[If you’re a software developer, you may already possess many of the technical skills you need to build a money-making website. This set of articles aims to provide a step-by-step guide to using your existing skills to create your own online business]
By playing to your strengths, you’ll be optimising your talents. But you can also work smart – after all, building your own online business is a long, hard road to travel, and you’ll find some paths are a lot easier to go down than others.
You can’t have failed to notice the ongoing success of social-networking sites, but just stop for a moment and question what makes them so popular. It’s the members – the more people who join, the more successful the sites become. After they hit a critical mass, they continue to grow at a phenomenal rate. But without the members, they wouldn’t be quite so attractive.
The beauty of sites driven by the community base and user content is they grow all by themselves, with the minimum of administration from you. If you can get into a position where your visitors are happily creating your content for you or networking with each other, you could be onto a winner. And if you don’t have to create the bulk of the site content, it frees you up to spend more time improving your service or product for your consumers.
Let’s just have a quick look at a couple of sites: GameSpot and Digg:
GameSpot: Just about every new game that comes out is reviewed on here. So it draws in lots of video-game players to see if it’s worth buying a new game (in much the same way traditional video-game magazines served the same market by reviewing games). But someone has to write all that main content, and it’s not the users. And cranking out a polished review takes a long, long time.
Digg: One of the more popular news aggregation services. Rather than you having to trawl through dozens of news sites during your lunch, you can just go to one place to get a nice list of the most popular news stories. Again, the users submit all the links to the news stories.
Now, if all the staff at GameSpot decided to holiday in Barbados for a month (without any IT equipment), would visitors to the site notice? You bet they would! But if the Digg staff joined them on the beach, would the Digg visitors notice? Nope.
So, once your site is up and running, your key question should be: How long can you leave it alone before anyone notices?