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Nevo David

Website design hacks for open-source

October 28, 2023

Nevo David

Everything written in this post is my personal opinion. Take it or leave it 😉

In the beginning

When I started my startup, Linvo, many years ago, we did what most people do.
We went to a website like ThemeForest and bought a new template, and then we went on AppSumo and sold some lifetime deals.

That was a good thing for validation (and to generate some money).
A few months later, I told my co-founder, let’s pay a designer to remake the website.

He said, but why? We don't need a better design if we solve a problem.

I didn’t know what to answer (I did it anyway, which brought more customers), but I couldn’t understand why.

Fast forward to Novu

Novu is an interesting story because we had a quick rebranding after the funding, so the first thing we have done is to create the new Novu website. (Novu = Nevo, yes I know, I enchanted the founders with the new name)

And then we started to get hot leads.
At the initial meeting, they all thought we were a bigger company.

Most open-source companies’ target audience is not SMBs but enterprises
(if you build an architecture).

They are the last to buy and would not take hard risks (most of them) on small companies.

It means that if you look small (like a two-person team), you might not get enough calls just because “you are too early.”

You can change the narrative. It’s all up to you.

What to avoid:

  • About page - If you are still small, avoid writing an about page and listing 2-3 people there. Do it only if you are big enough and maybe have a picture of the entire team with the company shirt and stuff.

  • Social Media (Personal opinion) - During the last Novu Product Hunt launch, I checked the second company on the list.
    Their website looked quite impressive, but when I went to their Twitter, I saw around 40 followers.
    I immediately knew they were small.
    (because you can fake a website but can’t fake your social).

    At Clickvote, I avoid opening Social pages.
    Once my newsletter is big enough, I will open socials and send people to follow them immediately from the newsletter.

  • Avoid adding live support - Live support is only good as long as it’s live. If somebody leaves a message and you answer after 1-2 days, that’s bad. Only add live support if you are capable of it.

What to do:

  • Invest in design like your life depends on it - kidding, but do invest in design, check the latest open-source trending (Gradients, Spline, Riveapp, etc.)

  • Add a Discord community support - Hide your users so people will not know precisely how many people are there. That can be good because somebody else can answer if you don’t respond. BTW, Slack for the community is dead. If you are using Slack right now, change it.

  • Finish all the pages on your websites:

    • Do you have a blog? Add at least 3-4 pages to it.

    • Do you have empty pages of terms of services and privacy policy? Fill them with content (hell, use ChatGPT for that.)

    • Do you have some missing functionality? (Buttons are not working, 404 pages and stuff.) - Fix them or remove them.

Always remember, design is design. You can get any design, no matter the size of your venture.

The design doesn’t have to be expensive. You can find many cheap, good designers at Dribbble.

Do you know the Acme (YC W22)?

A long time ago, I talked to Vlad, the founder of Infisical.

They are a YCombinator company, but they don’t write it anywhere.

He told me that it is known that if you write it, you are probably in the early stages, and decided not to add it anywhere:

  • Not on the bottom of the website

  • Not on their Social accounts

That’s good for investors but not for customers.
It makes you look small.

Look at Clickvote

I am a solo founder working on Clickvote.
One of the most important things was the main website design.

I do miss many pages.
But the feedback I have gotten so far is that it doesn’t look like a one-person company.

Do you need help?

I am happy to help any founder/maintainer to find their growth.

  • Get more stars

  • Get more contributors

  • Get more visibility

  • Get more customers

Schedule a free meeting with me here.

I might give you some “aha!” moments. Who knows 🙇🏻‍♂️

See you next week!