8 Blog Posts That Every Startup Team Needs to Read
My favorite recent articles about growth, marketing and business life.
There are a lot of really good business blog posts that I don’t find useful, only because the topic isn’t particularly relevant to me at the time that I happen across the post.
But eventually, most businesses will deal with similar challenges, which is why I keep a Someday folder in my bookmarks.
The Someday folder is where I store high-quality content that I know will come in handy someday.
I often come back to this folder whenever I’m facing a problem, and found a very useful solution in something I saved a long, long time ago.
Now, the problems that we’re facing today may very well be different from the problems that you’re facing today.
Which is why I want to share a handful of the best posts I’ve recently added to my Someday folder, in the hopes that they can help you with something that you’re going through right now.
1) Getting Out of the Startup Rat Race
By Josh Pigford
If you follow the advice of a lot of startup blogs, then there’s a good chance that you’re running a race that doesn’t actually exist.
“We HAVE to get to X% month-over-month growth.”
“We HAVE to get to $Y per employee.”
“We HAVE to get to $Z in CLV.”
Far too many of us don’t ask ourselves that last, critical question.
Why are you playing the “startup” game? Why not realize that you’re the only player, and the game is whatever you decide it is?
I love this honest, transparent and contrarian post from Josh.
So many entrepreneurs think that the end goal is a big acquisition or going public. They model their actions based on the handful of atypical and statistically improbable stories they read about. They read advice like the stuff above talking about sacrificing every facet of their life for their business, and they think that’s some way to live.
But it’s not. It’s not a way to live. It’s not healthy. It doesn’t make you interesting. It’s not fun building anything that way. It, statistically speaking, likely won’t even make you very much money.
2) 19 Actionable SEO Tips to Increase Organic Traffic
SEO is something that we avoided for a while. I personally had a lot of misconceptions about it, and thought of search engine optimization as some sort of dark art.
The reality is, it can be insanely useful, especially when you layer it on top of content that’s already valuable.
This guide from Matthew Barby is the most comprehensive and tactical that I’ve ever come across.
One mistake that a lot of people make when they're planning for the launch of a big piece of content is that they rely too heavily on the quality of the content earning it coverage organically.
Whenever I launch a big piece of content (this one included), I make sure that I'm seeding the promotion myself to give it the best possible chance of going on to perform well organically.
To do this, I often align the launch of my content with a couple of guest posts on relevant websites to drive a load of relevant traffic to it, as well as some relevant links. This has a knock-on effect toward the organic amplification of the content and means that you at least have something to show for the content (in terms of ROI) if it doesn't do as well as you expect organically.
3) Nothing Matters Unless Your SaaS Product Is On Point
By Hiten Shah
A lot of businesses—including ours—love to spend a lot of time thinking about marketing.
We obsess over how we can get more people to try our product. But none of that matters one bit if your product isn’t great.
This post from Hiten is an important reminder of that, and an impressive step-by-step guide for building a better SaaS product.
It’s tempting to point to all of the surface-level causes of churn—things we can’t control:
The truth, however, is sometimes a bit more painful to admit. Churn often happens because your product isn’t good enough.
- “The customer doesn’t have the budget.”
- “The customer’s payment methods aren’t working, and we can’t get a hold of them.”
- “The customer has decided to take the service in-house.”
4) There Is No Destination. You’ve Arrived.
By Alan VanToai
Building a business is a massive challenge, physically, mentally and emotionally.
It’s so easy to get caught in the grind, to work yourself into the ground, and to hang all of your emotional well-being on just hitting that next big milestone.
Don’t fall for that; it’s a death trap.
As a founder who has battled through those emotional peaks and valleys many times, I love reminders like this one from Alan VanToai.
No matter how grand your ambitions, no matter how big your goals, one thing is certain: when you achieve them, you will always be looking for what’s next.
So recognize that, and embrace it. There is no “more”.
This is it. This is what life is. This is as good as it gets.
There is no milestone, no achievement, no threshold to pass. No finish line. No pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Only a lifetime of challenges, work, and problems.
5) How We Scaled a Startup From 0 Organic Traffic to 100,000 Visitors/Mo (In About One Year)
By Tyler Hakes
These days, I rarely see content marketing articles that offer a lot of value that’s new to me.
This one is different.
Tyler’s approach to using data in content—which then got picked up in outlets like the Washington Post—is simple and straightforward, and literally anyone can do it.
Everything is explained really clearly, and I guarantee you’ll pick up something you haven’t considered yet.
If you want people to promote your content, you need to give them everything they need to do it.
Make it so simple they can’t say no.
When we did outreach to colleges about this recognition, we didn’t just send them a link to our post.
Oh, no. We did way more than that.
We prepared a press release template. We created a visual badge. We gave them specific materials and instructions on how to promote and publicize the achievement.
And it worked.
6) Lessons Learned: How to Effectively Organize a Remote Team Meetup
By Adam Feber
As a remote team, we don’t get to see each other in person very often.
But when we do, we get more done (in both productive work and culture-building) in a single day than we often do in a week of remote work.
Still, planning a get-together for a group of people located all over the world isn’t easy.
This guide walks through Chargify’s process for planning remote team retreats, and it’s one that we’re borrowing from heavily in our own planning process.
While everyone is together, it’s a great opportunity to get some professional headshots and team photos taken.
A professional photographer is relatively inexpensive ($500-$1500) and will yield much better results than someone bringing their DSLR and playing photographer.
Not only do high quality headshots help spruce up a “team” or “about us” page, team members will LOVE them. Consider it another perk of the job.
As soon as our headshots were available, I started seeing team members updating all of their profile pics – Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Slack, etc. around the web.
7) Why You Should Change Your SaaS Pricing Every 6 Months
This is an area where we’ve historically done a bad job.
Our pricing, until very recently, had been the same for nearly three years.
This post does an excellent job breaking down why it’s so important to test your pricing regularly, and just how huge of an impact doing so can have on your business.
SaaS differs from other industries out there in the fact that customers, competitors, and technology can so quickly evolve and change. A customer can easily switch from one solution to another, and competitors can copy that new nifty feature. This environment means that your pricing, the exchange rate on the value you’re creating, needs to constantly be evolving, as well. You must be proactive.
8) What I Learned Growing an 8 Figure Business
By Noah Kagan
It wasn’t that long ago when we passed the 7-figure threshold for our business.
And hopefully, it won’t be too long until we pass the 8-figure mark.
Getting to that first milestone was a journey full of stumbles and hard lessons learned. But what nobody tells you is that when you set your sights on that next milestone, the challenges you face become completely different.
Noah’s post on the lessons he learned growing Sumo to 8 figures is long and rich, packed with actionable tips on how to get to the next level.
Don’t worry about getting new customers. Existing customers are so much easier to market to, so build complimentary products for your existing customers.
Think about your favorite author. Do you own more than 1 book of theirs? I’d bet 1 million percent you do. Why is that?
I do this too, and it’s because we like their stuff and want MORE from them. Think about that with your business: keep giving MORE of what the people already want INSTEAD of starting new businesses, trying totally different categories, or focusing all your attention elsewhere.
Two Questions for You
I hope that these posts help you solve challenging problems, whether you’re going through them right now, or in the future.
If you’ve read this far, I’d really appreciate you answering just two quick questions:
- Can you share the best business-related blog post you’ve recently come across? I’d love to add it to my Someday list, and it will make this post even more valuable for all of us.
- Would you be interested in a regular (weekly or monthly) digest of the content I’m reading, loving and adding to my Someday list?
Leave a comment below and let me know.