by Peter Thaleikis
Previously I've written about the story why I've built WhichLogin. Now it's time to go a bit deeper and share more about the excitement and stress on launch day.
Getting to launch day
Even with detailed preparation and testing you will never know for sure if everything goes as expected. There are hundreds of details that could potentially go wrong. Going live is never just a click on a button. This is why even after many years as a software engineer there is still a lot of stress involved with pushing my work live.
Going live is never just a click on a button.
This is even worse when I'm publishing my very own project — the baby I've been nurturing over the last weeks/months. If, let's say, my role in a team is the backend development I won't take any critic on the design to very much heart naturally. With your very own project, it's 100% with you. Every decision is going back to you: from the idea, to the product, to the design of the website and down to details like rounded buttons or not. Every bit will be your responsibility. This is the freedom I love, but it also increases my stress dramatically.
Preparation is key for a successful launch
I think nothing beats a solid preparation for the launch. If you plan to launch and you realize your images aren't the right size (or you don't have any) you losing valuable time. In this time other projects are ready and pushing forward.
I usually spend around the same time preparing the launch as I spend on the development of the product. This might sound crazy but worked out as correct for the launch of startup name check as well as WhichLogin. This means preparing texts and images for ProductHunt, IndieHackers and of course Twitter. I tend to double check everything many times as I'm reworking text many times until I'm happy. For the first time, I've produced a screencast video to explain the functionality. It's also the first time used my new personal brand and recently stealth launched blog (this site). This follows my general approach: I like to reuse ideas which worked out well last time or I've seen somewhere working well and add a few new things to try out.
I usually spend around the same time preparing the launch as I spend on the development of the product.
On the launch day, I'm high on coffee and ready with a set of images, texts, tweets and personal messages to friends. Everything sorted and clearly named in a folder and in one big text file. I like to sort the content items in the order I plan to push them out to avoid mix-ups. Even with all the preparation I never feel really ready, so at some point, I "just need to do it". I hope to be halfway ready and waiting for midnight SF time — which falls conveniently to 2 pm in Thailand.
Launch day on auto-pilot
Right after midnight SF time I click "submit" on ProductHunt. I get to my new product and there is no way back anymore. Like a rocket, I have switched to auto-pilot at this point. I switch back to my editor and start submitting the content I've prepared one by one.
The first reactions fly in and I see a few retweets. Adrenaline and caffeine are racing through my system. I switch between my prepared text file and Firefox at high speed, trying to keep up with everything. Now and then I take a few seconds rest and check Google Analytics to see how many people are on the site. Every time the number of visitors jumps up I jump as well. I push more content and messages out while people upvote my little extension. I'm pretty excited as I reached the third position in the daily ranking. Now I'm refreshing the ProductHunt constantly to check the difference between my listing and the currently second. Just a short time after this I can't trust me eyes as my extension just jumped onto the second position on ProductHunt 😍️
So far everything went really well - until I come to publish my article to IndieHackers. I'm struggling to find the article submit option. I don't just want to post the article as a regular post - there was an article option last time I've used it. Now there is only a "send us your content for consideration"-option 🤔️ I reach out to IndieHackers and learned that the option has been removed and replaced by the IndieHacker product updates. Last time I launched a project this was still limited to products using Stripe 🙄️ My article doesn't fit the format. I park the idea and jump onto Twitter to push the wave I've been building up so hard.
A friend tweeted me that he purchased the extension. I can't believe it. Even he is a friend — I've made a few Euro! I'm stoked 🤑️ I'm slightly surprised I didn't receive an email from Google. As it's my first extension, I'm not sure everything works really and I decided to ignore the feeling and push forward for now. Around 5 or 6 pm and my body started to complain about the insufficient supply with food. I get a meal while tweeting from my phone. My girlfriend is understanding as it's an exciting day.
A bit later I get a tweet from another customer saying the installation didn't work. My stress peaks. Does it work? Did I forget something important? Is the extension working? Maybe I didn't get any payment emails because there weren't any successful purchases? Worries and stress take over from the excitement. I spend my time handling messages and tweet while writing the product text for IndieHackers. The upvotes picked up more and my extension takes over the first spot on ProductHunt 😍️ I'm mind-blown 🤯️ I can't believe it and take screenshots every few minutes because I expect to drop down to the second place any second.
Around 3 am I fall asleep exhausted with my laptop next to me. The next morning I research and find the orders, everything is fine. I'm incredibly relieved — it wasn't all for nothing. I'm also happy to see that my little extension project is still on the second spot on ProductHunt. What a result: I have to thank all the great people checking out and upvoting my product for this!
If you didn't fall asleep during my story above you have really deserved getting the result by now. There are many things to say about the launch, but I try to keep it to key highlights:
The launch tweet has received incredible 46 retweets and 102 likes. It was viewed almost 15,000 times! 🤯️
Unbelievable 444 people upvoted the extension (until today) on ProductHunt leading to a second place on launch day:
I've got a crazy number of message and tweets giving my their feedback 😍️ I'm still working on implementing the feedback for the website as well as the extension itself.
Around 1400 people visited WhichLogin.com and the extension on the Chrome store (both tracked using the same GA). Main drivers for the traffic were ProductHunt and Twitter. This is from the GA for the time since Thursday:
Not just one 🤯️ but six people purchased my extension until today 😍️ The total revenue is 23.76 Euro 🤑️ Unbelievable!
Most buyers came from the US 🇺🇲️ (3) and each one from Canada, Malaysia, and the UK 🤩️
I'm super happy with this incredible result! I've not expected so much positive feedback and so many upvotes. I hoped for one or two purchases. Never ever I would have expected six purchases.
What I've learned from the launch
Not all completely new, but there are some very good, detailed learnings I had from the launch of my extension:
Not really a learning, more something that needs to "sink in" more: Most people are great and more than happy to help out when you are creating something. The more useful your product is the more likely they are to share your launch tweet or project. An additional boost you can get from creating in an open manner and sharing your experience. For example by sharing the progress on makerlog, Twitter thread or in a product feed on IndieHackers. By the way: this is a great moment to follow all of them 😉️
As I've learned SVG icons aren't good for the icon in the bar. Works fine during development but gives unpleased warning once delivered via the extension store. This brings me straight to the second, related learning: Loading the extension directly in the browser and the installation via the webstore aren't producing exactly the same results. Test them both!
The third learning is more user experience related: Every extension should have a clear "I'm installed, all good" message. Either in the form of a notification or in the form of a new tab with a web-page being opened. Without this users might not be entirely sure if the installation was successful or not. I've fixed this by now and every new user of WhichLogin gets a nice detailed help page 📔️
So much from me for now. I'll keep all three channels (Twitter thread, Makerlog and IndieHackers) updated. Don't forget to check in now and then.
WhichLogin Side Projects Launching