I’ve been squirreled away for the past couple months developing keeners.org, and I’ve perhaps fallen into the trap of zoning into development the point of neglecting the marketing side. As anyone who has tried to build a moderately sized public site can attest, there’s a chicken and egg situation early on. To be successful, you need content and presentation -but you also need users. Users won’t visit until there’s content, nor will users come if they don’t know you exist. The reasonable conclusion seems to be that the site needs to be built out to the point where the handful that find it see it as useful enough to tell others, and others tell others and so forth. There’s a subjective call that needs to be made at some point – it’s time to build the audience and relegate development to the back burner. It can be a difficult move to make – and I’ve been on both sides of the fence. I’ve worked on projects upholding the highest standards possible only to find they could not gather a subscriber-base. On the other hand I’ve released demo code only to see it become an overnight sensation, creating a maintenance headache in its wake. Projects fail often due to a fear of commitment, humans faced with a (potentially bad) decision will naturally stall. It’s not lazy, and it’s not always a bad thing to give ideas some time to breathe – but applied generally it’s not effective either. I consider development a second nature, it’s far easier than building an audience. Most anyone reading this would likely agree – but it is important to be mindful that marketing a site is half the battle.
Note to self – set a milestone at which to put the programming down. Stick to it.