Four months ago I published the first public beta of Visual SEO Studio
It was far from complete, it still is, so I pushed hard to stabilize the most mature parts, fix all issues I knew, put a crash reporting server in place, have a basic check for updates feature; I worked on the web site both on content and back-end infrastructure...
There was no point waiting any more. I needed public feedback.
I didn't know how it would have been perceived, who would have used it, what feedback I'd have had. Well, today by large I still don't know much about my user base, as usage tracking is completely anonymous and limited to the check for updates requests, but several people have have so kind to contact me and offer suggestions, opinions, and requests.
They all helped me a lot, and several improvements added were highly influenced by their requests and ideas.
For numbers lovers, her are some to crunch
- 10 public updates
At the beginning I released one every week. I had to slow down: users seem not to enjoy updating, the publication checklist is huge so I prefer to concentrate changes, and since the program is also available from various download sites I have to give them time to catch up with the latest release.
- 12 crashing bugs fixed
When I receive a crash report I have to fix it asap, that's a strict rule I apply. If I can fix it, there's no gym, friends, girls, sleep... Top priority: I suspend all work on new features, fix the bug and push an update.
- More than 100 changes to the code base
I thought it was more, a week off during the holidays slowed my pace. Not too bad to be a spare time project, though.
- About 400 hours of sleep deprivation
Don't worry, I normally sleep 4 hours per night, so I can do some coding.
- Great satisfaction for having done something people found helpful.
What I don't know is the exact number of downloads. Of course I know the number of times people downloaded the program from my site, but Visual SEO Studio is also available from several public download sites storing their own copy for download, and they do not always report me the figures. I just have an estimation.
What puzzles me is the estimated downloads number is more than twice the number of installations. I don't know exactly why. The installer file is digitally signed, and very soon earned enough trust that the browsers don't scare users with bad warnings. May be the missing installations are just requests made by the many bad bots out there.
Visual SEO Studio Users
I'm not going to disclose here the exact number of installations, I will just say it is much, much more than I expected, hundreds, and raising fast.
I don't know how many of them can be classified as "users" or "regular users": some just installed it and just launched it once, some launch it once every while, and some use it daily.
The lion share is for the United States, than comes India and close third is Italy.
Being I from Italy and participating also in Italians SEO forums, it probably is normal so many of my users are from there, even if I never marketed it as an Italian product.
India and many others Asian countries have been a nice surprise to me; probably the fact the beta is completely free and unlimited weighted a lot in places were wages are much lower than in Western world.
About 66% of the users (manly from US, UK, Canada, Australia, Ireland, South Africa and India)speak English. Both the program and the website are available in English only at the moment (just because as a one-man-band I had no time to translate it yet), so this again might not be so unexpected.
I'm not a native English speaker and I hope all these gentlemen / ladies could forgive me for occasional mistakes (if you find some in the program, please tell me!)
Feedbacks from the SEO community
I sincerely believe Visual SEO Studio is a great tool but still is in beta stage, incomplete, and some features are still disable because not ready for prime time; I'm the only one to know about them. I was afraid to disappoint many users...
...So far, so good.
Several SEO professional have expressed positive comments; some have really been enthusiastic.
I never had critics, which may mean people might fear I could get offended. Worry not! I will accept any critics which might help making a better product.
One side benefit I had going public with the product has been the networking connections with many highly respected professionals from all over the world.
Those guys are a gold mine of knowledge, just reading their posts is invaluable and many of them have been so patient and kind to directly answer many of my questions. Thank you all!