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Create your website for your special project

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November 22, 2016 by wimvincken

You have a great idea and you want to earn money with it. That idea will be so great, you will become rich with that. Or what about people who think of themselves as business people with golden ideas. And all those ideas are Internet based. They think they only need a website and it will sell automatically and that’s it! And the majority fails. But what does it take to do such thing like that? This is an article about what people must consider before they can make this a reality with the help of the Internet and the steps they need to take before the actual work starts.

It’s like building a large building. First you have the architect, the financiers for the money before you actual can start building. Exactly the same with a business idea with the Internet.

You need to bring this idea into reality in steps. And there are two levels of financial costs involved. First level are the costs to study if your idea has any feasibility and the second one are the costs you must make to make everything come into reality and start selling. And I’m not talking about the maintenance of the website and business yet.

In practice, people tend to find shortcuts. They like to gamble that their idea is perfect and will work and … 99.99999% fails. For everyone else who will do the things in a methodological way they succeed … mostly.

Those people managed to get their website up and running, fill it with loads of products or services and wait. Well, nothing will work and they will not sell a thing, because those people have no idea where their customers are.

Step 1. The phase of wild ideas

This is the idea where you speak with others, or yourself in front of the mirror and exchange wild ideas. In this stage it doesn’t matter what you say or what your ideas are, how crazy it may sound, those are ideas. In history, many times people with those ideas became stinking rich, but on the other hand they also failed. And a part of it, they didn’t become rich or failed, but they manage to live their lives based on that idea. It’s also a very good idea to speak with other people about it and get their input.

  • It’s a very good idea to focus on this stage and be aware, if you close this step and take the next one, there will be no new wild ideas anymore. Why? Those new ideas tend to destroy your little enterprise you set up and the costs will be out of control and you can’t finish it and you fail.
  • It’s a good idea to look how others do the same or similar. How long do they exist and where are the examples and try to trace the owners and see what they are doing. Facebook, LinkedIn and twitter are perfect places to start looking. You learn of what they are and do and maybe you have better ideas to improve or expand your idea.

Step 2. The phase of requirements

This step is the stage, where you really must stop creating new ideas. It’s the time that you formalize it all. You must try to figure out what exactly is required to make your idea reality. That might mean that you need other people, professional people in their area and figure out how things must be arranged, purchased and build!

  • The classical mistake what many make is your choice of hosting your website. To reduce costs, they start with a shared hosting account to save a couple of bucks. This is so wrong, unless you want to have a staged delivery.
    • A shared hosting plan cost from $2 per month with a domain name of $10 per year. You use the hosting plan to develop the product if it will take months to deliver it. That’s a good idea. But if your time-to-market is short (weeks instead of months), then this idea is stupid and unnecessary expensive.
      • Reason why this idea is stupid is because a shared hosting account will never produce more then 17,000 page views on your website per month, because the hosting company will stop that if it’s more. Reason? Read it here.
      • Developing your website might cause overhead on your hosting company, which is not good in shared hosting environment and they might decide to suspend your account (and that during development is killing your project). It will put pressure on you.
    • Better is to choose a VPN (from $20/month) or dedicated server hosting (from $80/month) accounts, which can handle any website traffic (you really need that).

For building the requirements, you need to make decisions about the website environment and of course the platform of development. With the last, the following:

  • You can build your website in the old fashioned HTML and scripting. This takes long, asks specialized web developers and is a pain in the behind to maintain (and expensive) and the most important aspect is that you always depend on others. Average costs for a website with this development platform is from $40,000 and more.
  • Use a modern development platform like Java or dot.net. This is a demand on the server (only VPN (Virtual private Network) and dedicated servers) you can use and it takes also long, much more expensive then HTML-programming, and you pay fortunes on licenses. Maintenance is a bit better, but you still depend on them for changes. It’s a very expensive choice. Average costs for a website with this development platform is from $80,000 and more.
  • Use a modern development platform like WordPress or other advanced website builders. WordPress is free, there are hundreds of thousands of extensions (they call it plugins) available for free and in many cases you can have business functionality on your website for free. Maintenance is excellent and easy and can be implemented immediately. Most of the maintenance tasks you can do yourself. Average costs for a website with this development platform is from $6,000 and more.
    • But when you want to have things professional, then you might consider certain plugins, which cost money. Here are some common examples:
      • A theme. The way how your website will look like for the users. With an ugly website you will not sell anything. This cost money; not much, but still. Prices are between $50-$400 for your theme one time. An alternative is hiring a graphical designer, which cost you loads of money.
      • Payment plugins. Those plugins are free available, but they are for general use. For your specific requirements, you might end up with a commercial plugin. For example, you offer people a fill-in form where they make choices, which leads to different prices for the same product. You need in that case a special plugin, which combines automatically the products they choose and customize and the payments per credit card to a bank (PayPal or payment gateway (=directly to your bank account)). Prices varies between the $50 and the $350 one time.
      • Payments gateways always cost money. Depending on where you bank is, it cost you between the $50-$500 per month to get your money into your bank account (and not PayPal).
      • Telemarketing is great. But there are costs connected to it.
        • First you need the addresses and emails from your potential customers and they are available. Costs for 100,000 email addresses for example cost you between the $150-$500, depending on quality and what type of addresses you want to buy.
        • Then you need an engine, which allows you to send emails to your potential customers, because normal hosting companies don’t allow you to send more then 400-500 emails per day. This cost also money and prices range between $250-$700 per month.
      • SEO plugins. You can download them for free and install them into your website, but it’s better to pay money for their ‘professional’ version, because they handle the integration between your site and the social media (and search engines like Google and Bing) much better. Prices are between $35-$200.
      • Social media submission buttons are also interesting, because you allow visitors to publish your content into their social media. There are plugins, which do that for free, but the paid versions are doing that much more effective and have greater reach. Prices are between $50-$300).
    • Social media. This is great and you can use the social media several ways.
      • You need to attract people from the social media.
        • To merge the social media within your website, so that people can address them straight from your website without leaving your site.
        • To tell the billions of people in the social media where you are and what you do. You build communities in the social media and you connect them to your site
      • The social media is the way, which can generate website traffic to your site.
        • For example, one bright announcement in social media can bring traffic up till millions within minutes. This is an extreme example, but possible if you use your head and be smart
        • Search engine submissions and integration is also included here. Today such process is automated and you don’t need to do much about it, except publishing regular new original and good quality content. If you do that, within days people arrive at your new website from search engines without any effort.
    • Website traffic. You need this in the modern times. Think about statistics. When only one person from the thousand likes your site, that means with 100,000 visitors, 100 of them might buy from you. If you have 1,000,000 visitors, 1,000 might buy. That’s a very big difference, not? But for this, you need to make the investments first before you come to this statistical issue. Examples?
      • You create your website and it’s running. Nobody shows up.
      • You create a twitter account for your type of business and you start liking all those twitter posts about the similar things connected to your websites. Try to build some friends and likes. Then you submit each page in Twitter. The results are that you are receiving website traffic. Do the same with Facebook, StumbleUpon, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Flipboard, Pinterest, Pocket, Tumblr, Buffer and maybe more.
      • Submit all the pages of your site to the social media. each single page
      • Take care that you publish each day several new pages with new, unique and original content and publish this to the social media
      • Become member of Yahoo groups, blogs and forums in the area where you are interested and is automatically associated with your business and start reading and posting content there. People start to know you and the name of your website (username is your website name, the avatar is the icon of your website, etc.)
        • Create sometimes smart announcements, which doesn’t sound commercial and link to your website.
          • For example a Harry Potter user group discusses everything Harry Potter. You announce that you found a Harry Potter story, where he’s forced in a harem with 6 other girls. The result was 120,000 page views within 10 minute and after a week it resulted in 1.8 million page views. With such a thing you might earn all your investments back and make even profit.

All of those above issues are part of the requirements. You need to investigate those aspects and prepare them to be included.

Step 3. The phase of the Business plan

You are so far in this phase to build on the requirements. You have a vague idea what needs to be done and now you need to do multiple things.

  1. Feasibility. This is also called marketing research. You can do this (partly) yourself with all the statistical reports freely available on the Internet, or you hire a marketing company to do this research for you.
    1. In this statistical analysis you will find out if there is a market for your idea or not. If there is no market for your product or services, please stop here, because your initiative will fail.
    2. If you find a market, you need to focus on where they are. Also you need to find out how much they are able/willingly to pay for your products
      1. Who are your opponents and what companies or websites are doing the same or similar as you and how much do they charge for that and who are their customers
  2. Costs. This is important, because this is the stage, which tells you how much your idea is going to cost. And costs is not only the website and that’s it.
    1. The costs for creating your product or service and the costs you must make to make a sale per product
    2. The costs for creating the website
    3. The costs for maintaining your website
    4. The costs for salaries and payments for services you need
    5. The legal costs you will for sure have
    6. Advertisement costs. Facebook is at this moment the best medium to advertise, but Google Adsense is also good. Costs may vary of course, but think about one advertisement campaign from $10 till $10,000, depending on how many people you want to reach and for how long.
      1. This is extremely important, because you need to know where those people are, how much they are willingly or able to pay and what they really want! Selling ice creams to Eskimos in South Africa doesn’t work well.
  3. Forecasts and prognoses. It’s where you must calculate how many of your products or services you think you can sell, based on the statistics.
    1. First you need to calculate your costs. You will have your startup costs, and the costs for the maintenance. In order to make prognoses in the next stage, those costs must be as realistic as possible.
      1. Costs in presenting your products and services (website, packaging, folders, flyers, catalogs and the like)
      2. Costs in producing your products and services
      3. Costs in delivery of your products and services
      4. Periodically costs (like website, domain names, rent, cars, legals, administrative, accounting, taxes, insurance, etc.)
    2. You make optimistic and pessimistic prognoses.
      1. You need to know where your market is.
        1. You also need to know how large that market is. With that data, and the data from opponents, you might have an idea how much you can sell, depending on realistic you are.
        2. With a professional marketing research, you know how much the public can pay and is willingly to pay. You also know how much others, your opponents charge.
        3. You need to know what the people want and if you can deliver that
      2. You need to know how much you’re going to earn
        1. Based on the costs and the possible market and the market value and your indication how much you can sell, you can calculate how much you’re going to earn.
        2. And what you’re going to do with the money.

Other steps

There are many other steps after this, but that’s out of scope of this article. The thing is that the majority of the hopeful people starting an Internet business fail, because they don’t do their homework. Here follow some common mistakes people make and all of them failed.

  • A group of people wanted to sell products connected to Carnival (costumes, party products, etc.). In South Africa. Carnival is big in South America, ad maybe western Europe, but not in South Africa. They skipped the whole stepping plan and started with the website (shared hosting). They could get enough traffic to their website,whatever they tried. Nobody bought anything from their website. And they tried to do anything, but no results. The whole initiative stopped when the business owners had no money anymore to pay their bills.
    • The only reason they failed was they didn’t investigate where the market was and if there was a market. They didn’t follow the steps. Thinking with your stomach is not a good idea.

 

 

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