Lesson #4: Building a Plan That Profits
I hope that over the last few days you have created your passions, done your research, and thought up the general idea for your new website. In this lesson you will learn how to take that fuzzy concept and expand upon it until we have a concrete plan that will be your roadmap to profits. With a solid plan, you can dominate your niche and generate tons of cash from your website.
This is typically one of the most enjoyable parts of the process. It is when you can take the ball of clay and mold it into a specific concept. You can begin to feel some of the excitement as you prepare to build, launch and produce revenue from your first website.
Doing Industry Research
If you completed the homework given in Lesson 3, you will now have a vague one sentence description of the site you would like to create. Here, we will take that sentence and turn it into a full page of plans.
The first and most important step in planning is to research the competition. Not only does this let you know what you are up against, it also gives you good ideas on what you can do with your site. Trust me, when you have a clear picture of what the competition is doing, it makes your job of building a quality site so much easier. We will go over an example of how to do this now.
Assume that we have chosen to build a site about candles, specifically detailing the process of how candles are made. Great. Letʼs go to Google and search: how candles are made. There will be all kinds of pages that show up here. Some of these pages are stores, some are articles, and some you can tell are websites dedicated to discussing candles. Pay attention to all of them, but especially the ones dedicated to articles about candles. These are the ones that will be your most direct competition. You will want to open all of the ones that seem interesting or relevant to our site.
At this point it isnʼt required that you write down anything about your competition, but you are certainly welcome to do so. For now, just get a good idea of what these sites are talking about, how their content is organized, what designs they use, and the overall themes of what they are trying to present. Your role is to be a sponge and soak up all the information that you can about candles.
Getting a Clearer Picture of Your Site
I would like to take a quick time out here. While I donʼt believe in telling you exactly what to do with your site (but rather giving you the tools to make your own decisions), this would be a good time to give some further clarification on how your site should be organized. Up until this point, we have barely discussed what your site will actually “do”. Letʼs fill in that gap.
Using my system, your site will include approximately 20 pages of content (short articles) on your subject. This will be the main purpose of your site: to provide visitors with information on your chosen topic. We will get into the specifics later, but you do not need fancy photographs or a complicated site features, just simple articles that help the visitor learn more about the topic. Thatʼs it. That is what your site does.
We wonʼt be selling any products, charging for subscriptions, building complicated programming features or anything like that.
This is the easiest way to get up and running, and it can also be very profitable in ways that we will see in future lessons. So, as you are planning your site, keep in mind that it will exist primarily to help people find information on the topic – much like the candle sites are doing in the example that we just reviewed.
To further clarify this point, below are a handful of examples sites that are similar to what yours might be like. Please take a minute to view these and get an idea of what we are aiming for:
Are you following all of this so far? Pretty simple, right? These are just a few examples of the many avenues your site might take.
Also, please note that now is not the time to worry about how you will create your site or stress about your lack of web development skills. I understand! That process is at least 4 lessons away so please do not worry about any of that yet. I will walk you through that part step by step. For now just get an idea of what your site will look like when it is complete.
Pulling a Plan Together
Once you have done your research and have a clear picture of what your site might look like, it is time to make some notes that we will refer to as our plan. I am not a big believer in 10-page business plans as I think they consume too much time and distract from getting REAL work done, but it is good to have some general organized notes that you can look back on.
If you have been following the instructions, you should be a sponge soaking with information and ideas at this point. Now, take one sheet of paper (or a computer word processor) and start outlining your notes. There is no exactly right way to do this, either. You can write your plan however you like, however it makes sense to you.
It is important to include the following:
• A one paragraph description of your site and itʼs purpose. This will give you a strong focus as you move forward. Think of this as a mission statement that you can refer to in the coming weeks.
• Other websites that you would like to reference later. Itʼs important to write down a few of the competitors that strike you, either as examples of what you want to do or what you do NOT want to do.
• Ideas for what specific topics you would like to discuss (i.e. article titles). This will be covered in detail later, but for now, include some basic categories of information that you feel your site needs to talk about.
• Ideas for potential names. This is addressed in the next lesson, but try to think up any ideas you might have for a good .com.
• Anything else that has come to you during the research process. Even things like colors, specific site layouts. Whatever. Write it all down.
Finally, it is important that you have fun with this process! Relax, do not take it to seriously. Just spend some time looking up the competition, writing your plans, and let your creativity run wild.
Previous Lesson: Niches – Finding Your Personal Gold Mine
Next Lesson: How to Find A Good Domain