As a StartupWeekend alumni I know there are many things you have to do during the weekend in to order to present a nice demo to the audience. One of the important things to do is building a website to present your product and get known on the web. I wish I had at that time an article with a compilation of tools to use and an easy-to-follow tutorial about how to use these tools. This article is the first part of the tutorial, I will present the tools we will use in the second part.
Who you should read this article : if you are in a StartupWeekend, if you are building your startup and don’t want to spend to much time on the website, if you have a startup idea and want to get known or if you are curious :)
Why you should not read this article : if you think that ninjas are better
As a new startup you will need a custom domain name with a hosting space, a landing page to invite future users to sign-up for a beta, a blog and a Twitter account.
1. Host your website and buy a custom domain name
You have many offers to host your website and get your own domain name, you can pick the one you prefer. Following this tutorial you will not need a lot of space but think one step further to when you will need space for you real website. I personally recommend CoolHandle because they have a $5/mo offer with unlimited space and bandwith, their support his amazing (they always replied in less than 24hours), they give a FREE domain with any hosting plan, plus they have a built-in option for one of the services we will use.
To get $50 off on Coolhandle offers use the code : zc06956
Once you have you have your own .com and hosting plan you can go to the next step.
2. Create an account on a wonderful blog platform
Blog platform ? Really ? Yes ! It is not like Blogger or Skyblog which are for teenagers ; do not worry! We will use Posterous, which is the new fashion in blog platforms for startups. It is very understandable when you see how easy it is to post on the blog. Posterous is very powerful; you can post just by sending an email, and that is very useful when you need your team to post on the blog. Another interesting feature is the connection with social networks. Posterous lets you update your Facebook page, your Twitter account, Reddit… automatically when you post something. It gains you a significant amount of time !
So sign-up here : Posterous
3. Create a Cloudflare account to manage your DNS
Cloudflare is a San Francisco based startup that permits you to speed up your website and protect it against spammers. It is very efficient : usually 65% faster. It is very easy and quick to configure with your domain, which we will see in the next part. It also permits you to manage your DNS as a professional. And everything is FREE ! You can upgrade your account to a pro account if free features are not enough.
4. Ask for a LaunchRock invitation
LaunchRock is the new must-have for startups ! It is the winner of the StartupWeekend of Philadelphia. With LaunchRock you have a simple page where users will be able to sign-up to get early access to your website, and share a referral link on social networks. It is again easy to configure and you have nothing to do besides customize the page. It is super powerful to see which successful startups already use it : Zaarly, DitchTheTourBus, LaunchRock…
If you do not have an invite yet and you are attending a StartupWeekend, just email sw [@] launchrock.com and they will send you an early invite. If thiq is not your case you can still sign up on LaunchRock and wait for an invitation or email the team and explain your project.
5. Create your social network identity
If you read this, that means you have hopefully completed the 5 previous steps and you have all the tools you need to create your startup webpage.
Let’s go to step 2 : Link all the tools together (coming soon)
Special Thanks to Kirsten Pertersen (St. Olaf 2011) who helped me with my english grammar