This blog entry was inspired by a post in my forum yesterday.
It’s easy to get bogged down in the technicalities of how to create a website…
How do I create a chat room?
How am I going to setup a membership area?
How exactly am I going to make money?
How do I accept credit card payments from my site?
Even though these may be crucial components to your website, they don’t mean a thing if you do not know how to attract a targeted audience who wants to participate in the site you worked so hard to create.
THE most critical phase of any site is the planning process in the very beginning. And planning doesn’t just involve the technical aspects of how things will work and are setup.
It’s imperative that you sit down and think about the kind of person you want to attract, and how you will get them to find you.
Unfortunately building a website doesn’t guarantee an automatic influx of interested visitors. People don’t just stumble upon your site like they do a store on a busy street.
Sites become popular on the Internet because they are recommended. The recommendations may come from word of mouth, blogs, social networking sites and even search engines.
Yes, search engines recommend sites too. The reason you see a site ranked on the first page of Google for a particular search is because Google knows the site has numerous links from other sites, blogs, etc. all over the Web in association with that keyword phrase. So Google recommends it to you as a relevant search result.
Something about your site has to attract your audience’s attention, meet their needs and provide a service, product or information that isn’t offered everywhere else.
So if you aren’t taking the time to…
1) Plan how you are going to make your site stand out over your competitors
2) Map out the kind of visitor you want to attract and meet all of their needs, wants and interests…
Then it doesn’t matter how much the site costs, how you setup a shopping cart, chat room, how you are going to design your navigation, etc.
Don’t waste your precious time and hard-earned money on all these site enhancements until you have a definite plan. I guarantee it will be worth the extra effort in the end.
I’ve created many sites without a plan, and it’s no coincidence they are no longer around.
If you are expecting a full-time income from your website, expect full-time work. Take it seriously from day one don’t just skip over the planning phase because you’re in a hurry to rake in the money.
How you plan in the beginning is the difference between success and failure in the end.