Makers Festival: Preparing for Launch
Done with features, now get things ready for a wider launch.
The initial phase of projects is building the MVP, but that is just the beginning not the end.
During that time you are focused on building the features you need to get users to where they can get benefit from using your application.
Once you're there and have had some people using your application and giving you feedback, you attention naturally drifts to a wider launch.
Some things I don't focus on during the initial build now get more attention.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
In some cases the bulk of your application may be behind a user login so the search engines won't index much of your content, your landing and other informational pages will however be indexed.
In other cases it's also worth considering adding a blog to supplement relevant content that your application is relevant too. A blog is a good way to show authority and ensure visitors see your expertise in your application domain.
Although search engine ranking is strongly affected by links from external sites, there is a lot of in page you can do to make sure that when people do see you in search results they click! Primarily you must make sure the page title, and meta description are compelling descriptions of the content of the page. Since most people visiting the site won't see these, think about how someone seeing these text in a results page with many other results will react to the text when they read it.
In other cases like in Maker Network and For Sale by Maker, they bulk of the site is open to the public, and so search engines will have a lot of pages too index. In these cases making we we have unique titles and page descriptions is even more important. Duplicate entries will hurt your rankings.
You should also add any relevant micro formats to your page, as they can boost your placement for relevant content.
It may be too early to get very active on social media, but it's a good time to grab an account and be ready for potential followers/interactions.
Just as we were concerned how your listing looked in search engine listings, we should also be concerned with how links to our site appear on social media. The best way to control is it to Open Graph and similar tags to your website code.
These tags allow you to customize both the text and images when people like to a URL on your website. They can be the same or different for each social media site.
Since the user profiles on Maker Network contain relevant statistics, I took the opportunity to generate custom social media images for each user that included this information, in the hopes that it would make the images more clickable.
The analytics can come in handy not only for reviewing activity on the application, but also on how people are getting to the application. You never know where your launch might attract attention and the analytics can provide some insight and give potential opportunity to reach out to early fans.
No need to go wild there, but I find having a minimal press kit put together is a good idea, not just incase people reach out for information, but thinking about how to describe your application to interested people is a good exercise.
Having some screenshots and branding assets zipped together is also a good idea.
Not typically a concern for me, but I do sometimes think about how I might handle my the application going viral at launch. If the application does get a large burst of traffic how can I make sure it responds quickly.
Could I add caching anywhere to speed things up? If I needed to upgrade or add more servers how would be work and how long would it take.
I don't do these things, but thought about and being prepared to do so is the important part.
Just 16x16 pixels but those pixels can be very important for people seeing them in their browser.
I tend to use a favicon generator from the logo / branding of the application to get something setup. Unless required due to the size, I tend not to mess with it at all.
With these things in place you should be in a good place to launch.