Some features in this article can be apply to information sites, merchandise, podcast or blogs. In my case, it was software and I will mention it when it's "software related". I only started to mass distribute my free software in February of 2007. With this experience fresh in my mind, I taught that I would write about things that you should think about. Where will it live? It's important to get a website obviously and maybe a second. It will show that you are serious about your shareware or freeware. You can start with a few simple pages and grow from that. If your software can eventually be translated, you should consider naming your page accordingly. For example, I have "_en" for English pages and "_fr" for French pages. Think big! Think globally! And why a second site? Because you can use the second site for a mirror for the setup file and for other uses(test). At the moment, I have a server based on Linux(this blog) and the main site on Windows. I have taken over the Linux server back in December of 2006 and now realize that I made a good choice. I have options not available on the other Windows server and vice and versa. The monthly bandwidth allowed is lower on the second one thus costing less. Depending on how well it does(short term), it can cost you $10-$30/month for 1 or 2 sites. I will mention other ways later on. At that cost, it will be on a shared hosting solution thus many sites on the same server box.
Good evening, I will be your Host tonight When the numbers of visitors/day will have outgrown your needs, then it will be time for a new type of hosting. If you have enough revenue/month, you can move to a managed server. It's like shared hosting, without the hassle of maintaining it, but only you is hosted on it. It will you cost around $100/month for a basic server. If you want to offer a forum, many forum owners suggest to be on a dedicated server. I supposed a very, very small forum could be hosted on a shared hosting plan. Think about the software name (software related) When I created Info2MIS, it was originally called "IMDB 2 MIS" and then "Info 2 MIS". Searching for it on the Internet gave me too many hits. Just by removing the space, that task is much simpler now. For MIS Info Video, I still have the trouble and will change the name later on. Plus, it does more now than when it was created. An original single name is the key. If it's more than one word, try to be less generic. And don't start with a number because shareware/freeware sites don't like it.
Think about the software setup name (software related) Ever wonder why it's MISInfoVideo_setup.exe and not MISInfoVideo_v24.exe. Simple! If any site link back to your site, the user will always get the latest version. The original site might still show v2.4 but the user will get v2.5+ Think about the website name (software related) If you go with the software name, you can't add another application but it can be simpler for your users. Or, you can also use a subdomain or be traditional like I do now. Depending on your host, you can have a few domain names included for free in the plan. Think about the user name When I took over i2mfan.com, the person had i2mfan for a user name on many sites/forum. For me, it gave me a little traffic but for the ex-owner, a change of user name was required to lessen the confusion between him and my new site. I was lucky to be able to recycle the meaning of I2M to my needs. I still have a few emails from time to time but I forward them to the ex-owner. So, open a Gmail account with a new name if you want to go on other sites/forums. You may want to sell your site later on and those places might not be in direct relation to the subject of the site. To be Freeware or to be Shareware? (software related) Info2MIS was free from the start but not MIS Info Video. I tried different method before I finally decided to go freeware. I started with:
- 10 days with all the features and then it stop working
- 10 days with all the features and then entered Basic Mode with random nags when starting
- 30 days with all the features and then entered Basic Mode with random nags when starting
- 30 days with all the features and then with all the features Basic Mode with random nags when starting . A new Free Basic version with no nags and less features was launched.
- Now freeware and eliminated the Free Basic altogether thus having not to do test again.
- $ 9,95 with free upgrades until v2
- $ 9,95 with free upgrades for v2, v3...
- $ 5,95 with free upgrades for v2, v3...
- Now free but I count on Adsense or donations(more on that later)
- third party tools(submitter software, plugins, audio recording...)
- future upgrades to software
- domain hosting/extra bandwidth
- third party mirror sites
- Internet connection from the house
- hardware(good mic, reviewed hardware)
- movie tickets or books for blog
- some publicity with AdWords but that's when you are starting out ...
- do it yourself but it's very time consuming and you have to find the sites first
- you can buy software to semi-automatically do it for you. It's far than perfect and you will have to chose a submission software. It's faster than method 1
- you can use a service that will charge between $30 to $250+ depending on the number of sites they do.
- updates it's database of sites often(a site change will break the Robosoft submission script)
- has a feature that if the PAD file is not supported, it will autofill the web form for you(nice job)
- keep track of the sites and what version was found and date submitted
- many sites ask that you register first and this is much easier with it. It will remember your passwords. It also works with auto submission mode.
- it's good for only 6 months of updates and I don't know how much after that
- Pay 30% less if your are a member of the A.S.P.(shareware)
- some are copies of each other or look very much the same
- some are not English but you can submit from an English page
- some offer many things(reviews, downloads, user rating, awards... I created an Awards page) and some just list
- some ask for a backlink or your submission will be delayed. I created a backlink page
- some don't accept shareware but most accept freeware
- some will host your file but updates can take many days or weeks unless you pay a fee. This can become a primary download URL when the user is on your site. It will save you on server load and bandwidth
- some ask for a RegNow or similar ID. Look into it if it's shareware.
- it can be hard to find a category to select
- some will grab the PAD file(XML) from directly from your site(daily, weekly) to update their own database. You will not need to submit again.
Link to me, pretty pleaseDepending on the type of site, you should link to other sites IF it make senses. I received an offer to link to a fishing charter site thru a third party link company. If the fishing company would had mention on their site that:
- my software was the only one they used/proposed to their clients
- created a .MIS(metadata file) with a description, location, people in it, goofs, chapters... for the video of the fishing expeditions
Analyze this ... with Google AnalyticsI think it's a good tool to get information about what's going on your site and it's free for small site. It will not track the bandwidth but what page your visitors go, how many page, from where.... Plus, it's done on the same day with a few hours(2-3hrs) delay. You need to add code to every page that you want to track. It's better (features) than most stats you get from your host and don't have to wait 24 hours.
The End or is it?In retrospect, I should had started to look at mass distribution more closely when I started out while adding new features to my software. Only time will tell but do learn from my mistakes. Good luck and have succes with you site! Found the information useful?
Keywords: Business, Entrepreneurship, Freeware, Hosting, Money, Passion, Ranking, Shareware, Software, Traffic