Runner at starting line, ready to go.




Startup Tips

Last week we launched our website and held an office opening party for our new office in Örebro, Sweden. By all measures (including number of hotdogs consumed) it was a great time. I participated via Skype and due to the Örebro-San Francisco time difference, I toasted with coffee and donuts.

orebro1 orebro2

The great response from friends on Twitter and Facebook had me scrambling a bit to put some tools in place to keep track of everything. Seems like there are always new tools to help with social media, and I don’t know if I’m necessarily using the best ones, but I thought I’d write a quick post to share what we have.

appivo-tw_sqWe started with the usual accounts:

Then we added some free services to help manage everything:

  • Sumall – Sumall is a pretty simple service that summarizes our Twitter and Facebook activity including followers, mentions, tweet reach, likes, etc. I just supplied our account info and they send a daily email. Doesn’t get much easier.
  • Mention – I just started using Mention so I don’t have a lot of feedback yet. Signing up was easy and it’s similar to Sumall in that it summarizes Twitter and Facebook activity. Seems like I have more flexibility to configure alerts, and I can pay up for additional reporting capabilities.
  • Google Analytics – This one was eye-opening. It’s pretty impressive how much data is collected (devices, browsers, countries, cities, etc.). However, fine-tuning the configuration and actually getting value out of all that data is another story. It’s great to see how much traffic is coming from Facebook vs. Twitter, and what percentage sign up, but I’ve wasted way too much time watching the real-time stats.
  • Google Webmaster Tools – Another great tool from Google. GWT helps me understand how healthy our site is, from broken links and other site errors to sitemap info. I also discovered that “coffee” is a popular word on our site.
  • Host Gator – There are seemingly infinite web hosting companies. When we decided to use a WordPress site, Host Gator made the short list and then rose to the top based on my highly subjective analysis. They have some good deals, it was super easy to get set up, and their chat support is surprisingly good.
  • Bitnami – Before Host Gator, we got things going locally by running Bitnami’s WordPress vm on VirtualBox. This was a great way to ramp up on everything before picking a hosting provider.
  • WordPress – We initially looked at WordPress.com but their lack of powerful business themes sent us to the theme marketplaces (we found our theme on Envato/Themeforest). As I mentioned above, we use Host Gator’s simple WordPress hosting service. Within WordPress we added the Contact Form 7 plugin but we’re also looking at MailChimp. There was definitely a learning curve but it was all surprisingly easy.

We use a number of other tools for internal operations but some of those may change soon. I’ll write about them later once we finalize our selection.

Hopefully this post is useful. Feel free to comment below about what you use or don’t use and why. I’m sure I’ve missed some cool services.

Author: Jamie MacQuarrie

Appivo co-founder who continues to wear multiple hats and will never settle on just one. Relies on coffee to offset the demands of work and a new puppy. Plays basketball regularly, surfs occasionally and tweets sporadically.

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