Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Upgraded website and forth member

Hello everyone,

We who do Stoffi are very thankful for all the support we are getting from our users. We will break 1,000 downloads in a few days, we have been featured on a number of high profile websites, there's a release party on Friday and our team is growing. To celebrate all this we are launching a new, upgraded website.

Take a look and read more about the improvements we have made.

New Member
But first, let me introduce myself. I'm Tianwen Zhang, you can just call me Tevin. I come from China and as a new member of the team, I'm happy to meet the really kind and wise people in this family.
As a developer and perhaps the Chinese translator I will try my best to help improve Stoffi.

One day I was searching for anything interesting on the internet, on the one hand, just for fun; on the other hand I needed to enhance my programming. That's when I found Stoffi.

But why I'm interested in Stoffi not just because it's an interesting project but also because I'm a music lover, and since I am studying software engineering in college it's not unexpected that I once developed a music player on my own. However, for many reasons it stoped in the midway, but my dream is still there.

Stoffi had all that I wanted in my own music player. It is excalty what I wanted it to be. So I joined the team and I'm very honored to work on this great project.

BTW, I'm in charge of the new detail pane on the bottom of Stoffi for now, I think you will like it in the next release! :)

Now, let me tell you a bit about our new website.

Better Home
The new website features a new and improved first page with a slideshow, showing you the best features of Stoffi along with a short introduction, a new donation button and some quotes (we don't have any cool quotes yet so in the meantime we have been trying to predict what the first quotes will be :).

There's also a download button on the front page now, which will take you directly to Stoffi. This way you can get to Stoffi in just one click.

The new home page does contain a lot more information than it used to but we are trying to still keep it simple and clean. There's some sharing buttons to help you share Stoffi with your friends which does add a bit to the loading time of Stoffi. We will be measuring the loading time and see how much of an effect it will have. As with Stoffi, our aim is at being simple and fast but still powerful and elegant.

News Experiment
We are doing a small experiment with the News section. Instead of big chunks of text we are trying to present our latest and greatest bits of information in a form which makes it easy and fun to read. We also keep all the latest Twitter feeds and Facebook updates on this page.

Right now the only news item is the release announcement for Xia. It contains a small description of the first release of Stoffi, some highlighted features, a pair of screenshots and some actions for you to take from there.

Hope you like it.

Simplified Download
We have scaled down the download page and put all in one page now. We are hiding additional information such as the complete list of downloads but it is accessible with just one click (as it was before). We have also added checksums so you can verify that the file you have downloaded is indeed the real deal, and not infected with malware or viruses. There's instructions on how to verify Stoffi on the download page.

All About Everything
We taken everything about the team, about the release, about Stoffi in general as well as its future and put it all in one place. This will reduce the number of clicks for you as you get all the information about everything Stoffi in just one page. It's presented in a nice and varied way to make it fun to read.

A Lot More
There's of course a lot more that's been updated with minor changes such as the contact form, the join section and the tour. We have also renamed "License" to "Legal" and added our view on privacy. Hopefully you will enjoy all our changes. We have some more plans on how to further enhance the website but that's for another day. Now we need to get back to working on Stoffi

OK guys, that's all. thanks for your time and enjoy the new website! :)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Stoffi is advertising on Google

A couple of days ago I got an email from Google. I have used AdWords in the past (about a year ago when I got a welcome gift of $80). Now, they wanted me to return and check out all the new stuff they have done to AdWords. They gave me $140 to come back.

The timing was perfect. I could spend the $140 on promoting Stoffi.

So here's the kicker. Right now I am working for a company called Campanja which does optimization of Internet advertising. I have tried to pick up a few things about what makes a good campaign.

We start with the goals. Usually they are sales or something else that generates money. Stoffi is free so our goal is downloads. Stoffi has been tracking downloads since mid-April and before this campaign we had about 50 downloads. The ads have now been running for 1½ days and we have already gotten 10 more downloads.

So how does AdWords work? Well, I make a few ads. I have both text ads and image ads. You can see some of the ads below. I run the ads on keywords that I think are relevant. I have added keywords such as "music player", "free media player", "download music player for windows", etc, etc. Hopefully I will catch people who are looking for something like Stoffi.

I am trying to experiment with different landing pages (front page versus download page) and different wordings, trying to see what people like the most. What gives us downloads?

So far I am paying around 4-5 cents for each click and I have a conversion rate of about 5% with a CTR (click-through-rate) of around 1%. This means that if my ads are shown to 100,000 people 1% will click on them and 5% of the people who click on them will download Stoffi. Out of 100,000 people that equals 5 downloads. Luckily I only pay for clicks. :)

So what will happen when the $140 are used and gone? Well, I will not continue running any ads on Google. It's not worth the money. A few weeks ago I posted a comment on osnews.com where I connected the article to Stoffi and provided a link to our website. It's a little spammy but I tried to stay relevant to the article and I think people liked it. I got over 200 clicks the first day, 180 the second day and then it went down to 40 clicks and then back to the normal number of visits per day. That's for free! 420 clicks is about $16 worth of advertising. How many downloads? 20, still about 5%.

So, from my small experiments while Stoffi was hidden in the shadows and in beta I have learned a few things. I think that the impact of the work that Hylton will do is going to be worth a whole lot of money for us. Nothing beats being on relevant websites for free.

But we will also try to rely on word-to-mouth. So please, tell your friends about Stoffi.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Stoffi has been released


Yes!

For over a year has Stoffi been under development. The time and energy I have been investing in this has been both high and low. I have found some wonderful people along the way and now we can together finally release the first stable version of Stoffi Music Player.

Our first release is named Xia (you can read about the name on our website's news section). Even though the feeling that we have right now is "finally" this is really the start of Stoffi. This is the base from where we jump, the first step of our journey.

There's many features in the future of Stoffi. Many bugs still waiting to be squashed. But we feel that it is finally stable enough for you to enjoy on an every day basis. Download Stoffi and you get to enjoy features such as silent upgrades, bookmarks in your songs, automatic synchronization with the filesystem, queue function, a track history and a very beautiful interface.

There will be a release party in Sweden on May 20. If you can't join us just throw your own party and celebrate music with us.

Now, let's enjoy this release and look forward into the future of Stoffi with new energy.

Cheers!