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Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

Nicholas Hebb
BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

I redid my website. Comments welcome.

I got some feedback on the BoS forum some time ago that my website could use some work. I've redone it. What do you think?

Old version: http://i.imgur.com/sNVFSNc.png
New version: http://www.sniphq.com/

Jason Swett Send private email
Sunday, June 23, 2013
I believe three boxes with reasons to buy ("schedule from anywhere", "say goodbye to call" ... ) should be visible above the fold.

I do not see a point in asking a question in header ("What makes the software better...?") while you can provide an answer instead.

Same with "See why" btw -- why not put most compelling why's right there and add see more to features.

The screenshot is way too big and its details are too small. It would be enough to have it 1/4 of the screen with only say 2 columns, and expand into lightbox on click.

https://www.appointmentreminder.org/ would be a good example to follow ;)
Vladimir Dyuzhev Send private email
Sunday, June 23, 2013
Are you posting this for SEO?

But hey, here's a sad story with a lesson..

In late 2011, I came across an appointment reservation app by a company that looked like it had been just recently established. They had a few customer testimonials already, so I mistakenly concluded that it must be quite easy to sell an app like that and started making my own. I figured I could make a much better one too, so it would be even easier to sell!

Fast-forward to 1.5 years later, and I've given up on the reservation app I made. Not only that, but I've given up on the *next* app too, which ended up having a reservation feature among others.

If the market/situation in your country is anything like mine, you should probably give up too and find something there's a *clear* need for.

Here's a few problems I've encountered:
  - My target audience consists mainly of middle-aged women who dislike/fear/hate computers. This is a massive fucking problem, but somehow strangely difficult to really grasp.
  - Most of them don't have a computer to begin with.
  - What they *do* have is a notebook and a pen.
  - They've used those two to successfully run their businesses for like 25 years in a row.
  - Most of them work alone, with no employees.
  - There's a lot of competition in this space.
  - Chain stores already have a solution in place - either custom made, or from a bigger competitor.
  - My customers are *women*, and therefore base their decisions on their emotions - not rational estimation of the benefits.

This year, I spent six months getting *one* customer, but we're not talking Enterprise Sales here.. This reasonably co-operative lady with a beauty salon just wasn't really sure she wanted/needed my product, and it took her.. a few months or so to buy a computer.

Basically, your only hope is young women with their own businesses and *at least one employee*. They're already used to using and having computers, and open to the idea of benefiting from software. If there's at least one employee, your software will be useful in coordinating things between them. Otherwise, that damn notebook will still be enough.

But how do you find young entrepreneurs? There's no business directory where you can filter service businesses based on the age of their owners, is there?

Even if you do find them, they're not guaranteed to actually pay for your product anyway. I had one young woman become a customer, and then back out of it because her father had suggested that paying a monthly fee instead of a flat one would be bad for her.

Also, a reservation app is *critical* to a service business. If your app is down, the business is down. That makes it that much harder for them to trust you with something like that. Their notebook won't suddenly become unreachable or malfunction and fuck up the whole day, and cause harm to their reputation.

Is your competition driving down prices like crazy too? Mine is.. or was, I guess. There are people out there offering a reservation app for something like 15 euros per month, and I was originally hoping to get 75e/month. Now, if that cheap bastard's cheap app actually works and has enough functionality, it's pretty fucking hard to justify paying you several times as much for what your customer *at least perceives* as the same thing.

Sure, your app may be much prettier, it may be more stable, and it may have more functionality. But if the cheap app is *enough* for someone, you're screwed. I had a case where a barbershop was supposed to start using my app, but had found a cheap app somewhere on the Internet and decided to go for that instead. Actually, the last time I checked, this place isn't even using the cheap app.

So, in conclusion: Fuck. That. Shit.

I've just saved you at least a year of your life.. just fucking take it and be glad I happened to be in the mood for a random act of kindness like this.
Bonita Applebum Send private email
Sunday, June 23, 2013
Oh, and I bet your testimonials are fake. Stop being scuzzy like that.
Bonita Applebum Send private email
Sunday, June 23, 2013
Not wishing to be mean at all, but I think the first version looks better. I can recall reading some of the original thread about the first iteration of your site and I don't think you read it!

Your product is supposed to appeal to women running hair salons. Where is the nice stock photography to reflect this? You can easily get something for a few dollar here:

Does your software run on iPads? If so why not show this? As Applebum states women don't use PC's much, but they do love their Tablets...

I don't think the massive screenshot is doing any favors.

Why not get a nice memorable logo designed? Something that works a pair of scissors into the name would be good.

An easy to follow video showing the benefits could work wonders.
Andrew Gibson Send private email
Sunday, June 23, 2013
I think you need to tune the colors.. dark black and blue hurt the eye.
Dima Send private email
Sunday, June 23, 2013
@Bonita Applebum

This market challenges are described very well indeed.

One of local moderators though is exactly on the same market. According to him, his service was "covering all of its own costs" and had "a few dozen paying customers" in the very first year, 2011. Today it is his main focus, though he doesn't disclose numbers as he did for Bingo Card Creator.

I have a feeling one application wouldn't cover all (for instance, dental appointments, especially family ones, feel to me a whole different beast).
Vladimir Dyuzhev Send private email
Sunday, June 23, 2013
++ to being careful about putting key headlines above the fold.

I echo the concern about the massive screen shot of the appointment calendar dominating the web site above the fold.

The site definitely needs more colors and better design than the imgur graphic, but the screen shot is only a partial solution. It would be nice to show a simple "use case" process flow in three cute, clever graphics, and not fixate just on the desktop screen shot. I would personally get descriptive graphics designed that accompany the three headings and texts.
WannabeTycoon Send private email
Sunday, June 23, 2013
> Oh, and I bet your testimonials are fake. Stop being scuzzy like that.

I thought that comment was way out of line, but after looking at the testimonials, it does look a bit fishy to have two separate quotes from Barb A.
Nicholas Hebb Send private email
Monday, June 24, 2013
Pretty much what everybody else said but I will respond to this comment:

"I do not see a point in asking a question in header ("What makes the software better...?") while you can provide an answer instead. "

The OP actually did the right thing with this, because the very idea or concept is still new to the reader. When you're presenting a new idea it's a good idea to lead with a question because it primes the reader to start thinking and looking at the issue from a different angle. It gets them more receptive, so when you present your solution they're willing to spend a few moments looking at it and thinking about it.

In contrast if you lead with the "solution" they don't even fully grasp the problem yet, and so reject it out of hand.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't try to squeeze your key benefits above the fold though ;o)

Reluctantlyregistered Send private email
Monday, June 24, 2013
I remember the original discussion here and it doesn't seem like anything has really moved on. The website looks very Bootstrap still and it will never appeal to the target customer looking like that.

This kind of thing needs to look slick and professional, so that it is a pleasure to use. Right now, it looks clunky and unfinished. Sorry to be harsh, but to overcome the inertia mentioned by Bonita Applebum, you need to blow your prospects away and make them want to beg you to use it, so they can show it off in their salons, not hide it under their desk in case anyone sees it, which is what they'd do now.

You may think this is a "chicken and egg" scenario, where you need customers (i.e. revenue) to pay for better design, but that is severely wrong. You need the design up front, or you'll never get any customers. If you believe in the product, take a risk and pay for a professional design, otherwise you're never going to get anywhere.

As always, just trying to keep it real, IMHO, YMMV, etc.
Scorpio Send private email
Monday, June 24, 2013
> This kind of thing needs to look slick and professional

Here I will again have to point to Patrick's Appointment Reminder, which is not _very_ slick. Just solid OK.

I even believe, Patrick's first version (minimum viable product) was ... kind of terrible. Which did not stop him from proving there is a market at which point the site was, I believe, professionally redesigned.
Vladimir Dyuzhev Send private email
Monday, June 24, 2013
> When you're presenting a new idea it's a good idea to lead with a question because it primes the reader to start thinking and looking at the issue from a different angle

OK, perhaps I am wrong.

Indeed, when the screen property is released from the mega screenshot, the use of question wouldn't look such a waste of the valuable space.
Vladimir Dyuzhev Send private email
Monday, June 24, 2013
"did not stop him from proving there is a market"
If Mr. McKenzie still checks in here, he can correct me if I read his year end post wrong.

His primary source of income is what he described as a lucrative consulting gig.  BCC is not his main focus because he is in maintenance mode and doesn't have to give it much time.  He said he had multiplied his Appointment Reminder revenue, but didn't mention profit, which I read as "finally growing, but still haven't recovered all the sunk costs in developing it."

Generally speaking, the more expensive the professional service, the more likely the professional will use a paid customer babysitting service.  When your hairdresser charges as much per minute as your dentist, then he will be very interested in paying for a service that sends email, SMS and recorded voice reminders, and he will also be interested in an integrated package that handles personalized hair management programs, insurance billing and payroll, all controlled from a dedicated app on his iPad.
Howard Ness Send private email
Monday, June 24, 2013
Thanks for the comments, everyone. I think I got some helpful stuff out of this.

It sounds like maybe I could stand to make the screenshot smaller. Now that you guys point that out, I think you're probably right. The blue links on the black navbar are probably too hard on the eyes, too. Thanks for pointing that stuff out.

I feel like I should point out that my testimonials are not fake. If they were, why would come up with fake testimonials and a) make them all be from the same state and b) put the same name twice, rather than just adding another fake name?
Jason Swett Send private email
Tuesday, June 25, 2013

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