Hello Happy Site Owners! This week it’s time for another chat, just you and me, with a reality check on what it takes now to have a successful site that supports your business model. Things change online so fast! And it’s hard to keep up. In this podcast, I want to invite you to take a step back and have a moment to focus on what’s really important to making your site successful. Plus, I’ve got some great questions to ask yourself to help get a clear picture, and examples of different business models and what makes them tick. So let’s dive in. Listen to the podcast.
The last couple of weeks have been tough for a lot of site owners. I’ve been seeing several posts on social media and elsewhere about overwhelm and a general sense of not getting it all done.
I feel your pain, literally.
I’ve put in plenty of 8:00 am to 2:00 am work days lately. My lead fix-it guy and his team have been putting in 20 hour days. All of it has been due to the highest, sustained bad bot attack I’ve ever seen. And it’s not over. It’s just getting ramped up. The worst is yet to come.
Tips that Help
So, this week, instead of giving you links to more helpful info that you probably don’t have time to add to your to-do list right now anyway, I’d rather give you a reason to take a productive break and share some tips that may help you make the most of your time and creativity and actually get the things that need doing most done.
Tip 1. Stop it!
First, stop drinking the Kool-Aid from any external source. Stop listening to what everybody else says you need to be doing.
Take a moment to listen to yourself. And take a tablet of some sort with you because you’re going to want to write down what comes to mind.
Tip 2. Get a Clear Picture
There are lots of great folks to follow that will tell you what works and what you need to do. Very few of them qualify those suggestions with what type of business can benefit the most from what they’re pitching.
So ask yourself these questions to help define what you do and what you have in place.
- Do you offer products or services or both?
- Do you need volume sales?
- How much of your business relies on referrals?
- How much of your business relies on being found online only?
- How much in-person networking do you do?
- How much traffic do you get to your site now?
- Do you run more than one site?
- Do you have more than one site in a single hosting account?
- Do you experiment a lot with different plugins or integrations?
- Do you or can you outsource any part of your business?
- How much is your time worth?
- What do you absolutely love doing?
- What do you absolutely hate doing?
Tip 3. Evaluate Your Business Model
Answers to these questions should yield what type of business you’re running. And I’m going to give you a few examples of how different business types use their site.
Business Listing Online
I have a client that owns a framing shop. Her site brings in so much foot traffic that she cancelled all other forms of advertising. She doesn’t blog and she’s not on social media. The site is listed with Google Local and a few other directories. She spends all of her time serving her clients and none of it following the latest trends online. And she outsources all site management. Just one or two framing clients takes care of her online costs. It’s very high ROI.
She also already has long term relationships with major hotels and other big name offices. So, she doesn’t rely solely on constantly getting new customers or being found online for business.
The only thing this client needs to do is continue to spend money on outsourced site management to keep the site safe and current on local listings because it is an online brochure to augment her current in-person and referral efforts. Mainly, it brings in new clients at a steady rate that she can handle without further expanding her staff.
I have several coaching clients. Their business mainly runs on relationship marketing because what they do is a highly personal service. It goes beyond what they know into who they are because they and their clients have to “click” for things to work.
Social media is huge for them, as is their email list. Creating content that is conversational and sharable gets more folks into their programs. Being found on a Google search isn’t as important.
So, for this business model, they will spend a lot of time keeping up with the latest trends and tactics on social media and how to create content that draws significant engagement. Or, they’ll spend time learning how to place ads or make strategic alliances. It might also require branching out onto other platforms such as video and audio, to be another way to connect with their audience through their voice. It’s a more personal connection than just text posts.
And they don’t need to spend a lot of time learning too many SEO best practices. But, they may need to spend money on experts to help them cut down on the learning curves of so many platforms, or expand into new platforms such as podcasts, video, member sites, and more.
But, they may need to spend money on site management. Lots of experimentation with forward-facing plugins, like social media ones, can cause site issues with both security and performance. So can trying lots of different sites over the years to capitalize on trends. Not to mention all of the bot traffic that will come from spam and other draws.
I have several clients like this and over the years their hosting accounts have become a mess. All these recent bot attacks have made them keenly aware of it.
Trainers and tutorial creators count on being found in search and in social media for their business. And many require high volumes of traffic. That could convert into direct sales, ads, or sponsorship.
Also, site owners who are in very targeted niches, such as home décor, count on high traffic from sites like Pinterest for passive income.
They’re going to have to be concerned with learning and keeping up with SEO tactics, creating high-authority and high-quality content, and consistently posting to social media and actively gaining audience there.
Since volume traffic is the goal, site performance and security are key. These both contribute to Google ranking factors. A higher ranking site gets more money for ads. It matters.
This business model has to wear the most number of hats to be successful online and will likely need to outsource parts of it as they grow simply because there are just too many areas to keep on top of that need to be at the highest level possible.
They may also have to spend money on experts to help them cut down on the learning curves, or expand into new platforms such as Adwords, Pay-Per-Click, social media, video, and member sites. And, they will likely require site management.
Tip 4. Spend Your Precious Time Wisely
I’ve given you just a few examples of business models and the types of experts they can benefit from listening to the most. There’s just no way for sit e owners to stay on top of everything, or implement every type of thing that will maximize their business. There’s just too much to know now and too many places to be seen, including offline efforts.
So let yourself off the hook if you haven’t been able to get it all done anymore!
However good something may sound, be sure it is right for your business type. There has to be good ROI, or Return on Investment, to make it worth your while to do.
Tip 5. Get the Right Help
Talk is cheap. A lot of the noise you hear online is generic advice, this post included. At some point, you’re going to have to get help where the rubber meets the road and actually get something accomplished.
So much of the time, the answers I see online to site and tech questions are more harmful than helpful simply because they don’t take so many factors into account. Like, what’s the best plugin for such and so. Well, that depends. It has to live on a site with other plugins and in a certain hosting environment and integrate with a theme. And, it has to perform the function asked of it well. Everybody has different definitions of what that is.
You can waste a lot of time and money on free answers.
Or, you can have someone look at the whole picture with you and give you a recommendation based on that. And it will have the best chance of doing what you need done the first time.
Vet the folks you’re listening to. See if what they are saying works well for your type of business.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday. I hope it’s taken you out of the noise for a moment and helped you refocus on what’s really important to you, and what all it takes now to meet those goals. It’s a lot tougher to be a successful site owner than it used to be. And it’s getting so that you can’t DIY everything or wear all the hats anymore.
I’m here if you need help. And my plan is to keep delivering the kind of content you can really put to use.
And I want to hear from you. Really. I do. I want to hear what’s going on with you and your site and where you need the most help, or what’s wasting your time that you would like to find an easier way to do.