Selling your work on a digital marketplace is really a great way to make money and it gives you much more freedom then just freelancing.
It can be very tempting to just rush in and submit your item to a digital marketplace. This is where a lot of sellers go wrong. We are going to have a look at what you have to do before submitting your item to a digital marketplace, in this article we use our own marketplace, Codester as an example. Codester accepts PHP Scripts & Code, App Source Code, Themes, Plugins and Graphics. So feel free to upload your work, after you have read this guide 😉 .
We have created this guide because we think it can help a lot of authors have their items live up to their full potential. A lot of items that are submitted on Codester are fantastic, but often these fantastic items don’t get any sales or get rejected purely because no time has been spend to get the item ready to be sold online. If you have a PHP script, app source code, theme, plugin or graphic asset you would like to sell, this guide will help you maximize your item’s selling potential.
Step 1 – Fine-tune your item
You have spent a lot of time building your item and you know exactly how it works. If somebody has just purchased your item, it can often be difficult to understand. Everything has to work out of the box. Here are a few tips to get your product ready for sale.
- Make sure your product is easy to install.
- Make sure any source code is well commented
- Build easy to use demo content to get the user started.
- Make sure all your files are well organized.
- Do a lot of testing to make sure everything works.
Alter you product if required. Make sure your product has an audience, this does not mean you always have to choose for the broadest audience possible. It can actually be wise to target a niche, but try to avoid to directly sell any work that has been specifically build for a client. Ask yourself who would buy the product and design the product in way that would fit the needs of that specific audience. If your product does not have an audience, it could even be a reason for your item to be rejected. Remember you are not selling your item to just one client.
Step 2 – Create amazing looking images for your item’s listing
Unless your product is very unique, it will not be the only item out there. Be sure it looks good. The first thing your potential buyers will see when browsing the marketplace are your item’s preview image and icon image. Take time designing these images and have a look at other successful items on the marketplace for inspiration. If you are not a very good designer, hire one! It will be well worth your money. Don’t think your product will sell with a bad preview image, because it won’t ! If your preview image looks messy, potential buyers will think your product is messy and will choose an alternative.
A preview image on Codester is 800px by 400px. Potential buyers will see the image while browsing item listing pages. The image is then resized to a smaller format when shown on listing pages. It is also shown on the your items page as one of the first images. Here are a few tips to create a great preview image.
- Make sure your preview image is 800px wide and 400px in height.
- Don’t use a lot of text. Preview images are resized and using a lot of text does not make it easy to read. Start with the title of your product and list just a few features.
- If you product looks good try to include a screenshot of the product in action, especially when selling themes or graphics.
- Use product mockups. Nothing is sexier then seeing your item live in action on the latest iPhone or high-end monitor. It performs much better then just using screenshots.
An icon image is 200px by 200px in size and is like the preview image displayed on item listing pages and on your items page. The icon image is not as prominent as the preview image, but you should take your time to create a good looking icon.
- Make sure you icon image is 200px wide and 200px in height
- If you use text, restrict it to just using the name of your item. If you want to create a quick logo, just use the first letter of your item’s name.
- If your item has a logo, use it in your icon. If not, create one.
- Have a look at Google Play or the Apple App Store for inspiration.
- Don’t just use a screenshot as your item’s icon image.
Step 3 – Create a demo site
A demo site is a website where a working copy of your item can be used live. It gives a great presentation on how your item works. A live demo URL is officially not mandatory when submitting your item, but for some type of items it can have your product rejected if you don’t have one. This is because it can be crucial for potential buyers to get an idea of the look and feel of the item.
- If your item is a PHP script, theme or plugin build a demo site specifically for that item.
- Your demo site will be running in a iFrame on Codester, so make sure your demo runs without problems in an iFrame. Test it!
- Use a fast hosting provider. If your hosting provider is slow, potential buyers will think your item is slow. Nobody buys items that are slow! Stay away from free hosting. Hosting is not expensive these days.
- If your item is an App Source Code, submit your app to the app store or Google Play and use a link to your app in the app store. Don’t link directly to APK files.
Step 4 – Write descriptions
Now it is time to write some good copy! There are two types of descriptions for your item. These are the short and full description. If your English is not good or you are just not very good at writing, hire somebody to do the job.
Short item description
A lot of author tend to forget the importance of the short item description. Your short item description is used in your items page’s meta description. This means this is probably the first text users will see in Google search results while searching.
A few tips while writing your short item description:
- Your short item description can be 130 characters long.
- Keep in mind your short item description is what a potential buyer will see while browsing through Google’s search results.
- Use keywords in your short item description that potential customers will search for in search engines.
The full description contains a detailed description about your item. It should not contain any spelling mistakes. First write everything down in Word and do a spelling check!
Your full description should contain the following:
- A description of your item (we recommend at least 300 characters long)
- A listing of the features of your item
- A listing of requirements for your item
Tips when writing your full description:
- Don’t just copy paste a description from somewhere else. Make sure no styles are included in your text if you paste your description. If your description style differs from the rest of you item page it will look unprofessional.
- Don’t use images in your full description. Yes, Codester still supports images in item descriptions. But this will be removed in the future. If you want to include screens of your item, include them in your screenshots section. We will cover screenshots later.
Step 5 – Create a product video (additional)
A product video is not required, but can have great impact on sales as it is difficult for some products to show a live demo. For example a App Source code can only show a live demo by having a user download the demo app from the app store and installing it on their phone. This is a lot of hassle. Having a demo video show the product in action gives the potential buyer a much better understanding how the app works then screenshots and is easier to use then a demo app that has to be installed.
A few tips when creating a product video:
- Your product video should be max 90 seconds long. If your video is longer, people will loose attention. Don’t show a 10 minute long video, showing how to install your item for example.
- Don’t use very heavy music. A nice uplifting tune in the background humming along is great, but don’t start adding techno music for example. It’s not a rave party! It’s a product presentation!
- If you don’t have the skills to create a video, have a look on the web for tutorials on how to build a explainer video, there are enough resources available.
- If you have the money, hire somebody to create the video for you. Creating a explainer video is quite a job if you want to do it right. Sometimes it better to hire a specialized company to make a video for your. They will take care of everything.
Step 6 – Create screenshots
Screenshots are very important for selling your product. People like to see what they buy.
- Don’t include too many screenshots. Include at least 3 screenshots and a maximum of 9. More then 9 screenshots is overkill.
- Don’t just use fullscreen screenshots. Showing a messy desktop picture with your product in a window is not very professional. Cut out your screenshot, so it just shows your product.
- Use professional looking test data when taking screenshots. This will give a much better presentation of your item.
- Use .png or .jpg file extensions.
Once you have your screenshots, Put all your screenshots in one folder and create a zip file with all your screenshots in them.
Step 7 – Write the item’s documentation
If you have been working on an item for months, it can be easy to think your item does not need any documentation, because it explains itself. But if somebody uses your item for the first time, it can be challenging to find out how everything works. Always include documentation. Items without any documentation will be rejected on Codester.
What should you include in your documentation?
- Instructions on how to install/setup your item.
- Instructions how to use your item. Go through all the features your item has and explain how it works.
- Info on how to get additional support for your item.
- Info about the author of the item. That’s you!
Take your time writing your documentation, documentation is not two sentences long. Good documentation translates itself in less time spend on customer support and higher review scores. It is well worth your time.
Once your documentation has been written, put the documentation in the folder of your item’s content and create a .zip file. This is the main download file for your item.
Step 8 – Fill in your user profile
Don’t forget to completely fill in your user profile. If potential customers see a profile that has a default avatar without any content, it does not look very trustworthy. Take your time to fill in all profile fields and upload some great pictures to make your profile look professional. You will be surprised how much influence this can have. Your profile is your online shop, make it look good!
Step 9 – The final step – Upload your item
If you have completed all of the previous steps, your item is now ready to be uploaded.
Here is a checklist:
- Main item file (.zip)(with documentation included)
- Preview image (800×400)(.png or .jpg)
- Icon image (200×200)(.png or .jpg)
- Item descriptions text
- Demo site URL
- Youtube Video URL
- Screenshots file (.zip)
Time to head over to Codester and upload your work!
After you have uploaded your item, It will take about 1-2 business days until your item has been reviewed.
Keep in mind your item can be rejected. It happens a lot and it happens to the best of us! If your item gets rejected because something is missing or needs adjustments (soft-rejection), don’t give up! Get ready to make adjustments and upload your item again.
In some cases items are marked as not suitable for sale (hard rejection). This means your product does not have what it takes to be sold online. Either there are already too much identical products on the marketplace or your item does not have premium value, meaning there are free alternatives on the market that are better then your paid product.
Your item has been approved – What’s next?
Congratulations! You made it through this guide and your item is now online! Enjoy the moment!
Now your item is newly listed on the Codester marketplace you can get some sales straight away, but if you really want to make some serious money, you will have to promote your item.
In our next post we will discuss what promotional activities you have to do to get your first 100 sales!
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