What I Learned About itch.io Product Pages in an 36-hour Coffee-fueled Extravaganza. Part 1 | Upload New Product

Starting out on icth.io, I quickly saw how the well the platform allowed for customization. However, exactly how to do it wasn't intuitive and while some devs seemed to excel at both designing and implementing creative product pages. Many pages are relatively barebones. Here is what I learned, compiled and co-mingled with my experience in digital marketing.

1. Title, URL, and Tagline

Pretty straightforward stuff. Keep in mind this is your products "sales" page. That means mixing your creative writing and what you know of human psychology to make your project appealing. Even if you have a loyal following that will download all your amazing stuff, break it down for strangers. 

Titles max out at 60 characters over 2 lines. Use this real estate to tag: [TTRPG], [SOLO], [MOSAIC]. Or add a qualifier with m-dash, bar pipe or colon: Projectname — 1st edition, Projectname | Pre-release. 

It's fine to let itch autofill the URL field, but don't get into the habit of changing it. If you have a title with a qualifier that might change (Pre-release, Alpha, etc), delete the temporary words from the URL. 

Slogans max out at 30 character before an ellipsis. 5 to 7 words to let the visitor know 1 other thing about your product (A krautrock/phonk fantasy RPG) or hook (Will you save Tlön or Uqbar?). 

2. itch.io Pricing

I found the pricing choices to be weird and strange. Of course, there are the 3 options: Pay What You Want (PWYW), Priced, and Free.

According to itch, in 2015, an average of $3.68 USD was paid for free games and the same amount paid as an extra on paid games. I have no idea what-up-date stats look like and how they differ for Physical Games. 

That being said, PWYW is a good model for new creators. For creators with established reputations and followings, Paid projects are a simple way to distribute digital versions of books, zines and tools. 

Is it $0.99 or $1? There is a growing consensus that whole number signal quality and sophistication. People are pretty savvy to the whole "round down" tactic. so why not make things simple and clean with a whole number.

Counterintuitive Thing  1 - Community Copies

Community Copies seem to be a special aspect of the Physical Games subcategory. Many creators make these available to those struggling or marginalized, my favourite way to add them is 1 copy for each $1 spent, rating, or review.  

On the Upload a Project Page, you need to Click on More ⌄ and then Rewards.

"Community Copy" goes in the Custom noun field and the details below.

Counterintuitive Thing  2- Sales and Goals

Bizarrely, Goals (like "itchfunding" or "slowfunding") are set up in the Sales & Bundles tab from your Dashboard. Once you get there, the form itself is simple enough to fill out.

3. Details — Description 

Time to brag! In addition to telling the good folks at home what your project is about, tell them what they need to enjoy it. And tell them what other people think! Make sure your Description has enough information to convince the reader to download. If there's a price, make sure to persuade and attract. This is done in a few ways:

Features

From ARC

Ubiquitous in the SaaS world, features is a bite-sized way to encapsulate major features of your game. On the ARC webpage, they are listed horizontally with images, but the same effect can be achieved by using a bullet point list, or subheadings.

Alternatively, you can use these great Public Domain icons to punctuate your feature explanations. 

by Guilherme Gontijo

Testimonials, Ratings, and Press

Again a staple of ecommerce everywhere, social proof that other real-life peoples like your project can tip the sales in favour of 1 more download. Update your description with the number of 5-star reviews you have to date. Did your project get really popular? Link out to where people talk about it, like galactic 2e does here:

Just uploaded and don't have any reviews yet? Beg your friends until you can get one nice thing to say about your game.

Other Description Things

Similar to linking to press and reviews, link to whatever is relevant. Is your project compatible with a certain SDR? Link to the the SDR's main page. Is it connected to a jam, movement, bundle, discord server etc? Link out. 

Use both the Metadata > External links form and in-line links.

Ex Novo includes an easy way to foster conversation and community around a project by including a hashtag:

6 hours in I needed another coffee. Part 2 is Images.