This week’s micro-ISV volunteer for my Weekly Site Review post is Sergey Petrov, founder of Russia-based SoftLogica.
SoftLogica has no less than 7 products, but this review is focusing on the one product site Sergey volunteered: HandyRecovery – a small application for recovering deleted Windows files. However, since the other 6 product pages/sites follow the same layout and have the same issues, this is really seven reviews in one!
Here’s how HandyRecovery scored out (1 is great, 5 means it really, really needs work):

What Score First Actionable Task
USP

5

Write one! – cut the logo and tagline to make room for it.
Benefits/Features

3.5

Rewrite the main text as features.
Visuals

5

Break up the main text with at least one good screenshot.
Testimonials

4

At least put an edited version of the one testimonial on the site on the home page.
Credibility Markers

2

Link to badge sites.
Tech Support

3

See post.
Blog

5

Start one at TypePad.
Overall Average: 3.9 Do critical fixes above, then rebuild site from scratch.

USP

(The USP – Unique Selling Proposition – is the most important part of your site. It’s your first foot forward, you first impression and the basis for all else on your micro-ISV product’s site rolled into one.)
There is no USP on this site, only features and features rehashed. The tagline at the very top, “Data Recovery Software. Undelete files. Partition Recovery.”, and the Stumbleupon.com button are cute, but not a USP. Given that there are many, many Windows file recovery apps out there, what does HandyRecovery put forth as its value in a nutshell? Nothing.
Which is a shame. This product has lots going for it:

  • It’s Certified for Windows Vista by Microsoft.
  • You’ll see what the odds are to recover on a file by file basis.
  • You can create a disk image of what you’ve deleted before attempting recovery.
  • It’s been around for a while.
  • It’s easy to use.

Sergey needs to put forth the HandyRecovery USP. For example, “HandyRecovery gives you the best chance to recover files deleted in Microsoft Vista and older versions of Windows. Unlike other file recovery utilities, HandyRecovery is robust, affordable, easy to use in an emergency and proven.”
People spend money on things they want and things they need; HandyRecovery is in the latter category, and the more compelling the need, the easier it is to sell. But, you have to put the product in terms of that need.

Benefits/Features

Sigh. HandyRecovery overhypes its features and completely misses the boat that these features in and by themselves are little floating bits of information, with nice little graphics, but unconnected to the prospective customer. One third of all pages at the site are surrendered without a fight to the same six features.
Here’s how meaningless features become compelling – or at least positive – benefits.

  • Feature: “FAT12/16/32,NTFS and NTFS5 + EFS file systems support.”
  • As a Benefit: “Whether you bought your Windows PC last week or last century, HandyRecovery can recover your files. It supports the four most common hard disk formats nearly all Windows PC use: FAT12/16/32,NTFS and NTFS5 + EFS file systems support.”
  • Feature: “Option to create disk images for deferred recovery”
  • As a Benefit: “Unlike other file recovery applications that demand you stop what you’re doing, HandyRecovery lets you defer recovering files by letting you create a special image file on another logical drive.”

Visuals

Again, missing and presumed lost. If there are screenshots, screencasts, or any images at all of the app, I can’t find them. This is bad. Prospective customers don’t want ugly app on their PC’s, especially on their Vista PCs. You’ve got to pass this sniff test with at least a few visuals; it’s a great opportunity to nail down the sale with a 2 minute screencast.
Here’s what HandyRecovery.com looks like:

On the left, “Key Features”, middle is solid text, right sidebar are download, order and various badges.
Frankly, I hate this layout because:

  • About 25 % of the above the fold site is taken up with a meaningless graphic. SoftLogica has a perfectly good – and small – logo in the right sidebar.
  • The top left area – the second most important part of the screen – is an out of context sidebar of features.
  • The main area is a block of unappealing text, written in unexciting prose.
  • The layout is fixed to 800 x 600; this is way out of date.

Testimonials

Wounded and left for dead. At first, I thought there were no testimonials. Then I found one – all 413 words of it – as a link lurking on the Download page. Huh? While one is better than none, burying it two clicks away from the home pages makes very little sense.
The more urgent the need, them more testimonials matter. If you’ve just accidently deleted your manuscript, you are completely freaked out. Seeing on the home page three short testimonials by people just as freaked out as you is a strong inducement to buy.

Credibility Markers

This is the site’s strong point, such as it is. HandyRecovery has badges from Microsoft, Tucows (5 cow rating), and something called Top Ten Reviews. That’s good. But the badges don’t link back to those pages, and that’s bad.
Other self inflicted wounds: No 30 day money back guarantee, yet they take credit cards so there’s one in effect anyway. The web site does have a decent Contact Us page with a physical address and telephone. But it’s missing a privacy policy and it should have one, given there are a number of Privacy Policy Generators out there, including this one.

Tech Support

Could – and should – be a lot better. There’s a minimal bit of online documentation. And there’s free tech support for customers in 2 days and prospective customers in five days. This approach to supporting your current and future customers practically guarantees a shortage of the latter. What message are you sending when you treat people with their credit cards in their hands worse than those who have already bought the product? Further, SoftLogica’s prominently displays their phone number right next to where it says 5 days email support for prospective customers:

I’d recommend working towards 1 business day email support for everyone, and reserving toll free support to registered paid-up customers. Two days is simply too long given the nature of the product and what need it serves.

Blog

None. There are a few white papers if you dig for them, but you should not have to. A blog – covering permissioned testimonials, file management techniques, storage and backup innovations (including some on SoftLogica’s other products) done on TypePad and posted to at least three times a week would do wonders for this product.

Overall

I get the strong feeling that the product and the company are were fitted into the web site template used for SoftLogica’s seven products years ago, much to the detriment of the product and the company. I realize that converting what are 7 different sites to a better layout, one that puts front and center a USP, a clear set of benefits and testimonials when prospective customers need them is a lot of work, but that’s what is called for.
As a first doable set of steps, see the First Actionable Tasks at the top of this post.
+++
The Weekly Site Review is a regular feature of MyMicroISV.com. Please add your comments, rebuttals and opinions! If you’d like to volunteer your micro-ISV’s web site for a free public review, please email bobw@safarisoftware.com. Micro-ISV’s only need apply!
[tags]Micro-ISV, Weekly Site Review[/tags]

2 Comments

  1. I have to say I really enjoy these weekly site reviews. They’re full of plenty of great tips, keep them coming.

  2. Thanks Bob!
    You really provided us with a lot of “food for thought”.
    I value such reviews much more than something like “cute website, must-have utility!”.
    We can always purchase a couple of advertisements to get biased awareness 🙂
    Be harsh! It makes your opinion useful for smart people.

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