Hi, I wonder if I could get a little advice with regards to the direction I should go with my website please. I'm an independant Windows software developer and I'm about to release a major upgrade of my one of my softwares "The DataSurgeon" (www.thedatasurgeon.net
). Up till now, sales have been pretty thin, partly I suppose because marketing is not my strength, and also being a one-man show - I don't have a lot of time for it while trying to simultaneously do software development. Partly too, is that the software itself is sort of a multi-purpose package and I find it hard to explain it in a succinct, brief and "punchy" way (hence the reason why my current site is so wordy). It's a unique and specialized software for people who work with very large raw data files (ie. data warehouse, data archivists, IT back office people, contact list vendors/brokers, etc). It lets them (1) Easily do complex queries at a very low character-level (2) Modify/fix those found matches (3) Perform tallies and aggregates on the matches found. In effect, it does things easily that normally one would need to hire a programmer to accomplish - I guess that's my best angle here. I really don't know what to compare it to other than an easy to use "regex engine" or "grep software" without the learning curve. And again, it's much more than that.
Anyway, the existing format/layout of my website is clearly not hitting homeruns. I realize the current capture page is not the best and fanciest thing going, but I'm just wondering if I in fact need a capture page at all for trying to sell software. I realize it's not the same as selling "Rock hard abs in 30 days!", or something hypey like that.
I guess my chief questions are:
- Should I be even using a capture page, or just let viewers land straight at the "meat" of my main site?
- If I should indeed have a capture page, can you maybe steer me in the direction of a "high-converting" good template that I can utilize and modify?
- Regarding a main site - does the format of mine cut it, design-wise?
- Maybe my main site is just too "wordy" and full of technical explanations (I *CAN* do that at times). Would I be better off just showing a very brief and broad animated "explainer" video, as opposed to a feature-demo video which I now have? Or maybe an "explainer" video on the capture page, then a more detailed demo video in the main site. I just don't know...
- Along that vein - would a more modern (and less wordy) scrolly-type website in that current and trendy "parallax" style be a better choice?
As you can see, I'm just not sure what my site presentation and structure should be for best success in the software marketplace. Any advice would be most welcome!!
Omar: My ratio between visitors and buyers is a very good question and one which I do not have a concrete answer for you. I can however tell you, that it would not be very good. With regard to marketing, I have about $80 credit remaining on a Google Adwords coupon that I am hanging onto to advertise The DataSurgeon with... once I get everything finished up for it (website, landing page, Users manual, etc). This will be interesting.
Thanks for the 10 "bullet points" of things to improve. Many of them I can do!
Scott: Well, i don't really have a lot of extra cash to splurge these days on paid site-builders like Wix and Weebly. I do have enough HTML/CSS skills that I can cobble together my own given a decent template. I'm hesitant also to dive into all that Wordpress/Joomla/Drupal stuff - that is all new and Greek to me and that in itself would take time to get up to speed with.
Good point about keeping XP hidden in the background. No one needs to know I'm a dinosaur.
Yes, I have looked at those other regex-helper sites and they too are old looking. But I wouldn't say that they are *really* my direct competition. My software is very different than that. They market mostly to the hardcore techies, while I hope to target the folks who couldn't be bother with all those hieroglyphics. Mine hides all that difficult stuff and lets the user just basically point-and-click. To be honest, I don't know who would be my direct competition. I floated around the idea of trying to sell my software package as some kind of easy-to-use "Fifth Generation Language" kind of thing, in order to emphasize it's "all-in-one" querying/modifying/summati
Checked out Leadpages.com and the other two sites... again, I'm not keen on a paid thing right now, but also, in browsing through their collection of templates (each site has about only 100), none of them really grabbed me.
Having giving it some thought, I think my best (and fastest) approach right now is to just create a nice new landing page (or 2, if I want to A/B test). Keep my current "main" site and neaten/shorten that up accordingly. I think it would just be too long a job to create a whole new site altogether from scratch... perhaps later if this approach yields nothing.
What I have in mind as a landing page is something like shown here:
To me, that's just about bang-on to what I envision:
- a large picture in the background (ideally, kind of on the darker side... and something high-tech to reflect my business). "Hero Image"?? is that what they call it now?
- A play button to launch my hopefully-brief new explainer video.
- And a short subscriber form to let them immediately subscribe to get more info and downloadable demo at my main site.
Another good design is the one I see at the Bing Ads login page here:
The pic would need to be something appropriate for my biz of course, but I like the layout in general. And when you scroll down, I really like the big bold simple areas to outline main features and selling points... testimonials and such. I like that one a lot. If I could find a landing page template to combine the components and basic look of top fold of the "Slack" capture page, and the bottom parts of the Bing Ads one... I think I'd really have something. Would you happen to know of any free template sites where I could grab one like that?