Bridging the gap between web developer and entrepreneur

General Development

Discussion of developers potential as business people


Date : 2009-04-06
I think I'm speaking to my peers when I say that web developers are probably in the best position to make money online. We not only have the know-how to build the website, web applications, and software necessary to create an online empire we have the experience of seeing which sites flourish and which fail.

After seeing which sites do well and which fail time after time we learn what it takes to make a successful site. We've all read the articles about how “Ugly Sites” sell better. I would enter a link to one but there have been several, hard to decide which to give the credit to, I'm sure you can find one by doing a quick search if you haven't read the concept yet.

The main reason behind the ugly sites selling so well is that they are faster. They have less graphics, less CSS, less Javascript. They are streamlined money making machines. Everyone does like pretty graphics, no doubt about that. There is also no doubt that they are distracting and they slow down the performance of your site. When we're trying to sell goods or services we don't want to distract our customers from the goal at hand and we certainly don't want to make them wait 10 seconds for a page to load if we can get the pertinent information displayed in 5 seconds. People on the Internet are notoriously impatient, don't make them wait even 1 second longer than you have to. It's possible that you have some product that absolutely nobody else has and you have people lined up around the block to buy it, then you can take your time displaying the page. Something tells me that if you did have that you wouldn't be reading this article. So, recognize that if you don't sell them the shiny device in 5 seconds they will go someplace else where someone will.

Recognizing that sites need to be as fast as possible to be successful really underscores why developers are in the best position to make successful sites. We know how to make fast sites. We may not always be allowed to do that by our employers or clients but we know how to do it. Often we are forced to create beautifully bloated sites that never perform or convert as well as they should.

There is another consideration here though. As developers we often have access to other's ideas and plans. It would be wrong on so many levels to reproduce a site that we were trusted to work on for our own profit. When you decide to put up your own site for profit come up with your own idea. That's not to say that we can't learn from the ideas of others, but we certainly wouldn't want to copy them.

What are developers missing then? Well, it's odd, most developers that I've talked to about this are happy to just write source code. I have to admit to preferring programming to any other aspect of running an online business as well. It's just what we do, we write code. It's, sometimes, easier to have someone else make the tough decisions and we just write the programming. I think we would all find, though, that we are very good at making the decisions necessary to run a successful online business.

What do we do about it then? My determination is to spend a few hours a week on projects for myself. Work on building my business while helping others build theirs. I will learn everything I can about other aspects of the business that don't come as naturally for me.

There are probably nearly as many pages on the Internet devoted to making money online as there are to porn and I don't want this article to turn into, well, either one of those. Maybe another time I'll give some advice on easy ways to get into making money online, for now I just want to point out that developers are well positioned to jump into running their own site. If you're a developer who has never tried it, why not give it a try now?

Comments :

nocivus 2009-04-07 #408

The problem, I think, is where to start. I have considered several times putting up some really fast, clean website to sell some ebook on something for a specific niche. But do I really wanna do that? Or do I prefer to write code only? It's like you said, developers don't usually like the business part that much.

PS: If you do have some tips, please drop me a line: assuncas(at)gmail(dot)com. Thanks

BeachBum 2009-04-08 #412

I was planning on an article on it, but don't want it to come out like a "Make Money on the Internet" article, there are plenty of those. I'll send some ideas your way, things I've tried and had success with. Most of them seem like you could make money at it if you spent some time, I rarely have the time to spend to make more than a free dinner from time to time, but for zero effort at this point it's kind of nice.

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