A former community discussing the business of software, from the smallest shareware operation to Microsoft. A part of Joel on Software.
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Doug Nebeker ("Doug")
Today, almost three months after launch, I sold my first license!
It's not quite enough to retire and live off, but it is wonderful.
Thank you all who have showered me with advice and inspiration here! If I can do it, anyone can!
Happy and motivated now to put some polish on the new version I'm working on.
Sunday, July 07, 2013
Great news! Congratulations.
Keep going and keep improving.
Monday, July 08, 2013
>Happy and motivated now to put some polish on the new version I'm working on.
Are you sure you wouldn't be better off improving your marketing/website/traffic? If your traffic or visit to download conversion rate is low, then improving the product is unlikely to be the best use of your time.
Monday, July 08, 2013
1. Maybe it's just me or maybe it's just today, but your website is slow. There is plenty of research saying that people abandon websites that don't load fast. Google penalizes slow websites in rankings.
2. +1 to Andy. Your website looks like a blog article, not a product website. If I didn't know it's a product website before going there, I wouldn't realize it.
So: fix your design. Put a screenshot of the product there. Remove all the "bloggy" links (recent posts, archives), move "sign up for mailing list" out of the way.
Don't get cute with copy. I get it, you sell software for making adventure games, so you made faux adventure game. You also confused 90% of the people looking at that page and that costs you downloads and sales.
Make the download button more prominent and move it to more standard location.
This website looks exactly like it did when I looked at it several months ago and it's bad. It's a few days of effort to fix it.
Even a bare-bones website like http://www.yepi.ws/fotofi/free-stock-photos (it's mine, feel free to re-use the design) is better because it's not confusing:
* it doesn't look like a blog
* it's clear that it's a windows software
* it has download/but buttons that are hard to miss
* it has a *clear* and *concise* description of the functionality (not artsy and cryptic). Your landing page is not a place to show case your creativity.
You already have this description ("The GameBook Authoring Tool is Windows software to aid the creation of “Choose your own Adventure”, interactive novels and Gamebook style books."), you just need to put it on the landing page, not in some far-away corner.
3. There's so much SEO potential here (a forum for people interested in making adventure games, articles about how to make adventure games, articles about history of adventure games etc.) I'm sure there are plenty of topics related to adventure games that are of interest to people interested in making adventure games.
Yes, it takes time to write all this content, but no more than a couple of days per article.
4. I don't know what your product plans are or what the underlying technology is, but I'm pretty sure that if people put an effort into making a game using your software, they want people to play it.
You should have one-click option to publish the game to your website, so that other people can play it (also via website).
You should have a catalogue of free-to-play games.
That way your customers will become your marketing team. And free SEO!
5. You should show the price only in one currency. I was confused (looks like 6 unique prices, 3 of them crossed out). Yes, I'm slow but basically you don't want to confuse people, even the slow ones. People understand the concept of currency conversion which is why majority of websites list a single price.
Monday, July 08, 2013
Great! It feels good to know your product adds value to someone :)
I'd really suggest you take into account the comments from Andy and Krzysztof. The same thing happened to me when visiting your site: it looks like a blog.
You really want to make things easy for potential customers and it all starts with a simple navigation. The first thing I was looking for was a screenshot and I couldn't find one.
Also take a look at the speed, it's really slow...your bounce rate must really high because of this.
Monday, July 08, 2013
Congratulations! I am sure it is a great feeling to know that our product is sell-able.
Of course, it is only a beginning :) Keep going!
Tuesday, July 09, 2013
I've sold more than one software product, some that failed, some that succeeded. I am not at all a marketing genius. What I've found is that the first X months of sales are indicative of the lifetime of the product most likely because I just make it and kind of leave it there. I have no experience improving a product that was not received well.
So in my humble opinion, while a sale is great, you need to change if you have had just one sale in 3 months. Change your marketing? Change your website? Change the product?
Thank you all for your terrific feedback :)
You are right, I need to fix the landing page and make it look less bloggy!
I will trial a new design of the website and report back the results.
Monday, July 15, 2013
Firstly congrats on your success!
In terms of your website, I also found it very slow to load. To the point I thought it may be down. Several seconds, almost half a minute. That's not good. Navigating between pages was the same.
That being said, I agree with Andy, you really need to focus on your marketing. The website really doesn't sell.
Also your menus, it feels like you need to select something, so I selected Pro. It wasn't until later that I realized you had to click on the title of the menu and not select an item that I saw your product promo page. It should also be in the drop down menu otherwise it's not obvious.
I also noticed you had some cute pics to make it look like kid drawings. I would avoid that. You probably want to avoid that and use professional graphics.
In any case, they do take too much space and make the text hard to read because of how it's wrapped. For example I get about 1 word per line, which is pretty hard to read.
I think even just a few minor updates could have a pretty big impact on your revenues. For sure working on your marketing and website at this stage will have a much bigger impact than working on the software itself.
I also agree with the idea of having people publish their stories on your website. That would be an amazing way to get organic traffic. You'd of course have to have some filters, and maybe even require a 24-hour (or business day) approval process just to be safe, but that would really help.
What would be really cool too is if the published book was as an html package. That is the story would include links whenever you had to make a decision, so that anyone reading your customers stories doesn't need to install the software, only to create it. Basically help your community generate buzz for your product.
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
> Sign up to our mailing list to get all of the latest news...
Mailing list or newsletter? You should be more precise. Mailing list allows its subscribers to send letters "one to all". Newsletter allows its subscribers just receive letters from the author.
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Thanks again for all of your brilliant feedback. A lot of the points raised did make a whole lot of sense (it's easy to get too close to the product that you cannot see a thing).
I'm tracking visiting/download/purchase stats so I'll let you know in a month or two how things are going after these changes.
Friday, August 02, 2013
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