I feel strongly that the “least barrier” for your customers is huge. You will lose users if your registration process is too cumbersome, or confusing. You will also not get the feedback you desperately need from early adopters if your feedback mechanism isn’t easy to use and clearly visible. Keep in mind that I am bootstrapping my startup (www.Swayable.com) so I have been looking for ways to provide the least barrier to entry without having to spend a lot up front.
I found some great services that address the registration & feedback elements. I have weeded through the options to provide my recommendations on services that work for both 3rd party logins as well as feedback systems.
Why would you want to add 3rd party login modules (like Facebook Connect, Google Login, etc.)?
If your customers don’t have to create “yet another account” on another website and can login with an existing account (like Facebook, Google, Twitter etc.) you will likely see more conversions as it’s easier for users to register, reducing their barrier to entry. Here are 2 suggested ideas/solutions:
1. “Free” solution for 3rd party logins :
If your startup or existing business can’t justify the cost of the 2nd option I’ve listed below (Janrain Engage). Implement the login APIs yourself. Here are some links to Twitter, Facebook, Google, Yahoo and Open ID API’s. These are free of costs (well except for the development time/cost to implement) and you get the same benefit of creating a reduced barrier to entry for your users as you do with the Janrain Engage concept listed as the other option below.
2. “Freemium” Janrain Engage solution for 3rd party logins:
Janrain Engage provides “Authentication via Facebook, Google, Twitter, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Windows Live and up to 10 additional social platforms” it’s a one stop shop for getting multi-account authentication, and it’s easy to install (vs. installing all the separate API’s individual as I suggested in item 1).
It’s free for up to 10k users and it includes up to 6 login/authentication options. If you pay $100/year, you can get up to 10k users with 12 login/authentication options.
Above 10k users looks it’s considered a “professional account” starting at 1k/year. I am of course making assumptions here, but I am guessing that that price goes up incrementally based on your user base.
If your services/site charges for a product and you can justify the expense above the 10k user mark (or if you don’t anticipate going above the 10k user mark), I’d say get it installed today and launch with it.
The next “least barrier” concept I want to address is gathering feedback from your visitors and why you should add the “floating feedback” button to your site.
You’ve likely been to several websites that have the floating “feedback” button on the left or right hand side of the website. These services are truly invaluable to startups especially if you are launching your site with a minimum viable product (MVP). Feedback from your user base is how you prioritize and help make decisions on the next features to add. If your feedback system requires users to login with yet another account, or is too confusing for the users, you’ve just lost that valuable feedback.
There are 2 services that I’d recommend using for feedback mechanisms, one is a freemium model (User Voice) and the other is paid (Get Satisfaction) but does offer a 15 day free trial:
1. “User Voice”– The “free” options gives you the least barrier to giving feedback for your customers:
The key here especially for startups, is you can install the “User Voice” feedback widget with the free version on your site and users do NOT have to login to the tool to provide feedback. I’ll start using the paid packages as my business grows, but they won my “free” business for now, because of this 1 feature – my users don’t have to login to provide feedback. I also like that they have more pricing selections and packages than Get Satisfaction. So I can grow as my business grows. They currently don’t have as many features as Get Satisfaction does, but that’s ok. My users can give me feedback easily from the get go, which is exactly what I wanted.
2. Get Satisfaction does not offer a “free” version, but they do have a 15 day “free” trial.
If you are going to use Get Satisfaction, Here’s my recommendation:
- I’d recommend entering in at the $89/month model, which they call the “connect” package. The reason why, is that at the $89/month model, you can use the “single sign-on with FastPass” feature and integrate your websites login with Get Satisfaction. This means your user just has to login once (i.e. doesn’t have to login to your website AND then login to Get Satisfaction if they want to leave feedback).
- If you start with the entry level plan, your users still have to login to give feedback, and as I’ve mentioned early – you will lose some very valuable feedback if you require users to login just to submit it.
- Get Satisfaction does offer a lot more features and it seems that it integrate with 3rd party services such as Zen Desk. So it may be better for your business. I still recommend getting the $89 plan so you can reduce the barrier to giving feedback for your customers.
I’m curious to hear from other startups to see if you are implementing any of the services above, or have other ideas around the “least barrier to entry” concept that applies to other areas of websites?