Things I've Learned Creating My First Web App 🖥

Traffic is easy. Business? Not so easy.

Final iteration of designtarget.

Around a year ago I’ve created a web application called designtarget — its purpose was simple, a curated list of design resources that help people improve their workflow. Over the past year, I have gone through dozens of design reiterations, trying to find the best possible way to monetize the platform. Let’s dive right into what I have learnt.

Traffic is easy. Business is hard.

My first attempt at designtarget, I thought: I’m just creating this to validate an idea that I would like to bring to market to help newcomers, even more intermediate designers. It’s after I have gotten an immense amount of support from various communities such as Reddit, IndieHackers, ProductHunt, etc… that I started thinking that I am onto something. Over 10k+ page views in less than a day.

Keep in mind that I am a Product Designer, not a Web Developer — so it was hard for me to implement features that I thought could benefit the website and so began the endless amount of problems I had trying to monetize the platform. Affiliate links were the only no-code option that I had that could make me money, but that required tons of website traffic and people who were willing to read the articles that I would start posting.

Over the next few months I posted articles, albeit constantly, these articles began ranking in Google and eventually got me a steady amount of traffic without needing to advertise or shamelessly plug my side project on Reddit and whatnot.

Still, despite having a good amount of traffic, there were little to no link clicks, were my articles terrible? Was there even any interest in anything but the resources that I had posted on designtarget? I still don’t know till this day.

Sticking to One Design

When you finalize a design, you always look back at it and think: I could have done this better. That’s how I spent at least 2–3 weeks of my time, continuously re-designing the website to better accommodate the new business model (affiliate links). With the final design, I still get this feeling sometimes. That I still need to work on it.

Final Thoughts

Do it. If you have an idea that you would like to bring to life, do it. The rush of always improving your design, figuring out your next move, communicating with your audience is worth it. Nowadays designtarget is being sold off due to not having enough time to work on it. You can visit designtarget.org if you would like to view the project before it’s sold off.

I’d love to hear your feedback on the newsletter so far, please leave a comment letting me know if you found this article or any of the previous ones helpful. Thank you!

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