I Launched my side project on Product Hunt, here is what I learned.
Every time I used to visit Product Hunt, I would end up discovering a few awesome tools and products that make me say, wow! This is so cool. I want to build something like that. But the thing is I had no idea what to do. But I so wanted to build a product. I wanted to go through the process of building and shipping a product from scratch to end.
In late December, Hashnode announced #ChristmasHackathon. And I decided to use it as a trigger to push myself to build something. I had few ideas so I started working and I built Tabwave. Well, I won't be discussing how and why I built it because I have already talked about it. Check out how I built my own productivity app here.
I launched it last week on Product Hunt and it was the #5 Product of the day with 300+ upvotes. Also, it made it to the Product Hunt's newsletter too. For me, it was a 🏆 huge milestone.
I have learned a lot in these past few days about shipping products. So I am going to share my experience here.
🚀 Before launch
👩💻 Build in Public
Keep sharing about your progress. It can be a tiny feature you added, a problem you faced, or a nasty bug you fixed. Share your wins and failures. Document everything. That will help you build your audience and create excitement among early users. And I feel Twitter is the best place for it.
Documenting your journey + Providing value is the sweet spot I follow. Focus on providing as much value as you can.
✨ Feedback is super important
Feedback is the best thing that will help you and your product grow. The biggest example is Hashnode itself. See the Feature Request section of Hashnode. They listen to the community and give them exactly what they want. That's why we love it so much. So whatever you are building, share with the community. Ask for the feedback and make it better and better.
I collected feedback from the comments in my blog, from Reddit, from Twitter, anywhere from I could get people's hands on it. And that was a crucial thing. Not only they helped me find bugs, silly mistakes but suggested potential features.
📰 Copywriting is a skill
When I heard about copywriting for the first time I literally thought it means copying and writing. 😅 Yeah, I was that dumb. Copywriting is simply writing something in a way that makes the audience curious about it. It's more used in marketing and advertising stuff.
But wait? Why should I care about it. Well, whatever you build, Your goal is to reach more audiences. And in this high paced digital world, it's hard to grab attention in a little span of time. So use your words wisely. Learn how to write an effective copy.
🌐 Name and domain
Before I started building Tabwave, I called it sorted. I loved that name a lot. Later I found out it's already taken. So I had to rename it to Tabwave, which is kind of cool too. That was the moment I realized why developers own so many domain names. Because they buy it even before starting to work the side project, which I think is a smart thing to do.
👨🚀 Landing page
It's good to have a landing page for your product and a form to collect emails. My extension wasn't published so I collected emails to notify the users of its launch. So on the launch day, I had a list of 50+ people I could send mails to who are excited to check out my product.
🚀 Launch day
🌀 Product Hunt
Product Hunt is a global platform. Every day, a large number of products get launched by either individual makers or companies. Getting your product noticed isn't that easy. So the main goal is to get your product on the first page. Let's be honest, what was the last time you went on the 2nd page of your google search? rarely right! The same goes for Product Hunt.
I prepared everything like the description, screenshots, maker's comment, etc before and previewed using Previewhunt.
⌚ Timing is important
All we get is 24 hrs. of PST (Pacific Standard Time) to show our product. Every day the list gets refreshed after 24 hours. I had no idea about this, glad I did some research before launch. The sooner you launch, the better. If you launch at around 12 am PST, it will get a longer exposure.
I launched Tabwave around 2 pm IST which is 12:30 am PST. I preferred Friday/Saturday as on weekends there is less competition which increased my chances to get featured.
For the first few hours, Tabwave was in 16th position but then it started getting upvotes and soon I could see it on the first page.
🚀 After launch
👨👦👦 Find your audience.
Building and launching is one thing but after that is the real game. i.e. Getting it into the hands of real users. Ask yourself, where does your audience hang out more. Is it Twitter? maybe Reddit? or something else?
I shared Tabwave everywhere I could think of like Twitter, Linkedin, relative Reddit channels, discord servers, communities like Indiehackers, Makerlog, etc.
But please don't spam.
If the product is good, people will more likely share it. However, it is suggested to share links to your landing page and not the Product Hunt page.
🙋♂️ Engage with your users
For the next 24 hrs, I was available on all platforms. It was exciting. I was getting a good response. Engaging with the users, their feedbacks, and appreciations was overwhelming.
📈 Monitor the stats
Wait, did you add analytics to your landing page? If not, you should. It will help you monitor the traffic and other stats. I was going to use google analytics but then I discovered Plausible. I felt it's cleaner and much better than google analytics.
Here are the stats of Tabwave after a week.
I have made awesome friends on Twitter, 100+ connections on Linkedin. And this week I have been approached by 5-6 folks with job opportunities that I haven't even applied for.
That's not everything. It was my first time. Tabwave was just a simple idea. I realized I can do better. There is a lot more to learn. A long way to go. It was a wonderful experience. And I am really excited to unfold what comes next. Everything I mentioned here is from my learning experience. So give it a go, try different things, and keep growing.
⚡ Happy learning!
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I may not know you personally but I am definitely proud of you and your journey. I love how you are intentional about building projects.
Congratulations once again. This is very well deserved.
Sr Full Stack Engineer, Front-End Specialist, DOM Artist. https://braydoncoyer.dev/
Super insightful! I'm planning on launching something on ProductHunt later this year and this article highlights the important steps for success!
Congrats on your launch!
I may not be the target user of your product, but really love the way you put this article, both very insightful and relatable! Congrats on the amazing first launch, too!