Preparing your website for your first TV appearance
UTS startup Kindershare, a peer-to-peer network facilitating the rental of baby equipment, was recently featured on an episode of A Current Affair focusing on the sharing economy. Founder Vanouhi Nazarian, shares her learnings on preparing her website for the deluge of traffic that followed Kindershare's first TV appearance.
I can't think of the last time I watched free to air TV live. I'm not a sports fan, and use Netflix and Catchup TV to watch the few shows that I am interested in. Many of my younger friends don't own a TV so I think advertising or promoting through TV makes no sense at all.
Add to that the timing of A Current Affair - right in the middle of parent's bed/bath routine and logically, the answer should have been no.
But, my ego couldn't resist, and so I said yes.
What did I do to prepare?
I'm a huge fan of the Minimum Viable Product - our website's base architecture is best described as 'developing' - we have had a functional product from day one, but I hadn't bothered ensuring our website was scaleable or optimised as there were always other things that were more important to concentrate on.
A quick look through the Oztam Ratings data showed around 850,000 people watched A Current Affair across Australia each night - panic set in! Was our website going to even cope with this?
A quick test using Load Impact gave us ten x 404s in a three minute test with 50 concurrent users - clearly our website was going to crash if even 1/1000th of the audience typed us into their phone while watching TV.
We're in the middle of an upgrade, so we wouldn't be able to change scripts on our home page and push it out without crashing the rest of our site. Our hands were tied with less than five days between when we were first notified and the potential air date.
How to prioritise what to do
After reading about 50 blog articles on how to prepare for surge traffic, we landed at the following action plan with the help of our Chief Technology Officer and offshore development team:
Install a Content Delivery Network (CDN) - the speed improvements on our site were immense through this one step alone!
Turn off all non-priority scripts running through GTM
Upsize web servers and remote desktop servers - we relied heavily on the support we got from Amazon Web Services and had some budget to play with given we were still using the credits through the Springboard SBE program.
Set up a 404 redirect - having a customised 404 page always looks better.
Set up a new landing page, which new visitors would reach through a GTM-enabled pop-up.
Have your emails to new users amended and ready to go.
back now money for Jam how you can make
hundreds even thousands of dollars a
month renting out stuff you'd probably
never thought about we live in great
times to make a buck in the last
opportunities exist now that word around
just a few years ago only a little bit
of extra money at the same time which is
great they call it the shared economy
over a year it's a bit over three and a
half grand online transactions that
connect buyers and sellers
we've all heard or used uber or Airbnb
but now there's so many more business
ideas coming out nearly every week that
all of us could jump onto this lucrative
money spinner and supplement our income
tonight we follow four different groups
renting their wares or services and see
how much they make and perhaps what you
could make in a month
oh and save the world what a great way
not to throw more dump into this world
what a great way to recycle things that
we do have and give it to someone else
and give it new life and make money out
of it hazel had so much baby gear from
her first born and it was going to be a
while until number two she decided to
rent it in between buds Wow see you're
making a profit
I am yeah definitely collecting dust in
the garage the cot cost one hundred
dollars but she's renting it for twenty
dollars a week so it's a paid for itself
it has paid for itself and now I'm
earning a profit likewise the pram
it's a rocker so it's really good for
newborn babies and she's collecting
fifty dollars a month on the snazzy
rocker which has also paid itself off
for a small Commission the online
company kinder share covers her
insurance marketing and bookings
and it's found Avenue EDA's Arion says
it works for both the owner and renter
oh it really helps them with space but
also helps with money as well I mean you
don't want to drop five hundred dollars
on something that you're only going to
use for two weeks
speaking of space Ellen had a garage he
wasn't using then he heard about spacer
took a few photos of it set my rates at
the location and then literally within a
week had someone moving in here spacer
puts owners and renters of garages car
ports or spare rooms in contact with
each other for a small cut as they fully
cover me with insurance if there's any
issues on the rents are not paying me on
time they step in will tell you how much
he makes in a moment but I'm using it
myself to help to find for a few trips
with the missus Paul and Cynthia loved
dogs so babysitting them and getting
paid for it was a double bonus even the
locals know we've Tama got a new dog
that's another one today
that's no one this week kennels can cost
up to $100 a night for owners but these
to get around $30 a night from the
online company mad paws visit mad paws
but it's constant with walkies feeding
and playing it's fun it's fun
Susanna has had some fun days with all
her dresses but her better ones she's
only wearing once or twice a year so
he's top cost three hundred and fifty
dollars and I've got it rented for $65
for four days I've probably hired her at
about five times so it's almost paid
itself off with the online business the
vault her designer clothes that cost
between three hundred dollars and twelve
hundred dollars of working for her
rather than her working to buy them
distress he is quite popular for wedding
1500 Aussies are now using this service
which also covers her insurance and
dry-cleaning it's profitable time using
the vault would be
spring racing first you the fact because
it's nicer weather and there's more
events on and people are having weddings
so last month
how much did our savvy for make out of
the gear or space they weren't using for
the services they loved giving paisa
learned $200 for stuff that would have
been in the garage susana raked in 500
bucks but she had plenty of walks to the
post box to send off dresses and to the
dry cleaners Alan got $300 and he didn't
have to lift a finger for a month except
for the first time when he lifted ten of
them to open the door and Cynthia and
Paul made over a grand pick up a hell of
a lot of you know what turn your car
into a billboard rattly will wrap it and
give you up to $600 a month the
advertising has you do your normal days
driving and when you're not using your
caravan camper home or trailer camp
Liffe I will rent it out for you with
some owners reporting they're earning
$40,000 a year on something that would
be sitting in the front yard
but there are implications yes money
magazine editor F is our hottest part of
your new earn money may also belong to
you must declare this as income you've
got to work out am i enterprise do I
have to pay GST these are things you
need to consider and have I put it into
my tax statements as well because
believe me even if you have it the 80
know exactly knows exactly what you are
earning but that's not all them on the
good side there's a lot of deductions
you could possibly be up for as well and
remember these new online businesses are
as much for customers as they are for
owners or service providers why buy an
expensive tool for those once a year
there's tool mates hire hire from
someone in your suburb get a group of
friends and rent from get my boat
pretend you're rich like the guy who
owns it and do the same and have a
five-star treatment not a plane
that's early and if you thought about
Airbnb but didn't want the hassles now
there's a sorted pool manager and
cleaner there's a whole new world of
money-making opportunities on the web
out there so I find the vault a great
way of any a little bit of extra money
without doing much work but keep in mind
even if it's a car space capital gains
tax may be applicable so it's always a
balancing thing you're gonna make some
money but you got to pay some money out
there's more on that story on our
So was it worth it?
Yes - watching Google Analytics during the four time zones was like watching a GIF - consistent spinning of numbers - it was beautiful to watch. Our architecture held too.
We had a month's worth of traffic to the site in an hour, about a month's worth of sign-ups and, most-importantly - over 20% of those converted less than 48 hours later. And best of all, mum finally got to understand what it was I did all day!
Top tips for other MVP startups
Install your CDN today - sign up to the free level and configure it properly. When you have a surge event you can upgrade to a paid plan, but most of the fiddly stuff is already done for you.
Test and test again - we managed to break one of our DKIM email settings when moving across to Cloudflare and for two days our customers were unable to click through any transaction emails.
Install GTM on your site so you can quickly install / uninstall plugins with minimal coding / testing.
Check your invoices - our retargeting was suspended because my credit card had maxed out - I realised about 30 mins before air time. A quick reset on a backup credit card and we were all okay!
University of Technology Sydney is sparking the next generation of entrepreneurs. Find out more at startups.uts.edu.au.