How to make money selling software online is an ambition for many software developers. Back in the day, when I started doing all this, there was no Google, eBay, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter etc. The internet was just starting to take off around the world. Websites were not very fancy. In fact, they were quite primitive by today’s standards. I recall many had the prison grey background and were quite gloomy looking.
The search engines at the beginning were things like Alta Vista, Yahoo, Excite etc. It was difficult to create and put your own site online. There were a few free website builders online and I will come to that later.
When it comes to how to make money selling software online, the methods I used twenty years ago are still valid today.
The Method Needed for How to make money selling software online
The first thing you need to do is have an idea of the software you want to create and the language you are going to develop it in. For me it was Microsoft Access because I was familiar with the tool. You don’t need to spend countless hours or days trying to come up with some groundbreaking idea either. Look at what is already out there and see if you can either improve on it or produce something similar.
When looking to how to make money selling software online, a good niche is business software. Think about the tools a business will use. Chances are they use Microsoft Office so you may want to develop around these tools. There is a lot of scope here – businesses generally do record keeping so think about what systems you can create that can hold and manipulate data. For example, a staff record system, invoicing system, quotations etc. A business may use MS Excel and a lot of useful software can be created with that tool.
I’m not saying it is all about business software. Perhaps you like to code in C#, VB.Net etc. You should develop in a tool you feel comfortable with.
There are a few components which I think are going to help you sell software online.
Blog or website
The blog/website can be used to hold an order page for your software. You can put details of it and have a payment button. I would advise having another button which allows people to download a working demo of your software.
The blog/website can also hold other information. You can write posts about various things like the software you use, tips and tricks, tutorials etc. The more information you have, the better. Your site can get found in Google search and this is one-way people can find your software. The site is a hub for information related to your software and will help when you are thinking on how to make money selling software online.
A YouTube channel can hold videos that demo your software. I would advise recording the screen of your PC as you demonstrate the features of the software. There is plenty of free screen recording software available online. You don’t need to show your face on camera if you don’t want to. You can also record other videos that give tutorials on the programming language you use. This has worked well for me. My early YouTube efforts were poor in terms of picture quality and audio. However, that did not stop people leaving comments and buying the software.
Each video can be embedded into your blog/website post. This not only increases traffic on your post, but it also brings more views to your video. Your YouTube channel will also start to pick up subscribers as more and more people watch your videos. No need to stress on how to make extra money as a software developer.
A Facebook page can be used to bring it all together. What do I mean by that? From the blog/website, you can add share buttons. These buttons will post your articles to your social media channels. Clicking the Facebook button ensures your article, along with your embedded video will get posted to your Facebook page. Again, this strategy will only increase the number of viewers you are getting. You can also post the video from YouTube directly to your Facebook page. Again, this can help when you are wondering how to make money selling software online.
It is worth creating a unified brand right across the website and social media channels. Ensure the banner you have on your blog/website is the same as you use on your YouTube channel and Facebook page. This way there is no disconnect. Some people are more comfortable with a brand they recognize.
Of course, there are a few other social media channels, but I find the best ones to use are Facebook and YouTube. Software related to business works well on Linked-In. Set up a Linked-In account, connect with the right people and post your blog/website posts there. The only other social media account I can think of with an easy to reach large audience is Twitter, but to date I cannot say I have made much effort or have any results from that channel.
When selling online, everyone always worries about how they are going to get people to buy their stuff. Where are the visitors going to come from and how can I get them? I have outlined 3 essential components for you above that will help you get eyeballs on your software.
Others Methods for How to make money selling software online
If you are searching on how to make money online as a programmer, the other method I would recommend is something called Shareware sites. This is how I started, and I would go this route today also. Google for Shareware sites – there are hundreds, thousands possibly. These sites would list the link to the demo and full software and in some cases even host it. When people search for software online, they may stumble upon one of these sites and download the demo or purchase the software.
At one time you would have to manually go onto each site and fill our details of the software, add the links etc. Doing this could take some time, even if you were to only use around 40 shareware sites. These days you can use a submitter and do it all with a single click of the mouse. A software submitter is a piece of software that does all the uploading for you. You just type in a few details and the software does the rest.
You will need to create what is known as a PAD file. This is nothing more than a file with details of your software – title, language, size, operating system etc. That file gets submitted by the software submitter to the many Shareware sites on the internet. One click can distribute to hundreds, if not thousands of these sites.
How to make money selling software online can also be explained by this other method. Your software can also be sold via an affiliate program. This is where people will sign up to sell your software and you give them a percentage of the sale. You get a share and so does the affiliate. The advantage of doing this is that you don’t need to worry so much about getting buyers because others are doing the selling for you. This may not work so well for business software, but if you are writing a tool that searches for Keywords in Google for example, then you can get a lot of people willing to sell it for you. One good site for finding affiliates is JVZoo.
I have given you a plan on how to make money selling software online. You don’t need anything else. I have given you the key components. As with a lot of online marketing, it will take a bit of effort to get it all set up correctly, but there is nothing really that is too technical here.