• Category: Insights

  • Written by toomaime

    Last Updated 🗓 a month ago

Building a platform for learning how to code

Interview with the founder of Scrimba

https://scrimba.com/

Hey Per, first of all, can you tell us a little bit about you and what you are working on? 

We’re building Scrimba, which is the easiest way to learn to code. Through our courses, you can learn stuff like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, React.js, Vue.js, and more. What separates us from other video-based course platforms for developers is that our courses are 100% interactive. We’ve built a technology that lets students interact with the code directly inside the screencasts, meaning they can experiment with the code when they get confused. This also changes how teachers actually teach, as they’re now able to give tasks to students much more easily.

 

We got our first users from creating free coding courses and marketing them through Medium and YouTube.

 

One of your projects is Scrimba - how did your get your first users for it?

We got our first users from creating free coding courses and marketing them through Medium and YouTube. We created top-notch content that we gave away for free, and then we exported it to other formats (like text and video) and allowed other communities with a lot of users to share it for free under their name. This gave a ton of traffic back to us.

How has your marketing strategy changes as you have evolved?

This one is interesting. In the beginning, we relied heavily on posting articles to Medium, and especially via popular publications. This gave us a ton of traffic. However, throughout 2018, this channel started to become saturated, and it didn’t move the needle for us anymore. 

We then moved onto getting Scrimba screencasts linked to sponsoring open source libraries and providing them with content to their docs, like Vue.js. This is great, for the following reasons: 

a) improves their documentation

b) gives us relevant traffic

c) helps the open-source team stay alive

The next path to unlock growth was SEO, as we suddenly started getting enough domain authority to break into the first page on certain queries developers search for when they’re looking to learn new skills. It has grown from almost nothing to almost a quarter of our traffic now, and we’ve started investing time into understanding keywords better, e.g. figuring out which keywords we should try to rank for and which one we should ignore (either due to too little traffic, or too much competition).

YouTube has been an important driver all along, and it continues to be.

 

We encourage people heavily to thank the creator of the screencasts on Twitter. 

 

What “social media strategies” are you doing for your projects?

We encourage people heavily to thank the creator of the screencasts on Twitter. This has been great, as it makes the teachers and students connect better, which hopefully makes the students come back, and motivates the teachers to create more content.

We also have a Spectrum community where our users can talk with us and talk with each other. 

What SEO strategies have worked for you? 

Focusing on the right keywords to target. 

For example, our ES6 course might have link juice to rank on the first page for a popular query like “es6 tutorial”. If so, we’ll aim for it. 

However, our CSS course might not have enough link juice to break into the first page of “css tutorial” (popular search phrase), but it might have enough juice to rank for something like “learn css” (less popular phrase, but still with some amount of traffic). In which case, we’ll aim for “es6 tutorial” for our ES6 course and “learn css” for our CSS course.

This has helped us a lot. Essentially, it’s about understanding where you have a chance and where you don’t have a chance, and where it’s not worth competing at all.

What content marketing are you doing for your projects? 

Content marketing has been one of the most important drivers for our growth. It’s what got us off the ground. This is natural though, as Scrimba is a tool for creating learning content for developers.

We’re trying to squeeze as much as we can out of our content. When we have a create Scrimba tutorial, we’ll often times export it to video and share it on YouTube, and also write it out as a text-based tutorial and publish it as wide as we can. This way, we’re getting much more traffic and links back to the original tutorial.