So you may have seen the movie Field of Dreams with the lesson "Build it and they will come".
You know the movie where Kevin Costner builds the baseball field and soon meets his dad and has superstar ball players of the past playing on his field.
Lesson of the day: If you build it and…
WORK YOUR ASS OFF… they will come!
Remember in the mid-90s when this simple fact… build it (a website) and they (visitors) will come? Yeah those were the days. Today it is much different though. Websites get easier and easier to produce through template based tools like wordpress or any other random tool advertised through commercials, magazines and heck even your bookkeeping software.
Hosting is nearly free these days and the web tools mentioned above are heading this way as well. This is a good thing right? Well yes an no. Here's the deal… the easier it is to create a website, the more websites that will fly up. Last year it is said that 51 million websites were published just in 2012. As of December 2012 there are 634 million websites being hosted world-wide.
So How are you able to compete with the other 634 million websites out there? Well it is not by slapping up a wordpress site or other free/low cost site and thinking you are going to make it rich. If all you do is SLAP A SITE UP… you will never get found. Then you are just adding to the clutter and make it harder to web visitors to find anything online of value… because they need to weed through too much crap, then get tired and just log off. Expecting to set it an forget it online to get rich is like thinking you're going to be a billionaire just because you were born. If you want to be a billionaire you're going to have to do some work right? The same is true online.
I was talking to a guy the other day that works with music bands. He wanted to sell them websites to help promote their band, but thought $300 for a website was ridiculous. I chuckled when he said this and thought… wow, I wonder what the band would say if the fans said "buying a $25 t-shirt, $15+ show ticket, or a $20 cd was ridiculous". After all I can get a band t-shirt at goodwill for $4, watch concerts on youtube for free and listen to music for free via Spotify and Pandora. So why should I pay the band all this ridiculous money?
Another guy I talked to recently thought it made more sense to build his own site than pay an expert to help guide him to success. This is fine, obviously not everyone is a good fit. However when he asked Brandwise for pricing I told him… "the build out price was not what he needs to be concerned with. The true concern was how do you plan on getting traffic to the site?" You see he was trying to build a Job board and was hoping to sell job listings to companies looking to hire employees. He was also hoping to sell advertising.
Now, I'm not saying creating a website like this is a bad idea, but the creation is just a small part of the bigger problem… GETTING FOUND and then CREATING VALUE FOR THE CLIENT is the REAL issue. Just because you build it doesn't mean they will come. When it comes to a job board how can you compete with Career Builder or Monster.com or the other thousands of smaller job sites?
Ask yourself this… if I was going to place a job listing online where would I go? Most of you are probably thinking Monster.com. Now as a business wanting to create a job board, how do you overcome this? Specialize, right? That's one way. So let's say you are the expert job board for the XYZ industry… great you have a leg up and maybe even easy SEO Ranking since you are highly targeted. What's next? Well how about filling your job board with clients listing jobs and testing your site out.
How much can you charge for such a service? Nothing! What… nothing? That right! Early on you will not be able to charge clients because there is no proven value other than your unproven industry knowledge. Once you get 100+ free clients testing your site out then maybe you can start selling listings. Until then you have no track record to prove you can do what you say you can.
So emailing all your contacts and giving away the free service to the first 100 or so companies would be a way to build the site value, but you'll need sooo much more. In order to generate traffic to the site you will need to either pay for advertising or use blogging/social media promotions (inbound marketing) to bring in the REAL traffic and REAL value to the site (active audience). Beyond traffic you need to add value which means remarkable content that is truly helpful to your audience. This means you need to set yourself up as a thought leader in your industry. This is a lot of work, but very much worth it.
So what Wordpress, Intuit, and Wix don't tell you… is the website is not what brings people or riches to your site. A great idea is useless if you can't implement and deliver or the idea. There are no silver bullets in this world wide web. Just like the real world it takes a ton of hard work, blood, sweat, and tears to reach success. If it were easy all 634 million websites would be creating several million billionaires.
So don't look for the short cuts…
- commit to your site for the long haul (it may take 6 months or 6 years, but a proven track record is what will set you apart)
- blog like crazy
- remember to focus on creating remarkable content (something someone would actually share)
- always focus on delivering value
- build relationships and attend event that get you in front of your target audience
- commit to becoming a thought leader in your industry
…then and only then will you be able to compete with all 634 million other website in the world. I hope this article helped clear up what it takes to be successful online and I wish YOU the best of luck in your online adventure!