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Startups: Create Press and Status Pages
Earlier this week, I noted on Twitter that every startup should have a press page. A page that includes: logos in multiple formats, short bio of the executives, photos of the team and/or executives, basic stats, contact information and links to other important information. Make it easy for writers to write about you. Check out my post about Peanut Labs – the logo in the post is the only size logo they have on the site. Wouldn’t it be great if I could embed a logo that was on a white background and much larger? What about including a photo of the CEO who I interviewed? Remember that you want to make it as easy as possible for someone to write about you – don’t make them do the work.
Another critical page should be a status page. This page should live outside the network of the startup and should house the current status information for the startup. I don’t care if it’s on a shared blogging platform like WordPress or SquareSpace, it’s an absolute must.
Known for it’s downtime, Twitter has no public status page. There’s a developer Google group which appears to house some of the updates when the service goes down, but nothing public and so all of the Twitter users are left wondering what’s up. If Twitter had more communication when there are unexpected issues, I think users would be more understanding.
Here’s a current example — apparently video message board Seesmic was down last evening. Investor Michael Arrington posted a semi-marketing, semi-rant piece about the downtime where he explains how important communication is between service and its partners. I assume when Mike speaks about his company’s usage of Seesmic, he is actually referring to the 800+ sites using the tool (weren’t they down as well???). Last week, Seesmic partnered with Disqus to push the Seesmic video commenting tool to any sites using Disqus’ blog comment replacement tool. I suggested that it was too soon for a major partnership. The unfortunate thing is that so far CEO Loic LeMeur hasn’t posted about what happened, why it happened and what is being done to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Loic did note that he is working to make sure "it" doesn’t happen again.
As soon as you notice there is an issue, stick it on the status page. It can be something as simple as, "Mooprz is currently down, we are investigating," with a timestamp and a contact form. Once the issue has been resolved, note that as well. After any investigation has completed, come back with an explanation.
I know that when your product is not functioning correctly, you want to get it back working as quickly as possible. The moment you take to update the status page will keep your customers informed on what’s going on and reduce possible emails as well.
In my opinion, having a status page is a sign of trust between a company and its customers. Just make sure to put the status page outside of your network so if the network is down, the status page is still up!