The Business of Software Wiki

A part of Joel on Software, and a companion to the Business of Software discussion group.

Business of Software Forum FAQ

Certain questions come up again and again on the Business of Software forum. This article attempts to point people at previous answers and related online articles. Hopefully this will raise the level of debate and make the forum less dull for the regulars.

This is a work in progress. Feel free to add additional questions and links.

First created: Andy Brice 26-April-08

Last update: Andy Brice 30-Apr-10

My sales are down x%. Are yours?

For some of us, yes. For others, no. Statistical fluctuations are to be expected. Just check that your shopping cart is working. You aren't going to get enough replies in this forum to see any statistically valid trend.

How do I learn marketing/promote my software?

Executive summary: It's not rocket science, but it is hard to do well.

How do I price my product?

Executive summary: Probably for more than you were thinking of. Price sends a signal, so don't differentiate on price alone. Pricing is hard!

Should I use Google Adwords? How do I improve my return on Google Adwords?

Executive summary: Getting your Adwords campaign right takes time and effort. Make sure you understand how it works and start small. Adwords works better for some products/markets than others.

How do I SEO (Search Engine Optimise) my site for Google?

Executive summary: Nobody really knows except Google, and they aren't telling. 'Black hat' techniques probably aren't worth the risk.

How do I get an idea for a new product?

Executive summary: Talk to other people (not just developers) and look at your own life. What day to day 'pains' could be better solved by software.

What is the best development tool for Windows?

Executive summary: It depends.

Are desktop apps dead?

Executive summary: No.

Should I port my Windows app to the Mac?

Executive summary: Perhaps.

How do I deal with pirates/crackers?

Executive summary: Do enough to keep the honest people honest. But don't make life difficult for your paying customers.

Which payment processor should I use?

Executive summary: Not anyone owned by Digital River. Non-DR alternatives include: Plimus, Avangate, Fastspring and e-junkie.

How/with whom should I host?

Executive summary: It depends.

How much money do you make?

Executive summary: Between a little and a lot, with most concentrated on a little.  Many prefer not to say.