At JobKaster, we’re in the middle of a complete overhaul. We are rebuilding everything from the ground up to create a sturdy infrastructure as well as a better UI. With the developers completely immersed in rebuilding the site, what is a non-technical Co-founder to do?
I’ve been laying the groundwork by putting together a plan for launch: making lists of press contacts and lists of every blogger in our niche, reaching early adopters via social media, getting interviews and press mentions, putting together early partnerships, SEO, and of course, getting massive exposure to our JobKaster Beta.
How did I increase traffic over 500X?
Blind luck and a bit of SEO. Being new to the JobKaster team, I did a quick SEO audit, and I started building some easy links to the site to build up our authority. One of those links was this post to Reddit: Would you use Google Maps to find a job nearby? with a link back to our home page.
I didn’t think much of it at the time so I posted it and went to bed. I checked our analytics before crashing for the night, and I believe there were around 70 visits from the post.
The next morning I got a text from my Co-founder saying that his secretary told him congratulations as he walked through the door. When he asked why, she said that she had saw JobKaster as the second result on the Technology SubReddit.
I quickly checked my Google Analytics on my phone, and I saw a huge spike! We were at about 15,000 visitors at 9 AM, and it kept going up. And up. And up…
By the end of the day, Reddit sent us over 29,000 new visitors, generated over 1000 new signups, and at least 5 leads.
Most importantly, we proved our concept. With over 300 comments on the Reddit post, we were clearly able to see that users our ecstatic for a map based job search.
I have to admit that it was definitely a rush to see JobKaster’s traffic explode, but it’s short-lived.
I think the number one lesson was that we just weren’t ready. The site wasn’t optimized for a huge influx of traffic. Our lead gen wasn’t up to par, landing pages weren’t ready, our servers couldn’t take the load, and simply put our app is still a long way from being the game changer we hope it to be.
Conventional startup wisdom is all about getting your work out there. While I do believe in this, sometimes you’re not ready to unveil your work to the world. Sometimes it’s better to have something more polished, more user friendly, and more useful.
Here are some lessons we’ve learned from our Reddit debacle:
- Release early, get feedback, reiterate, and release again. Follow the lean startup methodology, but don’t seek big publicity until you are ready for it.
- Build something useful. For proof of concept, we used an Indeed feed to back-fill the jobs. While that’s all good to prove the concept, it defeats the purpose of location based jobs because the Indeed listings were mostly grouped by zip code and not by actual address.
- Optimize your sign-up process. Don’t ask for too much information. Name and email. That’s it.
- Add a “sharing widget” to spread the word even further.
- Ensure a “call to action” for whatever action that you want your users to do on every page.
- Respond to comments! Listen to what users are saying and let them know you are listening.
More importantly, remember that startups are all about moving the needle. Keep working to get those small wins. At first, those small wins will be miniscule, then they will get bigger, and we’ll need to do more to move the needle. One day, just maybe, a sudden spike of 30,000 new visitors will just be a small blip to a small startup trying to change the world of job search.