How, in the midst of so much website content, do niche sites find success? What does it take to really stand out and draw traffic to your website, and ultimately find a revenue stream?
Before any business launch, these are the questions nearly every serious web-creating, revenue-seeking entrepreneur needs to ask and answer.
Need help? The New York Times columnist David Carr suggests that we might want to forllow the lead of The Awl. Just a year and a half old, The Awl is a successful website devoted to what Carr calls “strong voices and a literate sensibility.” After just one year, The Awl drew nearly 500,000 visitors and in the next eighteen months, the company expects to make revenue “in the low millions.”
Not bad for three formerly laid-off bloggers.
How did the creators of the site decide what to write, what kinds of pieces to include?
“Neither of us have particularly good histories of working for other people, our prospects were grim, and so we decided that we would make the kind of site people we know would like to read,” Choire Sicha, co-founder of The Awl told Carr.
While the co-founders of The Awl may be “one or two big accounts” from success or failure, at this point, they reflect the importance of three key principles to business success, whether you’re trying to draw traffic (and revenue) on the web, or get involved in any other entrepreneurial endeavor. To succeed:
Be talented. The Awl co-founders were already successful veteran writers and bloggers and recognized their strengths as they moved forward.
Be focused. The company was clear about its goal: to create content that people they knew would want to read.
Be flexible. Instead of being dependent on selling company ads for revenue, the co-founders entered sponsorship arrangements with a variety of well-known companies.
Be financially savvy. While the co-founders concentrate on the quality of their content, they have no illusions about how important it is to understand the finances. “[w]e can build all the nice little audiences we want, [but] somebody has to figure out how to explain to advertisers where the value is.”
[To read David Carr's column, Against Odds, Site Finds Niche (http://tinyurl.com/283vbao)] [Photo:http://tinyurl.com/29nuuha]
Can The Awl’s business model work for you? Is it missing any element crucial to business success? Please leave a comment below.