Following a tip on the MacSB list, I picked up copy of the ebook "MicroISV Sites that Sell" since it was on sale. It's pretty good, especially if you really just haven't given much thought to the message on your website and whom you are trying to reach. I really liked the section where it asks you to really try to identify who your potential customer is. I've picked up a lot of eBooks (usually for free) over the years, and while this isn't necessarily the best, I can recommend it.
However, I thought I would go through my collection of eBooks come up with some other recommendations for fellow Mac indie developers (and anybody else who is interested, since they can apply to all kinds of Internet-based businesses.)
All of these are free, though some need you to get on their mailing list.
(IMPORTANT: If you run across a free eBook download, you will often be asked to provide your email address. I suggest you set up a special email address just for your marketing downloads. While I've never gotten actually spammed, some of the marketers who are offering goodies tend to be a weeeeeee bit heavy on the hype — you'll come to recognize the Impact font, the loooong sales letters, the yellow highlighting, and so forth. So it's nice to be able to keep your real address separate!)
1. Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide from Google. All about SEO straight from the horse's mouth. Available in 40 languages, in case English is not your strong point. While all the SEO companies claim to know what to do to make Google happy, finding out from Google clearly the best way to find out. (English PDF)
2. There is also another eBook "Making the Most of Your Content" from Google, maybe supplanted by the above, which I found at this direct link: PDF
3. The Irresistible Offer by Mark Joyner. This one has a "slick" looking website, and it requires you to sign up with your special "marketing" email address, but it's a pretty useful book. It's actually a real book (Amazon.com link), 220 pages, so you might want to just get the book so you don't have to try and read it on the screen or print it out.
(As an aside, I try to avoid printing when I can, but when it comes to eBooks, I really need to read them on paper. I will print them "2-up" and on the back of the copious paper that our neighbor gives us from his work, where they do a lot of one-sided printing. If you print these, try not to waste paper!)
4. The Internet Business Manifesto by Rich Schefren (email address required). Rich is one of the big names in Internet Marketing — or what I like to call "Internet Meta-Marketing" because these are marketers who market their marketing products to people who are trying to do marketing of their non-marketing products) is actually the first of a trilogy. While the first half of these books are all about the author breathlessly telling you how important and rich he is, they are still pretty useful. Just put on your Mackintosh to avoid the slickness. The first book (linked above) catalogs all of the tasks that an Internet-based, small business owner has to juggle, and helps you figure out what tasks you can outsource/outtask (and how it makes economic sense.). Indie developers who have managed to outsource responsibilities such as front-line tech support or marketing efforts will understand just how valuable that can be. The book helps define systems vs. projects, and explain how process maps can help you crystallize how your business works.
5. The second book in the series, subtitled "The Missing Chapter," is probably not that applicable to indie developers. It's really addressing people who are just trying out any scheme they can find to actually build a strategy and not just act opportunistically. However this "chapter" will probably be useful to help you analyze your strengths and use that to build your strategy for the products you build and sell, and how you run your business.
6. The third book in the Internet Business Manifesto series is subtitled "The Final Chapter." Once it actually gets into the real content, maps out the seven critical elements that you need to have to be successful, and spells out what happens when an of these elements are missing. It also explains "front end" and "back end" marketing, which may give you some food for thought, in how you balance reaching out to new customers vs. selling to your existing customers.
8. SEO Fast Start by Dan Theis (email address required) is a very nice overview of SEO by one of the guys from StomperNet. Some very useful information there.
11. Finally, there is "77 Ways to Get Traffic" by Allan Gardyne. This is a very long, detailed list of suggestions to get traffic coming to your website. Not directly downloadable, but we arranged with the author to be allowed to distribute this in exchange for a signup to our mailing list.
That's it. If you have any others to suggest, please leave a comment.
By the way, I just want to state for the record that I absolutely hate, detest, loathe the word "webinar."