Rick van Haasteren
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Rick started SiteGuru in 2018. They detail the beginnings of their company in their Starter Story interview: 
Q: How did you get started on SiteGuru?
I’ve been working on side projects for as long as I can remember. I’ve built an online HTML course, a travel blog, and many other things - some successes, mostly failures. Although I think failure isn’t the right word. I wasn’t always able to capture a big audience or make it profitable, but I always had fun and learned tons of new things.
One of the things I built is a wine webshop that specializes in South-African wines. I run it together with my wife. I can tell you, starting a business together is a great way to test your relationship. The webshop is doing great, and an extra benefit is that we always have plenty of good wines if we feel like opening a bottle.
During my day job as a project manager at an internet agency, we would launch new websites every few weeks. I noticed that with every launch, there would be a couple of small issues that affected the website’s performance in search engines. A missing meta description, a few big images making the site really slow, or a no-index tag that was missed. Ough!
I wanted to create a checklist in Excel that our developers could use to make sure they didn’t miss anything. The problem with those checklists is that, well, nobody actually uses them. Instead, I created a tool that checks the homepage and listed the issues. All you had to do is enter the URL and you’d get the results.
> If I would have known how hard it would be to build an SEO tool, I probably never would have started.
I loved the idea of building this into a full-blown website audit tool, but I knew it would be a lot of work. To validate the idea, I took a few weeks to build a minimum viable product. Then, I set up Smartlook, a screen recording tool, and I would spend $10 on Google Ads every day to drive some traffic to the website. Each day, I would get about 10 visitors and I watched their recordings. It was clear that people liked it, but I also saw what wasn’t working, and how I could improve it. It’s a super cheap way to test your product, and it’s almost as good as sitting next to your customers and see them use your product.
I still have my day job and spend time in evenings and weekends building the product.