During the past six months, I have been experimenting with selling software at CodeCanyon. Besides publishing
4 5 items, I have also spend a significant amount of time studying successful items and tried to find out what makes items do well in this marketplace. I have been implementing my findings when developing my latest items and thought I’d share them here as well. Here goes!
1. Pick the right category
2. Submit standalone applications
Of course this is not always possible, but if you’re starting from scratch and are planning to build an item specifically for CodeCanyon, you’re best shot is developing a standalone application. Exception to this is the WordPress category. If you think about it, it makes perfect sense; if you’re selling small scripts or bits of code that are not standalone applications, you’re limiting your prospective buyers to developers and coders. Regular users (meaning non-coders/developers) won’t be shopping around for scripts which are only useful when integrated with other code and/or bigger projects and they’re more likely interested in software which they can install themselves and use right away without the need to have a developer around.
3. Create a dedicated sales site/page
Instead of utilising only your product page at CodeCanyon, building a dedicated site/page for your item can give a big boast in sales. If you’re willing to go all the way, buy a domain name and develop a sexy looking sales site for your new item (or have one developed if you’re not that great a designer), this will make you look professional and serious about your craft. Furthermore, having a dedicated sales site/page will make it easier to do some of our own marketing as well. You can spend some time doing some basic SEO and online advertising to get the ball rolling. You can also setup analytics tracking (using Google Analytics for example) to gain a better understanding of your site’s traffic.
4. Be awesome at support
This is one of the most important items in this list! If you’re serious about building a money generating portfolio on CodeCanyon, go above and beyond in giving the best support possible! Publish a response time somewhere, be it on the product page, your CodeCanyon profile or your dedicated sales site/page and stick to it. Fast responses are great, however when you’re starting out, you might want to be careful with responding to every support request instantly. The problem with doing so, is that this will create certain expectations, and at some point those expectations might be hard to live up to. I like a response time of 12 to 24 hours myself when starting out. Once you get to the point where you’re doing this full time and/or have dedicated support staff, obviously you can bring the response time down.
5. Create a live demo that kicks ass
Buyers want to see before they buy; this makes your live demo a crucial part of a successful product strategy. Be sure to populate the demo with real data which mimics real live usage of your item. Perhaps add a nice little “Site Tour” plugin to your demo to show off the applications’ features. In some cases, like with a standalone PHP application, you should probably implement a way for the demo to reset at a regular interval to make sure new visitors aren’t always looking at previous visitors data and to prevent users from messing up your live demo.
6. Build something you’d use yourself
Building something people want is the easiest way to ensure your new item sells well. Of course, deciding what people want and therefor what to build, is easier said then done! I find that a good starting point is thinking about a product you’d like to use yourself. If you can think of something you desperately need, but which is not currently available (on CodeCanyon, on even better, on the entire Internet) you could be on to a winner! Or, and this method is slightly easier/faster, try and think of a product which you’re currently using (or have used in the past) which doesn’t quite cut it. Perhaps it’s design is not top notch, or it’s missing some important feature. Would you love this product even more if it was fixed up? If so, go ahead, build it and make it better!
7. Be serious about design
People are visual creatures, and to build a successful product, you must build something that looks good and is visually appealing to potential buyers. I have seen a number of products on CodeCanyon that show serious potential in terms of functionality, however the number of sales was extremely disappointing largely due to bad design. No matter how good your product is at solving a problem or scratching an itch, if it’s dead ugly, you’re not going to sell as much as you could have with a properly designed product. It’s a good idea to spend some time on CodeCanyon (or Themeforest for that matter) getting up to date with design trends and develop an eye for what looks good. Or, if you only want to focus on coding, partnering up with a designer might be worth exploring as well!