If you ever intend to develop a web application, I believe you have already had the idea what and how the application is. If this is not the case, I do not think meditations at home will help you to get amazing ideas. A web application will be constructive and productive only if they are innovative or tailor-made to demands. I prefer looking around to feel the trend and sense people’s need. There is also plenty of information at the internet. Digg, StumbleUpon and Delicious is such a web site of revealing the trend of needs that I shall not miss.
Inspiration and Design
When the type of application you decided to develop has been finalized, the user interface and the homepage, i.e. the very first thing that users perceive, is the determinant factor whether your application will be successful or not. A good design of the homepage/user interface may attract and so retains users while a bad one shall repulse users forever. Inspiration may flash through your mind. Yet, a look at the high standard CSS Galleries, e.g. CSS Remix and CSS Mania will certainly provides you with much inspiration. You can also enjoy top quality web applications sites like Webware and SEOmoz’s Web 2.0 Awards and see how an intuitive, elegant and yet powerful web applications may be.
Choosing a Framework
Now that the design and features of your web application are ready, you then choose the best or your most familiar programming language to begin with. No matter what programming language you are going to use, I strongly suggest choose one with “framework”. Framework is very important for developing web applications, because a good framework can simplify the complexity of web applicationsunified concepts and structure for you and your team mates significantly. Web applications consist of a lot of objects and components, each of them are linked and interacted with each other. A framework provides to follow up the codes easily. By using framework, you can also extend or even change your web application without messing up other codes/modules unintentionally. Flexible and lightweight are the most import factors of choosing a right framework for your web application. Prototype, MooTools and jQuery are the ones that I recommend.
A web application always consists of components. People tend to develop each and every component in their web application. Yet, even a genius is not the world champion of everything. So, why not use some of the best open-source components out there which other people have spent 1 to 2 years to build and have already survived for quite a while? Gathering the best components may be easy, blending them into your own web application which makes users unnoticeable is no easy task. Surely, it will not be comfortable if your web application is conceived as a “Frankenstein” which is made up by bits and pieces. Therefore, you have to understand the component fully and customized it accordingly to match the theme of your web application even when you are using open-source resources.
WOW! You have finished your grand and fantastic project. Yet, do not rush your application to official launch. I strongly recommend a Beta launch even if you have full confidence with your web application. A perfect web application is usually not made in one go, you need to gather feedback from users to make it perfect. Users usually expect less and tolerate more on Beta version of any software. a Beta launch also serves to generate an image of open-minded, user oriented and ready to accept feedbacks from users who are undoubtedly your source of income. Additionally, it gives you more time to develop extra features at the official launch to arouse more excitements. Apart from that, you are getting two separate posts from websites, which means you are getting double backlinks.
I strongly recommend launching a web application for free at the beginning for a short period of time. People do not refuse and usually fond of freebies. It will attract bloggers and established sites to talk about your web application. You will be amazed how many backlinks you can get from that. If you decided to charge your users, I strongly recommend running your own affiliate program which other webmasters can earn commission by promoting your web application. Some bloggers are tempted to make money online, they might try almost any opportunities to get extra money. Even if you cannot gain profit from the affiliate program, you would have gained lots of links and exposure. The links will get Google loves you more and eventually gives you higher pagerank.
Timing of Official Launch
We all know that Tuesday is the best day of the internet. Most people are surfing on the internet on Tuesday; that’s why you always get higher number of RSS readers on Tuesday. We should submit our web application to most of the top sites in one single day – Tuesday. However, we should submit our web application to CSS Gallery on the weekends before the official launch, because they usually take 2 – 3 days to publish your site to their galleries. Do not underestimate the power of CSS Galleries; they can bring you a few thousands of people in a single day easily. If all people are visiting your site in one single day, you have got more votes on Digg and more bookmarks on Delicious on the same day. Then there is higher probability to get on their frontpage that will give you another few thousands visitors extra.
What a waste if your server was down because of bandwidth overloading. So, please make sure your server can take large amount of traffic in one go. I recommend using Dreamhost for Shared Hosting and Media Temple for Virtual Dedicated Server which offers nearly unlimited bandwidth. And also, you should place the social bookmark and Digg it buttons at the obvious place, so that more people can give it a push if they like your web application.