How Shayan Solo Built An Analytics Tool Competing With VC-Backed Giants

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If you’re a solo developer, you shouldn’t be able to compete with VC-backed giants. Don’t tell that to Shayan.

He launched LogSnag in April 2022, an analytics tool that tracks user events. Since then it’s become a go-to analytics tool for small teams. How he accomplished this was thanks to some creative growth methods and a focus on features users wanted. Let’s dive in.

Beginning

Before LogSnag, Shayan built a marketplace for pilots called CheckRide, which launched in December 2021. He had experience working for the government and saw a gap in the market for connecting flight instructors to examiners.

While growing CheckRide to 10k users, he found it difficult tracking user activity. This made tasks like customer service more complex.

To help with this, he tried hooking events up to a messenger app like Slack, but it was too difficult tracking the events this way.

So he decided to build a tool to fix this. Instead of integrating a messenger app to track events, a platform would collect and organize that data for you.

To validate his idea he built a simple landing page and marketed it on Twitter and Reddit. He would directly reach out to people having the same problem as him, like here.

After 2 days he got 320 signups from subreddits, and started getting solid feedback from respondents. Eventually he decided the idea was worth pursuing and spent the next 3 months building out the MVP. Smartly, he continued growing the waitlist, and it reached 900 people before launch.

Growth Strategies

Shayan used a bunch of different growth strategies to grow LogSnag. These are the ones that stand out:

1. SEO

2. Twitter

3. Word of Mouth

Let’s break down each.

1. SEO

Shayan credits Google traffic to be his primary source of traffic. And he uses some unconventional methods to accomplish this.

Early in the project he built a separate site called Gistlib. The site allows users to input programming questions, and then answers them using AI. For each answer, a new webpage is created. This created thousands of webpages for him. And each one has a link to the LogSnag site. According to him, in two weeks 11k pages were created, and 3k were indexed by Google. This amount of backlinks gave a big boost in LogSnag’s domain rating, which is a rating Google gives to sites according to how much authority it has. More authority generally means more traffic.

After gaining authority, today LogSnag relies on tools and technical articles for most of its organic traffic. The top page (according to ahrefs) is this interactive calculator, a purchasing power parity calculator for different countries. And second is a technical article on how to handle time zones in Javascript. Creating pages like this has driven thousands of users to his site, and he continues to use this strategy today.

2. Twitter

Twitter is the main way Shayan communicates with his audience. And he’s very active on it. The style of his tweets is very opinionated, especially on technical subjects. The advantage of this style is an increased engagement, and increased followers if people consider you a thought leader.

Shayan also uses Twitter to “build in public”. This is a way of communicating with your audience by being very transparent with the building process of your product. You tweet the highs and the lows. Audiences tend to like this transparency and it builds their trust.

Since launching LogSnag, and tweeting about it, he’s grown his follower count from roughly 2k followers to 25k followers, in 2 short years. That’s pretty impressive growth.

3. Word of Mouth

Word of mouth traffic is powerful. Often when people are looking for a tool (a warm lead) they’ll look for advice from others (eg. social media, google search) on what tool they should use to solve a problem. By finding an advocate for a tool, they’re more likely to give it a try (this is how I discovered LogSnag).

Shayan also took the challenging but rewarding path of bootstrapping LogSnag as a solo developer (aka no team and no funding). This not only showcases skill, but also resonates with others looking for tools that understand the unique challenges faced by small teams. Industry giants tend to focus on large, high-profile customers. This leaves a large market of smaller teams looking for tools that give a more personalized touch.

Technical Stack

Frontend: ReactJS, and CapacitorJS for mobile and Electron for desktop

Backend: NodeJS TypeScript, with Golang services. MongoDB and Redis for state management.

Hosting: Digital Ocean

A big differentiator of LogSnag compared to its competitors is its UI and UX. Shayan spends a lot of time on design (and tweets about it). And he’s built LogSnag to be ridiculously easy to plug in and get going. This is a great differentiator to other tools that need a quickstart guide or integration guide to get started.

Lessons

1. Validate Before Building

“I’ve seen so many people start building a product without validating the idea first, and they end up wasting a lot of time and effort.” It’s better to spend a bit of time validating a product before spending the time building it. And while you’re building, you can start growing a waitlist to attract customers in the meantime.

2. Unconventional SEO

Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box to get traffic. Shayan used what many people would consider unconventional means to get SEO traffic that has worked wonders for him. Let this inspire you to create unique strategies to grow your own product.

Shayan’s Profiles

htpps://x.com/ImSh4yy

https://logsnag.com/

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