Being an indie or small developer is hard enough already, but finding users when you finally launch your product can be even more difficult than developing your game or software in the first place!
Sure, building a community across discord, itch.io, Steam, Github is easy, but how do you get those users to join your community in the first place?
We’ve all heard of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on Google (or even Bing!) to get your game or software’s product page close to the top, so that users will be able to find your product, but that’s:
- Very, very expensive
- If you want to do it yourself, it needs expertise and a lot of time (trust me, I tried it too)
- No guaranteed results. Sometimes you’re competing with companies that have their own dedicated SEO teams with thousands of dollars in funding
Having been an indie developer member myself — Trollgen Studios on Twitter 🙂 — I know the challenges we small developers (or even small development teams) face in getting our products out there.
Sure, third party chat or discussion sites can be used, but these sites were built for discussion and building a community. How can you build your community when there is no one in it? It’s like jumping on your bed and saying you’re the Prime Minister of you’re nation, 501st street Apt A land… (especially worse if you live alone).
Even if you try to use discord, there’s no discord community out there that has the entire’s world population in it. And even if there was, how would you ensure each person in the world found out about your product, so they can decide whether they want to use it or not?
It sounds pretty grim, I know, but on the bright side, there’s a couple of things to cheer you up.
First, you only want to reach the users that would be interested in the type of software you’re making (phew, fortunately, you don’t need to reach everyone though that would be good): whether it’s a specific type of game (2.5D sidescrolling chicken zombie shooter?) or a software that does a specific task.
Second, did you know there’s a lot of users out there that would love to play your game or use your software, but just can’t find it in the ocean of Google?
Softie Pals aims to change just that. Through some creative methods, we want to help both developers and users. Users can easily find the software product or game or app that they want, while developers can help reach out to these users.
This interaction is further bolstered through a strong base of features:
- Allow users to create a page for the software they use and want to advocate. Developers can also create a page for their product to spread awareness to users who really need it but might not know about it. This way, if a user really likes the product and wants to spread awareness, they can do it too (for example, if the developer does not know about this website yet)
- No fixed categories! Niche software is full of thousands of different types — this is why you can assign a custom category that can be searched for such as “japanese comic book viewing software” or “indie top down arcade game”. This is enforced through having general categories (“Software”, “Game”, “App”, etc.) and then branching out from there.
- Objective + subjective reviews. Both users and developers are tired of one-word reviews that seem to give a 1 star out of the blue (yea, we’ve all had those “meh not good 1 star”). In our objective review platform, the review score is automatically calculated based on the ratings the user provides. Then, the user also further describes their reviews by providing a description of the product.
- This way both users and developers are benefited. By having an insightful review system, the developers are able to focus on and improve the aspects the users want the most. By improving these aspects, the users benefit from a stronger product.
- Helpful feedback. Coupled with objective reviews, users also have the ability to communicate feedback to the developers, helping the developers improve the areas that need the most attention and thus also helping the community that evolves around that software
- Question-Answer (QA): Users can easily ask the developers questions about their products. To these questions, even other users can respond
- Powerful searching. Search by category to find all the software in the niche field. No matter how specific you think the game or software you want is, you may be able to find it!
- Softies. Even with reviews and qas, its important to find out which were the most insightful or the most accurate. Thus, users can give softies to each post to increase the standing of that post item.
For Indie Devs (whether you make games, apps, or software), it can especially be a great way to build a connection with your users and carry your product to new heights! You can take advantage of a website that was built in mind especially for the indie and niche community!
Sounds exciting? Can imagine yourself as a future user or developer and being a part of a community around a software product?
Follow the progress on Twitter (https://twitter.com/SoftiePals) to keep in touch and register for upcoming events (a Beta soon!).
Any questions or feedback for us? Don’t hesitate to contact us through the top right bar or on Twitter. We’re a small team too and would really value you’re feedback (and would value even more your constructive criticism!).