As I mentioned in my first post, we're aiming to be as open and honest as we can with Blocks. As a company owner I always find it fascinating when companies like Buffer and Treehouse talk openly about their business structure, results and even sales and financials.
I think we're in a unique industry, where many people in our community see this openness as a good thing, making them feel like they're contributing to the development of those companies.
I'm sure in other, more cut-throat industries it would be seen as showing off, self absorbent, a sign of greed and arrogance, and frowned upon. Thank goodness we leave that to others. Sounds awful doesn't it?
When we decided to create a product that we'll eventually charge people for, we wanted to be open. To let those people be part of our development and to listen to what they have to say is really important to us. This isn't a new thing for us. We've always had an open approach to business. With our design agency Bluegg we often talk openly about the work we do, our clients and even how our business is doing.
With that in mind I wanted to share with you our story over the first 36 hours since we announced Blocks.
At around 09:00 on Wednesday 2nd April (we purposely avoided April 1st!) I sent an email to 3 or 4 high traffic news sites. Unfortunately they didn't run with a story or link to us, but I added the site to Designer News and wrote a post on Medium. This generated some early traffic and some activity on Twitter.
At 10:30, I sent a tweet out saying "Announcing @BlocksApp — Redesigning productivity tools for freelancers and small teams blocksapp.io" and was lucky enough to get retweeted by a couple of people with high follower counts.
That really got the ball rolling. People started signing up and the twitter stream started to fill with comments, retweets and replies.
Then we hit a problem. A couple of twitter friends mentioned that they had a problem signing up to the mailing list. Queue the palpitations and sweaty palms as we tried to figure out what was wrong. It turned out to be a configuration problem with our CMS for the blog which caused an error for anyone visiting the site with www. in the URL. A schoolboy error which cost us around 20 mins of sign ups for some people (not all). Hopefully we managed the situation by talking to people over twitter during that time.
With the issue fixed we started getting a huge number of sign ups. We had joked in the studio about getting 500 in the first day, thinking that was an impossible feat.
Google analytics showed constant activity for the rest of the day sticking at around 60-70 visitors at any one time.
Towards the end of the day as numbers slowed down a little, we got picked up by a couple of design and web blogs which helped bump the traffic some more.
At the end of the first 36 hours we're delighted (and amazed) with the reaction we've had. Not only the nice things people have said, but particularly by how many people shared it on twitter and signed up to the mailing list. Here's how the numbers stacked up:
- Twitter followers for the @BlocksApp account — from 5 to 135
- Tweets mentioning 'BlocksApp' — 232
- Unique visits — 5,158
- Top traffic sources — Direct (54%), Twitter (19%), Awwwards (6%), Designer News (2.5%)
- Mailing list sign ups — 822
- Operating system — OSX (60%), iOS (19%), Windows (16%), Android (2.5%)
- Browser — Chrome (60%), Safari (17%), Safari in-app (12%), Firefox (7%), IE (<1%)
- Device — Desktop (78%), Mobile (18%), Tablet (3.5%)
Those stats have blown us away. We weren't sure if people would be interested or even if we had just not found the right product for ourselves, but we think these early results really validate what we're planning and gives us the confidence to crack on.
We'd like to thank everyone who has signed up, followed us or just told someone about what we're doing. We're going to work hard to live up to your expectations.