Please tell us something about yourself and your educational background?
Hi, I’m Akshat Choudhary, founder of BlogVault, Migrate Guru and MalCare. 8 years ago, when I was working as an engineer with a large software company, I religiously followed Jeff Atwood’s extremely popular blog. You may have heard of Atwood, he founded Stack Overflow. One day, his blog went down and it made me think of how important it is to have a good backup service in place. Soon after, I started developing BlogVault – a WordPress backup plugin, as a side project that was supposed to last only a few weeks.
Fast-forward to 2018, besides BlogVault, we now have two more plugins – Migrate Guru and MalCare. Migrate Guru is a completely free one-click Migration plugin and it’s our biggest contribution to the WordPress community. And we recently launched MalCare – an complete WordPress security solution to an overwhelming success.
Your 2 products Blogvault and Malcare are new but doing well, how you plan to fight the tough wordpress plugins market?
We are actually celebrating BlogVault’s 8th year in 2018. MalCare is our newest product. Earlier this year we launched MalCare on AppSumo to an overwhelming response. It became the only WordPress security plugin to have sold out completely.
I believe a good product speaks for itself. When I built BlogVault I had no marketing knowledge. Early adopters of BlogVault were impressed by our backup service and informed their friends and clients about us. By word of mouth, BlogVault grew its user base to over 20,000 customers spread across 150 countries. And I feel we are just getting started.
What are some of the challenges you faced while starting Blogvault & malcare ?
We have been very lucky with our products for sure. WordPress is a growing ecosystem with a clear need for products such as ours. At the same time there have been many challenges too.
We are in a very competitive space. There are very popular products in the market with tremendous mindshare and also which are being given away for free. In such a situation, even if we have a better (at least I would like to believe) product, it is not easy to stand out. We have many features differentiating our products, such as an integrated staging environment, but communicating this is a challenge.
What kind of SEO techniques you are using for these products to rank high on competitive terms like “Wordpress Backup Plugins” ?
Many WordPress related keywords have many sharks with very strong SEO background. On top of it, you are competing with wordpress.org content which has insane reputation. In spite of this, we have seen many folks being able to rise up on search results, with some very high quality articles. We are investing in a similar approach. Further we are fixing our on-site SEO which I think still needs considerable work.
How did you promote your products among the marketers like me? What promotion strategies you applied to your business to make it more visible in online marketing.
We feel marketing is about caring about the people with whom we do business with. The way we see it, building relationships whether it’s with customers or marketers like yourself is crucial. We do online advertisement, take initiatives to raise brand awareness, and build relationships. One tactic that I’d been using since the launch of my first product is attending conferences like WordCamp. Another important step we took was to partner with some of the best web hosting companies in the world like CloudWays, WPEngine, Pantheon, and FlyWheel. This helped immensely in increasing awareness of our product and bring in more customers.
How the idea of entrepreneurship came in into your mind. Did your family support you for this?
I guess, I have been an entrepreneur through my life. I have dabbled in different kinds of businesses, with limited success though, even when I was a teenager. There was a sense of conservatism from my family but overall they have been a pillar of strength.
Have you faced any fears of becoming an entrepreneur, what kind of challenged you faced in beginning?
I am risk averse, so quitting my job and going full-time took a lot of effort. I had significant revenues by the time I quit my job, so it became an easier decision. Hiring was a big challenge early on. Being bootstrapped with limited resources, in a non-shiny niche made hiring difficult.
How Can you Turn Price-Sensitive Shoppers Into Customers?
Customers are always looking for value. Everyone wants to get their money’s worth. You definitely hence need to build products which solve a real problem, but at same time you need not try and compete with free. There are many users, especially in our ecosystem, who are looking for free plugins and themes. The market is very large and there are many customers who want quality products and will pay for this. We recommend focusing on these customers.
Have you received any funding for your products, did you approach any investors to fund you ? Are you spending lot of money (e.g., PPC, paid advertising, etc) to make your product more visible?
We are completely bootstrapped and have never really considered funding. We have grown mostly organically though are dabbling more on advertising of late.
What email management tool should you using on your products sites to capture visitors emails ?
We use Thrive Leads but we haven’t really focused on collecting emails as of yet. It is something we will be taking up in the future.
What are the Secrets of Affiliate Marketing You Have Learn and are you associated with any kind of affiliate Marketing Stuffs.
We do wish that we were more savvy when it comes to Affiliate Marketing. In our market, a large number of products, are sold through affiliates, and a great skill to have.
I will recommend “Positioning” by Al Ries & Jack Trout. It is essential reading if you are building a product.
I hope you enjoy this interview with the talented Akshat Chaudhary . If you have any questions about this interview, please do ask in the comments below !