Introduction: Our Journey in 2017

Far from ordinary, 2017 has been a pivotal year for DesignBold. Here are some of the successes and highlights of our journey so far. We emphasized a more iterative, UI/UX focused approach with the user base in mind. Our ultimate goal is to empower users to share their unique ideas, products and services while saving time, money and effort. The borders in the graph below, representing the last two quarters of the year, coincide perfectly with our strategic and operational shift after joining. With the user base at the forefront of our initiatives, we pushed hard into graphic design, startup and marketing site partnerships, search engine optimization and link building, promotional campaigns, Briefcase collaboration and brand image, while revamping our internal blog and design platform.

We humbly acknowledge that before this period, the standard of our offerings, from platform usability to the quality and readability of our material, had significant room for growth. Rest assured, we’re now listening intently to your constructive feedback. Since the strategic pivot, we’ve focused predominantly on evergreen marketing, expanding this concept far beyond content. If a product is still in development or an iterative phase, traditional marketing tactics via paid channels can be counterproductive, siphoning off vital funds while giving users a negative first impression. Each costly campaign hinders the prospect of success, while word of mouth compounds the damage.

At another prominent startup based in Southeast Asia, I’ve seen firsthand the tragedy that ensues when investor funds are entrusted to the less than competent. Burning investor funds with a half-baked product almost certainly leads to poor retention rates. While this provides an opportunity to collect more data and feedback, a misguided sense of pride or obstinacy can hinder effective action.

Evergreen marketing, ideal for a constantly evolving product, emphasizes long-term infrastructure to continue bringing in new users organically. This is in contrast to a short-term strategy focused on paid user acquisition, or a medium-term strategy focused on monetization. Context is paramount.

Note that in the past 4-5 months, there was a 50% increase in the number of target keywords with the highest ranking [top 3 positions]. The number of other keywords that ranked well [all within first SERP] also increased significantly, while the number of keywords that ranked poorly decreased by about 10% [favorable development]. All of these are positive signs of significant progress. See the data below.

SEO Chart

Subject to time, capacity, and strategic alignment, we may begin targeting other competitive keywords with even higher difficulty ratings.

In addition to traditional link building and white hat techniques, we’ve been expanding in social bookmarking, microblogging, forums and other areas.

Other SEO Initiatives

In line with our focus on evergreen marketing and organic growth as our product continues to iterate, the majority of our visits and registrations are from organic and direct traffic. In fact, these two categories account for 80.77% of incoming users and 78.28% of sessions.

DB User Composition by Channel

DB Session Composition by Channel

Briefcase is a subscription-based service that provides users with access to various SAAS products. There are currently over 30 products included with the subscription, and we were able to secure a partnership on this project.

Each tool needs to be vetted and approved by the AppSumo team, which serves as a vote of confidence in the eyes of potential users. Not only is this another source of revenue, it’s also a seal of approval. This reflects how much DesignBold has improved from previous iterations.

DB BC1

DB BC2

Note that this is only the beginning, and we must continue to improve our platform and service. This includes variety of design elements relative to competitors, including vectors and illustrations in addition to existing stock photos. We need to be responsive to user expectations and demands.

We’ve established a continuing relationship with many graphic design, startup/business and marketing sites, and will continue to submit posts on a regular basis. Publication is subject to the external blogs’ own timelines, as well as suitability of proposed topics. Subsequent inbound links provide similar value to previous ones, contingent on link equity, search engine algorithms.

Thanks to continued product iteration as above, users have reported significant differences from the previous AppSumo campaign. When I first started testing the DB platform after joining, there were many issues that undermined our value proposition of saving users time and effort. In many respects, the product was simply unusable, particularly at several critical points in the user flow.

I’ve communicated these frustrations and bugs on a continuous basis with the tech team, and they were able to resolve many of them. The review below helps illustrate how much the product has evolved from the previous launch.

Customers were fully willing to pay the 25% price increase. The vast majority of users left highly positive feedback and reviews. In the interest of full disclosure, some users left negative feedback without explaining their reasons. As negative feedback is priceless, it would have been a good opportunity to listen and improve. Others took the time to provide genuinely constructive input, along with encouraging reviews.

“I bought this back when it was only $39.00. I refunded it because it had many problems…and I was not ready to see if it would get better. My impatience cost me $10.00. I decided to give it another try, based on the reviews of others in another group. BOY, AM I GLAD THAT I GAVE IT ANOTHER CHANCE!!! There is no comparison to the program now and when I bought it last year. It has changed drastically.”

The majority of our user base is under the age of 34, comprising 76.40% of the total. 89.44% of our user base is under 44. Only taking into account newly registered accounts, 77.07% of users are under 34, while 89.72% of users are under 44. This is consistent with our target segments, as well as our product’s natural fit with social media use. Of every 5 registered accounts, 3 users are male and 2 users are female. This breakdown has been consistent for new and returning users.

DB User Composition - Age

DB User Composition - Gender

This year, we had a significant increase in user feedback, with the majority being highly positive. In 2018, we will work hard to resolve many of these persistent issues while launching even more features. So stay tuned.

DB Favorable Responses

Here were some of the common frustrations users mentioned. The tech team has already been notified, so rest assured we’re working to improve these elements of the platform.

DB Common Frustrations

We are constantly iterating our platform and service, and always welcome additional feedback. We believe that while positive feedback is precious, negative feedback is priceless. Your dissatisfaction allows us to pinpoint the exact areas we need to prioritize.

See below for some of the improvements we’ve made this year. We are continuing to optimize our rendering system, as some users have reported problems exporting their projects. We have upgraded our servers, and these changes are being tested in a beta version of the platform. Based on our current timeline, the new rendering system will be live within the first quarter of 2018.

CONTINUED PRODUCT ITERATION

  • The entire platform is now much more stable, and less prone to freezing or performance issues. Premium stock photo purchases and licensing are also less prone to errors, and the watermarks (and access to photo modification after purchase) are being correctly displayed.
  • Multi-level folder UI/UX, making it easier for users to manage projects and keep things organized. Other general UI/UX improvements include being able to select multiple files, changing location, etc. All to improve convenience and save users some time.
  • Grids for more customized design layouts – each grid can be filled with a unique background color or image.
  • Streamlined sharing feature – it’s easier than ever to add collaborators to your project, either by individual emails or email domains.
  • Better filters and more fine-tuning options. We’re still improving stability to ensure the settings are saved properly, and not reverting without direct user input.
  • PDF export feature, including dynamic text and live hyperlinks. PDF export is currently available, though dynamic text (copy and paste functionality) is limited to our beta servers. Hyperlink functionality is also being added.
  • New rendering and export system is available on our beta servers, and will be live within the first quarter of 2018. We want to ensure all problems are addressed prior to public release.

DB Focus 1

DB Focus 2

USER FEEDBACK, REVIEWS

DB Review 1 DB Review 2 DB Review 3 DB Review 4 DB Review 5 DB Review 6 DB Review 7 DB Review 8

Blog Growth and Diversification

This year, we also revamped our view and approach to blogging. We began covering topics more in tune with the startup culture and DesignBold’s role in it. Being part of a growing startup ourselves, we’ve seen firsthand the challenges and obstacles on the journey to success. We’ve heard your demand for more interesting articles, going beyond tutorials and other dry subjects.

See below for some of our notable posts

 

Conclusion and Invitation to Join Our Family

Well, that just about wraps up 2017 for us here at DesignBold. But be ready for what 2018 has in store for our users. We’ll continue to iterate our platform and service, ensuring each component of the user interface works smoothly. Remember, your feedback is invaluable in making this happen!

And if your business, website, blog or social media accounts are in need of a refresh, we hope you’ll keep in mind how much DesignBold can save in time, money and sanity. We offer an online platform that gives you instant access to a wide variety of customizable templates. We want to empower all users to control their own creative design process.

The platform takes the grunt work out of creating posts, ads, cards, infographics and countless other tools of the design trade. We even have business card and logo templates for new businesses. DesignBold allows you to compose your own palette and carry it across multiple creations. It also lets you share your designs with other users and access a network of fresh ideas. And it does this at no cost to you.

If you’d like an upgraded experience – complete with font upload options, millions of stock imagery options, thousands of professionally designed templates and an innovative workspace, the premium membership is what you’re after. And at $19/month, it’s not exactly going to break your bank account.

See what all the fuss is about and try DesignBold out for yourself, today! We’re sure you’re going to be impressed with what this simple, online tool can do for you. The potential is endless. And once you’re done creating a piece of design magic, simply hit the “download” button to get a high-res version of the file on your computer.

It really is that easy! Trust us, you’re going to love it!

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