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Patrick McKenzie
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Redesigned website -- comments appreciated

So recently I got a wakeup call on Y Combinator from a few people, saying my product website was way too wordy, boring, technical, ugly, etc. One even went so far as to say that if they were a potential customer, they wouldn't even bother trying to figure out what I was trying to sell. Ouch!

So yesterday and today I did a redesign of the site. There are still a few tweaks I can do here and there, but let me know what's good and what isn't: http://www.16software.com/autoscreen

For comparison, the original version is here: http://www.16software.com/autoscreen/index2.php

I haven't started redesigning the download page yet -- which I think needs to be clearer -- but if the old version of the main page was as bad as people were saying (and I have to say I agree with them now, comparing the two) hopefully the new design will help bring in more sales.
Patrick Send private email
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
 
 
i dont see any changes :)

I was expecting to be blown away by the 2nd url :)

mehh...

why not start with a basic free template from one of those
www.opendesign.org sites and fill in your details if design is not your forte.

http://www.opendesigns.org/preview/?template=2225
clean template that might work for your product.
Anonymouse Send private email
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
 
 
1st impressions:

Still too hard to figure out what the site is about in the 1st 2 seconds. Instead of the 1st top-of-page large type saying "What does AutoScreen do?", how about some sort of title or slogan which *tells* me why I want to read more?

The top of the page looks pretty Spartan to me. I'd suggest at least some pretense at artwork -- a logo, background graphic, something.
Conrad Albrecht Send private email
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
 
 
dude, there is still way too much text on that page

i had to stop and read it, to figure it out what your product actually does.

then i had to read further to figure out why i would want to use it

you need to sell it in 10 words or less

like this
http://nz.bumperbox.com/stuff/bos_autoscreenmock.jpg

the paragraph you have about endless possibilities
take each line out of that and make a separate page, like the one i have shown. using those ideas you have for titles

have several incoming pages to your site, and on each one, concentrate on how you would achieve the following.

1. Monitor your childrens internet activities
2. Make sure employees are not goofing off
3. Record application use for beta testing

it  would be unlikely that someone would buy your app to do all 3 of the above.  they probably only want it for one of those reasons.

hope this helps
bumperbox Send private email
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
 
 
Hi Patrick

One thing I noticed was that the first thing my eye is drawn to on the page is the text saying "What does AutoScreen do?". For someone new to that page, this is ok, but what would be better is for my eye to be drawn to something like "Automatic screen shots sent anywhere."

Take a look at the FogBugz page: http://www.fogcreek.com/FogBugz/

The first thing my eye catches there is the text "FogBugz is a complete project management system designed to help software teams communicate."

As far as possible you should try to have each sentence give you a reason to keep reading. If you are wanting to target parents specifically, perhaps your intro text should be changed to something like "AutoScreen lets you know what your children are doing on the computer."

I think it would probably be well worth your time reading and trying to apply copywriting techniques to your site. A good starting point is http://www.copyblogger.com/copywriting-101/
Gareth Marshall Send private email
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
 
 
Way to much plain text and the screenshot looks like it was taken in the 90's.
Scorpio Send private email
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
 
 
At a casual glance the sites look the same, except the new one lacks the all-important screenshot.

I recommend buying Bob Walsh's ebook, "Micro-ISV Sites that Sell" and working through this checklists and exercises.
Steve McLeod Send private email
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
 
 
I received similar feedback for my 'still unreleased product' website and did significant reduction in the length/text. I haven't yet gone back to JoS'ers for comments on the redesign.

But it is indeed absolutely true that if a bunch of people say it's too wordy, then it really is too wordy and there it is absolutely possible to chop it off to less than half of the original. I think your site needs that treatment too :)
uwf - WorkWolf.com Send private email
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
 
 
Thanks for the feedback -- looks like I've still got some work to do.

I do see how it's still a little wordy and intimidating to the viewer. I'll see if I can't consolidate the main page some more.

Gareth: Great resource, thanks. It really stressed the importance of a catchy headline -- which I definitely need to work on.

Scorpio: I always use the Windows Classic theme on XP, but you're right, it does look like it's from the 90s. I'll switch to Luna and take another screenshot.

bumperbox: Interesting idea, having several incoming pages. How exactly would that work? Would each page be connected to a different AdWord campaign?
Patrick Send private email
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
 
 

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