In this episode, Steli and Hiten go through more website teardowns. Steli and Hiten comment on five different websites and give their take on what they are doing right and what needs to be improved. Tune in to find out the importance of being clear in communicating the value of your product or service and who you are targeting in the first few moments spent on your landing page.
Time Stamped Show Notes:
- 00:04 – Today’s episode is about website teardowns
- 00:39 – The first website is Timr
- 01:08 – Steli is unsure about who the target audience is
- 02:13 – Hiten comments that most of the problems are in the copy
- 03:35 – The next website is Better Proposals
- 04:08 – The site expresses who their market is
- 04:30 – Hiten does not like the word “simplified” because nobody knows what it really means
- 05:14 – Hiten suggests that it is better to be more specific, rather than use the word “simple”
- 05:56 – The buttons are very generic
- 06:16 – The button should give an idea of what the product does
- 06:50 – The bottom part of the page looks cheap compared to the top part, which is clean
- 07:20 – Overall, the site is good
- 07:46 – The two buttons on the homepage offer a free plan and paid plan
- 08:38 – Hiten suggests to just use one button to avoid confusion
- 09:03 – Steli and Hiten move on to Squad Fusion
- 09:58 – Steli says the logo looks outdated
- 10:57 – The homepage does a good job in telling what they are about, but the funnel might be missing
- 11:48 – Hiten advises that the demo form should be on the homepage
- 12:30 – The next website discussed is Venture Storm
- 12:45 – The value prop at the top is great
- 13:15 – The switch in voices might be difficult to understand
- 13:44 – Separate the buttons instead of using a drop-down menu in the signup page
- 14:20 – In the developer signup page, it should speak to the developer
- 14:42 – Hiten advises to personalize the headline for startups and developers
- 15:32 – Steli’s first impression is that the site is for freelancers
- 16:13 – Steli is confused about what he is paying for
- 16:45 – The “featured in” section is ugly and is an image, so it cannot be clicked
- 17:13 – Steli feels the website is poorly made; therefore, he cannot trust them
- 17:51 – Steli and Hiten discuss My Show Notes
- 18:08 – The catch phrase is poorly written
- 18:53 – The site is clean
- 19:30 – Steli is looking for samples of their work
- 20:03 – There is no timeline on what they mean by “fast”
- 20:14 – Nothing happens when the pricing button is clicked
- 20:22 – Hiten explains the pricing will be sent when you input your email address
- 20:53 – It was written on the copy under the pricing button
- 21:12 – The copy is not solid and it makes them unaligned with what they are offering
- 21:43 – Join the private email list to get more website teardowns and exclusive episodes
3 Key Points:
- The copy is an important aspect of your website and deserves your attention.
- The buttons should be able to show what service or product you are offering.
- Your website expresses your credibility, so be sure your website is done right.
Steli: Hey everybody, this is Steli .
Hiten: And this is Hiten . Today on the startup chat, we’re gonna do some more tear downs. And Steli’s gonna start, but what I’m finding interesting about this one is it’s in German.
Steli: Oh shit. Do you see the German? I have the slash EN, which is English. So I see the English version for this.
Hiten: Oh wow. Awesome.
Hiten: Alright let’s do it in English.
Steli: Alright, let’s rock n’ roll. So, this is Timr, so “T-I-M-R.com”, then slash EN if you want it in English. So, here’s what I see, its online time tracking simply everywhere. “Timr is more than just time tracking, try Timr for free”. So, okay cool, I get what it is, that’s good, it’s a time tracking thing.
Steli: I see some young dude that’s laughing on a large image, some young kind of hipster professional. Maybe he’s happy. I don’t instantly know who this is for. Is this for freelancers? Is this for corporations? So this is my next question, and why is this, why is the “simply everywhere” the good thing and why is it “more than just time tracking”, but the main thing is like use case of time tracking here. So, I scroll down and I see, “work, time, and absence tracking, with time and absence tracking inclusive, including vacation account”. Okay, so, this is for people that are probably not freelancers because this thing is tracking when you go on vacation and when you are not working, and you know taking time off or absence or whatever. I see some screenshots of the product, time tracking for projects and tasks … Okay so they have a mobile app, they have a website thing, and I see, I assume that’s why they say they are everywhere. The main thing I am struggling with here, is that, yeah I don’t know who this is for and how this differentiates from other things.
Hiten: Yeah I mean for me also, like this is a gripe and I don’t think the copy should be written like this. There’s a lot of like camel casing, so a lot of like, you know words that have a, start with a capital and then other ones that don’t, and then there’s also an abbreviation for including, I-N-C-L. Which I would never use in copy, so I would suggest just fixing that up. Honestly like, I think most of the problems on this site are not really the screenshots or the flow or anything. They’re actually all in the copy, it just seems like there’s a ton of copy and a lot of it’s a little confusing. And there’s a lot of references to Timr, T-I-M-R, which is what the product is. Even you missed it, Steli, when you said , “time is more than just time tracking”, it’s actually “Timr is more than just time tracking”.
Steli: Timr. Oh okay.
Hiten: So, my biggest suggestion, just to give one and sort of move on is like, work on the copy. The copy is, pretty like, too Timr focused. Like I’m just searching for T-I-M-R, there’s 16 mentions of T-I-M-R on the page. So, that’s just evidence of like, just too much me, me, me, in terms of talking about the business and the name of the business when you don’t need to do that. You need talk to the customer, and the potential customer that’s coming to the site.
Steli: I love it, that makes a ton of sense. Right, let’s get to the next one. I think that this episode we’re going to churn through a lot more, because you guys keep suggesting your websites to get tear downs.
Hiten: Yeah and we wanna help of them.
Steli: Yeah. So the next one, I think you go first Hiten, it’s Better Proposals.
Hiten: Cool. And that’s “betterpropsals.com” ?
Steli: No, I should inject it’s “betterproposals.io”.
Hiten: Oh no. Okay I didn’t get it, but okay that’s cool. The internet, you know. Okay, so, it’s loading, looks great. The homepage it says “creatives and service business,” okay. And then it says “sales proposal simplified, writing proposal should be simple, now it is, no formatting or spending hours making it look nice, just write what you like, type in your pricing and everything else is automatic.” Okay, so, I’ll just start with some of the things I like. So I like that, they are attempting to talk about who it’s for by saying “creatives and service businesses” ,but I don’t like about that it just comes out of nowhere, and it’s just mentioned right at the top. So, that’s kind of weird. Then below it, it says “sales proposal simplified”. So the way I would do that, I would actually merge those two and say … And also, I have a big gripe of this, many of you have probably heard this before, but I don’t like the word “simplified” ’cause I don’t know what that means, and nobody really knows what that means, it’s very generic. So you should try to be more specific. What do you actually do for sales proposals, would be what I try to describe there. So what I would say though, is I would merge creatives and service business with what that value prop is. So it would be more like something like, “sales proposals made simple for creative and service businesses”, and I know I said I don’t like simple, but just for the sake of the conversation, ideally you would include the biggest benefit of your product there. So, you know, “create sales proposals like never before if you a creative or service business”. Something like that would be more descriptive of what you do. Beyond that, I really love the copy below it, like, “writing proposals should be simple”, again that should be more specific, like “writing proposal should be easy and efficient” would be much better than saying “simple”. And then, you can say “now it is, no formatting or spending hours making it look nice”, what I really love about that copy is that it actually speaks to the customer. So there’s a lot of customers for the copy at the top, which is great. Then, you know, just to look through it a little bit more, “see how easy it is to create proposals now” and there’s like a video. Kind of cool to talk about it like and there’s a whole bunch of dense copy all the way through it. And there’s a whole bunch of stuff about how it works. In general all of it looks like a generally good stats page. One last thing I’ll say before I handing it out to you, Steli, is the buttons are very generic, it says “try the free forever plan” and “plans” and “pricing” as the two buttons, and again more specific about, you know. Make proposals easier for you now, and things like that. Instead of these generic sort of, this generic sign up copy. Just to give you a reference on how I think about buttons, if someone looks at your button copy, just independent of anything else they’re just looking at your button and there’s nothing else on your page, that button should at least give them some idea of what your product does. That’s a good way and a good benchmark for how I think about these buttons.
Steli: Awesome, I think that’s really solid. So, yeah, I agree with most of what you said. It’s just a little thing that I have is like when you go on the homepage, the main page is filled with kind of like a really classy gray background, and I think it’s really simple and clean. Which I love, I think they’ve done a good job on that, but the moment I scroll down at the next area where they show me like the video, that actually looks really cheaply done and very different from the design point of view then the top of the homepage.
Hiten: Good catch.
Steli: So to me, I arrive at the top and I’m like “wow this is clean super well designed, these people probable know something about the product” ,and then I scroll down and it looks super cheap and wanky. Maybe this is an old video that they’ve done, but I really don’t like that, and I don’t think it fits with the rest of the design of the website. So, I would change that, besides that … I think that overall this is a good site. I really like the example proposals, that page, so it’s kind of cool it show you , you know “if you do video production here’s how a proposal would look like when you do it with us”. If you have all these different use cases, I think that’s smart. The pricing page seems kind of clean and nice, they have a little Q and A below the pricing structure which I usually like. I like this, I get it. I was actually curious about this, on the homepage, they have these two boxes. One that’s kind of highlighted because it’s green that says “try the free forever plan” ,and then on the right one it’s a button that looks a little less like a button because it doesn’t have a color it says “plans and pricing”. So to me that’s interesting, instead of advocating for the free trial or for trialing the product or advocating to just sign up for free, they say “hey there’s a free forever plan you can check out or you can check out what the other plans are and what the pricing for those are”. I don’t even know if this is good or bad. I’m just curious, have you seen this before is this a good tactic or strategy? ’cause it’s not common, I don’t see people pitching the “free forever plan” as the main kind of call to action button. I don’t see that often.
Hiten: Yeah it usually just pitch sign up. Get ’em in there and don’t worry about like pricing or plans or anything like that if you have a free plan, that’s usually my suggestion instead of having both of them. So I actually love that they’re promoting the free plan and getting people to sign up, but I think it can be a little confusing the way they’re doing it with both buttons.
Steli: Cool. Alight let’s move onto the next one. As you guys see, we’re on the money on the all right now. You know, trying to churn out as many as possible. The next one is called “squad fusion” it’s “squadfusion.com”. I don’t know if Skype isn’t working, but I’m sending those over to you by chat, but “squadfusion.com” should work. It says-
Hiten: Yeah, I got it.
Steli: You see it? Cool. So it says, “athletes need the right equipment to win, so do you organize your club with squad fusion league and team management sports, 90-day risk free trial no credit card required and no set up fees”, then it has a button that doesn’t say sign up or anything like that it says “schedule a demo”. Okay, the background image is kind of like a football coach with a few, what looks like a fairly junior, I don’t know what class this is like high school or even junior high or something like that. So, this a thing that helps amateur teams manage their equipment and organize their club. Okay, I get it. The logo I don’t like. “Squad Fusion” it looks , I don’t know, it looks like a logo designed in the 80s for something that has nothing to do with sports, that has nothing to do with soccer, it just looks very, very outdated. So I’m not a huge fan. You can just post a gig “99design” and get for 100 bucks or a 150 bucks and get something much better than this. So, I don’t love the logo design to be honest, but I get what it is, you know. I have some sense of what this is, so if I’m a coach if I organize a thing, this is for me. I’m not sure I want to schedule a demo, this seems very involved, so I’m not exactly sure if this is what I really want to do at this point. When I scroll down I see some screenshots on how this product works it shows me that, they have a mobile version and a web version. They have, you know, the copy is a little light. So yeah, I think on the homepage they do a good job of telling me what it is. I don’t necessarily know if they have their funnel figured out here. Really if I land on this page, do I really wanna click schedule a button? Maybe not. You know, I would want to learn a bit more about it. When I scroll down to do so, I don’t find that, that site accomplishes this necessarily at this point.
Hiten: Yeah. Fully agree with everything you’re saying. When you have a sort of “90-day risk free trial”, is what they say they have “no credit card required no sign up fees” that kind of implies that kind of implies people can just sign up and start using it, but judging by the “schedule a demo” it’s not really set up like that. So I’m curious if this business is mostly doing outbound sales, and the site is mostly just used to explain what they do and show some pricing and stuff. That would be my intuition just based on what I see here, but there are many sites like this that do lead you in right from the homepage. One advice that I’d give, is if you’re gonna talk about your trial and “no credit card required no setup fees” ,but yet ask for a demo, you might just want to put the demo form right on the homepage, just so that you can drive people to more demos versus just a button and then a new page. It’s something that I’ve seen work really well when your whole product is about actually showing it off, and you don’t let people use it until they’re actually on a call in demoing, until after they get past that. Outside of that, yeah, it does describe it really well and says who it’s for and what, you know, they can get out of it. I really like those aspects of it as well. Yeah.
Hiten: I’m not getting your messages, so you should probably just say the thing.
Steli: The name of the website?
Hiten: Please do.
Steli: Yeah so the next one is called “venturestorm.com”, just like you would think in spelling.
Hiten: Great. I loaded it. At the top it says, “find the perfect developer for your company, thousands have started to VentureStorm to advance their venture”. Okay great, I think the value prop is really great at the top where it says, “fine the perfect developer for your company” ,it feels like it could resonate with lots of people. Then below it say, “thousands started to use VentureStorm to advance their venture” ,I mean that’s where it breaks down for me. I don’t really know what “advance their venture” means, and in you’re going from speaking in the voice of speaking to me when you say “for your company” all the way to going into the voice in talking about VentureStorm and how there’s all these startups on the site. So I know you’re trying to add social approval for saying that “oh people are already using this” which is great, but you switch voices there which can be really tricky and hard for people to actually accept and understand. So, something better would, like, “thousands of companies like you have already used VentureStorm to find their perfect developer” , just to double down on this whole perfect developer thing. Then the button gain, my gripe, which is usual with all these tear downs is that it just gets started, and it should say, and then when I hit, it’s even more complicated, when I hit the button it says “get started” and then it was this weird little dropdown which I’ve ever never seen before, ever. Where it says, “as a startup or as a developer” and it takes on two paths. Usually when you want to do this, you want to say something more like, “I’m a startup looking for a developer” or ” I’m a developer looking to help startups”, and basically separate those two buttons out, and put them both on the homepage. That usually is a better approach than making people click twice on the page, that way they click once and get to their appropriate page that matters the most. Both of those buttons go to different pages, one goes to like a pricing-like page where a startup can sign up, the other button goes to like a developer sign up page. The one problem with the developer sign up page is that it doesn’t really speak to the developer, until I select “developer”,so, again the copy is very generic. It says “sign up connect with awesome startups in minutes” and it’s just not as strong as it could be and not speaking to the developer. Then when I got to the “startup sign up” and then get back and select like the “free plan” I get to a page that says, “sign up advance your adventure with the technical talent you’ve been looking for”. I really love that this headline is sort of personalize, or the sub headline, but I’d actually advise these folks to actually make the headline itself more personalized for each of those sign up options, and then make the go directly without the dropdown. Yeah. Outside of that, there’s a bunch of language around why VentureStorm and trying to explain what it’s all about, and become a developer. It just feels like you’re solving for two types of users here , and there’s probably a better way to do that, than kind of barfing all the copy on the whole page.
Steli: Yeah, I have issues with this. So I like, I mean the domain is good and all that. I agree with everything you’re saying with the … My problem is that, at first, my impression is this is a place where this is kind of a freelancer website where I could go and find developers for what I’m trying to do. Then, when I select the “for startups” and they show me the pricing, it shows me like there’s recommended startup package which is like 29.99 a month, and I’m like “Wait, what are they billing me every month? For what? Every job I post or?” And then I have to scroll down and go “ah okay, so this is active projects I can have, and then I have unlimited project application”. I’m just a little confused what to expect here , so I’m going be paying 30 bucks a month ,and for that I post as many project as I want, and maybe someone is going to be applying for these or not? Is that what it is? I don’t know I’m a little skeptical here. The other thing is, I really think if you make core audiences our startups and developers, I think that your site needs to be really, really good, and really strong. There’s just some parts when I scroll to the foot of the footers it has a “featured in” section, which basically somebody did that’s not the web designer there. Maybe the marketer was this or something, but it’s like … totally … it’s just ugly. It’s just not correct. The spacing, everything about it is not right. It’s just an image. Yeah it’s a large image that says, “featured in” and then it gives a few different logos of publications. Obviously I cannot click it because it’s an image. It should not be an image. So, this just creates a bad impression for me, that I don’t trust the people behind this. Not because they’re lying, but because this is probably a very junior team, very inexperienced. They maybe are not as good at this stuff, so they don’t know how to put together, they don’t know how to hire developers to put together an amazing website for them. Then how should I trust that I can put my projects and find great developers and get great quality work? I know that is harsh, but this is my true feelings when I look at the site, it just doesn’t look, it’s not done well, and hence I cannot trust it.
Hiten: Yeah love it. Makes sense.
Steli: Alright. Let’s get to the next one. The next one is, “myshownotes.com” ,again just like you say it. So, I go on this thing MyShowNotes, and it says, “detailed show notes for your podcast, fast” … “detailed show notes for your podcast, fast”. Okay so this is what I would lovingly call “engrish” ,which is just bad english, and I have a lot of that myself. So people on our team make a lot of fun at times at me, because I write a sentence that’s just not real english, it’s just that European version of english. So, yeah, the “fast” is throwing me off here, but “get great show notes for your podcast” or “podcast show notes done fast or within 24 hours” or something along those lines. Okay, so I get what this is. I put my podcast in here, and then you write all the show notes, and you know, we have a podcast, as people know that are listening, so we know the value proposition of this. I like the site, the site feels pretty clean when I scrolls down, I kind of get a bunch of things here. They actually show me how they’re gonna be charging me, and how many links they have, and maybe people click on the links, maybe. So, it’s “simple delivery, intelligent, custom for you, save time and grow faster” and then they have what people are telling them and saying about them. They have some podcastor’s saying that they are “nice people” and “do good work”. Cool. I mean get it, alright, they write show notes. So, the number one thing I look for now ,my next curiosity here is, I don’t necessarily want quotes – oh this is a single page design, that’s unfortunate. So, I don’t want people saying you do great work ,I actually want to see your work. So, I really, the number one thing I want to see here is, I just want to see a, you know, five examples of podcasts and the show notes you made for them. Because I want to be able to judge the quality of your work, which is more important than the speed. I’m also curious about the speed because nowhere that I can, when I skim through this, I don’t see a timeline here. You’re selling me on fast, but I don’t see what fast means. Is it an hour? 24 hours? 48 hours? How fast can you get it to me? I don’t know, it doesn’t say anywhere as far as I can tell. Then pricing, sure, when I click pricing, nothing happens. I think, yeah. The pricing link is not working for me.
Hiten: I think they’re just trying to say you have to put in your email to get their super simple pricing.
Hiten: They’re putting some level of like mystery or something. Just when you read the copy that’s what it seems like, it’s a very nonstandard practice. The only reason I say that is the button actually says “how much does this cost”, right?
Steli: Oh shit, yeah you’re right. You’re absolutely right. I would have never understood this. ’cause I don’t read the button copy at this point, like I just look pricing.
Hiten: Oh I get it.
Steli: I click pricing.
Hiten: I took me a second too, yeah.
Steli: I click pricing. The site moves just ever so slightly and nothing changes, and I’m like this doesn’t work. That’s my interpretation of it.
Hiten: Yeah, yeah. So they probably need to fix that flow, but, overall I totally agree with what you’re saying. It’s ironic that they say “our team of native english speakers” , and then the copy is not really solid. I think it goes back to your point from eve the last tear down, like, make your stuff trustworthy, aligned with what you’re doing. Right, and this doesn’t feel that way, just like the VentureStorm one doesn’t feel like I would trust it, because, what you’re proposing you can do for me, you’re not even doing well for yourself. So, yeah.
Steli: Yeah, I think that’s it. That’s as much as we could give tear downs and give feedback. Maybe, we might do some more of these, we might actually do some of these and just send it to our private email list. So make sure to get on the email list. Go to “thestartupchat.com” ,make sure that you’re on our email list. We’re gonna start, maybe experimenting with sending more emails to you people with valuable stuff, and maybe exclusive episodes, but this is it for us. For this week.
Hiten: Okay, bye.