Developers are in the best position to repurpose their experience into products. Knowledge can be packaged in multiple formats and easily offered to masses of users via tools like Gumroad. The purpose? Make users life easier and in return generate revenue. Although I am big fan of free resource and crated some myself, at the end of the day money pays the bills.
HTML templates are one of the digital product types you can build for developers and makers. They aren’t difficult to create and don’t need more than HTML, CSS and design skills. Some benefits of template making are: passive income, freelancing gigs, better job opportunities. The beauty of passive income is that sales happen without your active involvement.
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They can happen while you sleep, when relaxing on holiday and even while working your day job. That’s right you can do this as a side hustle to round off your income and to learn new skills in your spare time. Personally I’ve chosen to make templates full time which provided a decent living for around 5 years now. No commute, no boss, no alarm clock, just freedom.
To me freedom is no 1 priority and I work hard for it every day. Just a personal option, not something that applies to everyone. Some folks don’t know what to do with freedom. If you’re keen on starting to build products even with just basic skills (mastered well) I have assembled the following HTML Template Maker Roadmap which will guide you through this journey.
It’s all from real personal experience because as you can imagine there are no online sources of inspiration for this. The roadmap is split in 4 stages which cover beginner and intermediate levels. My experience doesn’t go beyond HTML, CSS, Bootstrap. But you can take it further with UI Kits, React, Vue, Next and such. Advanced JS templates can be priced much higher.
1. Learn skills
Making HTML templates is definitely not rocket science. You can make templates even as you learn and refine your skills. Of course as with everything the more you learn, the better your products will become.
- English skills. Learn written English language very well. Templates will look professional and it’s vital for audience growth
- HTML & CSS. There is no way around this. Great HTML & CSS skills are mandatory for creating HTML templates
- Frameworks. Bootstrap, Tailwind, choose one for the advanced components or go no framework if you build your own library
- Design software. I use Photoshop and Illustrator but you should check out Figma because it’s free and increasingly popular
- Twitter growth. There are ebooks and courses available for growing on social media. They can cut months of experimentation time
2. Grow audience
You can start growing your audience as soon as you start brushing up your HTML/CSS or design skills. Constantly post your intentions, what courses and tutorials you take, how you customized the results.
- Personal brand. Develop your personal brand and grow your online audience. This is as important as building the products, even more
- Use Twitter. It’s friendly and appropriate for devs but you can also look into Discord, Reddit and Facebook. See what works
- Profile sells. Create a professional looking appearance on your social media profiles because they actually sell your work
- Identity. Use a real photo, your real name and create a bio description that includes links to your templates shop
- Visibility. Engage dev, design, freelancing content creators with positive and constructive comments to make your profile visible
- Experiment. Test what content type works for you: tips, resources, motivational. Post around 3 tweets per day, every day !!!
- Blogging. Use blogging platforms like Dev.to to post informative articles and grow the audience even more
3. Make templates
My focus is on landing page style Bootstrap HTML templates and I can confirm it’s getting kind of crowded. I suggest you to research and find a future proof niche that has a little bit less competition.
- Find niche. It’s much easier to grow awareness and sell more if you niche down: UI kits, dashboards, ecommerce, Tailwind, React
- Study products. Study free and paid products in the niche you are targeting to see what features and components are mandatory
- Inspiration. Get design and layout inspiration from popular sources: Dribbble, OnePageLove, Landingfolio, Awwwards – Nominees section
- Tutorials. You can search “Build a landing page HTML CSS” on YouTube, take the tutorial and build your own vision immediately after
- Inspo. Taking inspiration doesn’t mean copying. Always customize heavily and put what you see through your own vision
- It’s close to impossible to rebuild an online reputation if you are labeled as “copycat”. You’ll have to go farming or something
4. Sell templates
Selling HTML templates has 2 approaches. First by using Gumroad for payments together with your own presentation website. Second is with template marketplaces. You can use both of them at the same time.
- Gumroad start. Use it to setup your first products because it allows you to offer them for free or in paid format
- Own website. Create your own website to present the templates and offer Live Previews for them. Link Buy buttons to Gumroad
- Free items. Continue to constantly grow your audience by offering free basic items which promote your premium ones
- Creative Market. Publish the same templates on CM. It’s very easy to get on as soon as you have a basic templates site to show as portfolio
- ThemeForest. Feeling up for the challenge of your dev life? Try getting on TF. It will reward you with 10x Creative Market sales
- Don’t bother with exclusivity on any marketplace, it’s not worth it. You are better off publishing the same everywhere
- Marketplaces commissions are 50% on Creative Market and 55% on ThemeForest. Gumroad takes only 9% of your sales
Hope this roadmap will help you get started with template making easier and push you closer to your objectives on the web developer journey. It’s a great way to learn by building and actually generate revenue too. I created an ebook based on my template making experience. Use the link to check out details and reader reviews for How To Create And Sell HTML Templates