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Dom | Five.Co
Dom | Five.Co

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How to Sell Excel Templates Online

Stop Selling Spreadsheets. Start Selling Web Apps.

Are you in the business of selling Excel templates online?

Checklists, budget planners, habit trackers, to-do lists, financial planners, credit rating tools and weight loss trackers. The Internet is full of Excel spreadsheets that are sold on platforms such as Etsy or Sellfy.

If you are an Excel whizz and would like to sell your Excel template online, keep reading this guide.

In it, we will present you with two options to make money selling your Excel template online: the traditional way using marketplaces such as Etsy, and the new, more professional way by converting your Excel template into a full-fledged web app.

Option 1: Selling Excel Templates on EtsyOption 2: Sell Web Apps, Not Spreadsheet Templates

Option 1: Selling Excel Templates on Etsy

Etsy is an online marketplace that is primarily used to sell artworks, collectibles, gifts or other creative items. Though Excel templates were probably never Etsy's focus, the platform nowadays also boasts a thriving (and highly competitive) marketplace for Excel templates.

A search on Etsy for "Excel Template" has more than 1,000 results and contains common Excel templates, such as to-do lists, planners, bookkeeping sheets, budget and fitness trackers, ranging from as little as US$5 to US$100+ per template.

How To Sell Excel Templates on Etsy

Selling Excel templates on Etsy is easy. Set up a free seller's account, list your template, and watch the money rolling in. Unfortunately, it's not that easy. Here are the pros and cons of selling Excel spreadsheet templates on Etsy:

Pros Cons
Easy and quick to get started Crowded and very competitive
No fixed fees Fees once you start selling are high
Well-known marketplace for arts & crafts Hard to build a brand

Etsy is a highly competitive marketplace, and most of Etsy's website visitors are looking for creative arts and crafts products, rather than spreadsheets. So one major drawback of using Etsy to sell Excel templates online is that its main audience may not be the audience you are after.

Moreover, it is hard to differentiate your spreadsheet template from the existing templates on the platform. There's little you can do to make your spreadsheet stand out, as every product page has the same customization options. Even if you have created the budgeting spreadsheet the world has been waiting for, getting it to the top of Etsy's results page will take time. Specialist spreadsheet shops such as SheetCrafters, Excelanss, or DigitalPlannersbyAR already offer a wide variety of highly-reviewed spreadsheet templates.

Last, selling on Etsy makes it hard to have meaningful interactions with your customers. Your customer is more likely to remember that they have purchased an Excel template from Etsy rather than purchasing from you.

Despite Etsy's drawbacks, let's keep in mind that the platform is simple and quick to set up. So if speed is your primary consideration, then getting started on Etsy is a valid choice.

Option 2: Sell Web Apps, Not Spreadsheet Templates

Now that we have explored Etsy as a marketplace for selling Excel templates online, let's look at an alternative path of making money off templates: selling web apps.

You might find the idea of selling a web app, rather than an Excel spreadsheet slightly intimidating. After all, writing an entire application is significantly more complex than creating a spreadsheet.

But new tools, such as low-code platform Five, make it incredibly easy to develop a database-driven web app. All it takes is a little bit of understanding of data structures and relational databases, and you are good to go!

Turn Excel Templates Into Web Apps
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Five is a low-code environment that comes with an integrated relational database, pre-built user authentication, forms, charts, and dashboards. It is ideally suited to turn Excel templates into full-fledged web apps. Follow this guide to convert your Excel into a web app.

What are the advantages of selling a web app rather than a spreadsheet?

Three Advantages Of Selling Web Apps Instead of Excel Spreadsheets

  1. Web apps are more professional and harder to copy.Excel spreadsheets can look very professional, but let's face it: it is still a spreadsheet. By offering a web app, the entire product experience is different. Users can access the app from anywhere and at any time, from mobile, desktop, or tablet. Users log in using unique credentials, and they can interact with the data in ways that a traditional Excel template doesn't let them do. Moreover, it is much harder to copy an entire web app, whereas a spreadsheet can easily be passed on or copied.
  2. Web apps come with sophisticated authentication, login, and user permission features.Unlike spreadsheets, web apps can easily be login-protected and assign different Create, Read, Update and Delete (CRUD) permissions to different users. For example, say you would like to sell two versions of a budget tracker: a "basic" version without analytics, and a "pro" version with analytics. In Excel, you'd have to maintain two different templates to set this up. In a web app, a "basic" and "pro" user role can be created. By assigning different permissions, each role only has access to those features that are included in their plan.
  3. A database-driven web app can handle big data and analytics.Web apps developed in Five run on an integrated MySQL database, which is designed to handle millions and millions of records. This is a big advantage over Excel, which is typically designed to handle smaller datasets. Moreover, with more data stored in the database, more sophisticated analytics can be performed on databases compared to spreadsheets. For example, web apps can include sophisticated dashboards, charts or other business intelligence features.

Lastly, promoting your web app to users doesn't require an external, third-party marketplace such as Etsy. Simply launch your website using Wix or WordPress, and link to your web app from there. In this way, you have full control over your SEO, how people discover you, and what their purchasing process looks like. And, of course, you also don't need to pay platform fees to Etsy every time your web app gets sold.

Getting Started with Five's Templates

If you're still now convinced that selling web apps is a more lucrative business than selling Excel templates, let me give you one more good reason to get started with Five: it's free!

Simple sign up and start building your application with Five, without paying a single cent. You only have to pay once you have developed something in Five that is worth selling and production-worthy. Starting from as little as US$29.99 per month you get a hosted web app with a custom URL, ready to be shared with your customers.

Five is available as a free download on our website. We also offer a wide range of app templates to make it easier to get started.

So, what are you waiting for?

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