How Your Web Site Works – Or The One Thing You Need Before You Talk To Your Web Designer (updated 2009)

A while back I wrote a talk on How To Create A Profitable Website And Not Lose Your Shirt. Of course, in the talk I cover many of the things I talk about in this blog. 

Writing this talk highlighted for me is that there is one important thing you need to do before you start talking to a web designer. And if you don’t do this one thing your website is bound to fail.

Before you build a site you must have a good marketing plan, which really translates into an action plan on how to drive traffic to it and monetize your site. And if you do not, even if your web design is really good looking, it will fail. This really is one of the biggest mistakes I see people make. People think of the website as a one time event, instead of an ongoing process of online marketing.

One the one hand, a web site is the marketing tool of all marketing tools. It is one of the most effective ways to get your marketing message across. On the other, it is a myth that you put up a web site and people just find it on the web. The truth is that behind every successful web site there is a dedicated businessperson who is promoting it. 

The fact is a web site leverages or magnifies your other marketing efforts. But it never works by itself. It works by making everything else work better.

If you are doing no marketing now, you’ll want to do some research on marketing on and offline. Then choose no more than one or two marketing strategies to learn and make your own. 

You’ll have success with marketing if you take it one step at a time and one new strategy at a time. Choose a marketing strategy that plays to your strengths and that you like, whether it is networking at events or writing a blog or posting to Twitter two times daily. 

Also ask what others in your profession typically do and don’t do? Not that you must do (or resist) what others are doing, but it may indicate what is successful. Or it might be an engrained convention that is begging to be tested by someone like you.

So that’s the long and the short of it. You need a marketing plan if you want to have a successful Web site. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter how much money you chuck at your web designer, you’ll never make a profit out of your site.

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