Tailscan updates and figuring out marketing
By: Erwin, 9 March 2023
This is the second article in a series of articles about building Tailscan in public.
In this article, I'll talk about how the first two months post-launch went. It spans from the start of 2023 until the end of February 2023. I'll go through the two new updates that Tailscan received, what I've been trying for marketing Tailscan, and what I've learned so far.
Missed the first article? Read it here:
What is Tailscan?
Tailscan is a browser extension for Tailwind CSS. It lets you build, design and debug your Tailwind website visually right within the browser.
In the first two months after the launch I worked on two new versions of Tailscan. There were a couple of bugs that really needed to be fixed. I also wanted to add a few features that didn't make it into the first version.
These are the features that were added in the two new versions of Tailscan:
- Improving the interface with all the feedback received during the launch period.
- Tailwind detection for any website (icon turns green)
- Ability to reposition the Tailscan window
- Much better auto-suggestion system, so it's easier to add classes
- Click-to-pin feature instead of using space to pin Tailscan to an element
- Preview the CSS of each Tailwind CSS class, so you know what it does
- Some appearance settings such as customizing the highlight color
Quite a few users got in touch with me to let me know they really liked these updates and requested a bunch of other features. I am very happy with receiving this many messages from users. It's the first time I'm receiving a large amount of feedback and requests for a product!
And I also fixed one bug that I mentioned in the previous article: Tailscan was leaking its CSS styling onto users' websites, causing small styling inconsistencies on some websites. This bug was able to go unnoticed by me because I did not take enough time to think about the architecture and consequences.
Lesson learned: Shipping fast is good, but not at the cost of quality.
For the last two months, I've also been trying to figure out what marketing channels are best to use for Tailscan.
Of course, the first thing to do that comes to any
So I decided to try out a few other channels as well. I'll go through them in this section.
Of course, good ol' SEO! Getting some results with this is hard and slow, especially if you're not very comfortable writing. But if I have to give one piece of advice to anyone who wants to build a product: write. I didn't for a long time. Now that I am, I'm seeing the results. I think the single biggest thing that separates successful indie hackers from the ones who aren't is writing content.
So, I optimized the few pages that already existed, and I decided to build out some pages programmatically.
The idea was simple: make a page for each Tailwind class, include an example of how to use it properly, the CSS of the class, and a description.
This would primarily target the "tailwind -some class-" keyword in Google.
(example: category page for box shadows)
What I did not know was that submitting 8062 pages at once to Google isn't necessarily a good idea. It's actually pretty bad. Don't do what I did. Spread it out over time.
After a while, a few of the pages got indexed. But the majority did not because it contained too little content, and my crawl budget was reached very rapidly (newer websites get a crawl limit to prevent Google from essentially
I'm still in the process of refining these pages and making them more useful. After all, you can optimize all you want, but if the content isn't helpful, it won't rank well.
It's definitely an ongoing project. Expect to read more about this in the future. The results thus far:
Mentions by content creators
I've had the privilege to work with two content creators thus far: James Q Quick (YouTube) and Surjith S M (Twitter).
James is a well-known content creator in the web development space. He has a YouTube channel and makes great developer focussed content. He reached out to me shortly after launching on Product Hunt, asking if he could make a video about it for free. I was quite surprised and flattered! Check it out here. I'm very happy with the result and super grateful James took the time and effort to make this video.
Surjith is a developer that posts amazing Tailwind CSS tips on Twitter and made the Tailwind CSS Notion Handbook. His tips have helped me get a deeper understanding of some of Tailwind's capabilities and concepts. When I reached out to Surjith, we talked briefly about collaborating and settled on Tailscan sponsoring some of his Tailwind Tip tweets.
In the end, I think both of these collaborations were very successful. Tailscan got a lot of exposure, received some sales and I made two amazing new friends in the process.
Of course, I can't talk about marketing without mentioning Twitter. The developer and startup community on Twitter is one of a kind, and so it's the perfect platform for any indie hacker to be active on. I'll go through three different ways I've been using Twitter.
Tweetdeck (link) is a great alternative client provided by Twitter. I've set up some columns to keep track of what's going on in the Tailwind CSS community. I also have a column for Tailscan related tweets.
The following is my current setup:
- Columns for the Tailwind CSS and Tailwind UI accounts
- Column showing tweets mentioning "Tailwind CSS" with minimum 10 likes
- A few columns filtering on popular hashtags for developers such as "#100daysofcode"
- Column for any tweet mentioning "Tailscan"
This allows me to interact with related tweets quicker.
Developer related tweets
Posting memes, jokes and other developer related tweets is a good way to get some exposure. Sometimes the tweets get a lot of engagement, and sometimes they die a silent death. You never know what will work and what won't, but the potential upside is what makes it worth it!
Some of the tweets that did work for me: Confetti, AI startups, cute but painful chart.
Share Tailwind content
Last but not least: Of course, Tailwind content is the most obvious thing to tweet about for me. Ironically, I haven't tweeted a lot about Tailwind CSS (and probably should do so more often). One tweet that did pretty well was this tweet:
In March and April, I'll be working on another update for Tailscan. I can't say much about it yet, but it will be a big one. Also, I decided to start this blog and write about Tailscan more transparently and publicly, in the hope to inspire others to start their SaaS business.
Are you curious about Tailscan? Try it out below!
And as always, if there is anything in particular you'd like to know, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter or via email (email@example.com).