Building in Public February 15, 2021

Tiiny Host hits $500 MRR 🎉

rabbitsfoot8

It's been a while since I've posted anything but I am proud to say that tiiny.host is finally in the $500+ MRR club!

I launched Tiiny over 14 months ago but it's only been in the past 4 months that I've seen real, organic growth. This is attributed to SEO work implemented over 9 months ago (yes, SEO takes that long!).

The journey to this point has definitely been slow & gruelling to say the least but I am very glad that I didn't give up on it too soon.

What's the most surprising thing? I've realised that my original hypothesis for why Tiiny Host should exist was correct - there really are customers out there that just want a really simple tool to quickly host html content.

We actually also hit the 10,000+ sites uploaded milestone recently too!

This was something I was unsure about for at least 9 months into the journey as I considered adding advanced features or turning it into website builder but I restrained myself from adding more code (more so because I was lazy 😂). It turns out that I really just needed to find the right marketing channels for the product I already built.

It's definitely not been easy to work on Tiiny Host through these difficult times. I've often lacked the drive to invest the same amount of energy as pre-covid times, even though I have more time on my hands(you're not alone if you feel the same). However, that's the beauty of a side/indie project. You're allowed to work on it at your own pace.

Lessons learned:

  • Your first few sales are always more satisfying than the rest
  • Be lazy, build less and market more
  • Don't be phased by the growth rate of other projects, focus on your own
  • Trust yourself more

Onwards to making more mistakes, more lessons and the $1k MRR mark!

Big shout outs to @charlierward (founder of the awesome weekendclub community), @consultily (amazing marketing consultant), @sabba (founder of veed.io & believing in tiiny.host) & all of the Indie London community! Couldn't have done it without you 🙏

  1. 5

    Hugely well deserved Elston, I'm convinced Tiiny Host is going to Mars 🚀

  2. 4

    Congrats on this win!

    It turns out that I really just needed to find the right marketing channels for the product I already built.

    Did you find these marketing channels by trial and error? If someone else would be in the same boat, how would you recommend finding the right marketing channels?

    1. 4

      Thanks @ruudniew!

      Definitely trial and error! At the beginning it's all about sprinkling your marketing seeds all over the place, discovering what's actually sending you traffic and then doubling down on that.

      Note that SEO efforts take months to really show so do this early and leave it to bake.

      Things I've tried:

      • YouTube Videos
      • Sponsored YouTube Videos
      • Reddit
      • Slack communities
      • Product Hunt launches
      • Blog posts
      • Lifetime deals
      • Startup directory listings
      • Linking with tutorials for related products
      • Building in public

      The above didn't go to waste, they definitely send traffic but one or two of them will generate 80% of the traffic.

      It's different for every product/service but worth getting ideas from others.

      1. 1

        Really insightful! So what would you say are the top 3 main channels you are constantly promoting at nowadays?

  3. 3

    Congrats! 🎉

    One note about your landing page: the counter for projects uploaded counts up way too slowly and it's really distracting for me, you should make the animation complete in 1-2 seconds max.

    1. 4

      This was also the first thing I noticed when landing on the page - i just stared at it for a good 5 seconds until it was complete! Worth speeding up I think.

  4. 2

    That's fantastic, well done 👏

  5. 2

    Congrats on the new milestone! Well deserved after putting so much work into the product. Question: have you contemplated raising your prices or introducing more expensive plans? I assume it's a bit tricky to get that MRR up with a $12/m plan.

    Regarding SEO, you are completely right, it takes time to build up and I actually start seeing organic growth on my project as well. The blog posts I've been writing for a few months are bringing a lot of impressions now and the chart is going up and up 📈 Hope to get some MRR from that soon.

    All the best and hope to see the $1k update soon!

    1. 1

      Thank you! Yep you're right we definitely need to raise prices to level up. We'll be introducing a $20 plan with a couple of most requested features.

      That's great you're seeing returns on the blog posts! Keep writing!

  6. 2

    Congrats on making it this far and sticking through it while the SEO did it's thing in the background! What sort of resources did you find helpful for making your SEO stick?

      1. 1

        Thank you, this looks helpful!

  7. 2

    This is super cool, but I'm surprised that there was a need for this.
    "there really are customers out there that just want a really simple tool to quickly host html content."
    Why couldn't those people just use netlify?
    Or do they use yours because they don't know about netlify?

  8. 2

    What a clever and simple idea! Can you share some of the tech stack you’re using for front and backend? I did see that it’s on AWS.

  9. 2

    congrats!! this is so cool.

  10. 2

    Congrats @rabbitsfoot8! I love this insight -- Be lazy, build less and market more. As a technical person, it's always fun to build; but this may actually help make the business successful sooner.

  11. 2

    Great progress. How's your user retention?

    1. 1

      Thanks man! Currently seeing ~15% subscription churn.

  12. 2

    Congrats on the milestone! 👏 Time to update it in the profile too. ✨ $40 -> $500

    Indie makers keep mentioning SEO as the main growth driver.

    What was the core of your SEO strategy?

    1. 2

      Thank you! Haha yeah I good point, that's out of date.

      SEO is often considered that mysterious channel but I think theres are simple strategies that can be very effective.

      For tiiny it was creating dedicated landing pages for specific phrases and tasks that users were searching for. I researched phrases with UberSuggest.com looking for terms with low key word difficulties and good average monthly traffic.

      Veed.io have written about it here: https://www.veed.io/blog/startup-growth-no-budget/

      1. 2

        Thanks a lot for the tips. 🙏

  13. 2

    Hey @rabbitsfoot8.

    https://minwiz.com/ would be perfect promotion for your host.

    1. 1

      This is really cool and could fit well. Are you part of it?

      1. 2

        Indeed, it's my project.

  14. 2

    Amazing! What a great product, idea and execution

  15. 2

    Awesome ! Congratulation 🎉
    One day I too will hit $500MRR 💪 (but first I need to hit the $1MRR ^^)

    1. 2

      You will! Hang on there! Your first sale will feel amazing!

  16. 2

    @rabbitsfoot8 - congratulations! I'm curious to know how are you handling subdomains and domain mapping ( for pro accounts ). Would really appreciate some guidance. I'm really stuck with configuring my web-server for my multi-tenant application.

    1. 2

      I was wondering the same thing :-)
      Thanks for sharing your insights @rabbitsfoot8 , really neat site!

    2. 1

      Thank you! We're hosted on AWS so make use of the CloudFront + NGINX on an EC2. Are you using an NGINX server for routing? It's very powerful, you can easily set up Virtual Hosts to route any traffic to S3 or CloudFront hosting.

      Look up "NGINX Virtual Hosts"

      (@danielv)

      1. 1

        Thanks for the details!

      2. 1

        Yes, its NGINX. I have setup wildcard subdomain certificate from letsencrypt. But not sure how to get certificate for mapped domain. I am wondering if I should use Caddyserver for this.

        1. 1

          Not sure you need that. I'd just add an v host entry for each custom domain on nginx and have your customer verify their domain using letsencrypt & open-ssl. You can specify an SSL certificate for each host.

          1. 1

            ...just to understand this- does your nginx configuration file have all the entries for individual virtual blocks? Do you use any automated process for it or do it with hand?

            1. 1

              Yep it has each custom domain.

              I would start of manually doing it and focus on getting customers who would pay for that but then you can automate it using a node service which write to the nginx conf file and then runs a sudo service nginx reload command.

              We automate that now, have to.

  17. 2

    Hey congrats! I can't wait to say the same myself.

    Are you willing to share which articles were getting a lot of SEO traffic? Because I saw your blog and it looks like you're writing articles in niches with websites with high DA and content in those areas.

    1. 1

      Thanks man, you'll get there!

      Our landing pages have proven more powerful than blog articles actually. If you just Google 'Host html file' you'll spot us and see our highest traffic routes.

  18. 2

    Awesome job on the milestone! And what a cool idea!

    1. 1

      Thanks for your kind words 🙏

  19. 2

    However, that's beauty of a side/indie project. You're allowed to work on it at your own pace.

    Amen to that.

  20. 2

    Congratulations, Elston! We're getting there week by week :) Let's see how this year goes now, it's only the start!

  21. 2

    Congratulations on the milestone and all your learnings along the way!

    1. 1

      Thank you! Hope it helps you too!

Recommended Posts