A few months back I got tired of doing portfolio tracking in a spreadsheet and sat down and made a site. I got a few friends and family to start using it as well for their portfolios but have been unable to spread the word further.
The site is totally free, with no advertising, and the code behind it is under the Apache license and open source.
My goal is not to make money of it but to slowly grow the user base, enhancing functionality as I go. The ultimate goal is to have something useful for self directed investors like myself.
I am seeking any advice about getting the word out about the project to attract users first, and hopefully contributors later. I've added the FB like button, reddit/digg buttons as well as simple sharing functionality so far but have not had any take off. I've even spent a some money on adwords to try to get users in but I am not sure if they are the high quality early-stage users I need.
For anyone who is interested in the site itself it is at frano.carelessmusings.com (Oh, and I know I need a better domain in the long run).
Two suggestions bearing in mind your comments about wanting to keep it free.
First, add a few basic nationalisation options - UK £, Euro € etc, and ability to set default display exchange - for instance .L for London etc
Second, join in properly at a few personal finance forums and have link in signature - it's likely to be very slow, but there is so much out there for personal finance and investing that I think you have to take the slow route.
There is more to social networking than just putting a Facebook like button on your website. In order for the like button to be effective, you first have to have actual, real users using your software so that they will actually be motivated to join your Facebook community.
The only way for you to spread the word about your product offering in the initial stages of your product -- using social networking tools -- is for you to monitor the social networking sites and look for recent, active, conversations that relate to your product offering.
For example, let's say you're promoting a Cooking Q&A Stack Exchange site, and one of your friends posts a question about cooking on a rusted skillet. This is a real time opportunity for you to respond to this inquiry and softly promote the Cooking Q&A site.
(Look at the second response to the question) :
This same concept can apply to your investment software. If you see posts on your wall or other friends walls about investment portfolio monitoring, this is the time to strike by posting a link to your product or service.
It's important that your post be made in a timely manner so that it becomes part of the conversation. It's a thin line between appearing helpful and appearing spammy.
This same social networking approach applies to recently posted tweets, Linked In comments, blog articles, and other forms of social networking.
UPDATE: Additionally, here is The Dealer's Guide to Automotive Social Media. On page 8, there is a similar example of how to use Twitter to interact with people and promote your dealership. The techniques here will work for your software as well. The main difference between the Facebook example and the Twitter example is that, with Twitter, the author uses Twitter's search feature to locate active conversations about the topic and then contribute to those conversations. The advantage of using Twitter to promote your software is that you can reach far more people than those who are only part of your network.
Get rid of the "bullsh*t" word that is so prominent- in my view (and I may be a minority), that is totally unprofessional and I instantly clicked back away from the site. You're putting your site in the "non-professional" category with that word.