Welcome to the first blog post about a monitoring tool for websites. A tool that monitors your contact and enquiry forms to make sure they are working.
I’v had this idea in the back of my head for sometime. I've run many websites for small businesses who depend on their website contact forms.
One of the issues with websites is sometimes they break. Upgrades, server changes, code changes, new browser versions. Unless you get enquires through your website daily there is no sure way to tell they are working.
This use to worry me as freelance developer. How could I always be sure that my customers contact forms were working?
What do you say when a customer rings you 2 weeks later saying they haven’t had any recent enquiries? You realise that their contact form is broken - not a good feeling to have.
I recently joined the Zero To Scale Insiders mastermind group. One of members were saying “thought business was slow this week - then realised my contact form was broken.”
This sucks enquires can be time sensitive. You want to followup asap and even worse sometimes the enquiries are lost all together.
This really kicked me into action. Thinking about all the pros and cons. Mind going a million miles - is this something other developers and freelancers face too?
So here we are post number 1 validation. Don’t start a online business before validating the idea first? Right Correct?
I’ve listened to many podcasts talking about validating a business idea before building. I find this hard, the developer in me wants to go out and just build the thing, seems like a fun project to get stuck into.
So here we are. Trying to validate this business idea. Would love some feedback if you have any to offer.
What competitors are out there doing this? Google searching didn’t turn up anything, this is probably a red flag, no-one is doing this already? Lots of website monitoring tools but none that I could see that monitored online forms.
Search twitter, seems people complain about broken forms. Proves somewhat that forms break or are broken.
Quick search of Google Keyword tool, but really nothing to see here – doesn’t surprise me. I can’t see why people would be searching for a form monitoring tool. Maybe another Red Flag?
Survey. Created a Survey in Google Docs (http://goo.gl/forms/jAIwh3hGRl) and syndicated to as many places as I could, twitter, private facebook groups, reddit, cold outreach. Unfortunately I don’t have any network to draw upon so that doesn’t help but you gotta start somewhere and just try and reach people where you can. I wanted about 100 responses (from freelancers or web agencies). I feel like that would give me some pretty decent insight.
People more knowledgeable than me would say you’ve got to collect money now if people say they need it. This seems like a good idea in theory however I don’t feel comfortable doing that, maybe next time.
Had phone calls with a couple of web agencies. These basically came back in the netural zone, didn't get me very excited about the idea, but brought up some interesting ideas about some possible slight pivots.
I didn't try this but I think it would be a good idea if I knew which keywords to target. You can get $100 voucher for adwords if you search in Google.
Emailed clients to see if they even considered if this could be an issue, could I add x to their monthly hosting to pay for the service. The results here were positive, the majority would be happy to pay a few extra dollars a month.
So there you have it. I've done about as much validation as I'm willing to do. So this is something worth pursuing? Please subscribe to keep updated on progress.
Till next time. Matthew