Practical ideas for making money with software

Not everyone who knows how to code software gets rich quick, if at all. But additional money can be generated from software coding as passive income from side projects or independent distribution of mobile apps, etc.

Software coders typically work for business entities developing in-house applications. Some coders outsource software creation projects as independent software developers. Like freelance writers, however, not all software coders work for large software development operations. Many coders, especially those who write open source software, are unable to demand top-notch payment for their coding skills.

Of course, talented freelance coders can focus on writing the next big killer app. In such cases, the creator of the software may directly sell the product. But just like freelancers in any industry or business, selling your product with enough volume to get rich quick is a dream that often falls flat.

Instead of deploying commercial, paid products and hoping for big profits, software coders can produce projects as free or open-source software while earning money. Even if they have another job, coders can develop and make money on their own projects without going commercial. Monetary rewards may trickle out rather than flood their bank accounts. But earning extra income as a software code writer is definitely a better outcome than doing it as a hobby.

Coders are in high demand right now. The key is knowing how to monetize your software creations. You can do this even if you distribute your code for free.

You can offer your services to create a stable cash flow, regardless of the amount of your full-time job. Branching out as a freelance coder can also provide the freedom of opportunity to shape your own career path.

Software monetization strategies

An effective way to start making money on software is to start a micro-SaaS offering by starting a software-as-a-service business, alone or with a small team of coders. Tyler Tringas explains everything you need to know about this specialized slice of entrepreneurship in his e-book “Bootstrapping a Profitable SaaS Business”.

For example, you can create an iOS or Android app. With a product in hand that you built yourself, you can access Google Play and the Apple App Store. These are two of the largest app markets with 2.7 million and 1.8 million apps available respectively.

According to Sensor Tower, global app revenue grew 32% year-over-year in Q3 2020 to over $29 billion. Global app spending approached $65 billion in the first half of 2021. This was up more than 24% year-over-year.

A second approach is to monetize one or more open source projects you create. Developers earn money from successful open source projects. Of course, you may need to double down on marketing to spread awareness of the software’s existence.

Monetizing your software doesn’t have to be too complicated. Use similar approaches for content producers who post their videos on their own YouTube channels. YouTubers generate revenue through referrals and high channel views for their tutorials and other themed videos that they upload to the platform.

Another great way to generate income is to put donate buttons on your website. It’s a strategy that a growing number of Linux distribution developers are using. Clever, low-key methods like a “Buy me a coffee” button allow people to support you through donations or tips. Another option is GitHub Sponsors. GitHub provides several sponsorship levels that define monthly payment amounts and benefits.

Also consider what is traditionally called a freemium pricing model for your software. Offer a basic free version of your coding project. Then give satisfied users the option to purchase a pro version with more and better features. This approach can cover markets ranging from useful personal applications, which run on computers, to mobile applications and productivity applications for SMB and enterprise users.

Why not adapt a monetization tool used successfully by bloggers and newsletter writers: paid advertising? Earn money by offering ads on your project site. The more consistent your finger traffic is on your software project site, the more money you can charge advertisers. Do some Internet research to compile a list of advertising agencies to contact. These agencies can do all the work for you.

Wonders of the World Wide Web

Take advantage of the growing popularity of web browser extensions. You undoubtedly have pet peeves about using web browsers that could be “fixed” with a browser extension. So write the code for that new convenience or productivity tool that makes the browser more efficient.

Extensions are small software programs written in HTML, CSS or JavaScript that personalize the browsing experience. They enable browser functionality and behavior tailored to individual needs or preferences.

You can monetize browser extensions using the same three options applied to SaaS monetization. Charges users a one-time fee to access your application. Or charge a subscription that collects a recurring fee from users, either monthly or annually. Perhaps the smoothest approach is to rely on in-app user payments after you install your extension for free, then pay for additional features while in use.

A related strategy is to think beyond the web application. Computer users are hopping on the web to access their favorite services or digital stores. Instead of building browser extensions, focus on developing shopping or e-commerce related apps for digital marketplaces like Shopify.

Yes, create a Shopify app, a standalone web app that adds more functionality to an online store using Shopify APIs. To find out what issues Shopify merchants need to address, check out the Facebook groups and forums where merchants hang out.

When your app is ready, sell it through the Shopify App Store. It is configured with an integrated billing API. This makes your monetization convenient and reliable.

Another way to make money from your coding skills is to tap into the needs of Amazon’s cloud-based universe of Alexa smart speakers. Alexa skill submission focuses on performing voice commands. You won’t need to code user interfaces and visual designs.

Instead, focus only on Amazon’s Alexa developer tools and APIs. Or create SDKs for Node.js, Python and Java. Amazon even provides tutorials as a starting point.

Amazon makes it easy to monetize your coding skills. You can use in-app purchases as shown above. Only here the process is referred to as skill buying. You offer paid features to existing users who interact with your skill. A better bet is to participate in the Alexa Developer Rewards program. See full details here.

Online Advertising

The online advertising method generates revenue by linking paid advertisements to clicks on keywords within your software content. You highlight certain words related to an advertisement that a company is paying you to display. When a user hovers over words – for example in About page comments, app direction pages, etc. – all in the content of your software, a box appears with advertisements related to this word.

Another approach is to place paid advertisements on the main screen of your program or display them when the application user moves between screens. Or you can modify this approach by placing ads elsewhere in your app.

For example, make the ad appear while your program is loading or before it launches. You can even place a banner ad in the app interface.

walk slowly

Be careful not to overuse the use of announcements or overt calls for donations. Ads appearing randomly on device screens can be the kiss of death. Potential users of your software may have little patience with abusive ad placement. Especially when done excessively in a game or other software, users can be unforgiving.

Their surefire remedy for this type of advertising in software is to uninstall it. Yet when ads and donation nudges are minimally orchestrated, this kind of monetization is a popular approach in mobile apps and desktop software.

Provide your users with a reliable and useful mobile app, browser extension or website plugin. If you don’t overdo the included financial arguments, most users won’t want to give up on creating your software. As additional monetization, offer them a one-time upgrade to an ad-free version.