As most of you know, the little web app that I made called “How’s Your Hair?” went completely bonkers on the internet last week. While it was really cool getting coverage from popular news sites like Huffington Post, The Daily Mail , and Jezabel, there are some things I would have done differently had I known it was going to be so big. There are also some things that I’m really glad I did do, so I’ll share those too.
01. Make sure you have Google Analytics Installed
When I saw the article I saw the Kate Middleton header image and just thought, “Hey, that’s cool, someone else made a similar app to mine that let’s you know your hair forecast.” Then I scrolled down and saw screen shots from my app and then I was like, “WAIT. WHAT?” I immediately set up Google Analytics just in case it started to get shared more.
02. Take the precautions you may need to do as a result of getting lots of traffic.
In some cases this may mean giving your webhost a call and letting them know that you’re expecting to get a ton of visitors and to maybe move your content to a server that can handle lots of traffic. Because I use Bluehost, I didn’t really have anything to worry about in that regard, unless I got like hundreds of thousands of visitors at once, which I figured would be pretty unlikely no matter how big the app became.
One thing that did happen before I realized the app was posted on Yahoo was that I got an email from Wunderground API (the database the app uses to pull weather info) warning me that I had gone over my limit of access to the API. If it happened five more times they would shut down my app for the rest of the day. I just thought that it was my friends being over-zealous with the app, so I left it alone for a bit.
Once I saw my app being shared all over twitter and Yahoo Tech, I upgraded my subscription to Wunderground so that it wouldn’t go over the daily limit. This cost me $20.00, but was well worth it, because it would have definitely crashed. When the app got shared on Jezabel a week later I got another warning email, but the next level of upgrading would cost $200, so I decided against it.
03. Give yourself credit.
While the URL for How’s Your Hair? is gabwhite.com/weather, when I first put it online I didn’t add a link back to my own site or twitter, and I even left it for a few days without it going back to my personal site. This was because I really didn’t expect it to catch on that much, so I didn’t bother adding any links back to me. After close to a week I saw that it really wasn’t slowing down, so I made sure to add a link to my personal site as well as a “follow me” button for twitter.
04. Don’t let the haters get to you.
When The Daily Mail published an article about my app, people weren’t shy about making comments about it. They ranged from “No need for common sense then” to “When will someone make an app that stops idiots like this from making useless apps?” OUCH. Like any human being would, I kind of felt bummed out that so many people thought what I made was stupid. However, when I told my friends about these comments they rejoiced and were like, “You made it Gab! When you have people hating what you do, you know that you’re doing something right, because people actually care enough to say they hate it, instead of being indifferent to it”.
05. Enjoy your 15 minutes of fame.
People have asked me if this has created tons of job offers and opportunities for me – and it actually hasn’t at all, save for a few scam artists popping up in my inbox. The goal of this little web app was never to become a millionaire or get a job with some San Francisco start-up, so it’s not like I’m hurting over my lack of job offers here. I’m so thrilled that so many people have found the app relatable, useful, and funny – and brightening someone’s day is really the best you could ask for.
Also, now I can actually say that I’m published in Cosmo UK, which is probably the last publication I’d ever imagine getting recognized by, but it adds some colour to my résumé for sure.