How I found my 10 first users

Last week I felt like I was ready to share the beta version of Plausible online. Contrary to all advice I didn’t build an audience before releasing my product. Instead, I did what many first-time indie founders do: build a product and hope that people will come. I now know that this is a mistake, and you should start marketing before you have an actual product.

But there I was, with a beta product and a landing page, thinking how am I going to find people to actually use this thing? Now it’s a week later and I have 10 users who have signed up, installed the javascript snippet and actually measured traffic using Plausible. It’s not a mind-blowing number but I’m happy with it. 10 is a lot better than 0. Here’s how I did it:

1. Ask feedback #

Screen Shot 2019-01-31 at 14.41.55.pngindiehackers.com

Screen Shot 2019-01-31 at 14.52.37.pngreddit.com/r/design_critiques

I genuinely wanted people to let me know how I could improve the site and I’m very thankful for the comments that I received. Secretly I was hoping that some people would find the product attractive and sign up as well. No-one did.

Total signups: 0

2. Share in relevant Reddit communities #

Next, I thought I would be a little more direct with my attempts to drive traffic to the site. I posted the URL to a couple of subreddits where people are looking to discover new products

Screen Shot 2019-01-31 at 14.49.47.pngreddit.com/r/alphaandbetausers

Screen Shot 2019-01-31 at 14.50.13.pngreddit.com/r/sideproject

These got a little more traction and actually drove some traffic to the landing page. A few people even signed up.

Total signups: 2

3. Publish a blog post #

Last week I published a post about my tips for learning design as a developer. I posted it on /r/webdev as I thought it was most relevant in that community. A day later it had 45 upvotes and a bunch of comments

Screen Shot 2019-01-31 at 14.56.27.pngreddit.com/r/webdev

I was absolutely floored by this response. It went so well that I might actually post it to a few more places in the future. The post seems to hit home so why not use it to keep driving traffic to my blog?

This post drove a lot of traffic to the blog and many people even clicked through to the landing page. Sadly just one person signed up from this crowd. Popular content is definitely useful but if the content isn’t highly relevant to the product you’re selling, it’s not going to drive signups.

Total signups: 3

4. BetaBound submission #

When I first started looking for users, I requested to be listed on betabound.com as well. It was approved and published on their site 5 days after my request.

Screen Shot 2019-01-31 at 15.04.54.pngbetabound.com/plausible-public-beta/

This submission turned out great! It drove highly qualified traffic to the site and 3 people signed up.

Total signups: 6

5. MegaMaker slack #

At this point in my journey, I found a great slack community called MegaMaker. It’s a place for indie makers to hang out, support each other and share progress. I shared my landing page on the #beta-dining-hall channel:

Screen Shot 2019-01-31 at 15.14.05.pngMegaMaker Slack

This was a great idea. I got 2 signups and both of them gave me useful feedback. I’m definitely planning to take part of the community there and share progress.

Total signups: 8

Other signups #

These are all the signups I can directly attribute to my online presence in the last week. I also have two signups from friends who I reached out on twitter and two signups that I cannot attribute to any specific post or submission online.

Total signups: 12

What’s next? #

I was quite impressed with how much traffic I got from BetaBound. I feel like my next step should be to create attractive submissions on BetaList and BetaPage. All of these sites basically have the same idea, I’m not sure which one gets the most eyeballs.

Blogging seemed to work as well, although I’m not sure if I can reproduce the success I had with the post last week. Either way, I’m going to keep working openly and sharing both my successes and failures here on this blog.


This blog documents the journey of building Plausible
Get notified of new posts →

 
44
Kudos
 
44
Kudos

Now read this

Technology choices

In general I don’t think that the tech stack matters too much for software projects. Especially if you’re a solo maker, almost all of the risk is on the sales and marketing side as opposed to the tech side. The best approach is normally... Continue →