October 4, 2006 Mini Site Marketing Experiment For a long time I’ve wanted to experiment with mini sites, basically a one page site on something. It seems like if you can pick the right niche that the site could be useful in driving sales. The trick is to pick the right topic which intersects with your product, but covers a slightly different group. You don’t want something which will compete with your main sites rankings in the search engines. The mini site should reach someplace new. So for months I’ve been looking for the right topic. Something that would be static to keep the maintenance down but could still produce results. While taking a look at my logs and their relation to my sales I noticed an interesting trend. I received a lot of traffic and in turn sales from searches for open source help desk software. This is kind of curious because HelpSpot isn’t open source, in addition my blog topics on the matter are relatively few and generally very off topic. Few of the posts have open source help desk software as a primary part of the post. So I go to thinking about this and did a little research. It turns out there aren’t really any good lists of open source help desk packages. Most are very outdated. Almost all are little more than spam sites with dozens of ads in and around the few measly real links. Another thing that intrigued me was how many people who started out searching for open source ended up buying HelpSpot. Also by looking at who purchased I could get a feel for their intentions. With that data I came to the conclusion that many of these searchers weren’t really looking for an open source solution at all. They were settling for one. They had likely searched on just ‘help desk software’ and found that all the ads and top listings are for products in the $50,000+ range (remember it’s as high as $35 a click for those homepage ads, lots of competition). Finding the middle tier market is hard. What do you type, medium priced help desk software? Not going to work. So they fall back on searching for open source and are so desperate to find any decent information that they end up clicking on my relatively unrelated blog posts. Hence, I’ve decided to make my first mini site a very clean simply directory of the primary open source help desk applications. I see this as a win win for everyone. Here’s why: Searchers can find a site with real information and clear links to the resources. Open source applications get a site that actually links to them rather than simply using them as bait to trick searchers into clicking on links I get to place a few simple clean ads on the site that lets people know I exist and that there are mid price products available. Without further ado I give you the Open Source Help Desk List. I’m still tweaking the content and as always suggestions are greatly appreciated. I’m not sure I like the help desk articles on the right. Also if you see any major applications I’ve missed please let me know. Finally, I’d love to get a few links to this new resource to kick start it. If you like the idea please say so with a link!