Live-Blogging Lesson #4: The Value of Agonizing Over Your Project Page

25 March 2014 | 19 Comments

I started creating and editing the Tuscany Kickstarter project page on January 4, 2014. I pressed the launch button over 2 months later on March 12. Here’s what I learned from having so much time between inception and launch.

  1. Patience: It is very, very easy to start making a project page. You could go to Kickstarter right now and do it in about 10 seconds. The hard part is actually finishing the project page. It takes a lot of time and effort (as I’ll discuss below), and there’s no advantage to rushing it. Give yourself plenty of time to construct the project page.
  2. Rewards: You can plan out your rewards as much as you want on spreadsheets, but there’s something about seeing them on the Kickstarter preview page (which looks exactly like the final project page with a little area for feedback at the top) that will help you realize how people are going to respond to them. It helps you see the project through the eyes of a backer.
  3. Wording tweaks: Similar to the reward levels, seeing the way the words display on the project page can help you determine if you’re being as clear and succinct as possible. As I discuss in KS Lesson #39, it’s best to minimize paragraphs to 2-4 lines of text–it’s much easier to read that way. So you need plenty of time to get that wording right.
  4. Kickstarter approval: I talk about this extensively on KS Lesson #1–as soon as your project looks halfway decent, submit it to Kickstarter for approval. Get that out of the way so you can launch whenever you’re ready to launch. You can continue to make changes to the project at any time.
  5. Feedback: Giving yourself plenty of time to create the project page also enables you to get feedback in waves instead of all at once. I got feedback from a few people after a few weeks, and then I sent the project page to my advisory board about 2-3 weeks before launch. Stonemaier Ambassadors, the press, and retailers got to see the project preview page a little early too, and I got feedback from many of them. This feedback is so important–pay attention to the questions people ask. Even if you think the answers are really obvious on the project page, the fact that they asked the question means that it’s not as obvious as you think.

Now, I’m not going to lie: As the subject of this entry suggests, I agonized over the Tuscany preview page. I thought about it constantly over those 2 months. Calculating, recalculating, adjusting, tweaking…I would go to bed thinking about it and wake up the next day thinking about it.

That probably wasn’t very healthy.

But I think there’s still value in starting the project page really early. You don’t have to obsess over it like I did–in fact, I hope you don’t–but spend 15-20 minutes on it every day for 2 months and I promise you it’ll be WAY better than if you create it in a weekend-long marathon a week or two before you launch.

I’d love to hear what other project creators think. How far in advance of your launch date did you start working on the project page?

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19 Comments on “Live-Blogging Lesson #4: The Value of Agonizing Over Your Project Page

  1. I definitely relate to this! I’ve been agonising over my own project for weeks now. Still got a bunch of weeks to go! But I find it helps me iron out all the kinks. Don’t want to be doing that on a live project. No, sir!

  2. I’m obsessing Jamey! I’m working methodically through your blog posts. Anything that I’m up to speed on I tick off and move on. Then anything that is a ‘need-to-do’ I either do it straight away on the campaign page,social media, etc, or add a card to my extensive boards on Trello (another of your tips). But I think your great advice and the hard work done now will pay off later.
    Jamie Shaw

  3. While I am part of a team that has run 3 succesful Kickstarter campaigns this if the first one that I am managing pretty much all by myself. I have been working in Google Docs on the Kickstarter page probably since January anf just put it into actual Kickstarter earlier in March. It is definitely very helpful to get it in Kickstarter and see it from the backers perspective.

    I’m curious how did you know when your page was ready to show to others? Most of the internal team have seen it but I really like the idea of getting it out to press (I am doing the press release this week) and potentially fans on other sites where we’ve been posting weekly blogs about the project. I just worry people might see it when it is 90% ready and be turned off (though most likely an irrational fear).

    1. Dakcenturi: That’s a good question. I think the closer it is to 100%, especially in terms of images and reward levels, the better. It’s fine if the custom headers aren’t ready or if you’re still tweaking the text or video.

  4. Nice to know I’m not alone in that every cell of my body feels like it’s working overtime while I’m waiting to launch our Kickstarter! Project has been in the works since Oct 2013, and I’ve been writing the Kickstarter page for 2-3 weeks (feels like years ;))…I agree about taking your time. This is my first project, and every time I look at it I feel like I need to add something else. Be careful – when you’re so close to something, you can tend to jump right in, and sometimes over details that are important to your backers. For instance, a friend reviewed my project and pointed out that I had nothing (zero, zip, nada) regarding my marketing plans! THAT was after I’d reviewed dozens of times…

    1. That’s awesome that you’ve been preparing your project page for so long! I bet it’s very polished at this point. That’s an excellent word of caution. I actually think it’s good to have some people review the page who have no connection at all to the project–they’re good at pointing out the obvious stuff you’re missing.

  5. Well, I said “agonizing” because that’s what was in the title, but in reality, thinking over these details is much more of a gratifying challenge then a agonizing event!

    That’s a difficult question to answer though actually. I have been constructing the actual KS page for a little over a month, but the details have been in the works for many months prior to. And the details have changed so many times as I have progressed from totally clueless to at least understanding the fundamentals. Thanks for asking Jamey!

  6. I am “agonizing” over my project page right now and I can really appreciate the value you described here :-) . I am excited you are doing these “live-blogging lessons” so the rest of us can glean some wisdom off of the things you have learned from your projects! Thanks for this Jamey!

  7. I’m agonizing right now…and yes, I agree with you. A couple months are needed, and that if you are already well convinced on the actual content of the page. At least, that what’s we are doing with Lost Town on Indiegogo, and there you don’t even need to wait for approval…even thought I must say I believed it actually got easier once you get the gist of it like you do, not very encouraging for our health :)

    1. Fabio: Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Yeah, I need to find a better balance between thinking about the project page and thinking about ANYTHING ELSE. :) I was probably a very uninteresting person to talk to for those 2 months!

  8. I’m working on my first Kickstarter, and I can definitely relate. One thing that has been good for me was to design the bulk of the page early enough that I could step away and come back to it with a fresh perspective a week or so later… (though I can’t say it was completely off my mind during that time lol)

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