Learning When To Scrap Your App
Right around a year ago I bought the domain for Codesnipp.it. At the time, it was just me and my fiancé, Nikita, working on the site. When we launched, we already had a ton of beta sign ups and we believed our idea to be unique and something the dev community was sorely missing.
Fast forward to a year later. Codesnipp.it was sitting stale, with two burnt out programmers (we had brought in a friend during the middle of the year) and then there was me with nothing to do. We had over 2,000 users but only a very small percentage were active. We barely got 40 visits a day.
This was a sad time for me. I thought for sure this site would kick off quick and be a go-to resource for developers, but it wasn’t. We weren’t making enough money to dedicate extra time to the project, and neither of the programmers wanted to continue working on the project. What was I supposed to do?
I was forced to decide whether to leave the site stale, shut it down, or redo the whole thing. Obviously it wasn’t working for our users.
I decided to scrap the current version for a new one. I tracked down one of my favorite designers, Josh Helmsley, and traded him dev time for his design skills. I partnered with one of Codesnipp.it’s best contributors, John Clarke, for programming. We’re back in business.
This time, we decided to go in with a plan. We’re working on design, usability and features. We’re working on features with value to entice premium sign ups. We’re working on something to be really proud of.
Our goal plan is to start rolling out updates while the design and UX are being worked on. We’ve already given every single user unlimited posts and we scrapped the unused invite system to allow free sign ups via Facebook or Twitter.
Knowing when to scrap your app and start over is a tough, but it’s an important thing to learn. There’s no point in supporting something no one wants to use, and it’s a disservice to your users to just leave it stale on the web.
Creating a popular app takes time and apps like dribbble, Facebook and Twitter didn’t become popular overnight, but once you’ve tried everything possible to get the app out there and it still hasn’t been accepted by the community, it’s time to move on and try something new.