OnlineOrNot Diaries 7

Max Rozen

Max Rozen (@RozenMD) / April 07, 2023

Another Friday evening here in Toulouse, let's go into how OnlineOrNot went this week.

It was a marketing week this week, and I felt like trying something different: Ads.

On top of that, I shared the story of my journey from aspiring indiehacker to running OnlineOrNot on Twitter, and about 30k people saw it.

I also cheated a little bit and got the head-start on next week's coding week by starting on OnlineOrNot's next feature: heartbeat monitoring.

Ads: was it worth it?

I wanted to test the changes I made to OnlineOrNot's landing and pricing pages without needing to wait around for traffic, so I paid for 105 people to check out OnlineOrNot via pay-per-click advertising.

Was it worth it? Let's run the numbers: 27 people signed up to OnlineOrNot this week. 17 people signed up the week prior, so let's say 105 clicks resulted in 10 additional sign-ups.

If 10% convert to paying customers, I can expect those sign-ups will result in one paying customer, on average. Assuming each click costs $1 (it doesn't, but the maths is easier), that's $105 to acquire one paying customer.

For my three plans ($19/mo, $49/mo and $149/mo as of today), the pay-off period is 5.5 months, 2.1 months, and 0.7 months respectively for that one customer.

In short, purely on a monetary basis, it might be worth it, but I'm not sure yet.

As OnlineOrNot gains more users, I've been learning more and more about what folks expect from their uptime monitoring. I've been using that to make an even better product, so even if it doesn't pay off financially in the short term, the product will get better as a result, and the pool of folks that OnlineOrNot meets the requirements for will increase.

The last time I ran ads...

The last time I tried this experiment (a few months into OnlineOrNot's existence, about two years ago), it went badly. I think I spent about $200 for 100 clicks, resulting in zero sign-ups.

So I gave up, and decided "ads don't work".

Since then, I've learned how to make landing pages that convert, and have built a feature-set that matches folk's expectations, and have gotten better at writing copy. This time around, I also iterated on my ads during the week, and managed to get better performance out of them.

In short, maybe ads can work for OnlineOrNot, it'll just take a bit of effort to learn how to write effective ads (like anything else).

My journey so far

If you're just joining now, here's a summary article for each of the last five years:

I shared these links on Hacker News and Twitter this week, and quite a few folks checked them out, so I figured I may as well share them here too.

Heartbeat monitoring

As I mentioned last week, a couple of customers got in touch asking if they could hit an OnlineOrNot endpoint when a cronjob runs, and get notified when the job doesn't run.

The answer was "not yet", but as of today I'm currently testing heartbeat checks against OnlineOrNot itself:

OnlineOrNot's upcoming heartbeat monitoring dashboard

This UI is actually live on OnlineOrNot, just hidden behind the Early Access Program feature flag - I figured I may as well deploy it in an incomplete state and get early feedback as I build it.

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