It seems such a long time ago, when our founder Anne-Laure first published the tweet that launched a thousand ships.

In fact, it has only been almost two months since that tweet.

And a month since Maker Mag officially launched.

But in within a single month, a lot of things have happened. We have finished third on Product Hunt on our launch day, and third again in the 2018 Golden Kitty Awards under the category of Side Project of the Year. We now also have around 53 contributing members, including three editors, Anne-Laure, James Gallagher and myself.

Maker Mag revolves around a simple ethos:

Maker Mag is a participatory publication, with content for everyone to learn, grow, connect, and discuss what matters to makers.

        (source: Maker Mag’s Product Hunt launch)

This community-first approach has been incredibly vital to our growth and will only get even more so in the new year

After all, Maker Mag heavily depends upon the indie maker community not only in terms of post contribution, but also readership.

In the past month, maintaining Maker Mag has been tough, but incredibly fulfilling. After all, as for most passion (side)projects, we all juggle this alongside work and/or school.

So here is a peek at our first month stats and our top-performing articles. Helping Maker Mag grow has been exciting. In part, this is because we see that we are providing value to the indiemaking community. In another, Maker Mag has become a mini-community in itself, where we elevate each other in our personal and indie-making pursuits.

This update serves to (1) show our progress, (2) display our metrics openly, and (3) light a fire under our asses to maintain this growth.

Maker Mag Manifesto
Maker Mag Manifesto

Web traffic

We had an amazing number of readers for our first month—5k+ users (the number of people who go to our website) and 14k+ page views (the number of times users have visited our website). The traffic spike at the start came from Product Hunt when we launched. This shows how important Product Hunt is when it comes to exposing new tech products to relevant users.

Our goal in the upcoming months will be to keep the momentum going and sustain the number of people who read our content. Easier said than done, of course. But who doesn’t like a good challenge?

Top channels: social media matters

As we are only a month old and tackle a relatively niche subject, organic search understandably does not comprise a big slice of our overall traffic.

Social media is the most important channel for us, in terms of updating readers about new content. More specifically, Twitter is the best channel for web traffic, because that’s where a lot of indie makers are. And you already know that our Twitter game is strong AF.

Maker Mag also initially first launched on Twitter, before launching on Product Hunt the following day. In these launches, we’ve managed to get 400 new followers in 4 days. Word-of-mouth was an important part of this fast growth, through valuable engagement with our tweets. The comments and shares do matter.

What is great about indie makers is that we are an incredibly diverse group of individuals. We not only come from all corners of the world, but we are all in different stages of our lives. Some are students; others are hard-boiled professionals. Some are founders; others want to start their own company. Some are coders and designers; other are marketers and writers. Some are remote, and others altogether travel around the world. At Maker Mag, we value these interactions, especially when they are respectful, because they give out so many valuable insights.

Maker Mag newsletter

Email is an amazing medium for retention and re-engagement, because everyone emails. If we’re doing our newsletters correctly, then our emails should land into the inbox, not in the spam folder.

Mailchimp has compiled data on many industries’ email statistics. In media and publishing, the average rate that users open emails sent by publishers is at 21.92%. 4.55% of those who open then go on to click a link in the email, while only 12 out of 1000 users unsubscribe after a newsletter.

Here’s how our email stats compare:

Evidently, we are very happy with our email opens and clicks. Only the first newsletter had an open rate of below 50% and the next 2 are around 60%

Our metrics are a shot above the industry average, and we want to continue this trend. At the moment, we send out our weekly newsletters every Tuesday. And if you didn’t know that we have a newsletter, then better subscribe now (pretty please).

Top 5 posts

Meet the top 10 women makers of 2018

Perhaps this the perfect article to claim the top spot, as the face of tech is rapidly changing. But perhaps calling it a fresh new change may be a bit simplistic. It could even be a misnomer. An often-overlooked aspect of the tech industry is its women-led origins.

This article introduces some of the most influential people in the indie-making community, often expertly balancing indie-making with their other tasks to great success. But what’s even more impressive is the variety of backgrounds they all come from. There are coders, who are new or seasoned. There are designers and another is a lawyer from a past life. Indie-making is a global phenomenon, and this list reflects that.

AJ, founder of Carrd: you need to give a shit

The title comes from a question posed to AJ on the ingredients of a successful product. His response:

I would not say there is a recipe, but I guess there are ingredients that will increase your odds. If I were to pick one, I would say actually giving a shit about the problem you are solving matters more than anything. As I like to say, don’t really give a shit leaves a pretty distinct fingerprint on anything it touches.

He then advises indie makers to publicly share their product-making process. This is also a suggestion that we have taken into heart, evidently!

Getting started as a nomad maker

Basile’s power move came in the last quarter of 2018, with 200 Words a Day, a blogging platform that won the Product Hunt Makers Festival in 2018. He has a particularly peculiar background, too, as an INSA Lyon engineer turned nomad entrepreneur. If you want to write more everyday—specially 200 words more—then this is the community for you.

In this article, he gives out valuable actionable insights on how to start as a nomad maker. Of course, this is a topic that interests a lot of indie makers, who dream of living absolutely anywhere. This is a reality to people like Pieter Levels and the duo behind Squarecat, James Irvings and Danielle Johnson. In fact, Danielle wrote about their experience on Maker Mag very recently.

But, let’s be honest, this is a lifestyle most people would want to have.

Why streaming is the next big thing for makers

The image above shows Pat Walls’ Twitter following after he streamed building a startup in 24 hours via Twitch.

Streaming works. It also showcases talented indie makers, who have the hunger, grit and ambition to succeed. But as Pat reassures indie makers at the end of the article:

I also implore others to do the same, give it a try. Although it may seem intimidating, it’s really not that scary—and who knows where it will take your career.

Digital communities: an interview with Product Hunt’s Ryan Hoover

As a community-first magazine publication, Maker Mag definitely shares the same values as Product Hunt when it comes in interacting with the indiemaking community.

For the magazine launched, Maker Mag interviewed Product Hunt founder, Ryan Hoover. This interview delves into Product Hunt’s origins and its emphasis on community growth in order to succeed as a company.

Be part of the Maker Mag team

Maker Mag is a community-led publication for indie makers, by indie makers. As such, support from the community keeps Maker Mag running! And it doesn’t only mean reading our articles.

We also want to read your stories. If you want your story published via Maker Mag, please click here to submit.

You can also subscribe to our newsletter. After all, we do have important things coming up in the pipeline, including, possibly, a podcast show and some sponsorships!

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