How to sell PHP Scripts Online
Once you've created your first PHP script and want to make some money from it, where are some good places that you can sell it online? PHP Scripts in general can be found all over the internet and they are a very crowded niche due to the amount of programmers who can code in PHP. But that shouldn't deter you from trying to sell and market your own PHP scripts- I've managed to sell over $100,000 worth of PHP scripts to customers (and still do to this day!) so it's definitely something you can still make money from. So how can you sell your own PHP scripts online and make decent money from it? Let's take a look at the potential ways to sell them.
Making Sure Your PHP Script Is Ready
The first thing before you even consider selling your PHP script is to make sure it's ready. And by ready, that means it needs to contain no bugs, it needs to fast and reliable on a multitude of different systems, it needs to work on most modern browsers and (if possible) be responsive to mobile devices. You need to make sure what you state your program can do, actually can do it well. You also need to make sure the code is of a high-standard. Since learning PHP can be done easily online, many do not take professional courses/classes to learn to make their code air-tight and secure, which is why if this is the first program you're selling, to give out sample copies to other programmers who might be able to help you with some issues.
Some things you should build to support your PHP script are:
- Documentation - having great documentation means any customer who buys your script will know how to use it. The more indepth it is, the less support you will need to give your customers because they can just find the answers themselves. Good documentation also allows you to point lost customers in the right direction and they can get a feel for how to use your script before buying it.
- Demo - have a demo setup showcasing the product. You should probably create some kind of "reset script" that runs every hour to reset the product data back to normal because potential customers like to play around with it. Having lots of odd data can put off customers so having a nice reset switch will help you keep the product in good condition
- Graphics - some graphics to support and showcase your product can help sell it. These are great for if you're listing them in online marketplaces or other sites that require images of your product. It can also help draw in customers who see a nice clean UI or a graphic that captures their attention.
- A Support System - I generally handle all my support requests via email. But some people like to use a support system which allow clients to open tickets with their issues. Depending on your volume of support requests, a ticket sytem might be a bit over the top.
Once you have these things setup to some degree, you then want to find places to sell your script right? There are a couple of options and all have their own benefits and disadvantages. Let's take a look.
Sites to sell your PHP scripts on
Envato has been my home for selling scripts for the last 6 or so years. I've amassed over $100,000 in sales for my products and it has been a great platform to sell on. In recent years, sales have declined a little but the best scripts are still raking in thousands and thousands of dollars. Envato has many different sites that you can sell on, but for code you want to look at CodeCanyon and ThemeForest. To sell your scripts on Envato, you need to become an Author (this is free) and sign up. Once you have signed up, all products you upload to the marketplace are reviewed by their team. If your script is deemed good enough, it will be listed for sale on their marketplace, being advertised to thousands of viewers.
On Envato, you can set your own prices. You can sell your script for $100 or $5, depending on how much you think you can earn. The marketplace that Envato has developed allows customers to ask questions in the form of comments, rate items and leave other feedback in the form of reviews. If you're using Envato as your choice of platform, being professional will help you go a long way in terms of earning more. You can even find potential freelancing jobs from doing this (I often have clients contact me over adding a feature to a product which they would be happy to pay for).
Envato does take a cut of any profits you earn. They have a flat "buyer's fee" and then they take between 50-30% of your final sale price. If you're an exclusive author to Envato, you can reach up to earning 70% of your final sale price of products. Being an exclusive author means you can't sell your products elsewhere, even on your own website, which can be a bit limiting if you feel Envato doesn't bring you many sales. You'll have to make this decision yourself.
The competition on Envato is very high. If you do make a standout script, you'll be sure to find others copy you in a few months and release their own version. The key to success is always updating your products and making sure they're better than everyone else. This is a lot of work. A lot of people think Envato is passive-income- but if you don't put in the work that passive-income will drop and drop.
Your Own Site
One strategy for selling your own products is to sell them on your own site. There are many potential hurdles with this option but there are some really good benefits for doing this too.
The first hurdle is traffic. Getting traffic to your site is tough- either you need to get organic traffic from Google by being a SEO wizard or you need to pay for advertising. Using SEO is a long process and means a lot of work you need to put into your site- if you're doing it all yourself it will take hundreds and hundreds of hours to try to get your site to rank. Not to mention that Google might not rank your site for 6 months if your site is very new.
Paying for advertising is one sure-fire way to get traffic. You can sign up to Google Adwords and start a campaign today to advertise your product. Your ads will then be shown on websites and google all across the internet, driving traffic to your own site where hopefully you've setup an automatic selling process for your products (more on that later). Obviously, this costs money. The cost of getting traffic to your site needs to be less than the amount of money you make from selling products to that traffic. For example:
If you buy $500 worth of traffic from Google. You then need to sell $500+ in product sales to clients in order for it to have been worth it. A lot of this is tinkering with adwords and making sure you're targeting the right audience. You can also use Facebook Ads and other platforms to advertise your products. But you need to make sure you're selling, otherwise you'll be losing money.
The advantages of having your own site means you're not at the mercy of a third-party. You don't have to pay any fees to them, you don't have to be subjected to their search results or other advertising nasties these sites can do (they often advertise other products alongside your own). It means you can control how your item is presented to the user, the check-out process and the terms of sale. You can build your own platform to support selling of products.
Which means you also need to have your own way of selling products. You'll have to either create your own setup which handles the payment and downloading of scripts, or use a third-party which can do this for you. Your own site is less likely to be trusted versus a huge third-party but hopefully the amount of sales you get outweighs this caveat.
Creating your own mailing list is another way to advertise and sell your scripts. If you've ever done PHP freelancing work before, you can ask if these clients would be interested in joining your mailing list for updates on new products. Then when you have a new script ready for sale, you can send out an email to your list and hopefully that will convert to sales. Obviously you have to be careful with how many emails you send out- you don't want to spamming your mailing list as they will just block you or unsubscribe.
Finding ways to build your mailing list can be difficult. You can obviously use your own website to encourage users to join your mailing list, but you could also offer a free incentive for joining (some free code/script perhaps?). You can even often use a Mailing List alongside your own site store too.
There are many communities online that are dedicated to other niches or even broad topics that also have their own mini-marketplaces. They usually have some forum areas where they allow people to advertise the sale of their own scripts and people interested in that community will buy them from there. These places are great if your product belongs to a certain niche, such as building your own game. An example is the HTML5Dev forums. Whilst they don't sell PHP scripts, they do allow people to sell their HTML 5 games and services. If you can find communities that relate to selling PHP scripts, you have found a good niche to get involved in.
There are some other marketplaces you can sell your scripts on too. These are similar to Envato's marketplace but are generally not as big.
- https://www.codester.com/ - Pretty much an Envato clone
- https://www.gamedevmarket.net/ - This marketplace is dedicated to everything games.
- https://codeclerks.com/ - A simple marketplace for selling code
- https://codsem.com/ - Another marketplace similar to Envato
Suggestions for Selling PHP Scripts Online
If you guys have any suggestions for selling your own scripts online, let me know in the comments. I may have missed some pretty obvious ones, but I feel the most optimal choices are Marketplaces and Your Own Site setup. I very rarely sell scripts by emailing or telling friends about them, especially PHP scripts. You may find success in other niches, such as finding a forum dedicated to web hosting and selling scripts that relate to web hosting there.