myFrontpage launch — Makerlog interview
A few weeks ago I launched my latest project, myFrontpage. Makerlog, a task management platform for indie makers, reached out to me and asked me a few questions regarding the launch. They published a short Twitter thread about it. Now I'm publishing the full interview here:
What are you building?
I'm currently building myFrontpage, a web-based tool which allows you to create customized New-Tab pages for your browser.
What motivated you to start building it?
I never really liked my browser's default New-Tab page. I can't customize it at all, there is no way to show the current time or whatsoever. That's why I had the idea to built something to fix this. I had the initial idea for myFrontpage in late 2018. Back then I bought the domain name and built a hard-coded New-Tab page for my browser specifically. I focused on other projects afterwards until June 2020. I looked through my domains and discovered myFront.page again! I was still unhappy with my current New-Tab page, so I decided to work on it again!
What's the stack?
For this project, I went with the tech stack I currently feel most comfortable with: Good old vanilla PHP and mySQL on the backend and plain HTML, jQuery, water.css and custom CSS on the frontend. For the landing-page I used Bootstrap.
What's your workflow like for it?
When I started to built the current version of myFrontpage in June, I set myself the goal to log every progress I made on Makerlog and tweet about it in a massive Thread. It worked pretty well and helped me stay focused and keep track of my tasks!
How's your launch day going?
Incredibly awesome! It went beyond all my expectations! Ryan Hoover, the founder of ProductHunt even tweeted about it, nearly three hundred pages were created, over 150 people signed up and I got a ton of new followers on Twitter! And that was only one single day! Crazy 🤯
Update: The day is over and myFrontpage scored #5 Product of the Day on ProductHunt and I got a ton of great feedback! Awesome!!
What are your launch day marketing tips?
- If you're launching on ProductHunt: think of a short, precise tagline for your product and create a good thumbnail image or GIF. For myFrontpage I went with "Create custom new tab pages for your Browser 🖥️" for the tagline and created a small GIF animation for the thumbnail! Also, make sure to add some nice screenshots to your ProductHunt listing!
- Don't count on a single platform: I shared myFrontpage on Twitter, ProductHunt, Reddit, Indie Hackers and Hacker News. In my case it didn't get any attention on the latter two platforms and very little attention on Reddit, which means that Twitter and ProductHunt worked best for me. Nevertheless: Try to post it on different platforms to not only reach the most people but also prevent you from a failed launch. Just imagine this: your project doesn't get featured on the ProductHunt homepage, your Reddit post get's deleted or your Tweet doesn't get any attention because of a different event which is trending on Twitter right now, causing your Tweet to drown in the masses! That would be awful!
- Be thankful and reply to people: I tried to reply to every single comment on ProductHunt and every single reply on Twitter which mentioned myFrontpage. But don't just copy and paste! Try to interact with the people by asking for feedback or by writing "thank you" in different ways:
What other advice would you share with makers?
- If you can, build your product in the open. Share every step in your developement process on Twitter and keep track of your tasks by writing them down (Makerlog is perfect for this!). Building your product in the open does not mean that you have to share all your numbers (revenue, users, etc.), it's just about showing other people what you build and how you build it. This helps your product to get attention early on and builds up some excitement for potential users.
- Invite real users as early as possible. I tried to invite some beta-testers as early as possible to try out myFrontpage and it helped me a lot! That way I got great feedback before the launch and I could eliminate most bugs before opening it up to the public!
- Launch early. Define what the core features of your product are early on. This helps you stay focused on those features. As soon as you're finished developing and testing those core features, launch it! You don't have to put it on ProductHunt already or promote it otherwise, but a simple tweet asking people to sign up and try it out will help you a lot in terms of feedback, bug discovery and testing how your service scales! I tried to do it this way with myFrontpage and it helped me to launch myFrontpage with confidence that things won't break (a few bugs still surfaced but that's way less than I've expected!). I think I could have even launched myFrontpage a bit earlier, without the "Discover" section! Remember: You can always add features and improve things later on, after launching!