So, you’ve already read how to create a content site the quick and dirty way. So, what do you do when you want a web site thats not embarrassing to own?
Whether you are an independent entrepreneur or billion dollar corporation this is the path to take — as I see it. This is based on my own experience and observing the success of others. The concepts are simple. In reality, this is very hard work. Even if you can pay people to do some of the tasks, there will be issues that require your attention sometimes daily. You may be looking at a solid 6 months or even a year of work. Worse, you could end up with a site that makes under $100 a day.
Best case scenario, you have a multi-million dollar internet property that is considered a real asset.
Here is what you need to start with. Unless you already are an experienced publisher I do not suggest spending the money on custom solutions until after your site is live and has an audience:
1. A premium dot com domain name (cost: 4-7 figures.) Preferably no more than two words. You can go the Web 2.0 made up word route, but its not recommended.
2. A copy of vBulletin (cost: $160)
3. WordPress (free)
4. A web host (No need to start with a dedicated server, a $15 account usually will work in the beginning.
Now you have several steps to take.
1. Content articles. You can pay Phd’s to write high quality articles, you can pay offshore workers. Thats a decision thats up to you. What is important is that your web site have content. Once the search engines see your site as valuable, there has to be some content for people to find! Is it the chicken or the egg? Who cares, unless you have an army assembled to use your forum you site needs content the day it launches.
2. Daily Updated Blog. Be active. Link to other bloggers and blog posts. You may even want to integrate the blog with your front page. A blog can help to rapidly build your sites links and content. Additionally blogs make it a lot easier to react to timely events. See a crazy news story? You can pound out 3 paragraphs and publish it, no problem. Articles can tend to take more time and effort.
3. Launch a forum. I like to wait until there is some search engine traffic volume before starting a forum. This way, there is an instant user base. Like a blog, a forum also builds content, links, and gets visitors to return to your site over and over again. Forums are hard work. Sit & forget and you’ll find you own a nice collection of viagra and cialis spam posts. You will need admins and moderators. It may take time before you see an agreeable return on your time and dollar investment.
4. An e-mail newsletter. What happens if someone forgets about your web site? Having an e-mail newsletter is a great reminder and tool to drive targeted traffic without relying on text links or organic SE traffic. If you are having a contest, launching a new forum, or even a new website, having an e-mail newsletter makes it incredibly easy to guarantee you will get results. If you are concerned about the extra workload, you can just re-use some of the site’s new content since many of the subscribers will miss 80% of it.
5. Public Relations. The reason content sites are so profitable is because you do not need to buy advertising for them. You have content, its free. Take advantage of print media and television, as well as the internet. Get your domain name repeated over and over again (this is why a premium name matters so much; oops, you bought .net instead of .com and now that .com domain owners is recieving thousands of type-ins a day!)
Here is the difference between a crappy content website and a good one:
1. A good web sites brings its audience back over and over again (users come back to read new articles, blog posts, and participate in forum.)
2. A good web site builds backlinks automatically (active users link to fresh articles, blog posts, and forum threads)
3. A good web site builds content automatically (users post comments and threads on blog and forum)
Between a good web site and a crappy one there are few comparisons.
Coming up next I will drill down the details of the 5 parts of a good web site (and I will probably think of a few more along the way.)