I started a website about a month ago just as a side project for fun. It was initially a project for me to try out some new learned features and techniques in Ruby on Rails. Albeit, I started to see a bit of value in the idea itself and have continued to develop it and gather feedback.
After reaching the front on Hacker News I was provided with awesome feedback and my first 20 users. However, after the hype subsided those users don't seem to be coming back :/
With any online community, the content is driven by the users. Which means the websites success is driven by the users. Imagine Facebook with only 20 users it would be a pretty boring place. And that's the dilemma I'm facing.
So, what are some ways to get more users?
As the only way this website will be truly a place users want to come back to is if there is new content being uploaded consistently.
It's important to determine why those 20 users did not come back. You can view this as your validation stage. Your product may have to be tweaked before it can really take off. However, the difficulty of getting a social site started is you need a lot of users fast for people to feel like they are part of a community. If they don't stay for the community, there will have to be something there that will keep them active on the site until the community grows.
I am sure that there will be specific reason behind your website that visitors not visit your website again. The problem might be in your website navigation or content. Check your website navigation and user-friendliness which are two main factors of your website and I am sure that you will get more visitors after this.
Hi I would suggest you Four ways in which you can attract more visitors to your website:
1. By creating a good blog.
2. Giving some items for free, especially your best work
3. Try to get your content into circulation.
4. Try to borrow someone else's audience.
Focus on retaining users first! Set up tracking mechanism which will help you to understand their behaviour (at what stage they actually lose interest in your page), so you can appropriately adapt.
It's like having a bucket with holes in the bottom. It doesn't really make any sense to pour in more water (new visitors) until you haven't patched the holes (at least bigger ones).
Not to mention that such tracking mechanism will also serve you as major tool for optimatization in later stages.
Short anwser: come up with a marketing plan.
However, based on what you wrote, I conclude that getting more users is not your only issue. Retaining the users you do get is also an issue. Focus on retainment. If the 20 users who signed up are not coming back, I highly doubt that if you had 100 users they would come back. Identify your site's purpose and focus on it. Why go to BK instead of Wendy's when they're both fast food joints? Why should users stay with your site instead of the other site when you both offer the same thing? Go back to why you created the site and dig deep...building something out of passion has a higher rate of success than building it for profit. Thinking about why you built it will also help you identify your potential audience.