where do i get alpha testers for my site
April 5, 2006 5:54 PM   Subscribe

What's the best way for me to advertise a new website to get some alpha testers? and a related question inside

I built a new site that requires a lot of links (it's sort of a depository) and I have done enough coding on it that it now needs to be tested by others. Currently, it deals with writing, scrapbooking, photography, or knitting. I am trying to get a few (maybe ten or twenty) consistent posters to add content and try to get it going. I don't really know where to begin getting these people and why they would be motivated to "give" when it isn't the best place to "get" just yet. Any ideas on where to start and how to motivate would be greatly appreciated. Please don't suggest money as I have none to offer. and I want to do this without pissing anyone off.

Also, on a related note, I was planning on adding thousands of links myself before I rolled the site out, but a friend told me to leave it empty and have people put in the links. I feel like that would be even harder to convince people to do since it would take so many more people. He, however, thinks that my posting many of the initial links may not cultivate the community aspect of the site (which isn't its primary role but definitely its secondary one). so i am a bit lost on that one too.

in the non-self-linking tradition, i won't post the site but of course i welcome those of you who might be interested in any of the above four subjects. my email is in my profile.

i'd give up but i really like the idea of this site and would love to see it succeed since i'd use it daily myself.
posted by karen to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
Best answer: Projects?
posted by Robot Johnny at 6:08 PM on April 5, 2006

You might also consider sending something to Lifehacker, though they're usually linking to slightly more established projects.
Better yet, look around at the resources that already exist and like groups—knitting fans, writers, etc, and post to their leaders asking for support, etc. Because I realize there's a low occurrence of knitters on Digg, in retrospect...
posted by disillusioned at 6:13 PM on April 5, 2006

I believe it's ok to put your site in your profile? It'd be easier for people to help you once they know what it is and what stage of polish it's at.

Something I considered when thinking about this sort of thing a while ago is to find specialized forums that deal with the topics the site helps with (in your case, eg. knitting) and mention it there or mention it to bloggers who cover the topic. This can seriously backfire though, don't just do it coz I said so unless others recommend it too :)
posted by Firas at 6:33 PM on April 5, 2006

Response by poster: lol. firas and disillusioned:

i thought of posting to those groups, but wouldn't that be annoying to you if you were one of those people? i assume they must get such requests all the time and what really is their incentive? Maybe i am overanalyzing this but I guess i am worried about pissing people off or introducing it too soon and losing its potential from the very beginning.

robotjohnny, i totally didn't know about projects and it's great, thanks! i guess my only worry is again i am jumping too soon and will piss people off? is that a place for alpha or maybe post-beta?

my profile sounds like a great idea, i'll go ahead and add it now :)
posted by karen at 6:44 PM on April 5, 2006

Best answer: Craigslist?
posted by camcgee at 9:24 PM on April 5, 2006

I am trying to get a few (maybe ten or twenty) consistent posters to add content and try to get it going.
Any friends who write/scrapbook/take photos/knit? Have them invite a few of their friends. Offer them cookies or brownies for adding ten links each.

I was planning on adding thousands of links myself before I rolled the site out...
Go with your gut instinct. However, thousands of crap links is as good as no links. Instead put up 20-40 good links to start. From there try to consistently add fresh good links on a daily weekly basis. To develop a community, you need regular injection of fresh, new content. You want to give the sense that the community is growing and becoming more useful.

If you start the site with no links, then you're putting the onus on your new users to make your website useful. As a new user, if I don't see anything useful right off the bat, I'm not gonna stick around for more than 10 seconds.
posted by junesix at 10:09 PM on April 5, 2006

Post a link to your site in your metafilter profile, then ask a question about how to promote it.
posted by delmoi at 10:12 PM on April 5, 2006

Best answer: I second Craigslist. I started a photography magazine online and had no idea where to begin to get submissions. Within two weeks of posting it on Craigslist I had over 70 submissions. Just say that you are looking for regular posters to contribute to a new community-based site and I bet you'll get plenty of responses.
Oh, and definitely put some links up on the site. And post it to Projects, too - I'd check it out.
posted by mushroom_tattoo at 12:44 AM on April 6, 2006

Response by poster: mushroom_tattoo: what section of craigslist did you post it at?

also, if you email me the link to your magazine, i'd love to put it in my site if that's ok. (i looked in your profile but couldn't find it)
posted by karen at 5:39 AM on April 6, 2006

I posted my call for submissions under Creative Gigs in five several cities. But now that I am thinking back, I just remembered that there was a bit of a problem doing this:

Craigslist doesn't like you to post the same gig simultaneously -- even if you are posting in different cities around the world. I got around this by using a different email address for each city I posted in. I posted to five different cities, and saw an immediate response. After the first week, I rotated the ad to five new cities. Around the third week, a couple of my posts were flagged because I was breaking the rule about simultaneous posting. I questioned the reasoning behind the rule and was told it was to cut down on the spam ads. I defended myself by saying I was not a spam ad but a magazine looking for international submissions. They told me that it didn't matter because Craigslist was based on local people looking for local people. Now, I don't think that is always true, but I let it go. By this time I had such an overwhelming amount of submissions that I just took down the rest of the posts. And I have never needed to put out a call for submissions again.

I broke the rules because I wanted instant gratification. But you don't need to be a rebel. You could just post it once and if you wanted to, rotate the post to a new city every few days.
posted by mushroom_tattoo at 10:00 AM on April 6, 2006

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