I thought one of the last sentences was pretty interesting. I've definitely been noticing more websites with larger images - Square, Desk.com, etc. I'd love to know how that's affecting these websites and if it's worth it in those instances to give up speed for the marketing advantages that higher quality images give.
I work in the same co-working facility as an education-based startup that switched from using PayPal(where user gets redirected to PayPal) to Stripe (completely branded checkout) and their conversion rates increased 40% overnight and have stayed at those levels. After digging into their API, we're actually building our new company, MoonClerk, on top of Stripe's API. We'll basically be an abstraction layer on top of Stripe so that non-developers can use it and implement it on their site, with a focus on recurring payments (even though we do one-time payments). We really want to allow non-developers the ability to use Stripe.
How is this possible? Through Paypal customers can also pay with credit cards, and even more. They can use checks, or bank transfers (very important in Europe where credit cards are not as popular), etc. Why would usage of Paypal decrease conversion compared to pure credit cards?
My guess is that a lot of customers don't know what Paypal is and don't realize they can just use their credit card.
And the PayPal flow is godawful - direct to a new page, get prompted to:
1. Log in.
2. Create Account.
3. Enter payment deets. (Small text near bottom of page, not always available, depending on the merchant).
Even if you have an account, they don't consistently keep my default payment method - often switching back to my bank account even when I've made a CC my default.
This all adds up to a level of friction that I hate, hate, hate, hate as a user. I can understand people abandoning a purchase at that point.
In my experience with a nonprofit, on whose board I serve, this is exactly the case with PayPal. Even if you're very upfront before you send people to PayPal that yes, they can pay with a credit card, once they arrive at PayPal they get confused. I've even had PayPal show me a popup ad for a PayPal branded Mastercard when I was trying to checkout somewhere. Their UI isn't "branded" like the site that the customer was just on so that's confusing in and of itself. In addition, paying with credit card on a PayPal checkout page isn't the main action - you have to search for it. Combine all of those elements and you get a much lower conversion rate.
Why build it on top of Stripe's API and lock you into a single (relatively expensive) vendor? You could build on top of something like SpreedlyCore and simultaneously support Stripe, PayPal Pro, and 30+ different payment gateways for hundreds of merchant account providers.
This is one of the most informative sales articles I've read on Hacker News. Great job Wade! I love hearing the nitty gritty of the early sales process. I mentioned this on the comments section of the blog, but I'd love to hear about how you guys are planning on creating a scalable and repeatable sales process as well.
Thanks for the compliments on the design. We kept all of the dev work in house. Three full time developers. Now with MoonClerk, Ryan, my cofounder, is a developer and we're contracting out some of the development but mostly with folks who are in our Coworking office or nearby. We develop in Rails.
OP here. I wrote this blog post to help the community - to share what I've learned and have done to get some traffic and have a fairly successful launch of a side project. Most of the discussion on this thread has been around resumes themselves and the business itself - which wasn't what my post was about. This really drives home one of the points that I made in my original post: Loft Resumes is polarizing. People seem to either love it or hate it. For some reason people seem to be passionate about resumes.
All that said, I'm really appreciative of the suggestions that people have shared both here and by email. I've learned a great deal from commenters on HN in general (a few have inspired another venture I'm looking at starting...) and appreciate the community, even though it can get a little harsh!
It's not everybody's cup of tea. We understand that and that's fair. We've gotten a lot of positive feedback from both hiring managers and job seekers who actually have responded the opposite of what you're feeling. So, I guess it just depends.
1) The project wasn't 1 month. This is just what we did in the roughly 1 month since we launched.
2) Yes, if you multiply the over 100 sales by our purchase price, we did over $10,000.
3) We don't convert html to PDF. Customers pick a resume design, upload their resume content (in Word or TXT or whatever,) and then we custom typeset it and send them a PDF as a digital file. Our graphic artists are great at making multiple pages look outstanding. There's also a revision process to make sure it pleases the customer.
4) The demos are really the designs you see on the site. Since all of our resumes are custom-typeset in inDesign by a graphic artist, we can't demo a customer's actual resume until we go through the entire process.