Ah, website launches. Nervewracking stuff. Our 'Messages' website is nowhere near ready to launch, but I want to start thinking about it.
There are two ways we could attempt it.
1) Put it up quietly, and let it grow slowly... and gamble on if it gets members.
2) Hype it up first, launch it with a lot of fanfare and gamble on if it'll come crashing down after 2 weeks if people get bored with it.
My natural reaction is 'put it up slowly! That way we don't have to deal with hundreds of new members all at once and we can ease into it! It'll develop a nice little community atmosphere, and it can slowly gain momentum. Also any prizes we give won't be useless! If we did it 'big' then after a few months, an offer of free whatevery won't be that much of a good deal, and it'd be weird to suddenly give free stuff out two months in, if we made a big fuss of it at the start yet no one really started joining!'
But there REALLY are some flaws to that. That's how we tried to start our positive news site.
No launch party or anything, we just put it up one day, and then started using it ourselves. I spent time over the next few weeks going around posting links to it on forums, other websites etc, telling friends about it, putting up Project Wonderful ads... I still hope for the best, but even now we can't get people to submit anything to us. I've got Twitter now, and I'm rssing the articles. Still. Some websites do start off like that okay. We just need(ed) two or three regular posters and it could have been awesome. But somehow, it hasn't hit it off with the Internet yet.
Internet, meet Not Negative News.
Oh sorry, the party music is too loud? I'll tell you about it later.
I'm not giving up at all, but wow maybe I should bribe five people somehow to start talking on it.
I'm considering doing things for our Messages site such as handing out vouchers, rewarding people for getting other people signed up, having competitions, linking in as many places as possible all at once instead of gradually... (any other ideas?) but I'm concerned that could backfire as well. If it doesn't hit it off straight away, because they'll look at it and go 'oh. It's not very active is it?' then forget about it and go on their way, (but it'd only not be active because it'd be new) then I'll have run out of places to advertise- forums won't want me to advertise again a few months later.
A big launch flop could be more detrimental...
The Science of Twaklinology
8 months ago