Outsourcing, why should you? Part 1.

Filed under: Web Development — rasim

outsourcingA few years ago I was working in a custom software development company. I really wanted to be a programmer back then and thought that it would be the best place to learn. While it was true and I learned a lot about programming, I learned another very valuable skill – time management and outsourcing.

Many big technology companies, such as even Microsoft, Google and IBM outsource. Many small shops and individual entrepreneurs do too. It became a part of life, a way to make more or even any money. Are you doing it? If not, keep on reading, I will try to explain why outsourcing may be a good and feasible solution.

I always paid extra attention to details and tried to complete the project as perfect as possible. I was really picky about every small detail and went through hell with outsourcing at first. Nobody in the third world country can do the job better then me, I thought. Now I have a completely different opinion. There is a lot of talent in the world, and it’s all for sale. Cheap.

While I can spend a countless number of hours to learn something new, it’s not always worth it. Yeah, it’s cool and nice to know it all, but do I really need it? Unless it is something that I use a lot, like php or css or javascript, etc., I don’t think I need it simply because I may not ever use it again. Besides, it may be better to focus on a few skills and perfect them instead being mediocre in everything. Sometimes I even outsource what I can do myself fairly quickly.

So, back to being a programmer… I wanted to be one… I became one… I started to do my own websites… I needed to design them… Was it time for me to learn photoshop/illustrator? Even though I did learn quite a bit about design and do some myself, it is something that can be easily outsourced as well.

Looking back into one of my first big project – I spent 3 months developing and working on it every day after work and on weekends. I spent almost no time with my wife, kids, family, friends… I would have done it differently if I was to go back…

Now lets take a look at one of my later projects. It took 3 month for my programmer to develop it and about 1 day for me to write a specification document and make a mock up. It took me another day to test it and to make him fix remaining issues. One more day to fix the text/messages/notifications since he wasn’t fluent in English. That was it. Meanwhile, I had a lot more time to focus on something more important, spend more time with my wife, kids, family and friends, get a little exercise here and there, etc. The whole project cost me $500 and it is as perfect to my standards as it can get.

Now when I look back into my first project – it would have cost me only $500 to get my weekends and evenings back. Is it worth it? Definitely. I have put around 150 hours a month into that project. 500/(3 x 150) = $1.11 an hour. That’s how much I saved working on it myself. If I would have worked at lets say McDonalds all this time, I would have made at least $3,000 more, enough for 6 more projects of the same size. :)

Of course there are issues with outsourcing. There are a ton of claimed programmers/designers who should not even be allowed to touch a keyboard. There are a ton of barriers for working with people you never met like trust. However, I believe that there are way more benefits than risks and most of the issues can be avoided if you do it right.

That is it for introduction. Keep checking and I will guide you through the complete project cycle through outsourcing within the next few posts, from specification document to launching your new website.

You will make money online, not sure how much

Filed under: Online Income — rasim
coins

coins

Making money online is easy. Making a living by making enough money online is hard.

About 4 years ago I worked in a software company. I had a few sites based on free scripts and made some extra money from them. I wasn’t holding it in a secret and one of my co-workers asked me how to get started. Took me about an hour to set him up with hosting, adsense and free directory based on phpld script. I even showed him all my traffic sources and told him that he WILL make money online (just like most gurus selling ebooks :-P ). Well, he did. $5 the first month while his directory was PR0. I had a PR4 one back then and it made $300 or so a month. I also showed him what the landing pages and simple 2-3 page sites were. That’s when he started to dive in SEO, affiliate marketing and do his own thing. A few weeks down the road he showed me his new ugly ass site built around clickbank product. I laughed at first, but 2 weeks later it was pulling couple hundred bucks a week and he sold it a month later for 5K. Back then things were different, it was a lot easier to SEO a site, however, I was really surprised how quickly this guy picked it up. He put some time into learning + trying and it payed off.

A few months later another coworker (lets call him Hacker J) asked me how to make money. I did EXACTLY the same thing for him. Got hosting, set him up with adsense, showed my traffic sources and set up a directory. He took his directory more seriously, looked through the sites, made sure they were all quality, etc, spending several hours a day to go through about 300+ listings and verify the quality ones. While he made the same $5, he spent a ton of time reviewing his submissions. A month later he decided to stop. The reason, as he said, was that he was not in India where $5 may get you by.

3 years has passed. I still talk to my friends. It happened that Hacker J got laid off and asked me how to make money again. This time instead of explaining everything, I shared a few blogs with him. After a few days of learning, he asked what kind of sites should he make. Even though directories lost it’s peak, I still advised him to start with those as he already knew how to get 300+ visitors a day. Except this time he learned his lesson.

He is a programmer, so automation is not something he is not familiar with. He learned to automate creating these directories and bought over 800 of $0.79 .info domains (aff link). I checked with him today, 37 directories are up. He made around $5 yesterday and about the same today from his 37 sites. This time he spent some time writing the scripts to automate 99% of approval process and still keep the quality of the directories by adding a spam checking algorithm. He still has a long way to go, but according to his plans, 800 directories should make him $100 a day, while they are pr0. Not sure if it will be more, but I get around $100/mo from 12 older ones that I still have. As a matter of fact he may even get lucky and sell it as a network for 20K+ ($25 each is reasonable). However, his business model seems to work so far. It should take 8 days to pay for the domains once he has all the sites up. This may also be a good bottom layer of his new site network.

Based on this real life example I can see how:

1) One person gets it easy while another one fails based on exactly the same material.

2) A person fails but succeeds down the road trying to do the same thing from a different perspective.

3) People waste time trying to build something they can call a quality product rather than collect a quick buck while they can. I don’t think it matters much anymore. phpld directory is a phpld directory, not going to make dmoz out of it.

Learn to automate as much as you can. If automation is not an option, learn to outsource. If you do it right, it may be even cheaper that automation. Perhaps I will talk about outsourcing in my next post or a series of posts. Not sure when, still super busy working on my new house…

As for now, you can read this post and forget about it or do something to get started. ;)

Privacy issues

Filed under: General Web — rasim

There are a lot of news about facebook privacy lately, from f8 “like” feature to their apps/chat bugs. We can see these reports from google’s employees who explain how to delete facebook profile (may be they have their own reasons, but it is still true). Seems like everybody wants to ignore your privacy as much as possible, and the truth is that nothing is really private. As a matter of fact, I have been ignoring privacy policies myself and always assume that nothing is really private. In ad driven world many companies still use private data to target users in a better way.

Anyway, it applies to forums, instant messengers, email, even phones to some extent. May be I am a bit paranoid, but I just treat everything with the feeling that someone may be watching. Just be careful saying things that you wouldn’t say in public no matter where it is. :)

As for important conversations, I prefer in person meetings over any other. If it’s not feasible, phone and skype are my best options. I still do im for the issues that don’t matter much. :) Whenever you have something important to talk about, just choose the source wisely.

Here is a good old school song for you

Sort multidimensional array in php

Filed under: Web Development — rasim

Haven’t wrote anything here for a while, been really busy lately plus I just got a house, so I have way more work than I can handle. I’ve been reading a bit on SEO and started to put some things into action by starting to build my mini network. While building a few new sites, I started to create content using separate databases and php multidimensional arrays worked great for what I needed. The only problem is sorting multidimensional array as needed. :)

So at the end I came up with an array like this:


$profile[0]['user'] = 'a user';
$profile[0]['name'] = 'user a name';
$profile[1]['user'] = 'c user';
$profile[1]['name'] = 'user c name';
$profile[2]['user'] = 'c user';
$profile[2]['name'] = 'c name';

etc…

Here is the function that sorts this array:

//sort multidimensional array
function sort_multi($arr, $arr_key) {
  //loop through array
  foreach($arr as $key_1=>$val_1) {
    //new array with the $arr_key element's value that needs to be sorted
    $temp_arr[$key_1] = $val_1[$arr_key];
  }
  //Sort array while maintaining index association
  asort($temp_arr);
  //put back into multidimensional array
  foreach($temp_arr as $key_2=>$val_2) {
    $final_arr[] = $arr[$key_2];
  }
  return $final_arr;
}

Now I can sort by user:


$sorted_by_user = sort_multi($profile, "user");

or by name:


$sorted_by_name = sort_multi($profile, "name");

You can use arsort() inside the function to sort the array in reverse order if needed.

Generally I avoid using more complex operations with multidimensional arrays and do it on the database level if possible as it is easier and can be more efficient especially if there are millions of records.

Pagerank update should be coming up

Filed under: SEO & SEM — rasim

Update: Pagerank update happened just a few hours after I finished writing this post on April 03, 2010. This blog shows pr2 now with some pr1-pr2 pages. The next one should be in the first days of July…

Last pagerank update happened in December 31, 2009 – January 1, 2010, which means there should be another pagerank update this month, hopefully by mid-April. For those who believe that pagerank is irrelevant, here is a good recent article – Matt Cutts’ Comments on Crawling & Indexation. It certainly doesn’t mean as much as it used to, but it is still a big part of the algorithm. :)

I haven’t posted for a while, mostly because I’ve been pretty busy with a few new projects and SEO experiments. It is pretty cool what a keyword rich domain name, a dedicated server plus a few relevant links can do for ranking. I was even able to hit #1 position for a simple 1 page landing page.

I am thinking about getting my own colocated server soon and close four hosting accounts that I have now. It will be just a little more than what I pay right now for all four, I’ll probably end up picking something like quad xeon with 8-16gb of ram from ebay. It should be waaay faster than all servers that I have now put together. I believe fast and reliable server will help the rankings even more.

Affiliate.com gift card

Filed under: Affiliate Marketing — rasim

affiliate.com starbucks card
I have not tried affiliate.com yet because I always thought that they specialize in email campaigns since Scott Richter is the CEO. However, after having an email conversation with them I will be signing up as they  seem to have quite a few interesting offers. I have been really busy lately and hope to set some time aside for the weekend, hopefully enough to make at least a couple of landing pages just to check out their best converting offers.

As you may know, I made a post earlier about cool shirts that they sent me. Well, today I received a starbucks gift card in the mail from them and this card would probably last me a year. :)

It was completely unexpected and I just want to thank affiliate.com for the gift.

I also heard a lot of good things about the network from top affiliate marketers before and the company definitely has a great reputation. I am going to sign up and probably have another update within a few months once I test things out. Meanwhile, you can do the same here – www.affiliate.com.

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