We discussed this question with an expert and came up with a plan of action that will last for at least the next four months, until our next meeting on Halloween. The website will be a key area of attention. Here's an overview of what we decided to focus on:
- The expert thought that marketing was one of the key reasons that our system has been less popular than some other pools. We have never spent any money on marketing and don't know enough about marketing. I'll be redirecting my efforts away from bugfixes and mining server work over to marketing for the next few months. To begin, I already added event tracking to Google Analytics, so we can determine which referers are leading to new registrations.
- We allocated $30,000 to create a series of many YouTube videos reviewing miners, explaining how to set up mining equipment, and detailing some basic concepts about pools (like how the share difficulty does not affect profits.) The goal is for these videos to rank highly in search results, and the topics will be closely related to mining so that people who watch the videos may start mining here.
- We determined there were two types of content that would attract visitors. The first was the documentary style information, which would draw an audience that is looking for quick answers to questions. The other was establishing someone as a personality that people not only view once, but come back to hear many times. The personality would need to create videos regularly and the videos would need to be of more general interest. We discussed hiring someone, but decided instead that I will be increasing the frequency of posts I make to the "Prohashing Blog" to at least three per week. I'll also be adding "subscribe" buttons to encourage people to follow the blog and return, and will be investigating ways to publicize posts across social media networks and places that republish content.
- We analyzed the site's visitors and decided to allocate $2,000 to translate the site into Russian. About 17% of our visitors originate from Russia, and we rank highly in Russian search engines. We'll be making a job post for two Russian translators soon. The first will perform the work, and the second will read the first's translation to prove that the first translator did a good job.
- It was suggested, and we found, that automated bots are illegally connecting to some of our data in violations of our terms of service. These bots may be using the data to create services, like block explorers and other pools. Over the next week, I'll be writing code to ban these bots and reporting abuse to ISPs. Yesterday, I secured some functions of the block explorers and reported accounts to Amazon which were querying data in violation of the terms. Later this week, we'll be taking similar actions against people who are subscribing to undocumented WAMP functions and querying other REST APIs that aren't public.
- It was also recommended to us that we create a new homepage that does not have live data on it, and which loads quickly and presents a few key features of the pool. We had a similar page in 2016 before deciding to replace it with a direct link to the charts page. We'll be reverting that change in the next few weeks, but the charts page will remain available. Coinbase Pro's site is an example of this paradigm - there is a main page that has static images, and then a "view exchange" button. I personally think that Coinbase Pro's design is annoying because it requires an extra click to get to the useful information, but this suggestion was strongly recommended to us.
- It was recommended that we change the way that some of the profitability data is presented. The expert said that litecoinpool.org may be achieving more visitors simply because they make it sound as if they are paying customers more with their "101% PPS" advertising. When I last checked, we paid 102% of LTC. We are going to directly attack litecoinpool.org by changing the payout comparison to use their language. We'll also be changing the language on the homepage to add a call to action - instead of "professional mining pool," we'll be marketing the pool as "most profitable legal mining pool" or something similar.
- With backend work, we determined that adding more coins and exchanges should take priority over adding more algorithms. We want to add the Bitshares distributed exchange as quickly as possible, in an effort to get around the "exchanges not accepting US customers" issue that is increasingly prevalent. If we can grow Bitshares by adding significant liquidity to it, that would be of benefit to the entire community. Once implemented, we will probably publicize our use of Bitshares and the reason we are doing it in an effort to try to start a trend away from centralized exchanges.
- We decided to make a job offer to a talented developer who will likely not be able to start for 9 months. When he starts in 2020, he or someone else will be able to implement the remaining algorithms or create a staking pool. We decided that a staking pool will be the natural next step for the project, and that the "send a coin in and get any coin out" exchange has too much legal red tape to be profitable now, if it ever would be.