Choosing which sites to submit to

Written by Dave Collins, SoftwarePromotions Ltd.

The ever pervading myth of the web is that it is one big sales opportunity, and the number of ways to make money on it is limited only by your imagination. The incredible fact is that if you’re selling software on the web, then this principle is actually more or less true, as there are more sites willing to list your software for free than you’ll ever find time to submit to.

Every single one of these sites has visitors that may be interested in your software, and every single one of them may to some extent be a free sales opportunity.

Theoretically, it goes without saying that you should try and make sure that your software is on as many of them as possible, but the reality is that you don’t have the time or resources available to make this happen. You’ll have to filter out the more productive sites.

Choosing The Right Sites
It’s therefore clear that choosing the right sites is of critical importance if you want to use your time efficiently. So let’s begin by identifying the factors that determine which sites you’re going to work with.

The first is the site itself – how many visitors it pulls in each day, how targeted they are to your products, and how they will position, present and rank your software.

These individual factors combine to produce a value for the amount of traffic and number of downloads that the site will produce. But we need to delve deeper.

The second factor is the amount of time that it takes to submit your software to the site. Some merely require the URL of your PAD file. Others require long forms to be filled out, extensions added to your PAD file, screenshots, accounts to be setup, your agreement to receive their mailings, the file to be uploaded and so on.

The third factor is the amount of time that the site will take to list your product, once their various requirements have been met. This may be anywhere from a matter of seconds to a number of months.

The time factors may at first glance appear to be almost irrelevant to what we’re trying to gauge here, as the benefits of being listed on these sites will almost certainly overshadow the time required. But the amount of time taken to submit your product can be anywhere from a few seconds to five minutes or longer. And some sites require various follow-up steps that may come a number of days later, or longer. So in the time that it takes you to submit your product to one particular site, you could have quite literally submitted to ten or more other sites!

The Benefits Of Being Listed
The question is whether the combined benefits of being on these ten sites would be greater or less than the benefits of being listed on the single site. In order to ascertain this, we need to take a step back, and consider what the benefits of being listed actually are.

The first and most obvious benefit is that you should be receiving some targeted traffic, downloads and ultimately sales from the sites. But there is also the link popularity factor, the fact that these site pages may be indexed by search engines, branding, possible easing of your bandwidth issues, and the fact that people who find your competitor may also see your own product.

But in order to measure the benefits with any kind of accuracy, you’re going to have to go to your website referral logs and statistics, the importance of which can never be overestimated. Watch this space for a forthcoming article on this subject!

It’s also important to remember that some of the sites actually host a copy of your file for download, and that these downloads almost certainly won’t be represented in your logs at all. So even though 1000+ people may be downloading your software each day from the TuCows network, your logs probably won’t contain so much as a hint of this information. The good news is that most of these sites, for instance TuCows, Winsite and Simtel, do offer some kind of tracking available. Ignore this at your own risk!

By now, you’re probably realising that in order to see what works, you’re going to have to set aside some time to do so. It may seem annoying that in order to make better use of your time, you’re going to have to use more of it! But look at it as in investment. Your time should be spent no less carefully than your money, and we all know that in order to make money, we unfortunately often have to spend some in the first place.

So let’s get down to the practicalities here. To start with, you should be keeping a track of which sites you submit to, and when. You then need to be carefully monitoring which of these generate the traffic, and thereafter trimming out the deadwood. When you’ve done this, the only way forward is to submit to more sites. Again, record the sites you submit to, give them time to start working, and monitor their results.

Use Your Time Wisely 
We all have “downtime” when we have a little more time on our hands than usual, and this offers the perfect opportunity to try a few more sites. If you don’t try a new site, you’ll never know how useful it may actually be, and most of us at some point have been little short of amazed at how many visitors or downloads a “small” site can actually produce.

You may also wish to improve the odds a little. Some sites place new submissions in a prominent spot on their front page, and some include this information in their mailings. And almost all sites offer some form of advertising or promotional opportunities. Look into these, as some of them offer low prices that may generate very positive results.

Until you try new ideas and new strategies, you’ll never know what opportunities they may contain. So set aside the time to log, process and act on this information. Keep an eye on what works, get rid of what doesn’t, keep an ear to the ground for new sites and new opportunities, and stay on top of it all! Be seen, be sold.

Written by Dave Collins, SoftwarePromotions Ltd.