A few times a week, somebody comes along and asks me about developing a successful web app. Given that my biggest success so far is an app earning $500/month, I’m as surprised as you are. That said, I’m learning, and I want to spread the word about the number one tip for success: your need to find a market first, and develop your app second.
If you build an application first, chances are you’ll get pretty disappointed when the initial burst of announcement traffic dies down… and you’re left with close to zero sales. Sure, there are success stories out there, where an app brought in megabucks from it’s very first mention, but – and I’m Sorry to say it – unless your lottery numbers come up on a regular basis, this is not going to happen to you.
I’m going to devote a full blog post later on to CampaignBar, but in short: I developed it first (and it was fun!), but spent zero time on researching the market. Well, or doing any marketing for that matter. I’m pretty sure there’s still a market out there waiting for something like this, but now the extension’s out of date, I’d like to rewrite it for Chrome and a million and one small other things. And first and most importantly – I need to find those users!
So what can you do? As an example, I’m currently trying to test out my idea for GMail account protection. So far, it’s only received traffic from techy sites, where the typical mindset is “I could build that myself. In mere seconds! No sale for you!” and right now, my mailing list is tiny; 20 users or so. Until I’ve expanded my marketing efforts and I start getting a good number of users interested, I’m going to shelve this project. Otherwise, I risk wasting my time that could be better invested elsewhere.
In the meantime, and with that in the background, I’m working on my existing projects. I’ve noticed a marked decline in new users on TweetingMachine, so it’s time to find out where I’m going wrong there. I need to spend a lot of time writing some articles for the site and generally improving the sales page. I also need to make my mind up on InboxCleaner, and whether to use that solely as a promotional tool for TweetingMachine.
Your time is an investment. I’m hoping that by treating it as such myself, I’ll have a few more success stories to tell you in the upcoming months