Introducing PingPong, site uptime and performance monitor

I’ve been feverishly working on my new startup, PingPong. It’s a website uptime and performance monitoring tool that sends you an SMS and Email as soon as your website goes down.

I believe this tool to be absolutely vital for any online business, agencies, and e-commerce websites. If you’re making money via a website or have a strong online presence it’s essential to reduce the amount of time your website is offline. It’s inevitable that your site will go down but knowing when it happens allows you to act quicker and get your site operational again. Hence the reason for creating PingPong.

PingPong is a site monitoring tool that:

  • Alerts you via SMS & email when your website(s) go down
  • Provides performance metrics
  • Provides error logs to help you debug your website downtime

There’s a few benefits of having such a tool:

  • If you’re in ecommerce and you’re site goes down, you obviously lose money.
  • If you are running AdWords campaigns and your site goes down, all your ads run the risk of being disapproved.
  • If you’re an agency, it’s helpful to know that a client’s site is down before they know. This allows you to act quicker.

PingPong is still very new and there is a host of features I plan on releasing over the next few months:

  • Automatic weekly/monthly reports (emailed to you)
  • Better, more modern user interface
  • More “checks” (such as checking if your mail server is up, checking if your MySQL server is up, etc)
  • Public page (allow others to see your downtime and performance reports)

I’d love to hear your thoughts on my new startup.

How to evaluate and start any online business

Evaluate and start any online businessStarting any business and risking your normal monthly income can be a daunting task. Ask me, I have 3 kids and considerable monthly expenses. So what is required in order to start an online business with minimal risk? I’ll go through the basics below.

 

Evaluate your business idea

You may think your idea is amazingly brilliant but there’s a few tasks you need to perform in order to evaluate your potential business.

  • How many competitors are out there doing what you want to? Is the competition extensive?
  • Identify your competition and have a good look at how they are attempting to make money.
  • Ask yourself: what is your unique selling proposition? Do you really have something to offer?
  • Are you serious enough to follow this through?

Identify your market size

This is a critical step. You really don’t want to get knee deep in the business only to find out that no one is interested in what you have to sell.

Researching your market size is actually quite simple. There’s a few tools to help you with this but I would suggest using the Google AdWords Keyword Tool in order to find our just how many people are searching for what you want to sell. You can even filter down by the geographical area you are planning to serve. Once you have an estimated market size and the numbers still look promising enough for you to consider continuing, move forward to the next phase.

Validate your business model

This is the fun part. It doesn’t take a lot of capital to start an online business, unless your needing to keep stock but even then you can test your model before stocking up and spending all your capital on what could be a complete flop. Let me explain.

Suppose you want to start selling office chairs but you’re afraid that people may not buy from you. By following the below steps we can test your market quite easily.

Step 1: Set up the basics of your business
If you’re planning to sell products online, try uShop.co.za.

If you’re planning on selling your services online, try follow this tutorial on how create your own business website using WordPress. Remember to stick to South African hosting providers such as AmpleHosting and WebAfrica.

Step 2: Install visitor tracking software

You are going to need to know what your potential customers are doing on your website. Install free visitor tracking software such as Google Analytics in order to track visitor behavior  This will be essential in the tweaking phase.

Step 3: Test the market

In an attempt to test the market you could either use Google AdWords or Facebook Ads or both. Spend no more than R1000 on either. Both have fantastic user interfaces allowing first-time users to be able to set up a campaign within minutes. Follow these guides while you’re at it.

Step 4: Tweaking

After a few days of running your ad campaigns, you should have a decent idea of the amount of people wanting your product or service. Pay close attention to what the data is telling you in both your ad software (Google AdWords and/or Facebook) and Google Analytics. This step is crucial as a small change can be the difference between you achieving success or failure.

 

Go forth and conquer or cut your losses

After two weeks to one month of advertising online you should have a very good idea of your business’s potential. Ultimately, there’s three ways your business validation project could have turned out:

Dismal: You received no leads or phone calls while advertising. Unless you completely got your web design or advertising wrong, cut your losses and move on to your next idea.

Moderate: You received some good enquiries. What now? Keep building on your product, advertising and website in order to increase the amount of leads you can acquire online.

Holy smokes, Why didn’t I do this earlier: Quit your day job and take over the world.

SocialPress – A SA Startup Worth Watching

A new social media platform has emerged in South Africa with great potential. Enter SocialPress.co.za, a tool designed to make business networking easier, and more fun. This is truely a great initiative started by Anton Koekemoer set to take South Africa by storm.

socialpress-logo2
A new social media platform has emerged in South Africa with great potential. Enter SocialPress.co.za, a tool designed to make business networking easy while keeping the element of fun on the cards. This is a truely great initiative started by Anton Koekemoer set to take South African socialites and business owners by storm.

I have been watching the progress of this wonderful tool for the passed week and I must say, it really is climbing the ranks and getting more popular day by day. Have a look at the following stats from Alexa.com:
socialpress

I know from experience that a climb like that in “reach” is quite exponential and very difficult to achieve. This also just goes to show that effectively networking yourself online can pay off in big ways, and Anton has done this well.

Some functionality offered from SocialPress:

  • Communicate with other members
  • Upload your links and allow others to comment on it
  • Join in on Forum discussions
  • Create and join industry related groups.
  • Keep up-to-date with the latest events.
  • There will soon enough be the option to create your own SocialPress blog

Well done to SocialPress and remember to keep the momentum flowing! Keep up the great work.