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Andy Brice
Successful Software

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Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

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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

One-man-company software product business, please review

Hello business owners,
I've got my successful software business running for 2 years. It is a desktop WPF application, sold for about $600 per PC. As I am one-man-company, I need someone to review the product and share some thoughts. I already got feedback from clients, now trying to find someone to discuss the business on this forum.

Product's web page is http://startrinity.com/VoIP/SipTester/SipTester.aspx
S3 Send private email
Monday, December 29, 2014
 
 
3 problems right off the bat:

You don't say what this tool is for, who might need this tool, and you drown the user in bullet points.

Start with a BIG HEADLINE "X is a tool for doing Y better/faster/cheaper. If you are a Z,Z2 or Z3, you need X"

And cut bulletpoints on home page to 1/10.

my .02 cents,

Cheers,
Bob
Bob Walsh Send private email
Monday, December 29, 2014
 
 
> I need someone to review the product and share some thoughts.

I went to your web page to download and review the product as you requested, just like one of your customers would.

What I wanted to see was a large "Download Now!" or "Download Trial Version!" button so I could try it out. I would also expect a large "Buy Now!" or "Register Now!" button there as well. I could not find them so I actually left the web page!

It turns out that both are present, but they are almost hidden amongst a sea of other similar looking buttons. The download and buy buttons also look like they are part of the "SIP Tester performance" graph near the top of the page and not clickable. Finally there are two different pages for finding the prices and buying the product, which could be improved.

Just like the Steve Krug book says, "Dont make me think!". Most visitors to the web site will only scan the page and not read most of what is there. You need to identify the most important things users will want to do and make them easy/obvious to find and click. There is a ton of information on the internet about this, like using spacing, shapes, colours on the buttons etc and even reducing the number of clickable options to make the "call to action" work better.

Is it possible to install and test the software without having access to a commercial VoIP system?
Billy Thorpe Send private email
Monday, December 29, 2014
 
 
Thanks for advice! I will do it - put a big header and big buy/download buttons.

Bob,
> cut bulletpoints on home page to 1/10
do you mean to replace bullet points with digits?
BTW, thanks you for your book "MicroISV - from vision to reality", I liked it. The microISV business is still alive, desktop apps still give profit like in 2006.

Billy,
"know prices" and "purchase" are 2 different buttons for reason of better website visitors' tracking and click-through-ratio research.

> Is it possible to install and test the software without having access to a commercial VoIP system?
yes, a user can install SIP Tester on 2 PCs and make calls between them
S3 Send private email
Tuesday, December 30, 2014
 
 
As it happens, we actually need a tool that does exactly this, although we are currently using SSIP - which is an open source tool. What is the difference?

A few comments on your site:

- site looks to be implemented by a programmer. sorry to say, but it desperately needs the magic of a professional designer.

- less is more. you have way too much content on the front page. Most people like visuals, a nice big graphic.

- the information architecture of the site needs improvement. Currently, you have one giant front page with all content on it. Consider breaking the content up into separate sections accessible via a submenu.

- Your  terminology needs adjustment. "know the price" should be "Pricing". etc. "List of tested software and hardware" could be "Compatible Software/Hardware".

- The most important viewing area on your site has the text "We would like to say thanks to all our current customers for purchasing the SIP Tester and encourage them to give more feedback. We need to know details of your experience to make better decisions about our future development.". You ought to remove all superfluous content, in favour of a cleaner, uncluttered design.

- I also question your branding a bit - why StarTrinity? Why not something more descriptive, like  SIPToolkit, SIPBenchmark SIPRunner, etc.

- you need to mention that it is a Trial Download. Also, add a Purchase button.

- hus, much of your text should be broken up into short bullet points. For instance, instead of

"StarTrinity SIP tester™ is a VoIP load testing tool which enables you to test and monitor VoIP network, SIP software or hardware. It is able to simulate and passively monitor thousands of simultaneous incoming and outgoing SIP calls with RTP media, analyze call quality and build real time reports. Call flow is specified by CallXML script where one can design various situations which can cause failure of SIP stack which is being tested. The SIP tester runs on any Windows PC without special hardware and simulates application server, media server, SIP phone or register server. Freeware license of SIP tester allows 50 actively simulated concurrent calls and 150 total attempted+received calls and unlimited passively monitored calls. Commercial license is available for purchasing. The software is licensed and protected by law (see license agreement for details).
"
try...

o Tests and monitors your VOIP networks
o Simulates thousands of SIP calls
o Analyzes call quality and generates real-time reports
o ...
jamieb22 Send private email
Friday, January 02, 2015
 
 
Is there any reason your restricting your product to SIP Voice? SIP Video is a massive niche market with some serious players behind it: Cisco and Polycom for example.
Andrew Gibson Send private email
Friday, January 02, 2015
 
 
Andrew, yes SIP Tester is able to play video RTP media from pre-recorded .PCAP file. I should note it in description and put sample .pcap into distribution.

Jamie, thanks for your extensive answer. Probably you meant SIPP. SIP Tester has better GUI and reporting.

> move content to different pages
wouldn't it affect SEO of this main page if some keyword disappear from it? Main reason for having too much on the target page is the SEO

> "StarTrinity"
because I had more than 1 products planned. why "cisco"? it is just a name of company
S3 Send private email
Friday, January 02, 2015
 
 
I am assuming you want honesty? Honestly, that is one of the worst product websites I have seen in a very long time. Beauty isn't everything (ebay and craigslist do ok) but I can't imagine ever buying anything off a website like that in 2015.

The good news is that just improving it to mediocre you could make a big difference to your sales. Can't you find someone with some design skills to help you. Or just modify a template?
Andy Brice Send private email
Saturday, January 03, 2015
 
 
Andy, thanks for your post!
Yes I want honesty. I will consider to grab some ideas from your 'PerfectTablePlan' and 'HyperPlan' websites, they really look different and better.
I did not spend too much time on the web page, and it was even worse in the beginning. My main effort was in development of product and support for customers. I don't like to hire people, it is easier to do it myself (so far).
S3 Send private email
Saturday, January 03, 2015
 
 
I wouldn't base anything on the PerfectTablePlan.com website. I did it myself nearly 10 years ago using a terrible tool and it wasn't great then. Its looking very dated now. I've been meaning to re-do it for a long time. Maybe 2015 is the year! Howver it has been A/B tested quite a lot and it converts pretty well.

I think the hyperplan.com design is much better. I paid someone to do it. But the site isn't fully operational yet.
Andy Brice Send private email
Saturday, January 03, 2015
 
 
>I don't like to hire people, it is easier to do it myself (so far).

I understand. I also like to do what I can. But you have to know what your limitations are. Why spend lots of time on website design if you are really bad at it? Also bear in mind that you might be even worse at it than you think:
http://successfulsoftware.net/2010/02/16/unskilled-and-unaware-of-it/
Andy Brice Send private email
Saturday, January 03, 2015
 
 
>> Why spend lots of time on website design if you are really bad at it?

no, I did not spend much time on it. It is max. 1% of time for design. The content is outdated now (6 months), that's more important. I am aware that I don't have good design skills now, but it is not a problem. Just take templates from other websites. I am more worried about SEO if I split this main page into multiple small ones.
S3 Send private email
Saturday, January 03, 2015
 
 
Hi S3,

"I will consider to grab some ideas from your 'PerfectTablePlan' and 'HyperPlan' websites, they really look different and better."

Perfect Table Plan would have a *very* different target audience than VoIP software. Isn't your objective not to look "different" or "better" (whatever that means) but to appeal to your target market?

Some other observations:
* what's the biggest benefit (USP - Unique Selling Proposition)?
* who (what kind of customer) would be the biggest beneficiary of this product?
* These two points should be prominently displayed.

* Your first sentence talks about your company ("StarTrinity.com company develops. . . ") and then lists technical "features".
  The first sentence under 'Technology' and 'Values' also talks about you.

* You should talk about your customer and what's in it for them (will this save money, increase call quality etc).

* If you can't afford a professional web designer, consider buying a themed templates.

* Remove ALL the technical references from the homepage - even if your target market is technical. The prime focus of the homepage should be benefits, benefits, benefits.

If they're interested enough in the benefits they'll drill down to read more on the technical details later.

All the best -
Marcus from London Send private email
Saturday, January 03, 2015
 
 
@Marcus, thanks for reply, I will consider your advice.
The sales process usually goes in this way:
1) technical guy finds the website via google, uses a freeware/trial version. it has a limit (number of concurrent calls)
2) he asks his manager to buy the license
I personally feel nothing wrong when I see technical content. I see wrong things on other (competitor's) websites:
- it is not clear what their developers do right now
- big marketing pictures give no information for me about quality of their product
- they don't give any results of reliability/performance/quality tests if they have been performed with their VoIP products. 

I personally don't like web pages with only-marketing-information, which are targeted for non-technical people
S3 Send private email
Sunday, January 04, 2015
 
 
Well guys, probably I will do this: 
1) put a button  "I am not a tech. guy, give me just basic marketing information"
2) do a research if this button is clicked by those people who make purchases

I am not sure who play a major role in purchasing process: technical guys or non-tech-CEOs
S3 Send private email
Sunday, January 04, 2015
 
 
"I am not sure who play a major role in purchasing process: technical guys or non-tech-CEOs"

The answer is both. The non-tech-CEOs has to approve the purchase for the tech guys. If they can't understand then they deny the buy. So what is probably happening is the tech guy having to write up a justification on how purchasing the software will actually help. Especially at $600 per PC. I have to do cost justifications a lot for CAD softwre and if the approving manager can quickly scan a document to see what the software does then it's more work a explanation by the tech guy. (Which often leads to looking like the tech guy just wanting new toys.)

A quick sales sheet that can describe the software in laymans terms to anyone non technical will go a long way. I also think this should be your inital info page too with a link to more detailed information. Especially when looking at your site. It's pack very densely with info and just scanning it for keywords to get the gist of what it does is near impossible unless you know what key words you need. All I got after a minute was its something with voice or ip and testing. Most managers won't even try for that long to understand it.

Hmm, not that I think about it I need to follow that advice myself.
TrippinOnIT Send private email
Monday, January 05, 2015
 
 
@TrippinOnIT, thanks for your post. It is really so. I need to help the tech guys to convince their managers. I have many competitors with their websites, so it should be easy to look at the websites and build the marketing webpage for myself.
S3 Send private email
Monday, January 05, 2015
 
 
> Main reason for having too much on the target page is the SEO

My guess is having a few pages, each focused on one aspect/topic will do better with SEO than a giant paged focused on many aspects/topics.  With so much content, each topic/keyword is just a tiny percentage of the overall page.  AND, from what I understand, you get some SEO juice for links pointing to other pages within the site.

But above all, make it easy for the human to digest and navigate.  SEO gaming is a very, very hard (almost impossible) any more, so focus on the user and Google will be happy.
Doug Send private email
Tuesday, January 06, 2015
 
 

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