Tag Archive | traffic

Two Year Anniversary – Stop Crying

New Years 2014 Fire Works

The Spark n Launch Team celebrate with some backyard fireworks…

According to WordPress we just celebrated our two year anniversary – two years since we registered this account. Since our first blog post we have published over 100 articles and written another 100 draft posts. The site attracts traffic from around the world and continues to increase it’s readership. Thanks to all our loyal followers!

Unfortunately most of the traffic is spam bots, and the quality & frequency of our posts has diminished. Nevertheless we will try and keep up the web presence. If you’re interested in guest blogging or want some links shared, get in touch. Drop us a comment and share some love!

For those looking for some inspiration, check out some of our published posts below. Got a favourite post – tweet it!

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In The Beginning:
Hello world! *
Starting a Blog – Don’t expect any Shakespeare
Working for the “Man” (Draft)

WordPress Links:
About
Social
Glossary *****
Tools
Table of Content (TOC) *****

Startups – Lists:
The Top 100 UK Startups (2010)
The Top 100 UK Startups Revealed (2012) *****
The Top 100 UK Startups Revealed (25-50) *****

Startups – People:
Fabrice Grinda – Musings of a Serial Entrepreneur
Jason Calacanis talks to Alex Tew of Calm.com
The Bootstrap Challenge – Walking the Talk

Startups – Stories:
Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories *****
14 Year Old Girl: "Stop making excuses, make something awesome”
Startup Myths – I shall not be fooled again by gurus *****
Samsung's Pivot From Dried Fish to Smartphones
Lessons Learned – Be Your Own Boss *****

Startups – Lean:
The History of Lean Startup by Steve Blank *****
Startup Is Not The Same As A New Start Business
Building a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) in One Day
The Apprentice – Lean Startup Builds Minimum Viable Product in Two Days?
Building Your Minimum ‘Minimum Viable Product’ (MVP)

Startups – Weekends:
Startup Weekend: What to expect? How to prepare?
Startup Weekend: What to Expect?
Startup Weekend: How to prepare? (Day 0) *****
Startup Weekend: Lessons Learned in 54 Hours (Day 1) (Draft)
Startup Weekend: Lessons Learned in 54 Hours (Day 2) (Draft)
Startup Weekend: Lessons Learned in 54 Hours (Day 3) (Draft)

Entrepreneur:
The Year of The Entrepreneur – It’s YOU again

Business Ideas / Business Planning:
How to go from Idea Guy to Execution Guy? ****
Evaluate Your Business Idea – Evaluating your spark
Business Plans – "When you fail to plan, you plan to fail" (includes business plan template)
Starting Up – 9 Business Selection Criteria
Another Way To Plan – The Business Model v Business Plan *****
Step 1 – Where to Begin
How To Get Traction? Or Why Is My Startup Broken? *****
Thinking of Starting a Startup? 8 Sentiments To Think About ****

Customer Development:
Ghetto Testing the Viability of an Idea
A Smart Bear – Jason Cohen on Startups *****

People / Management:
Why Being a Deal Maker Matters To Your Team

Social Media / Blogging:
Twitter – Tweeting to your #audience
The Problem with Twitter – Social Disconnection by Stealth ****
Blogging: How Do You Promote Your Blog Posts? *****
Blogging: How To Get New Traffic To Old Blog Posts? *****
Blogging: Is Blogging Dead?

Social Media – Experiments:
Project Trout – Social Media Experiment #1
Project Trout – Social Media Experiment Update
Project Trout – Social Media Experiment Update #2
Project Trout – Social Media Experiment Update #3
Technorati – Does the verification process work?
Technorati – Does the verification process work? (Yes it does!)
Social Media Experiment – Twitter, Google+ and now Facebook
Social Media Experiment – How we made it onto the BBC!

Brand / Marketing:
Picking a name – The importance of brand
Affiliate Marketing 101
Lessons Learned From 10,000 Page Views ****
Online Advertising Experiment with Google AdWords
Happy V Day – Seasonal Opportunities
The Zoo Project – A Fantastic Marketing Opportunity
Product Functionality Often Trumps Beauty

Traffic / SEO:
How do you get on the Frontpage of Hacker News? (4 Links in 1 Day) ****
Lessons Learned From A Hacker News Traffic Spike ****

Design:
Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS) – Ugly Websites That Went Viral ****

Toolkit:
Helpful Startup Tools for Entrepreneurs – Q&As
Helpful Startup Tools for Entrepreneurs
Creating Your Very Best Startup Business Logo ****
Podcasts – Hearing and Learning From Others
Top Startup Podcasts – Learning From Listening
Weekly Digest #1 – How We Stumbled Upon Top Biz Resources
Weekly Digest #2 – More Golden Resources for Startup Entreprenuers
New Startup Lingo – More Buzzwords
The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #2
The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo
The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
Need Startup Advice? – Just Ask Online

Funding:
Crowdsurfing: Alternatives to Kickstarter
Kickstarter: Ouya raises $1million in 8 hours and 22 minutes ***
Ouya Breaks Crowdfunding Record – Exceeds Target By Millions
Startup Funding: I’m 15 With An Amazing Product Idea
Kickstarter Crowdfunding Now Available In Europe
Raising Money (Draft)
Working Full Time and Bootstrapping Your Business Startup (Draft)

Web:
Web Stats – Who is top of the league table? ***

Rants / Musings:
Why is everything broken? (Draft)
Getting Real – It’s a project, not a startup (Draft)
Web Two is awesome – Web 2.0 changes our surfing experience
The Public Image of Business People (Footballers versus Bankers)
To Code or Not To Code

Messages:
100 Posts – Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained
Be the First to Like Us on Facebook
Who Are We? About Us Page Updated in FAQ Format
Project Mackerel – Calling all Beta Testers
Project Mackerel – Calling all Beta Testers (Follow Up)
Blog Milestone – Lessons Learned From 50 Blog Posts
New Month, New Look – What Do You Think?
Blog Milestone – 30th Post – What it means? (Mostly nothing)
Project Mackerel – Please Sir… Complete our quick survey?
Upcoming Posts – Please Vote
Project Mackerel – Sneek Peek of Prototype

Weird / Unclassified:
It’s a numbers game – 11/11/11 @ 11:11:11
Happy New Years – Bring on 2012!
Random Generated Startup – Life gets easier (again)
Get hired with the help of your friend, Mark Zuckerberg?
The London Olympics 2012 (In Infographics)
Technology – Is a black pixel on or off? ****
Leap Year – 3 interesting facts about 29 February
April Fools Day – Some of Our Favourites
Friday 13th – 3 interesting facts
How the $16bn Facebook IPO looks like in cash (Image) **

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You might also enjoy:
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ Samsung’s Pivot From Dried Fish to Smartphones
+ The Bootstrap Challenge – Walking the Talk

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

This Site Gets More Hits than You

Cute Cute Little Cat

Cute Cute Little Cat

Reddit, the supposed frontpage of the Internet drags in a massive amount of traffic. It records, approximately:

+ 15 million unique visits per month
+ 50 – 100 thousand unique visits per hour
+ 150 million pageviews by month
+ 100 – 250 thousand pageviews by month
+ 5 million pageviews by day
+ 8 thousand subscriptions by day

It’s ranked 27th in the US and 69th in the world by Alexa!

The numbers are amazing and explains why Reddit has become such a popular place for visitors, including spammers. While the community is quite harsh on spam, there are various places where you can advertise legitimately. A successful post could drive millions of visitors to your site. Scary!

So next time you see a cute cat picture. It is likely it originated from Reddit! *meow*

Image Credit: Desktop HD Wallpapers

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You might also enjoy:
+ Kickstarter: Ouya raises $1million in 8 hours and 22 minutes
+ Ouya Breaks Crowdfunding Record – Exceeds Target By Millions
+ Startup Weekend: What to expect? How to prepare?
+ Samsung’s Pivot From Dried Fish to Smartphones
+ Project Trout – Social Media Experiment Update #3

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

Analysis – Kickstarter Crowdfunding Now Available in Europe

Good News for Crowd Funding and Startup Financing

In November 2012 we published an article titled “Kickstarter Crowdfunding Now Available in Europe“. The post described Kickstarter, the well known crowd funding platform, entering the UK market.

In October 2012 Kickstarter opened it’s doors to projects in the UK. This was a remarkable event as at the time, as crowd funding was just coming into the forefront for entrepreneurs to gain financing (in the shadows of a depressed economy). This was fantastic news Kickstarter is available to projects in the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Something Strange

The strange part was that this one post has attracted the highest volume of traffic, almost 5,000 views since it was published. And we don’t know why?!

The bulk of site visitors are from the US, then way back are UK visitors.

On keywords, it does seem that the combination of “kickstarter” and “europe” are popular:

kickstarter europe (434)
kickstarter in europe (53)
kickstarter for europe (5)
european kickstarter (15)
kickstarter from europe (13)
kick starter europe (12)
kickstarter europe alternative (12)

One thought may be that very few articles write about Kickstarter in Europe. Rather they write about “Kickstarter in the UK”. Hence our post has scored a high Google page rank and we can maintain this traffic (for now).

SEO

We guess we will leave this for the SEO experts to analyse. For now, thanks for visiting our site!

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You might also enjoy:
+ Kickstarter: Ouya raises $1million in 8 hours and 22 minutes
+ Ouya Breaks Crowdfunding Record – Exceeds Target By Millions
+ Startup Weekend: What to expect? How to prepare?
+ Samsung’s Pivot From Dried Fish to Smartphones
+ Project Trout – Social Media Experiment Update #3

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

100 Posts – Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

one_hundred_blog_posts_blogging_100

100 Posts – Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

This message marks our 100th post. It has taken over 12 months to publish 100 posts. It’s been a tough and interesting journey in the blogosphere…

Lessons Learned

What have we learned? Blogging is hard work!

+ Writing is hard
+ Building interest is hard
+ Gaining focus is hard
+ Avoiding distractions is hard
+ Getting traffic is hard
+ Getting meaningful traffic is even harder
+ Choosing what tools, platforms and techniques to use is difficult
+ Maintaining momentum is hard

In summary, if you want to start blogging – make sure you write about something that interests you and focus on the writing.

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You might also enjoy:
+ Happy New Years – Bring on 2012!
+ April Fools Day – Some of Our Favourites
+ Friday 13th – 3 interesting facts
+ It’s a numbers game – 11/11/11 @ 11:11:11

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

Blogging: How To Get New Traffic To Old Blog Posts?

How To Get New Traffic To Old Blog Posts

Blog Promotion

A recent Quora question asked How do you promote old blog posts?

Often a new post gains a high spike in interest when first posted. This is commonly due to promotion on social media and general timeliness of the content. After time, this attention drops off. Good posts should not be forgotten and can still be used to drive traffic.

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Old But Not Forgotten

The following 10 tips may help you attract attention to your older blog posts.

1) Remember the footer: Add a footer on all new posts to older (relevant) posts. The “You might also enjoy reading this” WordPress widget can do this automatically.

2) Add links: Add a menu bar or column that includes links to older/archived articles. This includes using sitemaps, archives and tag clouds.

3) Use categories: Ensure posts have tags and categories.

4) References: Reference older posts in new posts. For example: Back in 2010 I wrote about XYZ…

5) Create a series: Many older posts can easily gel together with newer ones.

6) Updates: Add updates to older posts. A simple “Updated (Date)” with a couple of words at the top of an older post may bring attract visitors.

7) Advertise: Share older post links on other social media site you use. In forums and community sites members may ask for advice that your older blog posts can answer.

8) Avoid Repetition: Avoid reposting older posts verbatim. This may damage your search engine rankings.

9) Analytics: Study your analytics. Discover how your visitors land on your blog and exploit these “doorways”. Remember that not all visitors will first land on your index/front page.

10) Other mediums: Utilise other communication methods to promote older posts. If you have a regular email newsletter, consider adding links to older posts in these messages.

Did these work for you? Have you got some suggestions? Leave us a comment!

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You might also enjoy:
+ Our Table of Contents
+ Blogging: How Do You Promote Your Blog Posts?
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ Startup Myths – I shall not be fooled again by gurus
+ Startup Weekend: How to prepare? (Day 0)

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

The Problem with Twitter – Social Disconnection by Stealth

tl;dr Twenty new Twitter followers in a week but a fall in our net position. Should social media sites allow users to end connections by stealth? Is Twitter the new watering hole for scammers and opportunists?

Introduction

Before we begin, we need to make it clear we like Twitter. It has created a simple tool to connect millions of people. It has built a diverse network that has changed the way many of us communicate and opened up new possibilities for others. Various recent uprisings around the world have demonstrated the strength of mass electronic communication.

However one of our biggest gripes with Twitter is the following functionality, or more so the unfollowing functionality. We frequently receive follow email notifications telling us we have gained new followers. This is great however in the past few months we have lost our trust in these notifications.

This week we received approximately 20 new follower notifications. Awesome, new followers to interact with. In reality our net position fell. Many of these followers are no longer following us. Twitter is not alone here.

Why? What is going on here? Is being unable to break a social media connection by stealth a good thing?

Reasons for Breaking Up (Intentional or Unintentional)

Not all break ups may be intentional. However it feels like too many are trying to lure us in for a unbalanced relationship.

+ Spammers: Social media sites have been plagued by spam and dummy accounts looking to leverage large networks of followers. Twitter appears to be more aggressively pursuing such accounts and deactivating accounts as they appear. Therefore many new followers are likely very soon to become dormant.

+ Tools: With the increase of social media options, various tools have been made available to manage your accounts. Algorithms help you follow and unfollow other users, tailoring your network to your interests. The problem is that a button click may radically modify your network. In one click you start following 100 people, then in the next click you have mistakenly unfollowed the same 100 users.

+ Ratio: The desire may be for users looking to achieve the perfect ratio of “followers to followings”. They use a false connection request to lure in new followers, while unscrupulously maintaining a low following figure. This may have financial value for those looking to sell such accounts.

+ Mistake: Twitter makes it remarkably easy to follow/unfollow users (in error). It is not always clear that a single click on the “follow” button results in a follow.

+ Bugs: Users have reported problems with Twitter removing followers with their authorisation. Legitimate connections are being mysteriously broken.

+ Dislike: Obviously there will be cases where a user genuinely ends the relationship by intentionally unfollowing a user.

The combination of the above may be enough to explain the current high churn of new followers. Spammers have always remained in front of the curve. E-mail has got smarter and applications like Twitter are the next watering hole for ‘fake viagra peddlers’ and ‘Nigerian money scammers’.

Unfollowing in Stealth

The majority of social media sites alert you to when someone wants to make a new connection. However very few (if any) send you a notification of when that connection ends. This seems in contrast to the “making of a new connection” where there is complete transparency.

The current process:

1. Mike logs into account
2. Mike identifies Peter to connect with
3. Mike send a new connection request
3a. Sometimes Peter may need to authorise connection request
3b. Peter authorises connection
4. Mike notified of new connection
5. Mike breaks connection
6. No notification sent to Peter
7. Peter doesn’t know connection broken

Benefits of Stealth

It seems odd that the making of a connection are so open, however the closing of a connection are almost secret. What is the benefit to the network?

The clearest benefit seems to avoid social awkwardness for users. Generalising, the majority of humans wish to avoid conflict and by allowing discreet disconnection all parties can continue participating without the awkwardness. At least, until disconnected party realises they have been dumped.

From one angle it seems unreasonable to expect parties to authorise the break of the relationship. This may inadvertently increase the psychological barrier for creating new connections and reducing the effectiveness of the network. In contrast, many people are quick to rush into things even when implications are high (e.g. financial contracts with penalties for exiting). Attaching penalties on exit may not discourage users forming new connections.

Would building a social network based on full transparency mean a better community? Would penalising breaking connections be effective?

No Conclusions

There are various third party applications online to track your followers and unfollowers. It remains unknown if Twitter and others will enable this functionality within their own environments. For now we just need to accept that it is a better user experience to know about new connections…

Image Credit: Pluggio

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You might also enjoy:
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ Startup Myths – I shall not be fooled again by gurus
+ The Bootstrap Challenge – Walking the Talk

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

Online Advertising Experiment with Google AdWords

google adwords online advertising chart results seo

tl;dr By using a Google AdWords credit voucher we learned an obvious lesson – buying traffic is expensive and Internet marketing (web marketing) is a science. Paid adverts can help compliment an existing organic/SEO strategy.

The Experiment

In March 2012 Google kindly provided us with a credit voucher to test out Google Adwords. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to try out online advertising and potentially pull in some traffic to our blog (all for free!).

We spent £24.53 in 89 days to get 290 clicks (0.17%) and 166,800 impressions. However recent tweaking has yielded us 166 clicks (CTR 0.42%) in 13 days off £2.79 of spend.

If you are interested in traffic, you may want to read our 10,000 page view article.

The Evolution of Online Advertising

The web has radically evolved in the past decade. Web advertising has moved from irrelevant blinking banner adverts to well targeted text and multimedia adverts. Spam and advert blockers have made it harder for unsolicited or unscrupulous messages to reach us. Nevertheless the end user experience is still flooded by advertisers screaming for our attention. Getting the right message, to the right people is even tougher.

Google AdWords have developed a sophisticated advertising suite to tailor your adverts to the right keywords searches, websites and demographics. The available analytics is useful in identifying what works and what doesn’t.

Lessons Learned

Using a minimal daily budget (<$£0.50) we created and road tested 6 adverts. In summary we learned:

+ The number and type of keywords counts – Our early adverts were associated to less than 20 keywords. Once we increased the list to 100+ we noticed an instant increase in clicks and impressions.

+ The right type of traffic is important – Add keywords but ensure they are relevant to your site otherwise you risk bringing in the wrong visitors.

+ Our keywords – There is no clear winner when it comes the keywords we used. The following keywords sit at the top with a long tail for the remainder of keywords. (Group A = 5 clicks) home business, home business opportunities, business opportunities; (Group B = 20 clicks) start your own business, start a business, build a business (Group C = 67 clicks) startup, startups.

+ Paid advertising is expensive – Google AdWords is expensive and better alternative may exist. You may consider advertising in a industry/niche newsletter or online magazine rather than spending money on Google.

+ Paid traffic can help support your organic page rankings – Page ranking on Google can be ‘make or break’. Therefore paid traffic may help secure or boost your page ranking on Google.

+ Paid traffic can help with your sales funnel (if you have one) – If you are selling something, paying x for a visitor may well be worth the spend. You just need to make sure you can convert many of the visitors and you have some mechanisms to track conversions.

The Adverts and Results

Between March and September we set up a campaign with 6 adverts:

Ad Group #1:
Lean Startup Tips
Winning new business ideas!
Launch with success.
sparknlaunch.wordpress.com

Days active: 89
Clicks: 38
Impressions: 81,902
Click Through Rate (CTR): 0.05%
Average Cost Per Click (CPC): £0.18
Cost: £7.02
Average Position: 3.8

Ad Group #2:
Entrepreneur Startup Blog
Lessons in business startup.
Turn a business idea into reality.
sparknlaunch.wordpress.com

Days active: 89
Clicks: 7
Impressions: 22,666
Click Through Rate (CTR): 0.03%
Average Cost Per Click (CPC): £0.19
Cost: £1.35
Average Position: 3.8

Ad Group #3:
Business / Tech Startups
News and stories on startups.
Ideas for business startups.
sparknlaunch.wordpress.com

Days active: 89
Clicks: 1
Impressions: 481
Click Through Rate (CTR): 0.21%
Average Cost Per Click (CPC): £0.22
Cost: £0.22
Average Position: 5.7

Ad Group #4:
Want Startup Success?
Interested in lean startup, models?
We share our experiences.
sparknlaunch.wordpress.com

Days active: 77
Clicks: 77
Impressions: 21,637
Click Through Rate (CTR): 0.36%
Average Cost Per Click (CPC): £0.17
Cost: £12.80
Average Position: 5.5

**** Ad Group #5: ****
Want Business Success?
Winning new business ideas!
Launch with success.
sparknlaunch.wordpress.com

Days active: 13
Clicks: 166
Impressions: 39,946
Click Through Rate (CTR): 0.42%
Average Cost Per Click (CPC): £0.02
Cost: £2.79
Average Position: 2.4

Ad Group #6:
Startup Success Stories?
Learn from the best startups.
Tools podcasts videos ebooks.
sparknlaunch.wordpress.com

Days active: 89
Clicks: 1
Impressions: 179
Click Through Rate (CTR): 0.56%
Average Cost Per Click (CPC): £0.35
Cost: £0.35
Average Position: 6.5

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You might also enjoy:
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ Startup Myths – I shall not be fooled again by gurus
+ Startup Weekend: How to prepare? (Day 0)

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

Lessons Learned From 10,000 Page Views

tl;dr We looked back on our last 10,000 page views. We found: 1) Traffic spikes help, 2) Being unloved hurts, 3) Google search Rocks, 4) Social media sux, 5) Google images draws in questionable traffic, 6) Low click rates hurt, 7) Spam is out of control, 8) More bots than humans visit the site.

Introduction

There is the old adage of the past best is the best predictor of future. Some say we just have to look back in the past to forecast our likely future. With this in mind we decided to look back on our last 10,000 blog views (page views). Hopefully the future is going to be brighter than the past…

We took figures from our standard WordPress Dashboard. The numbers represent the count of “views” and are not unique. In most cases we have only provided a cut of the top figures rather than the full list (due to the very long tail of results).

Lessons Learned

The results are hardly impressive or surprising.

1. Traffic Spikes Help

The odd news spike from news aggregator sites managed to haul in a large amount of short term activity. Activity quickly diminished but spikes did keep post links alive in social media sites (eg Twitter, Facebook) and news readers (eg Google Reader).

2. Being Unloved Hurts

Articles that never had the fortune of gaining large attention remain unloved.

3. Google Search Rocks

While many preach the power of social media, the bulk of referral traffic has come from Google. Yahoo and Bing are well behind.

4. Social Media Sux

Our experience with social media is extremely poor. Hardly any activity turns into visits. A Facebook Like, a Twitter Tweet and Google +1 are meaningless in converting into visits.

5. The Power of (Google) Images

Oddly Google Images yield the bulk of Google traffic (636 of 921 Google Search Engine views). It is questionable the value of this traffic.

6. Low Click Rate

It is rare that a visitor clicks on any/many links. We are not worried about external links however concerned about the low internal click rate. We added a standard footer to all our posts a few months ago that has made some improvement.

7. Spam Is Out of Control

Traffic is on the decline but spam is out of control (increasing from 7 to 777 per month).

8. Too Many Spam Bots

The large amount of spam may well be automated (ie sent by a bot) rather than by a human.

Summary

It feels as web traffic is much like catching waves in the ocean. Catch a good wave and you can ride it into shore. Catch no wave and you’re left floundering with the (spam) sharks.

The numbers are posted below. Get in touch if you have anything to add.

Happy swimming!

The Numbers

Top 10 Posts

The following summarises the top 10 posts by number of post views.

Views / Post
3402 Startup Myths – I shall not be fooled again by gurus
1404 Home page / Archives
1314 How do you get on the Frontpage of Hacker News?
285 Glossary
240 Learning From Other Startups
234 KISS – Ugly Websites That Went Viral
212 The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #2
205 The Apprentice – Lean Startup Builds MVP?
204 The London Olympics 2012 (In Infographics)
190 How To Get Traction? Or Why Is My Startup Broken?

Comments:
- One Hacker News submission sent 2,958 visitors to our blog in one single day (Described here).

Top 10 Referrers

The following summarises the top 10 referrers by number of post views.

Views / Referrer
2988 Hacker News
921 Search Engines
462 hackful.com
358 Twitter
342 Google Reader
179 StumbleUpon
126 quora.com
101 Facebook
93 bbc.co.uk
63 WordPress Dashboard

(Note: Added 146 to hacker news for HN aggregators)

Comments:
- Community sites have helped draw majority of traffic.
- Popular posts often get captured by Google Reader and Twitter, growing interest for a short term period then quickly dying off.

Top 5 Search Engines

The following summarises the top 5 referrer search engines by number of post views.

Views / Search Engine
921 Google Search
636 Google Image Search
11 Ask.com
7 Bing
4 Yahoo Search

Comments:
- Large amount of traffic from image search. Bulk with Google.
- Using Adwords and Facebook however minimal spend.
- WordPress Dashboard may be self clicks.

Top 10 Countries

The following summarises the top 10 visitor countries by number of post views.

Views / Country
4308 United States
1572 United Kingdom
464 Canada
377 India
299 Germany
254 Australia
163 France
151 Brazil
131 Netherlands
118 Sweden

Comments:
- In total there have been visitors from over 106 countries.

Top Search Terms

The following summarises the top search terms by number of post views.

- startup glossary, startup dictionary, buzzwords, biz buzzwords
- minimum viable product, mvp, pivot
- business guru, business gurus, biz advice, startup advice, how to launch
- new startups, top uk startups, top 100 startups, best startups
- hackers, hacker news
- startup podcasts, startup tools
- startup funding, business finance, crowdfunding

Comments:
- Hundreds of variations however mainly focused on “startups” and “business”.

Top 10 Clicks

The following summarises the top 10 visitor clicks by number of post views.

Clicks / URL
167 quora.com
87 Hacker News
85 kickstarter.com
82 startups.co.uk
70 sparknlaunch.files.wordpress.com
39 techzinglive.com
26 bbc.co.uk
25 Twitter
23 Reddit

Internal:
67 sparknlaunch.files.wordpress.com/ (Images)
3 sparknlaunch.files.wordpress.com/ (Files)

Comments:
- Very low internal click rate.
- Bulk of clicks appear to be on images. May suggest users behaviour or other sites recycling images.
- Poor reflection on the ability of site to retain visitors.

Top Comments

The following summarises the number of comments.

Comments / Category
1590 spam
396 ham
2 missed spam
4 false positives
95 Comments

Comments:
- Spam is the unwanted commercial comments.
- Ham are legitimate comments.
- The high amount of spam comments hints that bulk of visitors to the blog are just spammers or spammer bots.

Comments Per Month

The following summarises the number of spam comments by month.

Comments / Month
7 Feb
36 Mar
101 Apr
172 May
160 Jun
541 Jul
777 Aug

Comments:
- Strangely traffic has gone down but spam comments have gone up.
- February caught 7 comments versus 777 in August!

Image Credit: VistaPrint

.

You might also enjoy:
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ Startup Myths – I shall not be fooled again by gurus
+ Startup Weekend: How to prepare? (Day 0)

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

How To Get Traction? Or Why Is My Startup Broken?

The Mystery of Achieving Exponential Growth

tl;dr This post looks at how startups gain their initial traction. By studying previous successful startups (like Quora, Mint, Airbnb, Twitter, Facebook, Groupon) we realise that clever mass marketing techniques; and targeting niche markets are the real reason many grew so quickly. Going viral is harder than it looks.

The Problem With Your Startup

You’ve thought of the great idea, conducted various forms of customer validation, recruited your technical co-founder, pivoted twice and finally launched your Minimal Viable Product (MVP). Awesome! You are on the verge of making the headlines and dollars. You and your co-founder stare at the web analytics screen waiting for lift off… Something must be broken. You check your Internet connection and click refresh. You ask yourselves why no one is visiting your site? Why is no one buying our product?

The common question of gaining initiation traction is challenging one. Challenging because it fundamentally questions your business model. Going live or launching is the ultimate validation test. Did we build the right thing? Does anyone want our product?

Marketers are quick to advise you to “improve your SEO”, “interact on key social media” or “buy adwords”. Consultants will tell you to “revisit your business model” or “redraw your lean canvas”. While you appreciate their helpfulness, this advice doesn’t always translate to your business case or doesn’t actually work in reality.

How To Get Traction?

When in doubt, look back in time. While not the most reliable tool (history), it may well help you make your next intelligent step forward. Or it just proves that the big names of today faced a similar uphill battle.

Quora has endless questions on gaining traction. Enough to justify the section titled: How Did X Get Traction? Here is a selection of some of our favourite initial traction startup stories.

1. How did Quora get its initial traction?

Adam D’Angelo (Quora Founder) puts it simply: “We invited our friends, and some of them invited their friends, etc.” However this was back in 2010 and the site has evolved dramatically since then. A common thread for many startups is encouraging content creation. Sites that can encourage users to create content retains existing users and attracts new users.

2. How did Mint get initial traction?

Mint insiders go into detail of how they built their user base. Apart from having a great brand that solved a real problem, they leveraged a strong PR and marketing strategy that reaped high quality traffic.

A sweet domain name also helps, but usually comes at a price. Mint supposedly paid $2 million for the four letter address.

3. How did Airbnb get initial traction?

Solve a problem with a crazy idea. In 2007 San Francisco hotels were booked out. The buddying entrepreneurs saw an opportunity to rent out their floor space by throwing an “air” mattress. The concept blew up.

Dave Gooden suggests a rather more sinister approach to gaining traction. He describes a sophisticated mailing campaign via Craiglist.

4. How did LinkedIn get its initial traction?

Lee Hower (LinkedIn Founding Team) boasts impressive growth in users. Within 12 months they claimed 500,000 users!

We are doubtful of good luck and timing however… some claim the uniqueness of their product at that time explained the success.

Others suggest clever news article placements in the Wall Street Journal and Forbes Magazine helped gain attention.

5. How did plentyoffish get its initial traction?

A decade ago dating websites became the ultimate place to find your next partner. Many competitors appeared but Plenty of Fish remained in top spot.

The reason behind this success is likely to be Markus Frind’s (founder) smart approach to SEO and Google AdSense. His blog post describes the sites exponential growth.

6. How did Facebook gain its initial traction?

We’ve all followed the news stories and seen the film (“The Social Network“). Was it really down to the determination of one computer programming genius?

The early traction appears to have come collecting e-mail addresses of schools and students. The Facebook leveraged the network effect of well connected groups to gain traction.

They offered an attractive option for networks of schools and students to stay connected. As these networks already existed, they simply moved this targeted niche from older and isolated networks to the newer platform.

7. How did StumbleUpon gain its initial traction?

According to Brad O’Neill (First Angel Investor and Advisor) Stumbleupon was one of the very first add-ons to the Firefox browser. This early relationship helped Stumbleupon grow a significant userbase, as the functionality was integrated into their browsing.

Stumbleupon was one of five or six product ideas the original founders had considered.

8. How did Twitter get initial traction?

The tipping point for Twitter appears to be its showcase at the 2007 South by Southwest (SXSW) festival. Twitter displayed festival goers messages on large screens around the event.

However before this time, it is likely that the early adopters and a large network of bloggers did their part to spread the word.

9. How did Foursquare get initial traction?

One view is that a launch at 2009 South by Southwest (SXSW) kicked off their growth. Another view is that a city-by-city approach expanded as new users were added. By pushing growth in cities, a combination of city level growth and national growth promoted adoption.

However was it their prior experience with location based technology that triggered their real growth? Dennis Crowley (Founder) several years earlier had developed and sold a similar concept to Google (now Google Latitude).

10. How did Groupon get initial traction?

Groupon began life as the ThePoint, a community campaign site. It was only several iterations later that a simple experiment for pizza coupons on a WordPress blog validated their coupon based model. Or was it?

Andrew Chen suggests a more sinister strategy of realising a “temporary arbitrage in buying tons of demographically targeted ad inventory”. Groupon essentially leveraged a low cost of customer acquisition by buying up massive subscriber lists and then targeting them with marketing messages. The cost of acquisition quickly rose but by then Groupon had a large enough pool of customers.

Conclusions

It appears plenty of mystery exists around gaining early traction. However based on the above analysis, these top tips may help you gain your early traction:

+ Encourage content creation
+ Get a sweet four letter domain name
+ Build a sophisticated mailing campaign
+ Get published in a newspaper article read by your target market
+ Get the most out of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
+ Utilise the network effect
+ Be the first and be integrated into a daily tool (eg be that button on the top of every web browser)
+ Use early adopters and bloggers to promote your brand
+ Leverage prior experience (and networks)
+ Find a low cost of customer acquisition before others do

If you wish to share your own experiences drop us a line or leave a comment or join the Hacker News discussion.

Image Credit: Let A Thousand Nations

.

You might also enjoy:
+ Need Startup Advice? – Just Ask Online
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ Samsung’s Pivot From Dried Fish to Smartphones
+ Top Startup Podcasts – Learning From Listening

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

How do you get on the Frontpage of Hacker News? (4 Links in 1 Day)

How do you get on the Frontpage of Hacker News?

tl;dr This posting describes our experience of having four of our relevant Hacker News link submissions reaching the top four positions of the Hacker News frontpage. And then us later being hellbanned. How do you get on the frontpage? 1) Luck and good timing, 2) Gain karma points quickly, 3) Smart title, 4) Relevant submission, 5) Avoid downvotes.

Introduction

For a few minutes in late June, four of our news submissions sat on top of the Hacker News frontpage rankings. For many the response will be “so what” or “did you read the guidelines”. This posting is simply a record of observation that may or may not help anyone understand the news sites ranking algorithm.

The System

The community often questions the unknown Hacker News ranking algorithm and voting protocol. The Hacker News Slap – the phenomenon of quickly making the frontpage, only to be removed just as fast – is a mystery to many (all).

The system is not perfect however is probably the best one can achieve given the large volume of submissions to the site. The site gets more than 20k of page views a month to the main domain. Once you start adding in other aggregation and referral sites you get a much larger number.

Duplication of popular stories often occur (eg Steve Jobs’ death, The Facebook IPO…) but typically fresh and unique submissions stay in the top 30.

The Problem

Two significant stories occurred in the week that did not rank (highly) on the site:

1) The extradition of a UK student to US for alleged copyright infringement.

2) China’s technological achievement in space and under the ocean.

The Submission

They felt totally relevant and therefore we submitted links on both stories. We submitted multiple links to try and have one stick on the Hacker News frontpage. If your link doesn’t stay on the frontpage it has zero chance of drumming up any discussion.

1. Wikipedia founder steps in to help UK hacker (huffingtonpost.co.uk)
(HN Comments)

2. Petition to stop extradition of UK hacker (change.org)
(HN Comments)

3. China trumps SpaceX and James Cameron in same week (cnn.com)
(HN Comments)

4. China triumphs in space and sea (bbc.co.uk)
(HN Comments)

The Result

The first two remained in top spot for several hours. The second two were quickly moderated and disappeared into the ether, even though scoring points due to obvious interest. (See screenshot above.)

We quickly discovered we were hellbanned, most likely by a human moderator perceiving our behaviour as a breach of written/unwritten rules. We currently remain banned but hope this posting can be useful to those wanting to share and discuss relevant content with the Hacker News community.

Summary

So, how do you get on the frontpage? It seems to be a mixture of the following:

1. Luck and good timing – Weekends, mornings, evenings. Timing varies however weekends seem to have less noise and therefore a successful frontpage story is likely to remain on the frontpage for longer. However it is likely to experience less traffic than midweek.

2. Gain karma points quickly – Points are crucial in you getting top spot. You could collude with friends and colleagues however if detected faces downvoting.

3. Smart title – The title should be attractive enough to gain attention, but not too suggestive that it breaches guidelines and gets you downvoted or banned.

4. Relevant submission – Remember your audience. Anything off topic or irrelevant is unlikely to get any traction.

5. Avoid downvotes – Once your submission gets voted downwards, your time is up. Typically downvoting kills a submission.

If you wish to share your own experiences drop us a line or leave a comment or join the Hacker News discussion.

.

You might also enjoy:
+ Lessons Learned From A Hacker News Traffic Spike
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Startup Myths – I shall not be fooled again by gurus
+ Samsung’s Pivot From Dried Fish to Smartphones

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

Lessons Learned From A Hacker News Traffic Spike

The Hacker News Middle Finger


.

tl;dr Prior to 11 June 2012, only 2,645 visitors had visited our blog. One HN submission sent 2,958 visitors to our blog in one single day. This post documents the experience.

On 11 June 2012 at 14:00 GMT we submitted one of our blog post links to Hacker News. By luck or good timing this submission made it onto the Front Page. It didn’t stay there for long, but this is what happened behind the scenes.

For context we have sent plenty of other submissions to Hacker News, mainly out of curiosity to understand why some submissions go viral while others die a slow and lonely death. We were surprised this one made it through the noise.

We are recording this blog entry i) to share the details with anyone who may care and ii) we had only had 2,645 visitors prior to this event – we received 2,958 visitors in one day.

This experience confirmed that traffic doesn’t matter, good content is important and being unique matters. Otherwise your time and effort is wasted on your audience.

Anyway, here is the commentary:

+ First Hour:

1. Submitted Link to HN:

HN Link: Startup Myths – I shall not be fooled again by gurus

..00:00 AM Sydney Time
..07:00 AM San Francisco
..10:00 AM New York
..14:00 PM London GMT
..15:00 PM London

2. Tweeted HN Link on Twitter:

.

3. We retweet two tweets made by Hacker News bots:

(Link to Blog Post)

(Link to Hacker News)

.

4. Traffic is slowing ticking up to around 200 visitors.

5. HN Link upvoted to 4 points in first hour, 2 comments.

6. Blog post is now on front page of HN (hangs around 20th position).

7. Site traffic hits 800 in first hour with approx 25 hits per minute.

8. Bulk of referral traffic now directly from HN frontpage (news.ycombinator.com), followed by other HN pages, Google Reader, Twitter.

9. HN Link disappears off front page.

10. Traffic flow continues at rapid pace.

+ Next Day:

1. Traffic flow takes a steep dive downwards. Record 281 visitors that is well above our previous average.

** Previous day had two links within HN discussions that directed traffic (250 day prior)
** Before this, traffic was barely ticking over (<20 visitors).

2. Few visitors navigated through to any other parts of the blog. One person reblogged the post, two others left comments.

+ The Aftermath:

1. Over the next 10 days we record c. 380 visitors. Still legacy referrals from the HN site, Google Reader and Facebook.

2. The visitors to the specific linked blog post had diminished.

3. Hopefully some positive lessons learned about running a blog.

Links:
Hacker News Discussion
More Startup Posts

.

You might also enjoy:
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ Startup Myths – I shall not be fooled again by gurus
+ The Bootstrap Challenge – Walking the Talk

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3

This is the next update to our Startup Glossary.

A few months ago we launched our very own startup glossary to help others learn the lingo. This is the latest installment of the commonly used startup buzz words being used in the community. We plan to update the main startup glossary later in the week. Please contact us if you have any submissions or suggestions.

The following are some of the startup phrases or startup buzzwords we are aiming to include in future updates:

Early Majority
Innovators
Laggards
Late Majority
Long Tail
Low Hanging Fruit
Monetise
Ninja
Rockstar
Series A Financing
Sweat Equity
Startup
Stealth
Stack
Term Sheet
Traction
Vertical
Web 2.0

+ A +

A/B Testing

A/B testing, split testing or bucket testing is a method of marketing testing by which a baseline control sample is compared to a variety of single-variable test samples in order to improve response or conversion rates. (Source: Wikipedia)

At its core, A/B testing is exactly what it sounds like: you have two versions of an element (A and B) and a metric that defines success. (Source: Smashing Magazine)

+ C +

Crowdfunding

The practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet. (Source: Oxford Dictionaries)

Kickstarter is probably the most well known and largest funding platform for creative projects.

+ E +

Early Adopter

An early adopter, lighthouse customer or trendsetter is a person who embraces a given company, product, or technology before most other people do. Early adopters form an early element of the technology adoption life cycle, a model that portrays the spread of new ideas and technology. (Source: Wikipedia)

The other categories include:

Innovators
Early Adopters
Early Majority
Late Majority
Laggards

+ F +

Freemium

Freemium is a business model by which a product or service (typically a digital offering) is provided free of charge, but a premium is charged for advanced features, functionality, or virtual goods. The word “freemium” is a portmanteau combining the two aspects of the business model: “free” and “premium”. (Source: Freebase)

Funding

Funding or financing is when a business needs an external source of finance (or borrowings) where the capital needs of the business exceed its own available resources and those of any shareholders. (Source:Business Dictionary)

Well known venture capitalist (and co-founder of Ycombinator) Paul Graham outlines startup funding sources into the following categories:

Self Funded
Friends and Family
Angel Investors
Seed Funding Firms
Venture Capital Funds
Other – Includes grants

(Source: Paul Graham)

The amount of money you achieve from sources can vary, but may follow the below guidelines:

Angel Funding (usually equity) – £25,000 to £500,000
Commercial Lending – various
Venture Funding (usually loan, convertible loans or equity) – £500,000 to £5,000,000
Crowd Funding (usually direct investment) – £5,000 to £1,000,000

(Source: London Funding Conference)

+ G +

Gamification

“Gamification involves applying game design thinking to non-game applications to make them more fun and engaging. Gamification can potentially be applied to any industry and almost anything to create fun and engaging experiences, converting users into players.” Some startups utilise gamification to incentivise user engagement.

(Source: Gamification.Org)

+ H +

Horizontal

Horizontal is a term often used to describe ones business model or business strategy. In this context it focuses on the breadth of one’s product and market.

Horizontal strategies aim to sell a product across multiple markets (moving left to right across markets). Horizontal strategies may suit products that appeal to different sorts of customers, not just a single market segment or industry.

In contrast, vertical strategies aim to sell a product in just one market (moving up and down across a product).

(Source: Entrepreneurs Journey)

Human Capital

“The set of skills which an employee acquires on the job, through training and experience, and which increase that employee’s value in the marketplace.” It may be considered an economic view of a human being – in terms of knowledge and creativity contributions towards an organisation.

(Source: Investor Words)

Hyperlocal

Relates to a “well defined community with its primary focus directed toward the concerns of its residents”.

(Source: Wikipedia)

Current trends apply the terms when referring to applications that make use of mobile and GPS technologies. Such applications connect users to nearby products or services.

+ M +

Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

A Minimum Viable Product has just those features that allow the product to be deployed, and no more. The product is typically deployed to a subset of possible customers, such as early adopters that are thought to be more forgiving, more likely to give feedback, and able to grasp a product vision from an early prototype or marketing information.

(Source: Wikipedia)

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Did you enjoy this post? For more startup, business and technology posts visit our main page.

A Smart Bear – Jason Cohen on Startups

Bear riding a bicycle launches startup

()

We have just finished listening to an interview with Jason Cohen on Techzing. We first heard Jason on an interview on The Startup Success Podcast. Jason writes a very popular startup blog , is a successful entrepreneur and founder of four successful companies.

We really enjoyed listening to his views on startups and his real world experience from building his own businesses. There is so much information on startup methodologies however Jason talks in terms of actually applying these concepts. His insightful views challenge many of the norms providing common sense steps to getting your startup off the ground. You can find out more from Jason at his blog and podcast.

Below are some key points from the Techzing podcast. We thought that the ‘sell it first, build it second’ approach really smart.

+ Exponential growth – You can aim for exponential growth but understand that growth will be slow and flat in the beginning due to small starting base.

+ Blogging – Jason tried to conform to blogging best practice and rules but eventually found honest writing works better (proof with his 30k+ RSS subscribers). He wrote better and gained more followers when not worrying about the guidelines.

+ Startup Philosophy – Startup entrepreneurs talk to others in terms of therapy rather than philosophy.

+ Selling Your Startup – It is a difficult decision whether to sell your business. It is not a bad thing to question why you want to sell?

+ Growing Your Startup – Again, it is a difficult decision on how to grow your business. You can chose to grow without employing more people.

+ Evaluating Your Idea or Sell It First, Build It Second

Jason suggests you continue to talk to customers every 3 months to benefit from their insights into your product. He advocates the strength of customer interviews before even building your product.

Approach – Customer Discovery:
Write down your theories and assumptions (20 to 30).
Speak to customers.
Write customer attitudes and your own thoughts down.
Don’t try convince customer, get customer to validate or invalidate theories.
Don’t lead the witness – ask open ended questions to get the truth.
Result will likely be the following validations: Third right, third wrong, third appears while talking.
Pick the top 5 and build your product.

Key Questions:
Would you buy it? How much would you pay? Would you write a cheque today?
If you cannot see a clear niche and interest emerging then likely product will not sell.

Example:
Jason spoke 50 people (1 hour per interview) – 30 said they would buy the product, 20 actually paid.
He asked the question – Would you write a cheque today?
This approach is not a sales call but asking the questions to get real answers.
The benefit are you can get customers paying before building a product. This is the best signal of validation you can get!

This bootstrapping sales technique allows you to have income on day 1 and aids funding implementation.

+ Finding Potential Customers To Interview – Jason recommended this great cold calling technique.

Begin by searching for experts (who are likely to be your potential customers) on LinkedIn. Be sure to approach these experts honestly, openly, respectful, and be willing to pay for their time. Do not approach this as a sales call but rather a call for help.

In Jason’s experience he found that all people approached were willing to help and for free. If you cannot find people to cold call, this suggests product is going to be difficult to sell.

+ The Business Guy – Jason believes that business guys don’t exist. Business starts by getting leads and getting real things done. They doesn’t wait for development and don’t waste time with things that won’t generate sales.

+ Pricing – backup example: people willing to pay whatever cost when their server crashes

Benefits of paying for sales – mechanical process which you can control. good position to be in.
Blog followers don’t equal conversions – 2 signups from a blog post (30k) and similar result for KISSmetrics

+ Bootstrapping – Jason used early funding from friends and co-founders to build a profitable startup. He demonstrated that company could make money while asking for money. By the time Jason needed some more serious money he found funding from strategic investors easier by showcasing a proven model.

+ Happiness – Doing something that fulfills you leads to happiness. Jason gets great satisfaction from helping others (knowing that others can succeed from mentoring discussions). Discussion often leads to eliciting new ideas.

Conclusion
+ Sell it first, build it second
+ Be honest when cold calling to elicit true customer insight (early sales are incidental but essential)
+ Build a proven model to help raising more funds
+ Doing something fulfilling leads to happiness

Did you listen to the podcast? What did you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

.

You might also enjoy:
+ Startup Weekend: What to expect? How to prepare?
+ Samsung’s Pivot From Dried Fish to Smartphones
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ The Bootstrap Challenge – Walking the Talk

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

Social Media Experiment – Twitter, Google+ and now Facebook

Like it or hate it?

Through Project Trout we have been sharing our social media experiences. We have spoken about the effectiveness of tools in attracting visitors and building meaningful relationships in earlier posts.

We are already using Twitter and Google Plus. We have not had the best levels of engagement however we are hoping over time these will be useful platforms to have a presence on.

We have now signed up to Facebook. We had reluctance in signing up to yet another social media site however it may be an interesting study to determine if FB is any better at drawing in visitors than Twitter and Google Plus. So far we have not had the greatest success with any other tools. Let’s wait and see what happens.

Stay tuned and check us out on Facebook!

.

You might also enjoy:
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ Startup Myths – I shall not be fooled again by gurus
+ The Bootstrap Challenge – Walking the Talk

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

Blog Milestone – Lessons Learned From 50 Blog Posts

One way to celebrate your 50th blog post... (Dangerous Goods Transport)

()

It’s been a long time since we celebrated our 30th blog post and even longer since our first post when we proudly blogged “Hello World”.

Today we publish our 50th post! We are often surprised how many bloggers suffer the dreaded writers block. We suffer the opposite and have a pipeline of 100+ draft posts awaiting publication.

We have learned a massive amount on startups since beginning this blog. Mostly thanks to the excellent resources available online and meeting some smart people around the place. Nevertheless there is still much more to learn in this dynamic environment.

So, what have we learned? Was it worth it? Should we keep going? Where are we? And where are we going?

On startups:
+ Startups are hard work
+ Startups are uncertain
+ Startups are different to traditional businesses
+ Your startup will probably fail

On people:
+ Your team matters
+ You don’t need to be technical (but it helps)
+ You need enthusiasm and passion
+ Be surrounded by people smarter than you
+ Don’t work in isolation, engage with others

On ideas:
+ Every good or bad idea is being done
+ Having an idea is just the beginning
+ Evaluating your idea is tough but crucial
+ You need to identify the problem
+ Getting surveys filled out is hard
+ Personal evaluation is step 1

On planning:
+ Planning is important
+ The Business Plan has been replaced by The Business Model

On customers:
+ Customer discovery starts by getting out the building and speak to people
+ You need to speak to potential customers
+ You need to know their pain points
+ You want the right customers, not the wrong ones

On development:
+ You need an MVP
+ Build it and they will come is fiction
+ Keep It Simple

On learning:
+ Entrepreneurs are willing to share their stories
+ The Internet has many great resources
+ Knowing the language helps
+ Reflection counts
+ You can never stop learning

On motivation:
+ Stop making excuses
+ Set small tasks and complete them

On blogging:
+ Getting engagement is hard
+ Upcoming posts
+ No one reads this blog, but it doesn’t matter
+ Twitter doesn’t work
+ Good writing counts
+ Looks don’t matter

On next steps:
+ Keep blogging, but write better more meaningful and honest posts
+ Start (and finish) something real
+ Interact more

Thanks to all our readers and those who have sent us feedback. We look forward to sharing another 50 posts with all of you!

.

You might also enjoy:
+ Lessons Learned From A Hacker News Traffic Spike
+ Startup Weekend: What to expect? How to prepare?
+ Samsung’s Pivot From Dried Fish to Smartphones
+ April Fools Day – Some of Our Favourites

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

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