As of today, 25 days since we launched the ALL new (v3) website, our 300th user just registered. The velocity of user sign-ups is increasing . I think it took over 15 days to get the first 100. While of course we are aiming for 100k users in the next few months, we’ll take the first 300 and be dang happy about it.
Build it and they will come.. Um, No.
Ponder this: How are people going to find your new website? When they get there, is there enough to keep them around? Will they tell their friends about it? Are you offering the user enough as a trade for their time investment in registering and providing contact/user information? How deep are your pockets for marketing and promotion? Are people talking about your new product or service. Is it buzzworthy?
These are just a few of the many questions you should have answers for when contemplating a new website/community. We addressed many of these prior to launching the website. We already had great search engine rankings (learn about our search engine optimization services) for the v2 site which carried over and are improving. We have worked diligently to give the user some great tools and resources to make it worth their time to register. Sally did some interviews to get the word out, and we have leveraged other social networks (BPE on: MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, UstreamTV, Squidoo) to bring people into the fold. And finally we gave users of bestpartyever.com this simple option of inviting their friends.
As an example I spoke with a potential client the other day about building them a new social utility, the $50k estimate for development I gave them did not seem to phase them, but the $50k in marketing/promotional budget I suggested for the first 6 months was met with silence on the other end of the phone. Wake up, this is what it takes folks. While the idea of bootstrapping a company from nothing to Internet stardom is valid, and has been done more than once, in practice the odds are not stacked in your favor.
In the future we are planning more seamless integration into other websites and services to make it even easier for our users to interact and share. Your website is not (and should not be) an island. In todays marketplace: it MUST be connected.
It has been a long few weeks with the launch and the frenetic pace of development. Sally and I are heading to Mexico for a few days, You are invited.