Someone just asked me what things I’ve done to increase downloads on my site and I replied as follows:
To be honest I made most (*lots*) of my sales from portals so I haven’t spent a lot of time optimising my site for sales, but here’s what I have done:
1) I have a front page with featured games that each link to an individual game page.
2) I put Download and Buy buttons on each game page and I used a special colour scheme where the buttons are green for “go” (instead of something like red) and they have gold on them for “quality”. Note that the whole site looks clean and professional as well, not cheap or strange. I don’t think that many people buy directly, most people download play the demo first and buy from within the security wrapper. So I believe it’s most important to encourage quality downloads. That means customers who are actually interested in the type of game they are downloading (because they’ve read enough info and seen enough screenshots beforehand) and who are thus more likely to buy than random downloaders. This saves on bandwidth and yields a higher conversion rate.
3) My game pages have a nice big colourful image of the game name/brand and some short well-written text plus a list of bullet points of fun features including how many levels there are. I also have plenty of screenshots and then a list of real comments from sites that have reviewed the game.
4) I also have a 60 day no quibble money back guarantee right under the price. This is a well known technique to increase buyer confidence. You very rarely have to give refunds and it’s certainly not worth arguing with a customer if you want to get word of mouth referrals.
5) I dropped my prices several months back from normal Indie prices of $19.95 to $9.95 and $6.95 to compete with Amazon when they dropped their prices. I got a surge in sales but it has been quiet since then.
6) I host the files myself instead of on some free crappy server which is slow and packed with adverts and popups.
7) I have a page of free games which may attract people to the site. But it could be attracting the wrong sort of people i.e. non-paying customers.
8 ) I submitted PAD files of my games to shareware sites via a shareware submission service. This boosted traffic and resulted in sales.
9) I’ve done press releases via a PR service to promote new games and that has resulted in a traffic boost.
10) I’ve got the games reviewed on other sites and as they always get good reviews, this is bound to help. However, most of the reviewers approach me instead of me asking them.
11) I’ve had my games featured on http://www.gamedujour.com and I’m planning to put them on http://game.giveawayoftheday.com/
12) I have a newsletter and I email people when I make a new game or run a special offer. This sometimes results in increased sales and is certainly an important tactic if you have a large mailing list of loyal customers.
13) My site is linked to in all my emails, my site and games are linked to in my forum sigs, and my site is linked to when I post on other people’s blogs. I also post regularly on twitter now. This may bring in a bit more traffic. I also post about my new games on BlitzBasic.com which always results in some sales.
14) I have a links page and have traded links with several other sites. This may helped traffic and page rank. Certainly having a blog helps from an SEO point of view. Oh and I put some keywords in my site metatags but I’m not sure if the search engines bother with those any more.
- I do track downloads and sales so that if I was to change site layout or do A/B testing or run special offers I can track the changes. Without data, you are working blind. Also it’s well known that what you track increases However, I just don’t make enough changes to bothering tracking at the moment.
- I was doing affiliate sales and that was making some OK money but I had to stop that when I became a BFG employee due to a non-compete clause in my job contract.
- I have adsense on my site which some people say is unprofessional and may even draw away potential buyers. However, I make money from it so for now it stays.
- I’ve made tons of money from selling gambling site text links despite people advising against it, although recently my site pagerank dropped which may be as a result of google penalising my site.
- I have not tried bundle deals yet and I don’t change the site content much, it’s pretty much static. I don’t have a customer oriented blog, it’s developer oriented so there is nothing to keep customers checking back regularly. I don’t use Adwords or advertise on any other sites. There’s probably tons more I could do to, but it’s not a priority for me right now. Perhaps if I spent a little time though I could boost my passive income a bit, which is always nice.