Written by Brian Cray on May 1st, 2009
Single–purpose websites and web apps are growing in popularity. Heck, even I've built a few (see Nearby Tweets and PXtoEM.com). Here are some compelling reasons you should be working on your first single–purpose website/app.
1. Easier for people to explain and therefore share
People don't want to take the time or energy to explain a complicated service to their friends. Easy services on the other hand are summed up in 5 seconds, and people don't mind taking 5 seconds to share something cool. With Nearby Tweets and PXtoEM.com, the purpose is summed up in the domain alone. Now that's easy to share!
2. Save time
Big websites and apps take a lot of time. Chances are someone else out there is developing the same thing and may have a head start and/or more people. Single–purpose websites have a quick turn–around time and—because of the reasons listed here—may have a great impact for you and others.
3. Don't try to be everything to everyone
I can't say this enough, and I don't think anyone else can either. Too many people are just adding features to add value to their products. Features and value aren't synonymous. Instead, focus on the primary use of your product and do it better than anyone else. Why do you think Google only has search on their homepage?
4. Grow your portfolio
To some extent your portfolio is a numbers game. 5 popular websites looks better than 1, no matter the size of each. This will help you whether you're looking for a job, looking for clients, or looking for some capital.
Single–purpse websites are fun to make. I've had a blast creating PXtoEM.com and Nearby Tweets because I wasn't overwhelmed by a bunch of to-dos and tedious complexities. I was able to get wrapped up in the experience of creating valuable tools and helping people live better or do their jobs easier.
6. Try new directions, push boundaries
If you spend months focused on a massively complex website, your productivity may stall as you think about your next "new" project. Furthermore I know you have a ton of ideas built up in your head. Don't waste them all on one website, try new directions and possibilities with each project!
7. Get more links
Single purpose websites if done well get a ton of links and bookmarks. Take it from me. PXtoEM.com couldn't be any simpler and it has about 2,000 delicious bookmarks. Nearby Tweets has about 1,000. Yet both only do 1 thing, but they do it better than others. All those links eventually funnel to you, the creator.
8. Spread your worth and reputation
Each of your niche single–purpose websites/apps can serve a slightly different community, yet in each of these communities you will get recognition and grow your reputation. Thus, instead of a reputation in one community, you could have a reputation in 5 niche communities in just about the same amount of work.
9. More chance of creating the next big thing
The saying "don't put all your eggs in one basket" works here. Just because you're putting a ton of work into something doesn't mean it will actually "click" and become popular. Developing more smaller single–purpose websites increases your chances of building the next big thing. And just because it's single–purpose doesn't mean it won't be the next big thing.
Think Twitter. Think Twitter and Facebook. Twitter = Simple. Facebook = Complex. Twitter = Facebook Killer. 'Nuff said.