It happens all the time. You are surfing on a SaaS website and their product looks promising. Cool, let’s try it! Well, yeah... there are a few steps to follow. This is how it will go:

  1. Sign up by sharing your email (and getting spammed afterward)
  2. Create a password
  3. Confirm your email
  4. Log into in the web app (enter your email + password)

Then you finally get to try the software. Oooouf! All of this pain when the only thing you wanted to do was to take a quick look at this software and see if it might work for you.

Try it so we can spam you

Of course, growth hackers want your email.

I would say that 99% of software companies don't give you a choice to try their software on the spot. You have to sign-up, and then you can try it for a week or two. I think it's stupid to force people to sign-up for a product when they have no idea if the product will work for them or not.

They want to send you a bunch of automated unsolicited messages disguised as "advice" and "high-value content." The reality is that you had to sign-up knowing there was a good chance this company would spam you. You just wanted to try their software for a few minutes and you ended up spending more time managing your "unsubscribe here" links. It's a shame that most SaaS businesses work this way.

I know we can do better as a SaaS businesses and so, I decided to do my part. I wanted to build a place that I wish had existed when I was looking for a solution to create a website (or any software I was looking for, for that matter).

My vision

Let me talk about what I did at FirePress. We host websites using Ghost, which is a CMS and an open-source software.

To allow people to try the software, we created the website play-with-ghost.com where anyone can access the admin panel and play with the software on the spot. No need to register and go thru the four steps mentioned above. I believe it’s a win-win for everyone.

In the end, the user is left with two scenarios:

  • Scenario A — The user surfs around and moves on. It's not for them. Something is off from their point of view, it's not a good timing, something bugs you, it looks too complicated, some features are missing, etc.
  • Scenario B — The user enjoyed his experience and now he is really considering using Ghost as a tool to create his next website. Now they really want to start their trial period.

The user in the second scenario is the client I want to help.

  play with ghost   

Comparing themes is hard

Let’s go more in-depth about the challenge of choosing a platform to create a website.

One of the hardest things, when we shop for a theme, is the fact that the content between themes is not the same.

  • What do MY pictures look like on this website?
  • What does MY list look like?
  • What does MY YouTube video look like?
  • What do the buttons look like?
  • What is the space between the elements?
  • Then repeat the process on smartphones and other screen resolutions

On play-with-ghost.com, all the themes are built around an imaginary website called “Barbershop Avenue.” This helps the user to compare themes as the content is the same between each other.

To conclude, if you are thinking about creating your own website, please check this out so you can see if Ghost could be the right tool for you.