Things I'd encourage every developer to encourage interest, listed roughly in order of preference:
- Screenshots that are clear and detailed - this doesn't have to be every single screen that your program can display, but a picture really is worth a thousand words. This should always be one of the first three things on your home page.
- Changelog - that's clear and obvious and contains dates. This the easiest way to tell your visitors this is an actively developed program that does more than update the skins every 6 months. As a freeware maintainer, this is maybe my most common frustration.
- Short video introduction - Helps avoid making your users dig for the point of your efforts. Over 2 minutes but no more than 5, with the highlights like the problem it solves, who might be interested.
- Mirrors - Demonstrates your program's availability.
- Requirements / Expertise necessary - If the program you're working on is really targeted at developers, put that up top. If it only runs on Windows 10 with the latest dotNET version, requires a gig of space, and you need to download FFMPEG, list that too. I've looked at a dozen programs in the past month alone that had me digging for 10 minutes only to find out it requires (for example) Python expertise and only runs on Android.
- A clear license - important bits for us are whether it can be used in a professional environment and if you can redistribute the binary (we mirror a lot of old programs to keep them alive).
Update: I did already write something up on this, but it has a different take so I'll keep them separate for now.
Additional suggestions welcome.
Related: Open letter to security developers