August Updates for Bootstrapping an Audience

by Tommy Leung on August 11th, 2020

What do you call it when you say you are going to Bootstrap in Public and then provide no updates for 5 months? 🧐

I could blame it on the worldwide coronavirus pandemic that has ground the world to a halt but then I'd just be lying.

The pandemic is certainly real but that's not why I haven't been writing.

I just haven't made a habit of it and there's been a lot of work bootstrapping Ourcade.

Just some highlights since the February post:

  • Email list grew to over 1200 subscribers
  • YouTube Channel grew to 594 subscribers
  • Twitter account grew to 207 followers
  • Website has reached over 10,000 people

The Email List

ConvertKit Stats from 3/15 to 8/11

Ourcade's email list has grown quite well and steadily. The spike early on was due to Phaser's creator personally pointing out and recommending the free ebook used as an incentive.

We released another free ebook in May as an incentive but it did not really have an affect on the growth of the email list.

It would even appear that things started trending down as various coronavirus related lockdowns started easing in mid-May. Subscription growth held steady through mid-June when Phaser linked to and recommended the two ebooks as part of the Github repository's Getting Started section. 😎

The validation and social-proof from getting referenced by the official project has certainly helped with general growth.

There are about 80 cold subscribers on the list that I need to handle. I had been just deleting them but there's a better way that ConvertKit suggests and I plan to execute that.

The YouTube Channel

YouTube States from 2/26 - 8/10

The YouTube Channel saw some quick growth in late-March to mid-May in terms of views and then leveled off.

Subscribers have been relatively steady over time with a few better days in late-April to mid-May.

Unclear if it was meaningful or just random but both Views and Subscribers took a dip in late-May and has held steady since then. It could be related to having changed the publishing schedule from 1 every day to 1 or a series every week.

Having one video every day was not quite sustainable and it is not clear that the dip wasn't a seasonal effect. Views are starting to trend up again so we'll see.

The Twitter Account

I don't have a chart to show Twitter's stats. Part of it could be that I don't really know how to navigate Twitter Analytics... 🤔

That said, follower count has grown steadily over time by gaining at least 30 followers each month since February.

I am able to compare my personal Twitter account to Ourcade's and engagement is night and day between the two. My personal account has no specific purpose and I'm still trying to find what the voice I want to convey is.

Ourcade's account is focused specifically on JavaScript game development and frequently shares helpful tips and content. Engagement for tweets are frequently near or above 10%. The average engagement rate in the last 28 days is about 3%.

Not sure if that is good or not but it is much better than my personal account. 😅

The Website

Website Traffic from 2/26 to 8/10

Website traffic has grown quite a bit. We had some bot traffic that was quickly filtered out once we saw it.

The large and quick growth on the left side of the graph is from Phaser's official website linking to a 5 part tutorial series over a few weeks.

The content has since rolled off the main page so traffic has declined from that source. But organic traffic has been growing during that time and has become the largest source of traffic in the last few weeks.

One can never depend on big sites linking to your content so organic traffic and showing up in search results is what we want to build-up for the long-term.

So far that looks like it is working. 🤗

What about SmartGameDev?

I actually gave that up to focus on Ourcade in early-March. I was finding that I didn't really care to serve the Unity developer audience. I love Unity but didn't feel as passionate or interested in that ecosystem.

I've used Unity for years professionally but I have a personal belief in the decentralization potential of open web technologies. And I feel I can help move that vision forward by improving game development on the web.

Ourcade takes plenty of time as it is to create new written and video content every week along with a newsletter. Then there's engaging with the community, doing research, and working on developing products.

Sounds like a full-time job by itself! 😎 Sometimes you just have to focus on one thing before you can expand to more things.


That's all for this update. Hopefully, I'll have something more frequent than once every 5 months. 😭

It'll help if I don't do much editing for these types of posts. So if you see typos then you know why!

I'd be happy to hear any thoughts in the comments below or you can give me a follow on Twitter where I try to share more of this as well!