After several years and 500+ posts and counting, it has gotten a little unwieldy to just point people at the first article and ask them to read to the end. (If you’d like to try anyhow, I recommend Rizal al Mashoor‘s MicroISV on a Shoestring Reader. For some reason related to my blog migration to WPEngine, you’ll need to click Next twice to read the first post after you open that. The 404 isn’t real.) For folks who would rather just get to the good stuff, I try to periodically curate a list of the posts which are most valuable.
- Don’t Call Yourself A Programmer, And Other Career Advice. Career advice for engineers, but widely applicable, or so I’m told. Personal favorite.
- Some Perspective On The Japanese Earthquake. My (very personal) take on Japan’s response to disaster management. Got covered in the NYT, Australian ABC, BBC, etc.
- Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Names. Covered in the New York Times and other major national media — well, their blogs at any rate.
- Running A Software Business on 5 Hours A Week. Time management and productivity tips. Personal favorite. See also about using metrics for personal productivity.
- Why I’m Done Making Desktop Applications. Personal favorite.
- How To Compete With Open Source. (日本語版もあります！）
- The IE7 CSS Bug Which Cost Me A Month’s Salary. It was a learning experience… a very expensive learning experience.
- Strategic SEO for Startups. Personal favorite, and probably my best “high level” take on SEO strategy for businesses which are not mine. See also follow-up discussion.
- The Hardest Adjustment To Self Employment.
- Building Highly Reliable Websites. Personal favorite.
- Andrew Warner interviewed me on Mixergy. (About one hour, comes with transcript half-written by me.) Andrew is, by the way, the best interviewer in technology today. You cannot do better than some of the insights he teases out of guests, and he has a wonderful way of making people so comfortable they forget to not answer the tough questions he slides in there.
- Gabriel Weinberg interviewed me with specific regards to SEO, mini-sites, and conversion optimization. (About one hour, comes with transcript written by me.)
- I did a 7.5 minute lightning talk on selling software to underserved markets at Business of Software 2010.
- I did an hour-long talk with Andrew Warner about Scalable Content Generation. AppSumo sells it. It is worth the money.
- I spoke on Productizing Twilio Applications at TwilioConf 2011.
- Google brought me in to do a tech talk about What Engineers Don’t Know We Know About Marketing.
- Before launch (July 1, 2006) I had a rough cut of my content creation strategy and figured out there would be seasonal elements to it.
- Right after launch, I stumbled on what turned into my first major SEO opportunity: Dolch Sight Words. This started working rather quickly (was my main source of sales for almost a year), both for traffic and for backlinks.
- Optimizing your website for snowflake queries: the ones Google only sees once. This eventually formed the core of my content creation strategy: as many pages as possible, each targeted at one specific, narrow interest.
- Most recommended series: After seeing the results of doing content creation by hand in notepad, I started trying to scale it up using Rails and get the content written by freelancers. This ended up getting early positive results and eventually virtually taking over the business (now accounting for some 50% of sales and 75% of profits, give or take). I eventually distilled this strategy into a presentation on SEO for software companies, which is my conference shtick of choice.
- Using evergreen content (that which is perpetually useful to consistent, unchanging needs of your customers) to make sales. (Note: anti-pattern of a 10 year old blog post outranking product site happens frequently in consulting!) My little brother busy trying to break into comic book writing advice also has thoughts on this here.
- I have a variety of mini-sites focused on my best performing single pieces of content, beginning with an experimental one for Christmas back in 2008. They tend to work exceptionally well in their second and third years.
- While originally I wrote these by hand, after expanding from the Halloween/Christmas/Valentine’s triumvirate to second-tier activities like Thanksgiving bingo cards, it became more rational to get freelancers to do it for me.
- Relatedly, I wrote up some tips on how to do holiday promotions.
- See everything I write about content creation, as they’re deeply entwined for me.
- Tactics and strategy for more effective link building.
On Page SEO:
- An early take on on-page optimizations.
- It took 11 days to rank for my product name and a month until organic SEO eclipsed PPC as a source of traffic for me.
- Coding for SEO on Rails.
- I tried buying links when I was young and stupid (slightly before Google came down hard on the practice). It didn’t work out great.
- Put your blog in a subdirectory of the product domain.
- The right way to do a 301 redirect in Apache.
- Why I don’t recommend hiring SEO consultants. Personal favorite. (Ironic, since I sometimes am one.)
- The psychology of free trials (one of my favorite posts, for humor value).
- I wrote the book on A/B testing with Rails. If by book you mean “OSS software.” I use this extensively for testing marketing copy, landing pages, design tweaks, the purchasing page, and in-app funnels.
- Minor tactical conversion tweaks with big results. Four years later I’m paid to consult with companies you’ve heard of and it is disgusting how many need to be told some of them. (Big buttons!)
- How to sell more software. Personal favorite.
- Practical Conversion Tips for Selling Software. Personal favorite.
- The importance of always giving the user prominent options which advance them towards conversion.
- Tips for landing page design. They worked pretty decently for me. You can see whatever I’m currently testing here.
- Early impressions on how to be successful with AdWords. Hilariously, at the time I was very opposed to the Content Network, which is now 90% of my AdWords business.
- Using Placement Preference to decrease costs. I don’t do it anymore — Conversion Optimizer is far superior for cost performance.
- Why I don’t use Yahoo Search Marketing, or whatever it is called these days. Fool me once, bad on you, fool me twice…
- After being an early adopter of Conversion Optimizer with significant success I was ranking #3 for it (under Google itself), which might have been why they did a case study with me. It remains my favorite AdWords feature.
- Instrumenting a downloadable free trial to tell what is causing conversions.
- Using Google Analytics to see what people are clicking on. (CrazyEgg is a much better option in every way.)
- Engineering Your Way To Marketing Success. Partially practical tips, partially part of my ongoing campaign to convince programmers that marketing is a worthwhile skill they can’t afford to reflexively dismiss or be terrible at.
- Why posting on forums to move product at retail is probably a waste of your time.
- Blogging as personal marketing. (I was starting to be the go-to guy for SEO a year and change into my business, when I was 25.)
- Using incentivized surveys to get customer feedback. Personal favorite. It taught me some interesting things.
- Don’t Call Yourself A Programmer. Personal favorite. My advice to young engineers on positioning themselves for current and future career growth.
- My thoughts on salary negotiation, particularly useful for engineers.
- For freelancers/consultants: how to get your first client and how to set prices (interviews conducted with Ramit Sethi).
Tough To Categorize But Still Useful:
- Why I don’t write any Top Ten Ways To Sell A Widget articles. Personal favorite.
- Dealing with market seasonality.