1 Week Post Launch — InboxReads.co

A recap of the first week since launching my latest side project

About a week ago I launched my latest project, InboxReads.co. The goal with it is to make newsletter discovery easier, both for those of us who love reading newsletters and for the awesome content creators out there creating them to get more subscribers.

With this project I wanted to take a more open approach and share progress, successes, failures and everything I’ve tried along the way.

Stats

What I Did

Posted on Hacker News
I posted InboxReads on HN on the 9th, a Monday, and got a decent bit of traffic from there. 12% of total traffic and I suspect a good bit of the direct visits as well.

Posted on Reddit
I posted in /r/shamelessplug /r/IMadeThis and /r/SideProject and got about 7% of the traffic from these subreddits. /r/SideProject was by far the most successful post.

Posted on Product Hunt
On the 9th I submitted it to Product Hunt as well. It got 7 upvotes but very little traffic. Probably a result of how few followers I have there. Maybe I should have left it for someone else to find and post.

Posted on Indiehackers
This post was intended just to get some advice on next steps. Sometimes it feels like everywhere just has the same ideas listed that they say will work so I wanted to get some ideas from makers in the community. I got a lot of good suggestions (some mentioned later in this post) and it actually was my biggest source of traffic accounting for 47% of those users.

Twitter
I started tweeting new newsletters and the best newsletters in some categories and that hasn’t gotten a few clicks. I’ll try expanding on this and see how far it can go. The plan is to queue new newsletters up with Buffer and other interesting lists and see how it does and if it’s worth expanding more.

Issues Found

These are slightly technical…

Emojis
Looks like my current database setup doesn’t support emojis 😔. No luck trying to fix it yet.

Email
So I’m using Heroku for hosting but had no idea that using a CNAME with my root domain would stop me from using it for emails as well. I’ve usually used Google for hosting and they use A/AAAA records so I’m regretting this decision a little. I just really didn’t want the ‘www’.

The best fix I’ve found is to use a subdomain for emails for now. So get ready for emails from @hi.inboxreads.co.

To-Do

Submissions and social media are taking up time I could be using to improve the product and work on other content but it’s super important. But allowing submissions to go through with approvals would just be asking for spam at this point. And creating a user account system doesn’t seem worth the effort this early in. But there are some things I can automate in the process.

1. Submission Notifications

Right now I manually send out emails for each submission when I’ve approved it and added it. I’m thinking to automate those emails in the script I use to add newsletters to the database.

2. Image Uploads

A couple people have pointed out that the images generated for their newsletter websites don’t look great and they’d rather use their own. I’ve added an image upload to the submission form but I need some way to include those image uploads in the script to add to the database.

3. Newsletter

I’ve added a newsletter signup after some suggestions over at IndieHackers. I’ll need to work on a design and format for it and start testing how best to get signups. Also, should I include posts like this in the newsletter? Or stick to just newsletter related content. Decisions…

4. Blogging

Those same newsletters can be posted as blog posts eventually, and if there’s a way to get it done automatically that’d be great. I’d like to stick to Medium for now, the less setup required the better.

New Update Next Week

And that’s week 1 (and a few days). It looks there’s potentially some interest in this but there’s still a long way to go and I wish there were more hours in each day. I plan to write one of these each week recounting the stats and what I did. If you’d like to see more technical aspects of building as well let me know.

I make products and write about tech, life, & everything else | Building @inboxreads @waveradioco