rant – Meta Baeldung http://meta.baeldung.com Marketing experiences growing Baeldung Fri, 15 Mar 2019 16:08:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.1.1 The Costs of Running a Blog http://meta.baeldung.com/the-costs-of-running-a-blog http://meta.baeldung.com/the-costs-of-running-a-blog#comments Thu, 11 Jun 2015 13:44:37 +0000 http://meta.baeldung.com/?p=462 I’ve been taking stock of the paid recurring services I use to run Baeldung. It’s a good idea to keep an eye on these things, otherwise they run the risk of getting out of hand.

So, with a goal of transparency – here’s what the costs of running the blog are on a month-by-month basis.

Hosting

Baeldung is hosted over on Websynthesis, using their Professional plan, which runs at 97$ / month.

Images and any other static files are hosted by MaxCDN, where I’m using their 100GB, 9$ / month plan.

And of course, I’m using Pingdom to know when the site goes down. I’m on their Starter plan, which is 15$ / month.

So, overall, hosting and keeping the site up and running on autopilot works up to about 121$ / month.

Marketing and Email

Marketing is an interesting category to look at – email being of course the largest expense.

First, the email list is managed over on Aweber, and the service costs 19$ for the base fee and $50 for the subscribers, totaling 69$ / month.

This is for under 10.000 subscribers. As you as you go over the 10K (which for Baeldung is going to happen this week) – you jump over to 130$ / month, which would total 149$ / month.

Because of this jump, I’m moving to Drip this month. That’s 149$ as well, but in terms of features, there’s really no comparison.

Now, because Aweber on its own can’t do email automation for jack, I’m using Aweber Pro Tools to integrate with Aweber and do that right; the service is 29$ / month.

Moving on from email, I’m making good use of Leadpages on their Standard plan, at 37$ / month. They run a fantastic product over there.

To sum up, the email and marketing overall cost is 215$ / month.

Developers, VAs

Running a site isn’t just about content. Things go down. Things break. Things need to be improved. Things need to be managed and researched.

To that end, I work with a WordPress developer on a monthly ongoing basis, to do some of the custom stuff on the site and occasionally fix things. It’s a small, recurring contract at 100$ / month.

I also work with a VA to free me up and do the more administrative tasks – which usually is 50-100$ / month (depending on how much work there is).

They’re using Tahometer to track their work, on their Small plan, running at 12$ / month.

So, overall, this category sits somewhere at about 187$ / month.

Totals and Conclusion

Finally, adding everything together, the total monthly cost of running Baeldung is 523$ / month. I’m sure I skipped over some small service or other, and there are of course a lot of one-time expenses, but this looks about right.

Hopefully that will give you some insight into the costs of running a site.

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Giving a Talk – Lessons Learned Along The Way http://meta.baeldung.com/public-speaking-lessons-learned http://meta.baeldung.com/public-speaking-lessons-learned#respond Wed, 20 May 2015 10:31:26 +0000 http://meta.baeldung.com/?p=438 1. Overview

Public speaking can certainly be daunting. It can also be a great learning experience and a lot of fun.

I gave my first international talk last month at Spring IO in Barcelona and learned quite a bit by preparing for the event. Here are some of the steps that helped me be confident in my content and my delivery, when giving a talk.

2. The Slides

You have two simple options when it comes to the design of your presentation – you can go with a clean, simple design or you can have a professional designer do it.

My suggestion – especially if you’re just starting out – is to pick a simple stock template and move on. Overall, the design of the presentation is a lot less important than you might think.

If you do chose to go with a designer, you need to keep two things in mind.

First – aim to have the full design finished at least 1 month before you have to deliver your talk – design projects take more time than you originally think, much like software.

And second, as a reference point, having a 30-40 slide presentation designed (well) will cost you about 300$ or more. You might think that I can go to – your designer friend/brother/Odesk and pay less – but, speaking from experience, that’s almost always a mistake.

3. Speaker Notes

The first time I wrote the speaker notes for my presentation, they came out long and conversational – as if I was reading them word for word on stage. But after several trial runs of the talk, I started to see how these weren’t worth a damn when moving around.

No – speaker notes should be list-style and short – enough to remind you of the main points of the slide and get you back on track after a quick glance.

4. Preparation and Trial Runs

With the speaking notes dialed in, you need to start practicing and honing your delivery.

The first thing I learned through practicing was to do full passes through the entire presentation.

A practice run doesn’t mean starting from slide 15 and taking a coffee break on slide 30 – it means a full pass. Piecing things together has it’s use but ultimately you want to get familiar with what it means to actually delivery your talk start to finish. Out loud.

Next – I found that the transitions between slides are the hardest but also the most impactful – get these right and the talk will flow. So one type of practice is only do the transitions; skip the content – just go from one slide to the other and run through your transitions to make sure there’s a natural progression to them.

Another nuance of the preparation process is movement – don’t practice sitting down in front of your computer. If you’ll be moving on stage when you give the talk, so move around your room when you’re practicing. That introduces a lot more constraint in the process and it will naturally shape both your delivery but also the content of the presentation. Constraints are good.

5. Story Time

I was on stage hitting my points and going through my talk – when my speaker notes died out! The slides were up and perfectly fine on the main screen, but the speaker notes on my laptop were just gone.

I was on slide 7 out of 55.

I did briefly consider fumbling around to re-start them, but that would have messed up the flow of the entire talk. On video. Luckily I was reasonably confident that I can deliver the talk without them – and so I did.

Do a few runs without looking at your speaker notes. Don’t rely on having these available during the event – they might not be.

6. Webinars

Trial runs are a useful tool, but nothing can replace the real thing. Delivering your talk to an actual audience is the best thing you can do to prepare – and webinars are a great way to do that.

I did 3 webinars in preparation for my Spring IO talk – and looking back I see that I learned the most by doing these. I saw exactly where the talk wasn’t moving naturally, where I was taking things for granted, where people had questions or concerns. I also saw where my timing was off – the first webinar took me an hour and a half for what should have been a 50 minute talk.

I learned what worked and what didn’t, and integrated what I learned back into the talk each time.

7. Conclusion

Conferences are a fun and useful experience, and the best way to get the most out of one is to be a speaker.

Hopefully my notes here will come in handy if you’re preparing for an upcoming talk or just thinking about it.

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Creating an Infoproduct – Case Study http://meta.baeldung.com/creating-an-infoproduct-case-study http://meta.baeldung.com/creating-an-infoproduct-case-study#respond Sat, 01 Mar 2014 23:25:06 +0000 http://meta.baeldung.com/?p=158 The Idea

I started this second blog to chronicle my work and the experiments I am running on my main blog. And, for the last six months, I have been doing just that – I documented in detail how I grew my email list from 3 new subscribers/month to around 500. The focus was the email list – and partly, it still is (stay tuned for my next experiment on that – as the data is looking to be very promising).

Now – I want to tackle another challenge – and that’s going to be launching an infoproduct – a Video Course to be exact. I have already created one last year with Packt Publishing – and the grueling 6 month process resulted in my Spring Security Video Course.

The Spring Security Video Course

It was quite the learning experience to go through this process – from building the actual code (that was the easy part), going over each section with colleagues to make sure someone else can pick up and understand all the concepts that I was introducing, all the way to scripting and slowly recording the material. I’m not quite happy with the first few sections of that course – by the time I reached section 8 I had learned so much that I wanted to re-do sections 1 through 3 (I did manage to re-do small parts, but not completely).

Now, having done all that, I’m planning to do it again – this time for myself. So – the plan is simple – go live with one or two Video Courses in 2014.

The obvious question is – what should the course be about? It’s not that I’m in need of ideas – just the opposite – to many options look good right – at least on paper. My blog is mostly focused on Java, Spring, Spring Security, Persistence and a host of other technologies. And in the last few years, I’ve been working with Machine Learning algorithms – mainly Recommendation Systems, Classifiers, clustering logic and the like – so that’s a topic near and dear to me as well.

Hence – the plan.

The Plan

The plan is simple – instead of me choosing what this course will be about – I’ll let my readers pick the subject. Or rather, I’ll pick based on the data, and the data is email signups (I haven’t forgotten email).

What I’ll do is put up a landing page with 6 course ideas – and then an individual page for each one. People will sign up for the courses they like and ignore the rest – and the first one that gets to 250 signups – that’s the one I’ll build (first).

See? Simple.

The Execution

I’m in the process of building the individual landing pages for each course myself (I’m using leadpages), and I’m working with a designer for the main landing page. All of these will live on a subdomain of my main blog (like this site does) – products.baeldung.com (I’ll update this article with links to these as soon as I have them up and running).

The Conclusion

This is the first in what’s going to be a series of articles documenting the entire process of creating and launching the video courses. The next steps will cover:

  • Creating the product pages with leadpages
  • Driving traffic to the product pages from baeldung
  • A/B tests on baeldung – test out different ways to link to the product pages
  • Setting up Analytics and tracking how each traffic source converts
  • Traffic Sources – Paid Traffic?
  • Running A/B tests on the individual product pages
  • Keeping the email lists warm
  • Getting to 250 signups
  • Probably a lot more

The next few months are going to be exciting.

If you read this far, you should follow me on G+:

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Opening Up http://meta.baeldung.com/opening-up http://meta.baeldung.com/opening-up#comments Fri, 13 Sep 2013 14:30:47 +0000 http://meta.baeldung.com/?p=7 I have decided to open up the stats for my technical blog, along with most other things that may help someone learn to improve their own website.

The plan is simple – I’m going to publish:

  • Traffic Numbers monthly
  • Earning Reports monthly (when there’s something to report)
  • A/B Test Results every two weeks
  • Tutorials on the tools I’m using

I am a strong believer in the core principles of open source – and I see no reason that shouldn’t also apply to the platform I’m using to share what I learn – my blog.

Another reason to publish was the fact that I could find almost no technical blogs sharing this kind of information – most of the publications that have an open and transparent attitude towards traffic and income and publish regular reports are not in the technical space.

So here goes:

Hope it’s going to be as interesting to read as it is fun to write.

If you read this far, you should follow me on G+:

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