You can create an amazing product that people will love and even pay for with just HTML and CSS.
This is my mission. My name is Lucian, I'm a frontend developer and would like to prove just that by doing it myself.
Currently I am halfway through the journey and I have to admit I never worked on any project supported with such enthusiasm by so many developers and makers.
This is also partly due to the fact that I am transparent with my reasoning, actions and results by sharing them on my Twitter account.
In complete honesty one of the benefits of working in public is that you can't stray away from the parameters you've set upfront.
Until now I had the heroic but flawed newbie bootstrapper mentality of throwing all existing resources at the project without time constraints.
I am testing with this project my new approach of only working with clear deadline, objectives and evaluation, on well delimited time spans.
Definitely sounds less adventurous but necessary when you've burned through almost all your savings.
- Build a paid product based on 10 high quality HTML templates
- Make 3 valuable tweets per day about the process
- Launch on Twitter on Oct 21st
30 days (halfway while writing this)
$1000 in sales for the launch week. Notice how money are not the objective. Instead I use them as an evaluation threshold
In terms of product development I have completed 5 templates from the 10 but also still need to make the website that will present them to online public.
My tools are VS Code, Photoshop, Illustrator and the tech stack is HTML, CSS, some light Bootstrap 5 and a sprinkle of JS. Gumroad will provide payment service and product delivery.
I'm quite comfortable with these since they've been my bread and butter for 6 years. The difficult part which made me burn through savings is the next one.
Marketing... something that most devs love to hate. Probably right up there with choosing color schemes and writing documentation.
My marketing strategy until I started the current project was "build such a good product that everyone will run to use and talk about on their socials and blogs".
In short I was sure that peers would do the marketing for me if I just crafted the best product in my HTML templates niche.
Obviously it didn't work out like that and I had a decline in sales of about 70% in the course of roughly 6 months.
The worst marketing decisions were:
- Investing in SEO for ultra popular keywords "HTML templates" in my case
- Trying to switch to a cooler sounding domain name for about a month
- Then switching back to the initial one (it just gets better and better doesn't it?)
- Trying to scale production with paid collaborators (Sales are stalling! Oh just make more product and they will come...)
So I decided to launch that project as a free resource for devs and makers and start a new paid one to support my work with a completely different approach.
For the current project I've eliminated SEO completely because there is not much you can do to have results in one month.
All efforts go into Twitter to grow my audience and for that I've created this "Build a product and launch in 30 days with just HTML and CSS" series to document my journey transparently.
Peers that think about doing something similar are inspired by the tweets and grow confidence to start their own journey.
Some of the highlights in terms of marketing for this first half are:
- Built a Carrd website for the project launchin30HTML.carrd.co which gathered >500 visitors in about 10 days. Here I collect all my tweets related to the project so visitors can see them clearly and draw inspiration if they want to.
- The Carrd site has also collected 25 email addresses from people wanting to be notified about the launch via email. But I'm not sure if I will use them because I am kind of sensitive about handling people's email addresses. Anyway as information is quite valuable if you plan to take a similar journey. 25 emails for $0 with no promo whatsoever in 10 days is a promising number. I just placed the Carrd website in my Twitter profile
- I also published an article describing my intentions at project start on Dev.to, Hashnode and IndieHackers. It was very well received on the first two and brought in a lot of positive feedback and quite a few followers. Hashnode even helped me out by tweeting the challenge on their Twitter account. They really made my day brighter
- Twitter was the biggest revelation by far. My followers count reached 4000 and brought in amazing feedback and support. I am genuinely grateful for each and everyone that follows me there. I make extra efforts to provide real value in my tweets.
Some of the things that I plan to do in the remaining half part until the launch are:
- Creating the remaining 5 HTML templates
- Build the presentation site and upload it online
- Choose hosting and connect domain
- Try to understand Reddit and Discord better and use them wisely to raise awareness on the project
The launch is set for Oct 21st and I will publish the sales results transparently in the corresponding launch week.
If you want to see how I do all of the above and use them as inspiration for your project, you can follow me on Twitter @luciantartea where I document this journey.
If you're not on Twitter or you simply want to share the project on other socials please use launchin30HTML.carrd.co
Would love to have you by my side for this challenge and I'm eager to answer any questions in the comments or on Twitter DM.