Part 2 – The Early Days

Of course there’s nothing quite like having a small amount of money to get you working fast and cutting costs. You aren’t a dotcom without some tales of hardship, so… Paul (and his server) is in his spare bedroom, Alex G is in an outhouse in his garden and Alex M and I are in an office under a railway bridge (try conducting a 3 way skype call with a train thundering overhead!).

snagsta HQ

Expos
We attended the A4U Affiliate Marketing Expo in London in October. The keynote presentation was by the quirky and inimitable Guy Philipson, chairman of the IAB. It was an incredible learning experience, but I still couldn’t help feeling there is something shady about affiliate marketing. There are few people out making a lot of money sitting at home setting up little pointless shell websites they optimize like crazy to promote random products on a short-term basis. It all feels a bit false – nothing like the genuine service we are planning to bring to market in the next few months! There is a more legitimate side to affiliate marketing which we hope to tap into as one of our revenue sources.

Choosing a name
Naming can be a tricky business. It presents your personality to the world. And sometimes determines who you are. If you read this article in the Times http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/book_extracts/article2804926.ece you’d know your son would be almost twice as likely to become a dentist if you named him Dennis! As most parents well tell you, it’s much better to name your baby before launch. It’s no different with websites. Except that, unlike children, your company url has to be unique. And since every url is either taken by a working website or being cyber-squatted by thieving gypsies who think buying and selling urls is a legitimate business it makes choosing a name a nightmare. We were desperate to launch our teaser site but simply couldn’t find a name we were all passionate about. In the end we picked 4 options, did a poll and then used hindsight bias to justify our decision!

Logo and Design
Having finally settled on a name we thought the hard part was over. How wrong we were! We’ve just discovered how ‘personal’ design is. Three fickle fellas is certainly not a recipe for success when it comes to logos and design!

And that’s where we are now – six months distilled down to two blogs a couple of paragraphs long. From this point on, we’ll be recording the highs and lows as they happen for all and sundry to pick over.

Next week we’ll look at how blogging influenced our thinking and strategy.

Today’s list…

Great sites that really helped us as we took the entrepreneurial leap

Pickydomains – www.pickydomains.com
If you’re struggling for a name set up a competition on this site.

Sitepoint – www.sitepoint.com
If you’re struggling for a logo or page design set up a competition on this site.

Elance – www.elance.com
Put your web development up for tender on this site. We haven’t used it yet but may use it to get our Facebook app done.

kuler – http://kuler.adobe.com
Great colour resource for your designers.

Web 2.0 design – http://www.webdesignfromscratch.com/web-2.0-design-style-guide.cfm
If you want to make sure your site follows current design best practise.

Companies House – http://www.companieshouse.gov.uk/
A critical part of setting up a company. Just remember the website only works 9 to 5…

WordPress – www.wordpress.com
Any aspiring start-up needs a blog where they can start bigging themselves up. No better place than wordpress.

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