I’ve been monitoring the results of trying a Google AdWord campaign ($25 for a month). This is the third day since I started to “brand” myself (it’s more painful then it sounds). Here are the searches that resulted in a click through:
- “andaconda sports”
- “python” but it was a search limited to www.france-pub.com
- “snake game”
- “where can i sell my snake”
Google associates Python, a programming language in my world, with “snakes”.
I went back to Google AdWords to refine my keywords and discovered a few more details. For example, you can add a “-” to mean “not this word” and you can surround a word in quotes to avoid the broad match (e.g. “snake” matches “python”). Here’s the set of words I’m using now:
- python qt
- qt designer
So far I’ve spent $1.63 for six click thru’s that are totally worthless. That’s not such a big deal at this point though it does warn me about two things:
- If you don’t have an easy way to monitor what search words are being used you shouldn’t be using AdWords.
- A lot of people just click on the first thing that shows up. I have no idea why someone looking for “snake game” would click on a link “Pete Ware — Developer”!
From Mac Software Business podcast “MacSB (001): Getting Started as a Mac Indie Developer”
- Copy: Adding features write description for later cut and paste
- Payment processing: paypal, ecellerate
- Sparkle (updates)
- Forums, email lists
- Help book
- Support hours
- Bug database (omni-outliner, trac, fogbug)
- Lost registration codes
- Source control
- Experimenting in code base to be shipped (one proj in Xcode)
- Don’t be stingy about free licenses
- Put it up on Version Tracker, MacUpdate.
- Blogs helped
- Google add words (waste of money)
- Press releases good
- Apple’s download site
From podcast “Mac Software Business: MacSB (008): Becoming a Micro-ISV” which is an interview with Bob Walsh
- You have to work on something you’d like to work on for the next three years
- You may not be an expert in the area but remember you’ll be working with
people in the area so you better like those people!
- Blogging is the simplest and most effective way to connect to your market and
even just improve your professional career.
Here’s an article that’s closer to the truth of doing a u-ISV:
The Software Product Myth
In our completely un-contrived scenario you’re now making $2500/month from your product, which doesn’t allow you to quit your day job. So you work 8-10 hours during the day writing code for someone else, and come home each night to a slow but steady stream of support emails. And the worst part is that if you’ve built your software right the majority of the issues will not be problems with your product, but degraded OS installations, crazy configurations, a customer who doesn’t know how to double-click, etc&
One of the suggestions from the micro-ISV world is to encourage customers to talk so you can listen to them. Providing good customer support is key to a succesful small business. Here are some tools that get mentioned.
- An easy to create social network site called Ning. The idea is to make it easy for customers to communicate with you. It also acts as word of mouth advertising. It’s hard to picture having enough customers for a community but that’s just lack of confidence.
- Everyone loves reading Joel on Software, so why not buy his software, FogBugz? It’s $199 per user installed on your own machine. So for a u-ISV it’s pretty cheap.
- Trac software is the open source bug tracking/wiki/etc. I’m inclined to go this route but FogBugz sounds pretty tempting, too
I’ve started researching being a small, independent software vendor/developer. One of several inspiring stories is balsamiq.com which was referenced in this NY Times article Man Writes Software, Blogs About it, Makes $100k in 5 Months
The Eric Sink articles are good for convincing me that it’s possible for a one
or two people to actually develop viable, commercial software. Being able to
distribute software via a website is empowering compared to try to distribute
Here are some books:
Some notes on various version control tools:
- Buildbot: http://buildbot.net/trac offers a way to build and test multiple repositories. Support mercurial
- Mercurial supports a forrest of repositories. You can have a repository that contains other repositories. That makes it easier to compose complex system. It’s not clear whether Forrest, Nested Repositories, or just being able to ignore a .hg directory is the route to go.
- Nice tutorial on using mercurial
- Linux and Windows diff tool
- Mac OS X diff tool
ScreenFlow from VaraSoftware.com is some cool screen capture software. Perhaps it’s most interesting idea is just to capture everthing and then give you the tools to edit it after the fact. Nice way to add audio afterward, too.