Since Bookmark Ninja went into production last October I was asked several times what I do now. Some even said that it’s so cool that I can lay back and enjoy the money coming from Ninja without doing anything. Well, this is not the case. This is not the case at all. In this post I tried to collect the tasks I regularly have to deal with on a daily or weekly basis after Ninja went into production.
Having just a good product is not enough to be successful. You have to provide good support, too. I prepared very detailed user guides, FAQ, but I still get “how to” and “I can’t” emails. This is something you have to accept. Most of the people don’t like reading user guides (neither do I) rather they drop an email to the support if they have a question. I try to answer these emails immediately, but not later than in 24 hours. If I’m not at my computer I write the replies on my smartphone. Ninja was designed to have a very intuitive, clean UI so fortunately I don’t get many this kind of emails.
Thanks to the thorough testing this is something I have to do pretty rarely. In the last one year I received only a few bug reports from customers, none of them were critical and I was able to fix them immediately. But this is something you have to be prepared for, fixing a bug might take a longer time, too.
Developing new features and improvements
Most of the emails I get from the users are about what new features or improvements they would like to see in Bookmark Ninja. I also have quite a few ideas in my mind so this is not an easy task to select which ones to develop next. I have already written a post about how to decide which features to implement in your app. Once the features are selected, I start to code. I usually make the schedule of the new developments for the upcoming 2–3 months. As a software engineer, from the many tasks listed in this post, this the one I like and enjoy the most.
Monitoring and maintaining AWS
Bookmark Ninja runs in an AWS (Amazon Web Services) EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) environment. WildFly (the application server), Apache (the web server) and MySQL run on a Linux virtual machine. The Bookmark Ninja web application is deployed in WildFly. On the AWS console’s dashboard I can track and monitor the different system parameters like the memory, the CPU and the disk utilization of the server. Other than the standard system parameters the JVM (Java Virtual Machine) memory management information like the different Java memory segments utilization along with the garbage collection data (how many times GC ran, how much time it took) are also monitored here. Although alarms are configured to send emails if any of the values goes beyond a critical limit, I regularly check the dashboard to make sure everything runs fine and if necessary I also make changes in the configurations to fine-tune the system.
I tried different kinds of paid ad systems, for me Google AdWords worked far the best. After you created your ad campaigns you continuously have to monitor them and adjust the different setting based on the statistics and reports. It’s an ongoing process, you always find something to improve. For example it’s amazing how much the CTR (click through rate) can go up or down if you change just a single word in your ad.
Originally I didn’t want to deal with SEO (Search Engine Optimization). If you search for “bookmark manager” in Google, it will give you over 3 million results. I thought it was not worth putting any effort into it. A few weeks ago I noticed in the Google Analytics reports that the organic search numbers went up. I had no idea what happened. I made a search for “bookmark manager” and Bookmark Ninja was on the 3rd-4th page! I also searched for “bookmark organizer” and Ninja was on the 1st-2nd page! Having these search result positions is pretty amazing considering that I haven’t done any SEO. I changed my mind. I thought it was time to start dealing with SEO. So from now SEO got into my everyday tasks.
Writing blog posts
In March 2017 I decided to start documenting my journey from leaving the corporate world to developing Bookmark Ninja and running the business. My goal is to share my experiences, the lessons I learn, the difficulties I face and the achievements I make. I hope I can give some value and inspiration to the readers with these posts. I really enjoy writing this blog and can also make some visibility (content marketing) for Ninja. I publish my posts on WordPress and Medium where I also read other bloggers’ blogs. You can find really interesting and exciting blogs on these platforms. Members are very friendly and responsive, we usually have great discussions in the comments and in emails.
Doing social media marketing
It’s a tough thing. In 2017 if you want a successful business then you have to be present on the different social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Medium etc.) otherwise you already lost the game. I’m not a marketing guy, I still learn these stuffs. Being present on these platforms means you have to be active. It’s not enough to create an account, upload some content then leave it as it is. You have to upload content regularly (this is the most difficult part), you have to engage with the other members, answer their questions and comments on a daily basis.
The development of the new features and improvements roughly takes 40% of my time, all the other tasks take the remaining 60%.
Bottom line is that you can’t lay back. Launching a web app is not the finish line, it’s just the beginning of another phase, you have to keep working fucking hard to achieve your goals… ;)