This blog title cracks me up considering my origins of websites was to have the idea first, then hire the webmaster, then get confused with the questions he was asking, then see the website done, then hope our idea took off…not having a clue about the thousands of errors I made.
Now I exhaust myself working backwards, knowing the various strategies that are at play with the internet. For example:
Strategy: your website name can, by itself, create a ton of free traffic (hence I have a Domains CD on the 3 ways to think about your website name and each of their pros/cons…and how, even if you have a website name, you can redo it OR add a second name strategically.) This is why this website blog is called “private practice psychotherapy”. It hit a popular phrase and it gives me immediate trust with Google that, as I blog, I seem to know something about therapy and websites and marketing.
Strategy: forget about tons of energy into YOUR OWN website. Focus on finding OTHER WEBSITES were you can embed yourself as an expert. I know people who are experts on The Knot and NJ Weddings – two big wedding planning websites. Basically the strategy is to use other people’s work and web traffic to get your face out there. Your website may suck, but those folks are going to trust you because you are where they are.
Strategy: have a beautiful, or informative website and trust that as you try to get people to it, they’ll really like it, stick around, share it with others, and you’ll basically grow as would a funky boutique on a busy street in a hip area….people spread the word for you.
Strategy: hire experts in website design, search engine marketing, and social media. Add a business coach to help you keep your ducks in a row. And probably have a therapist as you deal with the emotional rollercoaster of all those experts often contradicting each other and all demanding a lot of your money. (But seriously, this is a viable strategy to hire out all types of great minds.)
These are just a few strategies you may employ. I have a new project that I am not going public with yet because this is what I’ve got going on:
1 – talking to strategic people about my idea to see if my idea can be inside their website…thus giving me an immediate audience. But also talking to a few people about the idea in GENERAL. (Something may sound great in your head and awful to other people. It’s especially important to talk to the audience you’re trying to reach about your idea so you don’t waste your time or efforts pursing something only YOU like.)
2 – researching the phrases used to figure out the best website (domain) name, but also to see what people are searching for online. This is like market research – what does the world want? VERY different from “this is what I WANT the world to want.”
3 – figuring out the short and long term ramifications of where to PUT this project. Is it really its own domain name? is it a free wordpress blog? Is it under my Elizabeth Doherty Thomas website? And the nature of this project demands a level of differentiation from ME so that begs the question of how best to keep this project separate from the “rest” of me. Where I do personally start and end and where does my work start and end? The fuzzy lines can cause a lot of headaches.
4 – know thy audience! My audience can’t handle things that are high tech, confusing, and my audience will need to know HOW to plug in. I need to make this extremely simple. I also need to protect expectations (mine and theirs) so launching this carefully will be important.
5 – legalities. Some projects require ethical and legal considerations…information sharing, making sure you’re keeping all laws, HIPPA, whatever you’ve got going on. It’s not about something clearly ILLEGAL, but about making sure there is no slippery slope. My idea could potentially launch a new product so the question is how the interactivity with my audience ties into the product, ownership, etc.
Sometimes I wish I didn’t know as much as I do. I would move so much faster. But then I see others doing all the things I’ve done wrong over the years and I remember my mistakes. And I’ve learned. Slow, steady, and strategic will win in the end. And besides, it’ll be more fun to make NEW mistakes than make the same ones over again.