Day 52 - I remember that I have this blog

by alex 25. March 2013 02:03

I quit my day job on February 1st and it is currently March 24th. Holy crap, time flies.

I've been busy these last few weeks, but they haven't necessarily been as productive as I expected they might be.

After taking an easy week or two to detox from the stress of working in a high availability, cost-reducing industry, I identified that my website Was Not Good. It seriously was not good. For a few reasons.

First off, I didn't know anything about writing copy and everything on the site was written by a programmer for a programmer, similar to how two coworkers would communicate with each other. It failed to sell the product, was difficult to read, and left a lot to interpretation.

So I signed up for a copy writing course from Copy Hackers. This is a ten-week online copy writing class that covers home page optimization. In every lesson, Joanna gives advice that tends to make me think "duh, I knew that." But, knowing and executing are different things. The course really brought out a lot of ideas that I lost in the back of my mind. She also has a lot of solid tips on how to actually build the content of your copy and a few gems that really blew my mind. I haven't finished the last two weeks, but I wholeheartedly recommend her course. 

My product site also had visual theme that was not pretty. I purchased a theme online and customized it a bit to fit my needs, however I purchased the theme because it was the only one supporting offered at that vendor which supported responsive design. Then I learned about Twitter Bootstrap and my whole world exploded. I redesigned the product's visual layer to use Twitter Bootstrap for layout and basic formatting. This is awesome because I don't have the time to create an attractive website entirely from scratch. Using TB, I was able to avoid all the layout problems I usually smash my head against while trying to relearn the concepts. Need to divide a page into two vertical panels? If you do this sort of thing once or twice a year then it is much easier with TB than by hand.

I shipped two significant product updates: a release with user authorization and then the TB release. I also started trying to blog more on the sales blog - I try to get two posts a week. This is difficult when I have less motivation. I'm finding that reading about other successful startups is a good source of inspiration.

I have also been voraciously reading blog posts on visual design, typography, marketing and business.

After taking the copy writing course for a few weeks and following the advice, I rewrote all the copy on my homepage. When the first draft was about finished, I hunted for a new theme, something compatible with the Twitter Bootstrap CSS classes. I wanted to have a Modern UI / Metro / Windows 8 inspired theme because it is pretty, was generally well received by the design community, and - since my product is targeted to Microsoft-based shops - I figure it can't hurt to have a site that makes my visitors think of Microsoft.

I pushed the second site into production 5 days ago. I decided to call the software Build Keeper.NET. This tested out well with my community (aka, my friends on Facebook). Within those 5 days, I'm already ranking on the first page of results for my product name, which seems fast to me. I'm the first 3 results for "Eisenhart Software" but I don't expect to get many leads through that avenue. It will be a few weeks before my product site and blog rank well for organic search results like "How to manage .NET components". My biggest competitors for search traffic are MSDN and Stack Overflow.

The next week must see the addition of a few new features (namely site searching and perhaps the beginning of an authorization security redesign), increased optimization efforts for the product's homepage copy and the addition of supplemental pages; maybe one landing and three content.

My budget is 5% gone by this point and time keeps on slipping by. I'm going to start blogging here again in an effort to be more mindful of my activity and my direction.


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