Went commercial after a year being free

I decided to make my product Fort (https://cryptoextension.eu) commercial after a year being open source and free.

Fort became so popular during the year that it almost became a full time job. Donations did not cut it, so I decided to go with a 14-day trial and a fair price. Developer license is of course way more expensive than the normal user license.

What do you think about the pricing? It’s really hard to decide an optimal price.

The website is still not as good as I would like it to be, but I’m not a web designer.

The pricing is a good start. I suggest

  • Offering bulk discount prices for people who buy, say, 10 or more licenses. This will encourage some customers to buy more licenses.
  • putting your price clearly on your home page (and a big download now button and a big buy now button, all above the fold)
  • adding “buy” to your top level navigation
  • unhiding your price. From the home page it is not obvious how to find the price
  • make your fastspring template look like your website. At the moment the look of your buy page doesn’t inspire trust
  • “Our company is considering to start using Fort. Can you provide reliable support?” suggests to me that you should offer a much more expensive “pro” license that makes certain guarantees about support. Even if the support is what the customer would get anyway with a normal license, this is about “extracting consumer surplus”

Oh, and most importantly, read Neil Davidson’s short book on pricing: http://download.red-gate.com/ebooks/DJRTD_eBook.pdf

If you implement any of these suggestions, please do report back on any noticeable improvements to downloads and/or sales.

The website is still not as good as I would like it to be, but I’m not a web designer.

I I recommend getting yourself a template from https://wrapbootstrap.com or similar.

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Agree on that. The site looks too “open-sourcy”. Like Steve says, buy a template. Look at a few websites that sell software succesfully, look at how they are doing stuff. Don’t copy them, but use their ideas. If you buy a good template (and they are fairly cheap), you just have to copy paste your current website.

But other than that, yeah, charging was the right thing to do.

Thanks for your comments. I will definitely improve the website. I’ll let you know once I have new website online.


Amazing, I did really minor changes to the website. Download and buy buttons are now visible and price is not “hidden” anymore. Fastspring template is in the works too.

I will also make some changes to the licensing and add professional version with better support options. However, these small changes which I made, already made a difference. At least it seems they are the reason that sales increased.


Great improvements. You probably just took care of the lowest of the low hanging fruit. The funnel optimisation obsession has begun!

I’d throw a testimonial or two on the home page, put some credit card icons below the buy button, mention a 30-day guarantee in some sort of call-out near the buy button, and add About Us and Contact Us links in the footer where you say who you are and where you are. These are all ways of enhancing your credibility in the eyes of potential buyers.

I recommend this free ebook for a summary of funnel optimisation techniques:

It is a great summary, although a couple of the tips are IMO a bit bonkers.