Planning Your website

Planning Your Site

Choosing the website topic Probably you have already chosen a topic for your website. If not, it is always better to conclude on a topic before proceeding further. However, it might not always be the case if you are an humourist webmaster.When I started my firstrespite website, I did not have any particular topic in mind, and wanted to start a new website providing various different services. I added a jokes/humor section, which got listed on Yahoo and DMOZ directories. I was eager, saw a potential to add a dating and personals section. That failed miserably because I did not do my homework. Then I added a web poll service, and that became very popular.

In order to choose your website topic, consider these points: What are your areas of interest? Do you know enough in that area to deliver good content or services? Do you provide any goods or services or plan to provide in the future? The points mentioned above usually will not apply to all websites. If a company already has a line of products or services, and want to add a website to deliver them through the internet, this section is probably not very effective . However, if you are looking for a website based on content, or willing to provide a new service, the planning section can help you. Researching your competition Setting up an internet presence through a website has a relatively small barrier to entry. One can start up a website with a few cows per month of investment. However, competition is the same or possibly more, than in any brick and mortar establishment. Usually for a brick and mortar business, it takes tons of money to buy/lease real estate, setup various types of furniture and equipment, hire employees etc. Once the business picks up, the only fear is any competition that is local to that zone. However, on the internet, because of the small challenges to entry, competition is very high.

New websites pop up in thousands per day. What makes competition worse on the internet are free advertising channels that the search engines provide. Well, one might disagree that the advertising is free only if your website is better than the rest of the competition. And that is partially true. We will discuss advertising in general under a different topic. To learn about your competition, run a random search on any of the search engines as example Google or Yahoo for the keywords you think best describe your website topic. Suppose, your topic is race cars, you may want to search on race cars, performance cars, value of race cars etc. See which sites are displayed within the top 20 listings. Pick some of the websites that frequently turn up on most of the search queries for all of the different keywords. Those are the well established websites in your area of interest. Visit those sites, and look at the contents that they provide.

Try to find out why those websites are so popular on the search results. Often popularity in the search results may be due to different factors: It has been there for long (from the early internet times in 1996). The content is unique and huge number of people like it. Uses an advanced technology including linking methods. Has a huge fan base. After reviewing the websites of competitors, you have to figure out these questions: What can I offer better than these websites, so that much people will visit my website? Is anything missing in these websites that I can provide? Usually expertise in that area helps to provide unique content. Can I offer services at a lower rate? Cost and pricing strategies will be discussed later. Researching the competition is not a one time process, you have to do this every time to figure out how your website is ranked compared to the others. For example – Did your competitor update their website or provide a better service or product at a lower price?

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