Front and Back-End Developer/Designer to build and maintain a bespoke community based e-learning website within a niche market.
This position is for London Based Developers Only!
A little about the situation
Hi, my name is Julian and I'm looking for someone willing to invest their sweat equity and become an equal partner in this business start-up.
I appreciate the challenges that working for sweat present, and I am under no illusions as to how many layers there are to this project, so I am reasonably flexible with scheduling, and if push came to shove, I may consider paying a retainer to the right person. But I'd then retract the 50% ownership I'm otherwise willing to offer.
I also appreciate that these kind of requests are a dime a dozen, so I have done my best to provide you with as much verifiable information as possible.
A little about the project
This is a definitive interactive learning program, set within a private community where members have access to a number of unique features and functions through a private and secure user interface arranged by icons, including a course access / progress bar.
The e-course, is a step by step, 'how to' program consisting of 9 key modules & comprising of a number of theoretical and practical assignments, which members complete successively before having free access to all sections. Thus allowing them to tailor a program specific to their needs.
The entire program has been designed to get people involved as much as possible within their own lives, as well as within the community in both a challenging and mutually supportive way.
I believe it successfully does this, not just through a variety of thought provoking assignments engaging tools which directly address the problem at hand, but also through a series of work related incentive schemes offering rewards ranging from significant cash prizes to free memberships.
A little about the business model
As with most e-courses, once they have been created, minimal up-keep is required outside of general site maintenance and business admin. Any support roles such as moderators, or marketing specialists for example, will come from within the community, or outsourced.
This sector lacks serious competition, so there is room for a lot of growth. All main competitors barely fill the first Search Engine Results Page (SERP) for the majority of keyword phrases. The remaining links are predominantly long standing newspaper articles, dead blogs and links to unrelated forums which have a thread relating to a keyword.
More importantly, what help there is for people fails to address the actual everyday needs of those seeking assistance, whether it's failing to motivate people in truly engaging ways, or simply provide an all inclusive, structured, easy to follow solution to their problem.
In short, their products lack invention, provide no 'added-value', or effectiveness. In fact, most cases simply offer the visitor an abstract, one dimensional pdf download for people to work on in solitude.
The pricing policy will be set at a very affordable annual membership set in the region of £69- £89. However, members will also be able to increase their tenure by up to a further 6 months at no extra cost if certain features are activated, or work related targets are met.
This signing on fee substantially undercuts all main commercial competitors who charge as much as £400 for a years subscription.
Build it and will they come? - Competitor traffic analysis
Monthly Unique Visitor numbers for the top 7 competitors since 2010 has averaged between a low of 6500, to a high of 12,500. However, I have witnessed unique lows of 500 and a unique high of 80,000.
It's also important to stress that these figures are only based on English speaking web traffic generated in the United States. As a rule of thumb, one should double these figures to include all English speaking traffic.
In addition to this, there is also huge potential when targeting specific geographic locations, which although is unquantifiable at this stage, some professionals in the world of Gobal SEO believe localised strategies could increase traffic volume by up to 18% in each location.
If they come will they buy? - Conversion rates
Although many factors determine a sites ability to successfully convert traffic into sales. The Marketing Sherpa 2012 Website Optimization Benchmark Report, found that websites in this sector on average convert 8% of traffic into sales.
However, because of the nature of this sectors poor supply to high demand ratio, and that this is a unique specialised service which helps to solve a serious problem, along with presenting users with unparalleled offers and rewards, I believes the site has the potential to convert above 15%.
Marketing / SEO
Because of the uncompetitive nature of SERPs in this sector, it's reasonable to argue that establishing page one ranking wouldn't take as long, or cost as much, as it would in sectors with more contested keyword phrases.
I believe it could take as little as 3 – 4 months to organically rank above the fold on page 1 with a focussed and aggressive marketing campaign, which is already in place.
In addition to this, there will be a modest Adwords campaign which will also generate an immediate return on investment (ROI),
Risk/Opportunity and ROI
Nothing in business is without risk. However, even when calculating the lowest ratio of figures above, it's clear there is great potential in this venture.
Furthermore, the problems which this program addresses are very real, and as one leading academic in the field believes, “effects up to 22 million people in North America alone”. Globally this could be tenfold. This is a real problem and there is clearly a market for this service.
You will be a company Director and Co-founder receiving a wage, shares, dividends and benefits.
About your requirements
You'll be responsible for everything to do with IT from; technological performance and data security; to site development and expansion and everything that lies between that.
You will also need to be able to create and be proficient in:
Cross-browser, cross platform pages
Use Open source, HTML, (HTML 5), PHP, MYSQL, CMS
Have an understanding of the internet, SEO & possibly Schema Markup (and if not then up for learning about it).
Microsoft / Open Office word/excel
Create an Automated league table
Timed released locks
And more that I am not willing to share just now
You should also:
Have a good understanding of colors and sizing things up
Have a willingness and ability to work closely throughout the design and build process
Be a reliable and respectable time keeper, open-minded and willing to put in the hours when it really matters
Have some understanding of what it takes to run your own business (helpful)
Last but definitely not least, you should be progressively minded and an innovator of sorts. Someone who is always looking to improve upon and expand systems. If you're looking to sit back and just wait for instructions, then this is definitely not the role for you.
A little about design, features, functions and usability
I am into minimalism and pretty clear about the design. I also have excellent working examples and mock-ups for you to work from.
All aspects of the site are extremely simple and easy to use bar one feature which will need a bit of programming.
A little about me
I'm someone who's worked directly on all aspects of this project for the past 4 years. I've also had first hand experience in this field for nearly thirty years. During this time I've learned much about this growing, yet still little understood area, who it effects, the way it effects people and most importantly how to navigate it.
I consider myself reasonably internet savvy. I enjoy the SEO side of being a web-master and am very confident about my knowledge of competitors within this field.
I've always worked for myself, and in my previous lives, before and after completing an anthropology degree, I've run a high end Painting and Decorating firm, a fashion shop overseas, and until a few years ago, project managed home refurbishments before focussing on this project full-time and volunteering as a decorating instructor.
Need a room decorated? Maybe we can work something out there too?
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. Just don't ask me what this is about. That will put me right off you. I've had people try and scam me in the past, and it's boring. I've risked giving a lot information to draw your attention, so if you're interested you'll need to bring something to the table before signing a non-disclosure agreement and providing me with 3 solid forms of I.D. And proof of address such as; passport, driving license, tenancy agreement, utility bills with your name on them, copy of mortgage papers etc. etc. If you can't do any of this, then please do not waist either of our time.
Get in touch and send me some links to your work
Think about your own understanding/vision of what I've just spoken about so that we can explore things together when we meet.
With regards to questions you will surely have, please write them down and send them to me well before we meet, so I can make the right preparations for you.
Please also tell me something about yourself.
I'm afraid I will not conduct meetings over Skype or the phone, until after we have gotten to know each other in person and all legally binding agreements have been signed.