Promoting open source projects

Checklist

Basics

Project name and description

If you want to successfully promote your open source project, the basics need to be right. Maybe you already picked a project name. In that case, there is not to do in that area. If not, it is important to select a powerful name that makes sense.

  • As short as possible
  • Easy to pronounce
  • Easy to remember
  • Domain name available
  • Gives away a hint on what the tool does

Hosting

Hosting your open source project

SourceForge was a well-known location to host your open source project in the past. Nowadays, it is GitHub and GitLab that host most of the open source tools. While both look similar, it is GitHub that has hosts the most projects.

Going with GitHub for hosting is a safe bet. The first reason is that their domain has a high value to search engines. Another benefit is the public API. This allows external services to discover your project and see when new releases are available.

  • Use GitHub for publically hosting your project
  • Fill in the project description text (top)
  • Make it clear in one line what the tool is used for
  • Find the tags that are the best related to the tool and assign them to the project

Optimize the GitHub project

Promoting a project needs to be done on every location possible. If you decided to use GitHub to host your open source project, this is a great place to start with optimization. GitHub allows you to define a short description at the top. Some software projects only use the name of the project itself. Obviously, this is a missed opportunity. Start here to rewrite the description and explain the outcome for a potential new user.

Packages

Check descriptions and status

When you optimized the description on GitHub, website, and other pages, it is time to review descriptions by others. The Repology project has software to gather the latest details on many types of packages. This includes the different formats for Linux, services like Brew for macOS, and ports on FreeBSD.