How We Increased Landing Page Conversion by 16%: Lessons Learned from Redesigning the Buffer Home Page 

drawing boardA few weeks ago I had the opportunity to design a totally new landing page for Buffer. I had the green light to get creative and to try something new, even if that meant throwing everything away and starting from scratch.

So that’s exactly what I did.

The Experiment

This experiment, for me, was all about learning. Learning what people care about, learning what imagery tells a story, learning about how visitors examine a landing page, and learning how they decide whether or not to sign up. I had the mindset that I could totally fail — that this new landing page might suck and people wouldn’t respond.

But that didn’t really matter — this was about setting a base line, defining a style for Buffer that felt good and matched the brand; a design language that I could begin to translate across all areas of the product.

It was about connecting with users in order to get a better understanding of their needs and their desires, and knowing what features are best suited to make their lives easier.

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How to Name Your Startup

how to name your startup

This is the sixth article in our new series with advice on building a business, company culture and life-hacking from Joel, CEO here at Buffer. You can grab all posts here.

Choosing a name is one of the parts of a startup I find the most difficult. It’s also something you can easily get hung up on. We all know that the key thing is to move on to actually building something we can put in front of users.

Here are 3 steps I would take if I was naming a new startup:

1. If you can, stick to 2 syllables

Often constraints are good when undertaking a creative process like naming your startup. One of the best constraints I’ve found with startup naming is to try to stick to 2 syllables. It’s something I remember talking about a lot with my previous co-founder and good friend Oo. Generally following this rule results in a great name. Just look at some examples of 2 syllable names:

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A Simple Guide to Better Coaching and Feedback in Your Company

This is the fifth article in our new series with advice on building a business, company culture and life-hacking from Joel, CEO here at Buffer. You can grab all posts here.

andyI’ve written in the past about the evolution of our culture at Buffer. One of the things we started to do at around 6-7 people as part of the culture is that everyone has a 1:1 session with either myself or their team lead at least every 2 weeks. On top of that, I personally have a 1:1 session with LeoCarolyn and Sunil (the c-suite) every single week.

It’s been pretty powerful to put in place, and it’s something I would very much encourage startups to experiment with early on. I don’t often hear about coaching and feedback processes being in place at startups, and it took us some time to figure out how to structure it, so I hope this might be useful.

How the 1:1 sessions work

We’ve had many different iterations of the structure of our 1:1 sessions, which originated from the ‘mastermind’ format I’ve previously written about. Currently they last around 70 minutes and have quite a rigid structure as follows:

  • 10 minutes to share and celebrate your Achievements
  • 40 minutes to discuss your current top challenges
  • 10 minutes for the team lead (or me) to share some feedback
  • 10 minutes to give feedback to the team lead (or me)

Each of these sections serve a slightly different purpose and combine to create a very productive session. In addition, once sessions like this are done consistently over a period of a couple of months, a momentum builds and we’ve found the whole team has really started to move into a whole new gear.

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The Habits of Successful People: Be Inconsistent

eraserThis is the second article in our new series with advice on building a business, company culture and life-hacking from Joel, CEO here at Buffer. You can grab all posts here.

Recently 37signals published an article titled Some advice from Jeff Bezos. This wasn’t your usual advice, and I found it interesting to read and how familiar it felt as I read each next line. The post was all about “changing your mind”. The way I would describe the overall theme, is “inconsistency”. Here’s the key part of the post, paraphrased:

People who are right a lot of the time, are people who often change their mind. Consistency of thought is not a particularly positive trait.

I find this fascinating, because one of the biggest challenges I’ve found as a founder for the last few years is the times when I change my mind, when have a realisation and I become inconsistent on a thought I previously had. This is amplified as your startup grows, because you have users, co-workers and stakeholders who you are in touch with who are there to witness and be affected by your inconsistency.

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6 Simple Things You Can Do Every Day to Be Consistently Happy

happy

We’re starting a new series on the Buffer blog today with great tips and insights from Joel, CEO here at Buffer. Joel will share his ideas and insights about lifehacking, building a business and working on company culture. Here is #1:

Today it’s a little over three years since I first had the idea for Buffer, and with the year and a half before that which I worked on my previous startup, I’ve started to notice a few patterns amongst the ups and downs that come with building a startup.

One of the most important things I’ve learned during this time is that I perform the best when I’m happy. It really does change everything. If I’m happy then I’m more productive when hacking code, I’m better at answering support, and I find it easier to stay focused.

I’ve found that there are a few key habits which, for me, act as great rituals for enabling me to be consistently happy. They also act as anchor activities to bring my happiness level back up quickly whenever I have a period where I’m not feeling 100%. So here are 6 of the things I do:

1. Wake up early

One of the things I love about running my own startup is that I have complete freedom to experiment with my daily routine.

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8 Helpful Online Tools To Keep Your Company On Track

toolsWhen I joined Buffer, one of the things I was most excited about was seeing how we can get a lot done with a distributed team. I knew that Buffer was specifically set up to work this way and I was curious about seeing that play out.

It turns out, this is possible mostly because of the great tools we use. We’re continually testing and adding new ones to our arsenal to make sure we’re all on the same page and are looking after our customers as best we can.

Here are some of the products and services we use every day to help us stay connected and get things done.

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From Ideas to Traffic Results: How We Run a Blog with 700,000 Readers Per Month

manage a blogOne of the thing that people often ask us is how we are running the Buffer blog here. A few of the key questions that people ask us are the ones below:

  • How do we come up with ideas?
  • How do we manage our content pipeline?
  • What do we use to write?
  • What are our goals with the Buffer blog?
  • How do we measure results?

As we work hard on growing and improving the Buffer blog, we thought it would be fun to answer these questions and share what happens behind the scenes to keep fresh content hitting your inbox or RSS feed every day. Hopefully this will give you a bit of insight into how we do things at Buffer, and why we do them this way. And if there are still some questions unanswered, just ask away in the comments!

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HOW TO Auto-shorten Your Links For Better Buffer Analytics

Here is just a quick update for you on some of the latest changes we have made to Buffer to make your life easier.

For a long time we have automatically shortened links when sharing from all of our browser extensions, as of today we have took shortening even further and links will now be shortened as you type in both the dashboard and browser extensions!

Of course, sometimes you don’t want links shortened – in this case just hit the toggle switch next to the post buttons, this will turn off auto-shortening until you toggle it back on again.

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The 19 Awesome Investors In Our $450,000 Seed Round And How We Met Them

Update: There were 2 amazing posts on GigaOM and TechCrunch featuring our story, check it out.

Today is an amazing day. We are happily announcing the closing of our seed funding round of Buffer. We set out with the vision to make sharing content on Social Media a lot smarter and more efficient.

And we were fortunate enough to have 19 awesome investors and advisors who shared this vision with us and came on board. Instead of the usual funding announcement, I wanted to to give you a complete insight into the experience with each investor.

Since the moment I joined Joel at Buffer in early 2011, he always fostered a culture of being open and transparent. At the same time, we want to pass on and share as much from our experience as possible, so others can learn from it. These stories seemed like amazing opportunities.

So without further ado, here are the 17 great people we have on board now and a short story about how it all happened:

 

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It’s Not About The Best Product, It’s About The Best Users

Guys, do you have a minute? First off, we are really sorry for all the troubles that happened in the past 48 hours. There were many things that went wrong, Buffer was wonky and caused problems for many of you. We tried to fix a lot of these things and there are still a few bugs in the system that we are dealing with right now. This was all our fault and many of these things shouldn’t have happened.

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