Don’t Force Your Product, Make a Quality Product

I was having a discussion with my wife recently, we were discussing a website I launched recently that appears to have been a dud on launch., for those who are interested, is the website.

This year, I’ve written two applications. They were both things I have been meddling with in my mind for the past year but never put the “pen to paper” as they would say.

I had thought was a sure fire winner, I had seen talks online “Where can I post the projects I’ve been working on online?” and “What is the best way for me to create a portfolio of my projects?”

“This is it!” I thought. I’ll create a service where it’s a one-click login with github, has a familiar layout of github, and even uses markdown for the content creating which is a fan favorite.

The product has been live for more than 100 hours now, and has had just a bit over 100 page views after posting on reddit and in different channels. I had tried to make it not seem like spam, but the conversation on Reddit didn’t even take off and the post had achieved negative karma.

This isn’t a post to complain and look for a pitty party. I rushed the product, I know I did. I built it in a matter of 3-4 days and it’s basically a glorified textarea to form with a markdown processor with github login. There isn’t much to it to convince people to use it, and rightfully so I have received no response.

People were interested in how to get it done, but I hadn’t supplied the correct product.

The other project I’m working on is actually the foundation of this site, it’s a content syndication platform. My hopes are for it to be akin to Wordpress but written in Go.

For this, I’m taking a different approach. My goal for this site is to use it as a sandbox to come up with the “perfect” solution to launch a website with little to no configuration on the users end.

By that, I mean the user has to simply start writing the content in an editor, set a title and set an excerpt that will be read in the RSS/search engines, and everything else happens behind the scenes. No additional plugins, no enabling “pretty-urls” by messing with the server. Everything should be able to get done under 5 clicks from logging on.

If you look you’ll see things are populating correctly which is always a plus. The first few days it didn’t look like that, but Google is forgiving contrary to what some may say.

The bulk of this work has gone into the “Theme” of the site I would say. The theme uses helpers (think of them as template includes) that can be injected that automatically populate the correct meta tags, but I would say getting your site to work correctly in terms of SEO value and social value is 90% front-end and 10% back-end.

Also, with the site I’m learning the fundamentals of displaying ads correctly. It may be common sense to many, but Google Ad Sense doesn’t default responsive advertisements and having a standard leaderboard on your site for mobile will 100% throw off the display. Google AdSense does have a tool where it rates your site on a scale of 1-5 for Revenue Optimization, Multi-Screen and Site Health which are good indicators to help you. I don’t know if this relates to how they will target your site for advertisements, but I’ve noticed that my site requires less traffic to make the same amount of money as when it launched, not sure if this is coincidence or not.

Why Am I Telling You This?

My point is, these are two very different projects. One, I was able to get up and running within a few days answer a question, but had no response. The other, I am still working on and I am not releasing yet. It doesn’t feed any needs, but the platform has proven itself to work to bring in a minimal amount of revenue ($5 in the last 3 weeks in advertisements) and does get some organic traffic, and as I make improvements to SEO on the platform, not only this site but other sites see some improvements in organic traffic (even if they are minimal for sites that have only been live for 2-3 weeks).


Don’t rush your projects, and if it’s a pet project, develop what you want to develop, not what you think others want.

Last Updated: 2015-02-03 01:23:48 +0000 UTC

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