It's really easy for people think of their next brilliant website idea, put the website together, throw it up on the web, and then. . . ? It's a common problem, throwing up the website without a plan. Many websites and products that are great never take off, while terrible ones do - why? Usually because they had a solid plan from the start.
Before you do anything, you need to do some research. You need to find sites out there that resemble yours in anyway, direct competition or not, and study HOW they get to where they're at. Find out what their users think, what they like and dislike about the site.
Next you need to figure out how you're going to market the site and get it out there. This is probably the biggest problem you'll face - You spend months putting together this great site, you've dedicated hours and hours every day, and it's finally launched - you sit back in your chair, and you wait. . . And you wonder why you're not getting users. You need to come up with a solid marketing plan - there are hundreds of techniques, all depending on your budget, but for this posts sake, just remember to keep your marketing plan in mind when planning your site.
Is the site even viable? You need to come up with metrics. If you're wanting to create a video sharing site, for example, you need to consider the following; Your site needs new content, it needs to appear fresh, updated and to have lots of users - So, how many users do you need to get on your site for every ONE video uploaded? If you dig into Youtube stats, you'll discover that they have roughly 1,000 visits (or video plays) per video uploaded. So, you should expect the same. Now, how are you going to get enough visitors to your site to continually add new videos and keep the site fresh? It's not easy, and this idea might not be viable, and might not be worth you time. Make sure you think about this from the bottom up, and consider if it's really even worth your investment.
What people always think, whether with their website, or a product they want to sell - All I need to get is 1% of China's population, and our revenue will be millions! Well, it's not that easy, if it was, everyone would be millionaires - You need to think smaller, and you need to think “What do I need to do to get one sale" or one client, or one visitor. Think on a smaller scale, and if it works, you can try expanding.
To summarize - Write down everything, what is the site, what is your core competency, do you solve a problem. Then think about marketing - how are you going to get people to your site. Next dig up some metrics and find out if it's even a viable idea. This is a very simplistic explanation, but you should go out and do some more research from here and hopefully this gives you some insight into how to create a successful website.
Josh is owner of iBot Web, a Fort Worth-based company that designs and develops websites and print ready marketing materials, and also owns and operates a photography studio specializing in exotic vehicle & glamour photography. He also is a director for the Tarrant County Entrepreneur Club which holds monthly meetings for small business owners, entrepreneurs and decision makers in north Texas.
You can learn more about Josh Davis by visiting his personal website at http://www.joshdavis.info or his blog at http://www.joshdavisblog.com