violations, are present in 37% (167) of the apps we analyzed.

Google Says You Shouldn’t Buy Links but…

This is the 4-year ranking trend for an IT site whose top 200 links are NOTHING but paid and Wikipedia nofollow links and expired domains redirects. A lot of these high DR paid links are listed side by side with casino and write-for-you essay sites at the footer section.

Listen to experts, read Google guidelines, but always keep an open mind. Look at what’s working and what’s not in the SERP.

Work from Home

Our team did a long work-from-home guide last week.

In the process, we spoke to people who has been working from home for years – translators, web developers, virtual assistants, SEO gurus, writers, online business owners, and designers.

If you were just starting out and in-doubt – this is for you. Some common questions you might have:

  • What are some of the jobs you can work from home?
  • Where do you find online jobs as a beginner?
  • How much pay you can get working from home?
  • Are work from home jobs safe?
  • How to get started as a beginner?

You can find detail answers from the article > https://www.buildthis.io/growth/work-from-home-jobs/

Do share this guide if you think it’s useful so your friends can benefit from this guide as well.

Behind the scene

The article itself is the collaborative work of multiple work-from-home individuals. Here are the steps we took to produce this article:

  1. The topic “work from home” came up in our team chat and we decided to go for it.
  2. Timothy, my editor, drafted an outline on what we should cover in the article.
  3. I dived into some market data and see if we were missing any crucial points; article outline adjusted based on market study.
  4. Tim went to work and submitted his first draft.
  5. Discussion and team’s input on Tim’s writing.
  6. Tim worked out a second draft and moved the article to our site backend.
  7. Jason and I reached out to our contacts and interviewed those who were interested to contribute.
  8. The draft sitting in our WordPress site went through a few more edits – interviewees’ inputs merged to the writings, graphics and links and screenshots added, headlines optimized for SEO on-page.
  9. Final check by Tim and myself.
  10. Publish.

Considering a Managed WordPress Hosting?

Image sourced from Pagely’s official sales site – WhyPagely.

Peace of mind starts here – Pagely

Proudly placing itself above other hosting brands, Pagely – the premium WordPress hosting provider, promises great flexibility, scalability, and hosting solutions “engineered from the ground up for maximum uptime and durability”.

But, wonder what’s missing from the diagram? The price tags.

The cheapest plan at Pagely costs $199 a month – 600% more expesive than Kinsta and 6,700% more expensive than BlueHost entry price.

The diagram is not an apple-to-apple comparison by far.

WordPress Host? Managed WordPress Hosting… What?

A WordPress hosting simple means a web host that accommodate blogs (or sites) that are built with WordPress.

Technically, you can host a WordPress site on any server that support PHP 5.2.4 (or higher) and MySQL 5.0 (or higher).

A “Managed WordPress host” simply means hosting solutions with extra concierge service and extensive WP-specific features (more about how is Managed WordPress hosting different here).

Worth the Price?

It’s nice (and for many, a necessity) to have all the advanced hsoting features, expert tech supports, and ultra-fast servers – but they all come at a much higher price. Does your business need such sophisticated hosting infrastructure; or you are buying it simply because your web developer said so?

For those who are unsure – here’s my input for you.

Advantages of Managed WordPress Hosting

So what makes these high-priced managed WP hosting plans tick?

  • Faster Speeds – Due to the optimized nature of Managed WordPress hosts, you’re usually getting fantastic architecture to run WordPress sites off. To what extent depends on the host, but generally, this would be faster than regular shared hosting
  • Built-in WordPress tools – These range from all round tools such as JetPack to WordPress themes for you to use. They know you’re going to run WordPress and they provide for it.
  • WordPress-specific Support – Rather than rely on tech who are expected to know everything, Managed WordPress Hosts often hire WordPress experts for you. These specialists will know all the tips and tricks that can help you anytime, anywhere.
  • Automated Updates – Due to the modular nature of WordPress, you must update not only the core files, but also each plugin you run. Managed WordPress hosts can keep all of these up to date for you, reducing security risks.
  • Tools for Developers – Aside from pre-built tools, Managed WordPress hosting providers know that WordPress site owns often like to tinker. As such they will give you access to development tools and environments that you can play around with and not destroy your site in the process.

Disadvantages 

And what’s the downside?

  • Price – Almost unilaterally, Managed WordPress hosting is more expensive than standard low-cost shared hosting offerings. If you find a plan that’s the same price (or God forbid, cheaper) then you know you’re getting conned.
  • Only WordPress – You asked for WordPress and you get WordPress. Want to change your mind? Change your hosting provider or switch to an entirely different type of plan. That usually means site migration though.
  • Automated Updates – Yes, this can be a drawback too, if you opt for auto updates. There are times when developers (of WordPress or other plugins) make a boo-boo and release an update that is disastrous to its users. Your system will auto update. If you’re not around and don’t realize it, you can’t do anything.

So…

Personally I feel that Managed WordPress hosting generally offers at least some form of benefits, but it’s not meant for everyone. As I’ve listed above, consider your situation before looking towards Managed WordPress Hosting.

Note that, if you’re aiming to own a successful, large volume site. technical skills, server management should be part of your web skill set.

It’s not rocket science, there are literally hundreds of tutorial and forums to learn from and you have to playground to fool around in on the WWW. Ignoring the tech altogether is sheer laziness – and could cost you some day. With that, the decision is in your hands.

WordCamp Kuala Lumpur (WCKL) 2019

  • When? 1- 2 November 2019
  • Where? Berjaya Times Square, Kuala Lumpur
  • Who? Web developers, marketers, bloggers, business owners
  • Why? Learn and share your experience in WordPress, network with other relevant business people
  • Event details: https://2019.kualalumpur.wordcamp.org/

The conference sessions are divided into 2 tracks:

WCKL Track 1

  • Opening Remarks
  • Building the perfect service business website by Shaan Nicol
  • “Create one, publish everywhere” by Leonardo Losoviz
  • One coder agency – 3 steps framework for building one-man WP agency that lasts by Nathan Onn Yeap Chuen
  • Bagaimana membina landing page yang berimpak tinggi (BM) by Adlan Khalidi
  • Managing your online presence on Google search by Cherry Sireetorn Prommawin
  • WordPress CLI in depth by Sanjay Willie
  • Work, Travel and Join Global Community by Mayuko Moriyama
  • Secure Your WordPress website by Liew Cheon Fong
  • Demystify SEO and Google algorithm by Matthew Knighton

WCKL Track 2

  • Google Tag Manager untuk Markter (BM) by Amirul Nordin
  • The magic of headless WordPress and REST API by Hasin Hayder
  • Content strategy for lead generation and SEO by Ivan So
  • Getting more done in less time – WordPress automation using Ansible by Ivan Yordanov Ivanov
  • 10 tips utama untuk melajukan laman WordPress anda (BM) by Abdul Rahim Abdul Rani
  • Contributing the WP mobile apps by Cesar Targdguila
  • WordPress optimization by Ramon Sim
  • Expand your network: WordPress multisite by Ian Labao
  • Closing remarks

HostScore was one of the event sponsors – we setup a booth, gaveaway some merchandises, and meet people from 8am – 5pm, non-stop. All of us – Timothy, Jason, and I, have not talked so much in one day for a very long time. We were all exhausted by the end of the event.

Psssst, we are launching HostScore.net this month…

Having spent more than ten years researching and testing web hosting services, we felt the need for greater transparency in the market. HostScore was built with that in mind – a resource for the public which would monitor how web host servers perform and make that data readily available at no cost.

Being first of its kind in market (as far as I know), HostScore gives hosting consumers a new, data-driven way to evaluate and choose a web host.

We have been collecting data since July 2019 and the site went live early this month (September). I’d love you to go check out the site and let me know what you think.

Screenshot of HostScore homepage (Sep 20, 2019)

For transparency purposes, all HostScore algorithm is published here.

Curious to learn more? Find answers to frequent questions here.

Not Your Standard SEO Advice (1/7): Page Speed & Distracting Ads

Google guideline and Google representatives say valid HTML matters, page speed is a crucial ranking factors, and distracting ads are a sign of low quality sites.

Yet, this page has 20+ errors and 70+ warning in Chrome browser inspection, failed horribly in various speed tests, comes with multiple annoying pop-up / pop-under ads – and they rank in multiple position 0’s and ranked for thousands of highly competitive search terms.

Page ranks more than 5,000 keywords.
Search traffic valued at $98,430 according to AHREFS estimation.
Page speed test results at GT Metrix.

SEO guidelines by Google and gurus are only for your reference. They are basic knowledge that serves, at max, as your foundation and can only carry you to a certain distance.

The best SEO thing you can do FOR YOURSELF is to monitor SERPs closely and run your own experiments.