If you have been on the web for a while you would have more than likely run into the Envato suite of websites. Envato runs several tutorial and marketplace websites focused on helping website owners learn and buy the resources they need to build their sites. I have been using the Envato suite of marketplace sites myself for a while now. Normally I use ThemeForest.com for designs for my sites (i am not a good designer) but I also uses some of the other marketplaces as well. One of the marketplaces I like to browse a lot if the coding marketplace, CodeCanyon.net. I have been intrigued to find out how well CodeCanyon would work for me if I was to sell one of my scripts on the site.
I have been writing, selling and giving away scripts for a long tim now and one of the hardest parts in this process is finding an audience for your scripts. You can write the best code in the world but unless someone knows about it and where to find it, you are putting in all the hard work for nothing. This is where the appeal of CodeCanyon comes in. They do all the hard work of finding the audience for you, marketing your script and handling all the payment and delivery. All you have to do is create something people want to buy. The payouts from Envato are pretty good as well. The payments are tiered based on the volume you sell and details can be found here.
Day 1 – Signing uo to sell
Envato offers a learn on-page SEO with several different marketplaces for all aspects of web development (coding, design, stock photos, videos, sounds, audio, tutorials etc) but to be able to sell anything in any of them you first need to have an account and have passed their authors test. The test is there to make sure you have read all the instructions around what you can and can’t sell and you know the rules. The test itself is easy and reading the required information prior to taking the test takes less than 30 minutes. Most of it is common sense but it is a must read none the less. Instructions on how to sign up including links to the required reading and test can be found here.
A quick read and an even quicker test and I passed and my account was immediately upgraded to author. I now have access to another control panel that allows me to upload my items to sell.
Day 2 – Cleaning up an old script
Rather than create a whole new script from scratch I decided to clean up and reuse one of my older scripts. I did this purely for time purposes. This project is a test and I didn’t want to invest too much time if it didn’t work out.
I decided to take my old ‘Of The Day’ script and turn it into a ‘Quote of the Day’ script. The script is very simple but works as a nice standalone site or as an addition to an existing site. The first thing I had to do was give it a quick overhaul to make sure the code was clean and neaten up any areas that needed it. During my quick overhaul I decided that it was time to rip out the old database access functions and replace it with the newer PHP PDO functions. The old ones were being depreciated in the main PHP code and PDO’s are the way forward. For this project this wasn’t too much work as the database interaction was very light in this script.
Day 2 to 3 – Refactoring to PDO’s
While I know about PDO’s having played around with them a lot in the past a quick crash course was in order to refresh my memory. Lucky one of Envato’s other sites, NetTuts, had a good tutorial available which served as a good step by step guide. You can find the tutorial here.
A couple of hours of heads down coding and the database functions were rewritten and working with the new PDO functions.
Day 4 – Writing documentation
As developer will tell you, one of the things they hate doing most is creating documentation. I am no different but I understand it’ is very necessary. Envato also believes strongly in good documentation. They want the purchaser of your product to be able to use it and not get frustrated with the purchase. In order to make it easier for people to develop this documentation they provide a template that can be reused to create your documentation. The template does a good job of highlighting the areas you should be focused on when writing your document.
My advice is not to short cut the documentation process. The better your documentation is, the more likely the end purchaser is going to be happy with their purchase which in turn will result in your getting higher ratings and lead to more sales.
I spent a good couple of hours writing the documentation and then ran through the steps I had written myself just to make sure I hadn’t missed anything out. If you have someone else available to you, its a good idea to have someone else also read through and test your documentation to see if they can follow it. Often a third party will catch something you have missed.
Day 5 – Submitting to Code Canyon
One of the things that can’t be underestimated during the submission process is prepping your package for submission. It’s important to focus on making your script as desirable as possible so that people will want to buy it. This includes making a good description, having good documentation, putting up a demo site for people to play around with and most importantly creating some attractive images that are used on the Envato site. Pulling together these items can take a few hours and shouldn’t be rushed. If you aren’t good at creating sales graphics I would recommend finding someone that is as these are the first things people see when browsing scripts on the site and create the first impression. Envato also provides a good guide on how to prep your content in order to maximize your sales.
Once you have everything together submitting the site is pretty straight forward, just go to the submission page, enter the information where required and you are good to go. Now all you have to do is wait for the response. In your author panel you will also see a progress bar that shows you how far along your item is in the submission process. I like this feature, its reassuring to know that my submission isn’t just sitting in a queue somewhere and that it’s actually being looked at.
Day 7 – Rejection
I was pleasantly surprises to receive a response to my submission within 2 days even though I submitted on a weekend. Unfortunately the response was not what I was hoping for. My script had been rejected for being too basic. I’m actually not too surprised as the script is pretty basic and it does speak well of Envato, they are clearly focusing on only accepting the best quality items for their marketplace.
I’m sure at some point in the future I will try submitting another script, something bigger and in the mean time I fully intend to keep using the site for my purchasing needs.
The up side to everyone reading this is that you can all have a copy of the script for free. Just head over to the Scripts section of this site and you can download it for free.
[Link to scripts section]