twssgOne of the great things about doing a startup now is the growing range of tools, services, meetups, associations and conferences available to you. The numbers of these resources both Online and off grow each month.
These new tools and services can shave months off the development cycle while improving your startup’s game. In Chapter 4 of my new book, The Web Startup Success Guide I cover 16 of these new tools and services, how to connect with other startups and microISVs on and offline and much more.

<shameless plug>The Web Startup Success Guide will start shipping from Amazon July 22nd. If you’re planning to get my book, please pre-order now! Other booksellers – from the big chains to the independent booksellers – look closely at these pre-order numbers when deciding how many copies to stock. Your pre-order today means this book will be on their shelves.</shameless plug>

I’d like to share with you two of 16 tools I recommend to startups:

CrazyEgg

What it is: Site analytics that really work.
URL: http://crazyegg.com
crazyegg

Figure 4-6. CrazyEgg’s Confetti view

What it costs: From $9/month to track 10,000 visits to your site and 10 pages up to $99/month to track 250,000 visits/100 pages. The Standard ($19/month—25,000 visits on 20 pages) would seem a good fit.
Special mojo/shiny goodness: Unlike, say, Google Analytics, the beauty of CrazyEgg is that it shows you visually exactly where people are clicking on a given page, by overlaying on the page for you either a heat map or aggregated click counts or actual clicks that can each display more information. Stats are one thing—and CrazyEgg does that as well— but, at least for me, being able to see the page and to see where people are clicking makes it easier to comprehend what’s working and what’s not.
Why you should know about it: CrazyEgg is a very cool way to find out what’s working on your site and what’s not—quickly. You can invest untold hours into analyzing your server logs and you won’t get the same actionable knowledge that a single glance at a CrazyEgg-monitored page will show you.

Jing

What it is: Screenshot and video capture for Windows and Macs.
URL: http://www.jingproject.com/
jing

Figure 4-10. Jing

What it costs: Free, or for $14.95 a year you can acquire Pro, which handles MPEG-4, one-button YouTube upload and brand-free videos.
Special mojo/shiny goodness: Jing makes easy the capturing to video of what’s on your screen and sharing it with another developer, a customer needing support, or the world. Sometimes a minute-long video will calm a customer, explain a programming problem, or entice an investor when words simply would not get the job done. Although other tools, notably Jing’s “big brother,” Camtasia Studio, have editing capabilities you’ll need to create more formal videos, such as product screencasts, Jing—with its abilities to capture both video and what you have to say, to automatically upload it to TechSmith’s Screencast.com, and to stick a URL on your clipboard—is a tool you will not want to be without.
Why you should know about it: Jing adds to your problem-solving arsenal instant video screen capture with audio. That’s a powerful tool in all sorts of situations when you want to communicate with one or many other people quickly, informally, and simply. I’ve found Jing to be a far better way to provide tech support to users of my various apps than dreary multistep instructions. And it’s faster.
===
* Quick note: these excerpts are from my last version pre-pdf and before Apress’ crack team of proofreaders caught the last of my typos.

13 Comments

  1. I’m not comfortable with the Jing recommendation.
    As a video capture tool, it is OK, but it is very limited. The problem with most videos is the resolution. You cannot upload a full screen video. That’s why you need to shift focus and zoom in/out when needed. Professional tools do that. Jing doesn’t. Which means that it is very limited for good instructional videos (unless your screen is inherently small).
    As a hosting service – If you have a site, you are already paying for a hosting solution. Why pay more? Are you getting more? How is screencast.com as a CDN? I tried it for a short while and wasn’t very happy with the speed and availability (it was several months back, so perhaps they improved).
    So, what is it for? It is not for the professional videos to be used on your site. So why use it?

  2. Bob Walsh Reply

    Zviki – Sometimes the professionalism of a given tool gets in the way of it’s use. I wouldn’t suggest using Jing at all for your startup’s main tour video. But, as a way of showing in 30 seconds a specific feature or issue, Jing fits the bill. Because Jing is fast and easy to use and post, you are more inclined to use it, more inclined to build it into the process of supporting your customers and no so incidentally creating content for your product blog. These are good things. As for the hosting of these, latency has not been an issue, and hosting these mini screencasts elsewhere is a generally good idea unless you site is on your own VPS or coho.
    Also, Jing will let you capture the entire screen or part thereof.
    Bob – I covered a range of tools – version control software, graphics, customer engagement, training sites for startups and microISVs. I expect to add regularly here new tools.

  3. Pre-ordered today from Amazon UK. Good luck. If it’s half as good as your Micro ISV book it will be well worth having.

  4. Pingback: 47 Hats – The MicroISV Digest

  5. Boo!
    Greetings from Amazon.co.uk.
    We regret to inform you that the following items have been delayed as we are still awaiting stock from our suppliers :
    Bob Walsh “The Web Startup Success Guide”
    Estimated arrival date: August 04 2009 – August 07 2009

  6. Bob Walsh Reply

    RichardS – Sorry about that – I’d be happy to deliver it in person though! 🙂 (If you don’t mind paying the airfare – I haven’t been to the UK since 2006; eager to come over.) Cheers, Bob

  7. Do you have any recommendations for community driven support tools? I like uservoice but its mainly good for product suggestions. Getsatisfaction tries but does a pretty horrible job of being user-friendly. Zendesk is better for ticketing and defers to getsatisfaction for real community. I’m looking for something that could house a knowledgebase AND community forum, where the community is self-enforcing, and is given kudos for helping each other. Seems like sites are still using PHPBB for this type of thing but I would imagine someone has to have thought of solving this general problem in a more support specific tool.

  8. Bob Walsh Reply

    Haroon – I recommend/review both UserVoice and GetSatisfaction in my book; Those are – at present – the best tools I know of. However, I agree with you: there’s a lot of unmet need in this area and I’m sure more tools will come out soon.

  9. Google Analytics do offer an overlay function, located under the Content section. The stale, gray, bar graphs doesn’t really compare to the screenshot above of CrazyEgg, but it’s still there!

  10. Despite Amazon UK’s gloomy prediction, it arrived this morning. Really looking forward to reading it.

  11. Bob Walsh Reply

    It was the dire potential threat I’d descend up Britain again to deliver the book in person that did it! 🙂 – enjoy and please, if you like it, even a short review at Amazon UK would be very much appreciated.

Write A Comment