Downloadable software landing page - on page tool instead of download?

Typically, if you have downloadable software, a landing page with have a great big “Download” button.

I’m wondering about a different approach for certain landing pages. Some ranking competitors for keywords that describe what my tool does actually offer a tool to perform that work on the landing page. It looks like this attracts a lot of backlinks as people link to the pages because they are generally useful.

For example, imagine you had software that counted the number of words in a document and did all sorts of other cool textual stats and tricks. The landing page “count-words-in-document.html” rather than having a “Download now” button for your app would maybe have an upload control where you could upload the document and the word count would work and the result shown.

Then maybe a Download button would be shown?

Just wondered if anyone had any experience of doing something similar, or interaction designs they could share to make this as slick as possible.

I think this is a great idea. Online calculators can be very easy to program and actually provide value, making people more likely to click through from the search results and to return to your site later.

Along those lines I spent one day back in 2013 creating this small tool to convert between timestamps and MongoDB ObjectIDs: - it was just an experiment and not to promote any product, traffic has risen gradually since then and it now gets over 2000 visits / month from search engine traffic.

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Maybe I’m missing something here, but if your web application does the job for free, why would anyone download, install, and then buy your product?

Yeah that’s probably my bad example.

The tool would do a bunch more things, the web app would just do one simple but useful thing. Maybe it would demonstrate the power of the product in some generally useful way to someone web browsing, but it doesn’t go the final hurdle in a business context.

Example: a vertical niche exists that highly prizes statistics for a given document and the statistics should be reported in PDF format. The landing page just calculates one of these stats (the one relevant to the keyword) and doesn’t do any of the other stats, nor the nice formatting of the results into a PDF.

It’s a bit like the way some SaaS sites have free tools. E.g. Pingdom’s free page speed tool is a lot simpler than there actual product. However for SaaS it’s easier to see a slick onboarding process.

I’m just wondering if anybody had done this for downloadable software, especially given the best practice appears to be “have a ginormous download button on your landing page”.

Yeah this is the kind of thing. Just wondering if people had thoughts as to the best way to then present a “Download” button or maybe “Download” is still the way to go…

Because you would have a limit, like 3 conversions / day for free. Or a word count limit.

@gravelld, I have seen people use tactics like this, so go for it. It gives people a chance to try your product, without having to go through the hassle of downloading / installing.

It does assume that the product will work in the same way when downloaded as it would online.

[quote=“shantnu, post:6, topic:3403”]
It does assume that the product will work in the same way when downloaded as it would online.
[/quote]That’s an interesting question. Does it have to? Maybe the downloadable software is a native Windows app… whereas the online tool is… online.

I mean, if the user experience is different, the user might feel cheated.

In the word counter example you gave, it doesn’t matter, but it might for other apps. What are you selling?

I sell downloadable software to automate fixing music libraries.

The type of landing page I have in mind is: . This is built to attract SEO traffic when someone enters [cover art finder].

So, the proposal would be to change the page above away from being centred around download to being a cover art finder tool - enter an album and artist name and the artwork that my software would install is shown. Then maybe offer download.

I guess I just fear that this might detract people that do want the downloadable software. Maybe some kind of “take me to the software!” link to fasttrack past the tool.

This actually ties in nicely because another site I have is a music metadata API which the above software uses - I could outsource the building of a widget, make that available for anyone that wants it to get a few more links back for the API, plus implement it on the downloadable software site.

I’ve been doing it for a few years. It works reasonably well but the visitor to download rate is way lower than normal product pages. That being said, a few days of effort to build some free tools and some landing pages has paid of well in the long term.

If you’re running Adwords taking a look at where your ads are being shown is likely to provide you with inspiration about what free tools can be created .

How is overall visit:purchase conversion rate affected?

I guess it’s inevitable that visit:download will be lower, but it might filter out lower quality downloads.

Only just realised SFTROU covered a few ideas in this area last week:

Visit/purchase rate is not measurable different on those pages.