Launching a new startup no longer guarantees a hockey stick exponential growth with the Silicon Valley mentality.
It was possible to achieve unicorn status at the early 2010 quickly with the right minimum viable products, to the likes of Instagram, Whatsapp & Snap, benefitted from the smartphone revolution.
However, many low hanging fruits have been picked, therefore, new app ideas should be more thoughtful with respect to business models, marketing & funding. Institutional investors are a lot more difficult to raise money which means founders should prepare as much runway as possible to achieve find a product/market fit.
Pulsely does not recommend a single market focus for any web app ideas. It is perfectly alright to launch in a small geographic idea to fine tune the marketing strategy with a small audience, but, the website and app should be preparing for a multi-lingual audience in mind from the get-go.
And above all, do expect and executive for a 5-year execution cycle instead for a short exit.
Pulsely does not condone a single app-based strategy for a new startup.
It mostly has to do with the extra steps converting new customers from eyeballs to actions.
At the acquisition phase, offering a website with “guest mode” to preview contents allow users to stay and linger longer, right after clicking at the ads or referral links.
In contrast, getting users to click links then triggering up the AppStore downloads could be problematic, ranging from forgotten passwords to apps fatigue. Expect most users to onboard from the website, but do build a solid mobile app registration flow, nonetheless.
Multi-lingual is a requirement with any websites and apps. Do take advantage with browser headers to give preferential localized contents for websites. Whereas use the native iOS and Android settings for apps equivalent.
Different languages can now be mixed and matched using microservice architectures: different service endpoints can be written in languages best suited for a given job, with data passed asynchronously or via a push-pull architecture with queue processing.
There should not be any computing language preferences for building webstack at this day and age.
Pulsely does recommend modern dynamic language stacks for backends, e.g. Python, Node.js though it is perfectly fine for less in vogue stacks e.g. PHP and .Net provided the team is very proficient.
Instead, deliver landing pages in classic URL based hierarchy, which will allow your site to be ranked higher.
Most teams tend to use Vue.js or React stacks to build portal pages for best user interaction experiences. As a rule of thumb, Vue.js would be best suited for contents that need to be ramped up quickly, whereas React is more suited to larger teams with more resources spared to build rigid components.
Make sure every web resources is kept in modern source control system. Git based setups can be integrated nicely with Github Enterprise or the AWS CodeCommit. Both of them can be integrated securely with fleets of servers called directly from AWS with IAM role, lowering the risk of source code being compromised by insecure credentials. Also setup a proper Continuous Integration and Delivery Pipeline with Ansible, Jenkins or AWS Codepipeline for fast deployment.
Everything should be hosted on Amazon Web Services, as the rest of the cloud providers are being outpaced by AWS in a wide margin. Web stacks that need to be accessed in China, should have a separated cloud hosting strategy, which will be discussed at part VI below.
Two particular technology choices should be made carefully: User sign-up and Realtime two-way communications with server & client.
User sign-up can be built with your own implementation or utilize commercial offerings such as the AWS Cognito or the Auth0 services. User sign-up is hard so leveraging commercial offerings could accelerate development time significantly, however:
Therefore, review the user signup strategy carefully but, in any case, make sure the team can implement JWT tokens to account for mobile apps sign-ins, along with the regular web-based login, too.
The success of the webstack is mostly hinged on the marketing and the growth hack efforts.
Pulsely has worked previously with many companies, building apps that were carefully crafted but ultimately failed at acquiring market audiences. The only way to launch successfully is to allocate enough budget for multiple marketing channels, with a crack marketing team and media plan:
It is imperative that the paid marketing efforts should not be outsourced to another firm. You have to be in control with the marketing campaigns and marketing groups daily, adjusting bids and strategies to rank high in the impression shares.
Most third party paid marketing firms do not necessary align your marketing goals to theirs, or they simply do not necessarily have the patience to fully understand your keyword needs.
Your startup must be cash-flow positive to survive. Consider the following revenue options:
Fail fast and re-iterate things quickly. Most web and mobile apps should be commenced into production in less than 3-month period, with prototype ready in 2 weeks.
It is important to ship a minimum viable product out in a reasonably fast time, for a constant feedback loop at making the product better and better.
Do not confuse the fast-initial development time with a 5-year execution plan, however. It takes a lot of effort and dedications to complete a meaningful and thoughtful product.
Hiring-wise, the development team should fit the “two-pizza rule”. Too many chefs do not necessary cook faster in the kitchen. There would be more overheads.
And again, try to follow an established System Development Life Cycle (SDLC) if possible. Things will be running a tight schedule. Paid attention to the following.
Value the first thing that matters. That should go to the Search feature.
The search feature of the current crop of job websites could need improvements. Most are ranked by a simple keyword search.
Relevancy of job results could be organized and ranked by similar words, cross pollinated inside each industry.
Presentation of the search function are mostly tables in the current form. But instead, a multi-level collection view could give a better and more delightful experiences?
Think about the things people love and care? Privacy? Would implement a proxy phone service work? Would running a webrtc conference service ideal for your given market, improving the first interview?
Designing could mean several things: the architecture of the infrastructure, the layout of the user interfaces, the flow of the on-board registration and the design of the two-sided market interactions.
Responsiveness of the web portal should use the typical responsive utilities available with common css Bootstrap 4.x+ frameworks, that works with sm, lg & xl respectively, that shorthand for different screen sizes. iOS based apps should just utilize the Storyboard with UISplitView design patterns which will work with iPadOS based devices, too.
The two best index search engines are ElasticSearch and Xapien.The actual Search implementation should be carefully considered with the right implementation. For server-side search, a fleet of ElasticSearch clusters could do well whereas mobile clients can synchronize job listings for on-device search via the lightweight Xapien engine.
Implementation of a privacy proxy allowing candidates and employers to talk without revealing phone numbers, can be implemented for Twilio or AWS Connect, which allows a direct pstn call to any phone numbers. A pure webrtc based implementation could be implemented with a signaling server, side-stepping the need of extra infrastructure. Calls are billed by minutes.
Active job matching capability allows new jobs and candidates to be matched in the background. Algorithms that matches job and points can be made against popularity. Some randomness should be programmed.
This section summaries quickly the different functional modules that are responsible for the operation of the webstack.
Each module follows a classic Model-View-Controller (MVC) pattern, which render data to a display on a web/mobile client, with respect to logic written with pre-defined algorithms at the controller.
The user module defines the data structures of both employers and candidates.
Should be allowed to sign-in via e-mail registration or a combination of OAuth2 sign-ins via Facebook, Gmail, LinkedIn or Microsoft Account. Do not choose more than 2 combinations of OAuth2 sign-ins as people could get confused very easily. iOS 13 clients can choose Sign in with Apple available in fall 2019.
Should be allowed to sign-in via e-mail registration primarily. It is very unlikely that an employer does not have their own e-mail address.
Jobs are posted from employers in their own tables. The job module intercepts incoming jobs and insert, update and delete the jobs tokenized into the ElasticSearch/Xapien search module, for quick search.
Background jobs are run periodically to give recommendations both of the web/mobile clients, as well as, periodic e-mails.
Search Module are essential for candidates to search queries, that has to be fast and relevant. Web/mobile clients also list jobs separated by industries, popularities, education levels, etc. that are best enumerated via both regular SQL database & ElasticSearch.
Trends can be interpolated.
This module is essential for candidates to manage their job applications, upload their resumé as well as checking the internal correspondences with prospective employers.
A simple websocket chat is available for real-time chat with employers.
Media rich voice and video call with webrtc is also available as a paid option.
This module, short named to CMS, is responsible for publishing static contents that are available in multiple languages across the website. Deep links can be generated to the mobile clients optionally.
The page contents can be both public and available to the members exclusively. Rich media with Images and Videos can be secured via the AWS S3’s Query String Request Authentication .
Blogs and learning materials should be published to here consistently to maximize the SEO results.
The Intranet module is the internal module for the staff access to the administrative functions and tools.
Staff can manage the User, Jobs with simple list and search views with sorting based on several criteria.
Reports can be generated, ranging from user uptakes to conversion funnel rates from online media channels.
Payments can be viewed, and refunds can be triggered here as well.
Information with the webstack can no longer be stored in a single server in the cloud age. Pulsely recommends this three persistence storage options for starter:
Expansion with future NoSQL or key-value based datastores such as AWS DynamoDB is definitely possible.
China’s network is especially challenging as it is walled off the global Internet via the Great China Firewall. Every DNS could be subjected to redirections and blockades.
Contents that are hosted outside of the China Network could be throttled, especially those using encrypted VPN, SSH and some extends, SSL as well. Therefore, building an infrastructure in China is essential for a faster China browsing experience. There are some China based cloud providers:
Operating with these Chinese cloud providers will definitely need a legal Chinese company entity. Each entity will require the right kind of operation permit specifically required to different industry.
The China network infrastructure could be monitored in the name of security. Therefore, do expect all the network resources operated with the concept of adversary cloud. Follow a simple rule: Encryption at rest, encryption at transit .
A lengthy Chinese ICP licensing will then be required as every website in China must have a permit issued by the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. A typical Chinese ICP licensing process requires a lead time of 3 weeks to 2 months. Detail stakeholder information will be required to be revealed to the authorities and personal visits to the local ICP office is mandatory. The Chinese cloud providers will assist you in the process in a limited way.
Chinese user contents are required to be stored in Chinese cloud storage. Failure to do so will incur significant legal risks.
Data exchanges with the global web stack can be done across secured AWS endpoints with holes punched via Security Groups.
This white paper is by no means a complete guide to a glorious success of your dreamt online property.
Building a successful business requires grits & years of dedications. Pulsely hopes that this guide could lead you to explore more perspectives, to see things more differently .
Pulsely Limited has built this Job Hunting Webstack implementation that is based on the Django framework with complete end-to-end support service available. Please contact your Pulsely account executive or contact us at https://pulsely.com/consulting/contact/
Do not throw money blindlessly into different online channels, without proper evaluations with the effectiveness to your target audiences
Keyword Search and Display Ads are available for your target audiences. Best options for proactive customers.
Bumper 6 seconds video ads and sponsored videos are effective way to build your brand awareness.
Target ads and sponsored posts for target demographics for constant stickiness.
Best platform for hip and younger generations promoting your new products and services.
Effectively the only way for your brands to market in China.