Not an insane amount of money, of course, but enough that you can consider the project successful if you're getting a solid amount of views.
My largest project, http://sleepyti.me, gets about 1.5 million unique views per month. The revenue Google Adsense brings in is not nearly enough support myself, but it's enough to make the effort feel solidly "worth it" in terms of development time and hosting costs (which are very low at this point).
How (or if) you should be monetizing depends on the nature of your side project. If your "side project" is a business -- say, designing WordPress themes -- then you should sell your product! If it's something that gets 50 views per month, maybe it's not the best candidate for monetization (and is instead a portfolio/resume builder). Either way, gaining experience building things is almost always a good thing.
Although I think he may increase ad earnings if they were on both pages.
What made you think of making that a site?
From there, growth was organic/"viral," in that people shared it amongst themselves. I've also had some traditional media (NYTimes, Toronto Star, etc.) cover the site, but that was after traffic was already pretty high.
I tried social shares but they resulted in virtually nil traffic. There is the top right Like and Tweet buttons, and an option to share after you complete a puzzle.
After 4 years I get <10k views per month, and only rank high for "sudoku with pencil marks" searches.
I think it's clear that my site isn't viral material, but honestly I'm not too sure how yours works in that regard either!
Why did you end up removing the social share buttons?
1. The background looked kind of cheesy. It's not a huge deal, but a solid color would look nicer.
2. There's a timer the second I load the page. If I'm trying to relax with Sudoku, this site is not for me. It looks like you can turn it off, but I know people who will just leave once they see the timer. Timed games are pressure-inducing and not fun for them.
3. I don't know what the various tools shown do. Why would I need a pencil tool for sudoku on the computer? Can't I just type the number I want? What's the one that looks like a checkbox? Why is there an error check? Other sudoku apps just mark it in red if it's wrong. (These are things I would think as a normal user. Obviously I read the tooltips, but most users will not.)
Overall impression - hard to use, not fun. Plus, a little late to the Sudoku trend. There are thousands of Sudoku sites and mobile apps. What would be my incentive to use yours? If I already have one I like, why would I switch? Also, I have ad blocking turned on, but if there were ads and I saw them I would never come back to your site. (Obviously different people have different feelings about that.) I can pay 99 cents for a great Sudoku app on my phone with no ads.
The thing is that I'm not sure quality is the problem - it's already a vast improvement over most high ranking sites (but not apps). My challenge is getting people to the site in the first place. As you said it was already a crowded niche.
I'm not really banking on this site taking off anymore, but I worry my next one will have the same "non-sharing" issues. I thought with social sharing you might have a shot at getting noticed in a crowded niche.
I personally think the background was completely fine for it being made 4 years ago. If you were to remake it then possibly a solid color would be a better choice now.
I am also turned off by the timer. I'm not sure how many players prefer timers, but maybe putting it hidden away on the top right or somewhere that isn't blinking at you every second would help users like me.
Everything else seemed good to me. If there were ads I probably wouldn't play personally (sorry adblock is on) because as the last person commented I already have a paid sudoku app on the phone that is ad-free.
I think it's hard to get users to go from their phone to browsers for sudoku (if you were only targetting web-only users then it's okay) because of how good the interface is on touch panels. If you were trying to get users to move from the phone I think you need some gimmick that utilizes more of the screen space or something that the web provides that mobile can't.
A question, if you don't mind: does the "embed" thing works? I mean, do you see people embedding your game on their websites?
I'm curious because I have a similar website and I'm considering doing the same. Thanks!
Of course the value was not for visitors but for links to your site. One quality link might do a lot for you, so it's hard to say whether it'll be worthwhile.
I think my problem is that sudoku is simply saturated. But not many sites have pencil marking ability, and my site ranks high on Google for that.
I believe that as well. Anyone that is big on sudoku today started in 2005.
Looking at your website, there's nothing that suggest anything out of he ordinary.
Yet, you've reached a lot of audience through sheer luck.
What year did the share happen and how long did it take?
One important idea from the book is the distinction of side project/product confusion:
> A project is a software application that you build as a fun side project. The code is fun to write because you’re not concerned about quality and performance, and the end result is a neat little application that likely isn’t of use to many people.
> A product is a project that people will pay money for. In other words, it’s a project that has a market (a group of people who want to buy it). Without a market, a software application is just a project.
I think it's important to start in the right place here. Both approaches are fun but they have opposing goals. If you want to build a product that makes money, start with the market. If you want to build a side project... that's great, just keep in mind that when a side project tries to tack on "and make money" later, it mostly doesn't work.
2) I put side project technologies on my resume.
3) I put side project link on my resume.
4) I put my resume on LinkedIn.
5) I get a raise during my next performance review (or next job)
I write side projects when I want to try a new technology in order to integrate it into my flow. I don't make money from putting a couple of JS libraries and generating an automatic ping pong game from Bitcoin transactions (https://writecodeeveryday.github.io/projects/bitpong/) but I do get the experience on Websockets for clients.
Is that what we call it now? I always called it "emoragequitting". Basically when stress + work > current_paycheck and you decide to shop around.
I charge a subscription fee - either $5.99 or $9.99 a month. One of the hardest things for me to learn is that as developers, we tend to price things too low and don't really value our work enough.
60 Seconds Everyday is currently trending on Product Hunt too!
The challenge is reducing churn because it's trying to change habits (which is very, very difficult). I'm still working on implementing things to make the product more sticky like Flashback emails (ex. "Here's what you were doing on this day last week/month/year") and integrating your journal entries with your photos.
What sorts of ideas are you thinking about? And what's stopping you?
(IMHO it is somehow related about general productivity, to that's why I've named it as it is).
I try to write short notes every day that sums whole day in 1-2 simple sentences. Everything is stored in my small notebook (moleskine-like, which You can take everywhere with You in the pocket).
In the same place, I also moderate two lists: TODOs and TODON'Ts - one gather things that helps me to be productive and the other that doesn't work for me and should be avoided in the future.
It aggregates tech events (mostly meetups, conferences, workshops, etc) across ~50 US cities and tweets them out and broadcasts a weekly mailing list. Hashtags, time of day of messages, including/filtering submissions, etc are driven by some simple machine learning. It's grown from basically nothing to ~13M+ impressions last year and is on track to generate ~30M this year.
The business model is affiliate links to the conferences and workshops. It turns out when you find 5-10k tech people in a given geography who are trying to improve their skills and network, event organizers come to you.
I do not include jobs, job fairs, etc though I know that would make more.
But I have gotten exactly one complaint from an organizer who ended up with 2x the expected attendees. Many other organizers have written thank you notes and spread the word.
How does the system find and classifies the event?
$dayjob tends to keep me busy. :)
Drop me an email if you're willing.
Insomnia started as a small side-project to help software developers communicate with REST APIs. It gradually got more and more popular – to the point where I left my job to pursue it full-time. The business model is fairly simple, with an add-on subscription model to access cloud sync and team features, but it's worked well so far! I've been full-time for 8 months and made $800 last month.
I'd be happy to answer any questions if you have any.
We've just started selling customised modular staves to people who use them as props, novelties or promo items. We've become good at 3D printing via much learning at our makerspace (http://sparkcc.org) and so with a couple of printers we can basically run our own small-scale manufacturing business.
Currently we just take orders via email and word of mouth but we're building a website that allows people to customise their own staff (like in a video game).
Will there be a Django one? http://avalonstar.com/journal/2008/the-web-framework-for-pon...
Of course I'd love to hit on something that meant I could quit the day job, but I think that unlikely.
In 2011 I built www.illustrators.co, a multi-vendor marketplace for artists to sell their work. I met some cool people and learned web development and UX in the process, completely changing my career trajectory. It just about covers costs, despite languishing for the last few years. I'd love to work on it full time.
In addition make and sell prints of public domain images. A chance to experiment further with online marketing and selling and building sites with static generators. I also make and sell cyanotype prints of my photographs. Mostly to experiment with photography processes.
I'm currently building a compendium of UX concepts, methods, tools, books and events. Mostly to help me better understand the subject, but it may also be useful to others.
My latest side project is https://www.smsinbox.net, which provides a drop-in chat interface for Twilio apps. It's targeted at developers who use Twilio in their apps, and want to easily expose a two-way messaging interface to their users. It doesn't make a ton of money right now, but definitely covers costs.
built a twilio app, sorta like "mailchimp for texting," and was dreading building a back/forth reply system.
trying this out in the next few days, you'll see my signup come through with a domain that starts with 'G' if you want to chat.
[I write C, C++, do algorithm development, and also automation -- anything from embedded firmware to large optimized math for HPC, to even the (non-UI side of) mobile apps. I've done some amount of contract work in the past but am in the middle of a long (and annoying) dry spell and looking for new sources.]
The only consistent earnings I get is every summer my article "3 books developers should read when they graduate"(1) makes me some money. My assumption is there are a lot of CS grads who need the advice :)
It's averaged US$340 gross per month since last May but it's been hard to grow it. I think in some ways it's quite a technical tool and you need to be interested in actually debugging issues on device, but there are a lot of people using Unity who aren't super technical. Also it doesn't lend itself to sexy screenshots. I've noticed some of the successful plugins are those which are about creating things, and they get a lot of people sharing screenshots of things they've created on the forums.
Some plugins solve major pain points for Unity users who are not super technical, like the Prime31 mobile plugins, so they are very popular. I think if you can build something like that then you have a good shot at success.
If you gain some traction, there is ad revenue to be gained. I have found even 100 to 300 page views a day is enough to start seeing a few dollars each day. B2B ads pay out more. I've seen single clicks bring in $5+. Once built, not usually much you have to do after that, and they will typically grow slowly over time. And I feel good about them, because I know businesses are getting actual value out of them.
I have not struck the right chord with affiliate revenue yet. But I know there is money to be made with the right niche. I think you need to be a little more invested in affiliate sites, and have a real interest. These sites seem to require a steady flow of new content, though you may be able to automate some of it.
Google Adsense + Amazon Associates can bring in quite a good bit if done correctly.
Sidenote: If you guys are interested in passive income discussions, you should probably join the live chat on IRC.
From HN users perspective: Can you really charge money for displaying my comment?
From a website perspective: Am I paying for the redirection? If HN goes down/closes shop - are the comments lost? I assume you cannot scrape HN and essentially "sell" the comments.
I haven't thought too much into this (nor did I read your kinda long website).
I definitely learned a lot during last year while emailing with people interested in the product. Thanks to that I improved my tool iteratively while the early adopters discovered new areas or edge cases about testing I didn't even think about.
This week I published success story about running tests across 100 parallel CI nodes with my tool:
If you're curious on the details, I wrote a post recently about getting to $100/month with them: https://www.simonmweber.com/2017/01/09/side-project-income-2....
> I made a stamp calculator for any postage for my own use then shared it online. It's all organic traffic via google searches and lots of repeat users. One google ad that pays for my server and a few meals a month. A Pennsylvania post office uses it to help the Amish! I love that. http://fancyham.com/stamp_calculator
> Just released a music notation iMessage sticker set For a music teacher friend. My goal for this one: long tail. We'll see!
> Helvetica shirts for font nerds like myself: Lots of sales at first through Twitter, but nothing now that the fed has passed. Other folks copied the idea, too. http://fancyham.com/shirts
> Geiger counter app, secretly controlled by pressure on the screen, that always drops jaws but just a few sales a month. http://fancyham.com/#detecto
I do UX design for a living and while these are fun creative outlets and an opportunity to try some programming, I think of these as play, not work.
Though I'd like to say these projects bring in money via boosting my day job, I don't know if that's true. These are such quick and dirty projects that I haven't mentioned them on my resume.
Though, I have been inspired recently by Nadja Buttendorf's 'brutalist' HTML site: http://nadjabuttendorf.com/ I'm going to embrace the ugly.
Not a huge money maker (>300 copies sold) but I also filed a patent on it in 2015, so hopefully a larger VR company will see our locomotion technique as an essential step (no pun) to bring VR to the masses, since it reduces cybersickness.
This may work for the next few months but you are going to face really tough competition when pucks come out, not to mention other VR components.
To monetize it, I use Amazon affiliate links. When Uncover tells you about new books, it presents links to buy those books on Amazon, for which I earn a commission.
So far, it has not been a huge moneymaker; I have made exactly $2.10 USD.
Still, if it can make ~$10 a month, it covers its cost, which is good enough for me.
Also while being fully employed as an engineer, I would take side projects, contracts etc that I would work on during the evenings and weekends. Eventually that became my full time job. I now run a small consultancy.
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Getting projects from personal connections is pretty easy ( eg websites, shops, ... ), got some money on a webapp ( not much though) and hosting off course.
I'm working on a second SaaS product at the moment.
The current pricing is about $10 per-seat/month. I experimented with a few pricing points, it's not optimal by any standards but it works so I left it alone. I wanted to make it as accessible as possible.
The product has been running since last November (2016). It was profitable within the first week and has been growing ever since.
I did no paid ads and no content marketing or anything like that. I basically cold emailed people I thought would be interested in it. It grew organically from there. Now there's a lot of blogs and people at conferences talking about it and I get traffic from all over.
As for how much maintenance/time I spend on it?
At this point I spend between 0-60 minutes a week on technical/code maintenance.
I spend 0-20 minutes a day (in the morning) on answering support/feedback questions and cold emailing potential customers.
It's not something I have to do every day, but it works well for me.
I tried their products out and decided I could do better myself.
I gave myself a fixed amount of time to get an MVP out in the wild.
In my opinion, you'll never "justify" the time. The only thing you can do is make your best guess, look at the evidence and just give it a shot.
If you're worried about time, sand box it. If you can't make it work, re-evaluate the project (move on or keep trying).