The Way of the SERP

I did a Google search for the keywords "software maintenance". My blog was nowhere to be found. This is a bit disappointing because it is my main blog that I have been working on for a couple months. On the surface I do not have much to show. So I decided I need to get my blog to show up much higher in the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).

My short term plan is to get some free content. I will then format the content and publish it on a web site. Each page of these web sites will have links to my software maintenance blog. This will not get me to position number 1. But I hope it will allow me to show up on the radar. I started out small and spent the weekend putting up one site. That resulted in me doubling my inbound links to my blog. Nice.

In other good news, I found out that one of my programs finally got accepted on This is exciting because I think this is one of the biggest sites that host software for download. The funny thing is that the initial feedback was that they had 10,000 other programs before mine. They had originally estimated that it would take almost a full year before they would get around to listing my program. Somehow I got upgraded to the front row. I will be monitoring the downloads and AdSense click carefully for this one.

Link Shakedown

I submit the software I write to a lot of submission sites. A lot of these sites refuse to list my software unless I link to their sites on my web page. Now don't get me wrong. I understand this. These are companies doing business and they probably want to boost their page rank with more links. Who doesn't? But I figure that I have valuable software that will keep people coming back to their sites. So I do not trade links to their sites for the promise of a listing for my software.

There is a flip side to this. I actually want to drive people to the sites where they can see and download my software. So after my sending my last application to a lot of submission sites, I did a Google search for my software. I was happy to see that there were many links to the sites that posted my application information. So to give these sites a little more exposure I link them all from my product partners page. I am not sure if this will make a big deal to their page rank. But every little bit counts.

The goal here is not to pay the sites back for listing me. The goal is to try to help lead people to the links to my software. I think this turns out to be a win-win situation for both myself and the listing sites. After having done this unsolicited linking to the sites that listed my application, I got an e-mail from one of the sites stating that they did not see any of my links and would be delisting my applications. At first I thought I could just send the the URL where I link to their site. But that would only encourage the link requirement shakedown. Instead I think I will wait to see what they do. Perhaps this is just an automated e-mail response to try to maximize links.

Software Distribution Sites

So I had developer a program that I wanted to distribute. I used another program to automatically post my program to a bunch of sites. I also manually uploaded the program info to other sites. This activity took a lot of time, even when I used an automated program to assist me.

After 5 days I knew people were downloading my app, because I track the page views on the web site users of the app visit. I can say I had some success since I got more hits on this programs product page than any of my other products. Part of this success is due to the fact that I require users to activate the application on my page.

I wanted to gauge how well the sites that I uploaded my program to were doing for me. So I just googled for my program. And I found that many sites will divulge how many times my program was downloaded from their sites. Here are some raw statistics:
  • 61 downloads - Softpedia
  • 15 downloads - Best Vista Downloads
  • 12 downloads - Best Freeware Download
  • 05 downloads - Download 3k
  • 04 downloads - Best Software 4 Download
  • 03 downloads - KSourcerer
  • 03 downloads - Freeware 2 Have
  • 01 downloads - Freeware Box

The most interesting statistic was that well over half of my downloads were coming from just one site. Kudos to you Softpedia. Perhaps in the future I can just post my products to SoftPedia and dispense with the other sites. Or maybe I will submit to just the top 3 sites, which according to the numbers above, account for 80% of all downloads.

Pay Per Trick

I have written some applications which download and display pictures of celebrities. My thought was to have the applications allow the users to visit my web page where there was Google adsense. This technique was failing miserably. I was not getting many clicks. And when I did, I was only getting paid 1 or 2 cents a click.

But I had spent considerable time setting up the infrastructure for graphic download/display programs. So I thought I would give it one more go. However this time I decided to use a new strategy to get adsense revenue. Instead of creating a corresponding web site, hoping users would visit and click ads, I required a visit to use my latest application. Each time you run it you must visit my site and click a link.

This may seem a bit evil. But hey, I am distributing my program for free. There is actually an activation link on my page which takes you to my main landing page for all my products. However there are a lot of other links on the activation page which the user might click. I am banking on it. So far in one day I had made as much in one day as I have previously in one month.

I am pushing out my application to a number of additional download sites to see if I can increase my profits. And even though profits are up significantly, I made next to nothing before. So now I am making peanuts. But it is a start. Perhaps this is the new method I can use for other applications. I might even revive my application submitter program because I have the need for one now.

Full Life Cycle

When you work by yourself on software, you are responsible for the full life cycle of software development. You need to identify the requirements of the software. Then you have to design the software. You need to do coding and unit testing. In fact, all testing will most likely be done by yourself. Finally you have to deal with creating the installation for your software. This is the full life cycle of software development.

In a Micro ISV, you actually have to go above and beyond the full life cycle of development. You need to procure hardware and software and web hosting. You also need to devise the marketing for your product. The benefit of this is that you have full control of everything. That is also the downside. You must accomplish all tasks. So it is difficult to focus on any one particular part.

I love programming and debugging myself. But I can only devote a small portion of my time to these tasks when running my business. Perhaps when I make enough money, I can contract out the tasks I dislike. First I need to make a lot of money. Then I need to determine if it is worth it to buy help. At least I can choose to use some friends of mine whom I trust. Maybe I can talk them into billing me the "family rate".

Working Smartly

I like the old saying that it is better to work smart that to work hard. This is all the more important since I have limited time to work on my ISV. Initially I had a plan to do some blogging and make some cash with advertising. The trick to making the money is to drive traffic to your web site. At first I wrote about what I know (software development). Then I figured I would put up some pictures of celebrities and give away software that drove users to my sites.

They say you need to track everything when trying to make money from advertising. So far I have only been tracking which web site ads were making me the most money. I had the same volume of clicks on my software and celebrity sites. But the pay per click varied drastically between the two. The Google Adsense terms of service state that I cannot publish the pay per click figures. But let's just say I can focus on my software development blog, and I will be working smartly.

Ripway Web Hosting

Since my previous free web host was dead in the water, I decided to try another. This time I went with Ripway. Signup was a breeze. And the account was available immediately. The only requirement is that you log in once a month.

I put my executables up on the web site. Then I determined the URLs to get to the executables. Now I updated my web page to link to these executables. Right now I am in the process of updating web sites that list my first program. I am using my trial copy of Robosoft software to do this.

I will most likely need to update all the submissions for my second program. Those were all done manually initially. I had better get busy on my autosubmit program so I don't have to go through the pain of manual submission for it again.

Things are on a roll and looking good with Ripway.

Web Host Woes

I thought I had found a good web host in X10. They were one of the few sites that let me host executables for download. Probably too good to be true. Their web server has been down a lot the last couple of days. This is crucial because I have my software listed on many sites. But the executable itself is hosted on my web site.

It is time to start shopping for another web host. Not many free hosts allow hosting of executables. I thought I had found another gem in 0hosts. But when I tried to go sign up, I found the sign up web page down. Not a good sign at all. It might be time to go the wrote of paid web hosting. But I wanted to wait until I made some $$$ first before incurring any out of pocket expenses.

Life is hard.


Recently I have been lacking the motivation to work on my company. The day job is getting very hectic. I feel like I need a vacation. Just need to get out of the slump and get back on track.

Perhaps I just need to get down to writing some code. I have an ambitious plans for my 3rd product. There are two ways to proceed. I can make the software excellent by implementing complex algorithms, but this will take a very long time. Or I can hack together a prototype in a short amount of time. I was going down path number one. But perhaps a quick prototype could jump start my creativity.

The overall goal is to make some $$$ within 6 months. So with that schedule in mind, I better start coding.

Product #3

So I have gone through the task of figure out how a user submits software to download sites. Now I am trying to figure out how to automate this. And I don't mean writing a program that fills in fields on a page displayed in Internet Explorer. I am talking about performing an equivalent submission in straight code.

I do not have a lot of experience doing web programming. All I know how to do is to download a file given a URL. So I hit up google to find some information. There seems to be a lot of documentation on how web forms work. But there are a lot of details. Not a lot of small concrete examples in C++ code.

This is the beauty of development. You got to dig in and figure stuff out. This is going to be a fun but long project. I am think that my program will be some scaled down type of AI which reads the download site web page. Then depending on how complicated the user inputs are, it does an equivalent action with code.