9 Ways to Take Your Site from One to One Million Users

In this video from The Future of Web Apps London (FOWA), Kevin Rose, founder of Digg, WeFollow and Revision3, shares 9 things he did to increase his users to 1,000,000 and beyond.

Here’s a quick bullet-point summary. You can watch the video, view the presentation slides.

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#1. Ego

  1. Ask yourself: Does this feature increase the users self-worth or stoke the ego?
  2. If a user is contributing to my system, what emotional rewards do they walk away with? What (visible) rewards will they receive?

#2. Simplicity

  1. Stop over building features
  2. Pick 2-3 things to focus on
  3. Ask yourself: Is there anything I can take out of this feature?

#3. Build & Release

  1. Stop thinking you understand your users
  2. Learn from what they’re actually doing on your site, not what you think they’ll do
  3. Decide on what you’re going to build… and build it (avoid analysis paralysis)
  4. Build, release, iterate, and repeat

#4. Hack The Press

  1. Invite only system (Pownce, Digg v3)
  2. Talk to the junior bloggers
  3. Attend parties for events you can’t afford – network w/influencers, bring a demo

#5. Connect with your community

  1. Start a podcast (it’s OK if not everyone listens)
  2. Throw a launch party, then yearly/quarterly  events – invite the press/influencers personally – don’t tell the bar
  3. Engage w/the community, be an active participant your own ecosystem

#6. Advisors

  1. What technical problems are you going to have?
  2. Advisors can be helpful in a whole slew of areas (marketing/hiring/bizdev)
  3. Stock compensation, typically not a board seat, solid advisors help during fund raising

#7. Leverage your userbase to spread the word

#8. Does your product provide value for 3rd party sites?

#9. Analyze your traffic

  1. Install Google analytics
  2. Entrance sources (search?)
  3. Paths through site
  4. Top exit pages

The Video

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Comments

0 comments on “9 Ways to Take Your Site from One to One Million Users

  1. Very good tips (especially #1 and #3.1 fighting website developer’s narcissism ;). Would love to watch the video – where is it?

  2. Love the way you broke it down into actual actions. I think one item we all miss out on is interact and be an active participant. Often and too easily we fall back into the role of watching our Google Analytics….but forget to reach out and talk to our members. Thank Heavens for social media….

    I look forward to what others have to add!

  3. About point #2. Simplicity – learn from google, 37signal, facebook and others.
    Yes, must keep it simple which means fast. I’ve saw a yahoo developer video presentation some time ago, in which the speaker make it clear that in a web app is more important the speed then the number of options, tools…

    About point #9. Analyze your traffic – analytics is a great tool, but is far away from complete, you can analyze general data but you can not trace the path a particular user has fallow.
    I remember an old free php stats script, this script was great for this simple reason, you could trace the path an user fallow an see exact what pages this user visited. In analytics such thing is not possible yet, who knows , maybe in the future.

    About #3. Build & Release, is true you must first release an then you can analyze, what the users think…and act

  4. good stuff, but really there should be a “be lucky” item in here somewhere. let’s face it – for every site with a million users that follows this advice, there’s dozens (or more) out there who do the same things but get nowhere. there is unquestionably a luck factor involved. and there’s truly nothing wrong with that IMHO btw…

  5. Awesome video and some really useful tips that I can apply to my intern assignment, looking forward to more vids from the event :D

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  7. great post. you have just mentioned what we tell our clients. It is hard work nowdays to grow a community.

    I would add unique content, which google loves.

    Unfortunately most of clients want to hear of just quick wins.

    Do you know any?

  8. Nice concepts, that’s no wonder why he has many successful sites. We can apply his rules on our sites and make them better.

  9. Thank you for the nice roundup on ideas, i guess some of them had to be spoken out so web devs and designers start memorizing them.

    however:

    on point 3 subpoint 2

    letting the user totally take over the decision of content might work for projects like digg, but what if youre trying to build an expert page on a topic, that could bring alot of instability into your knowledge base.

  10. Awesome Post, I particularly like the focus on EGO.

    I’d never put that much weight on the social capital value of followers on someone’s twitter profile.

    The comment about the A list celebs touting their twitter ID’s on Radio is so true, no paid endorsement deals, yet Ashton Couture and Paris Hilton are hard at work pumping up their follower count.

    Nice social engineering!!!

  11. I woke up this morning reading and watching this video. It’s really heuristic for me. Thanks for your sharing. It’s really helpful and wonderful! However, a short sentence “don’t tell the bar” in #5 confuses me. could you explain it for me? Thanks again!

  12. Kevin,
    These tips are fundamental and informative as well as educating. Am going to apply all of them.
    Thanks you.

  13. Just to add to #9 – do user testing! A great experience helps to ensure repeat visits. Here is an article from Website Magazine you may find interesting it reviews usability tools http://bit.ly/32mqlQ

    I am affiliated with usertesting.com but the article covers several tools.

    Amanda

  14. Whew – great presentation, but the most unnatural, forced use of slang (“grok”) I’ve ever heard. It sounds like he actually planned to use the term somewhere, shoehorned it in… it pained me to hear it.

    Other than that, very nice, especially the reinforcing of keeping things simple and avoiding feature creep.

  15. Looking forward to implementing all these great suggestions, along with what ever I can get out of “Crush It!” by Garyvee.

    Seems like the hardest thing to get, when no one knows who you are, is traffic.

  16. Thanks for the great information. Elucid Marketing Group will implement this into future strategies for web dev projects. I like the simple outline of critical points, thanks again!

  17. Excellent video. Thank you for the post and looking forward for more great talks like this. Kevin’s points are actually very useful and will surely help me in my entrepreneurship work.

    However, Kevin talked about spymaster at a moment and i didn’t really understand if a representative of the spymaster team would talk in the conference or not (if so, is there a video posted somewhere perhaps?)

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