In the previous article, I explained how the Online Publisher’s Association (OPA) segmented the Internet into four categories – content, communication, commerce, and search. They then broke the content category down into eleven divisions where an Internet site could pull in revenue. In this article, I’ll dissect Paul Stamet’s Fungi Perfecti site to compare against the content list that OPA developed. Additionally, I’ll lead you to some further statistics that might help you gain a leg up on your own marketing ladder.
U.S. citizens spent $1.8 billion for online content in 2004, mainly in the entertainment/leisure category. This figure is up 13.7% compared to 2003. In this, I’ll define four market categories that may help you to bring in the dough and I’ll expand on one category – content – to show how commerce, communications, and search mechanisms can be added to build online revenue. Additionally, I’ll begin to examine how one man’s unusual Web site compares to these models.
Build Content and Commerce on What You Know
When people encounter sites that carry information, services, or products for a price, they usually have one of two reactions – they either move on or they pay. You probably experienced the same feelings yourself, especially since you pay to read the articles and books that DMX and its affiliates offer online. Sometimes you pass on articles because you may feel that they won’t hold your interest. Other times you may feel that you didn’t receive what you paid for, and at still other times you might feel that you received more than your money’s worth.
Did you ever ask yourself why you pay for knowledge, services, or products online? Are you a self-help type of person who enjoys solitary learning? Are you after a singular goal like learning how to “play” the stock market? Would you rather pay shipping charges than pay for gas when you venture out to purchase products? When you investigate your motives about why you pay for information, products, or services online, you begin to understand why others might pay as well. If you understand your market through this process, you have a leg up on your competition. However, it also helps to know how the Internet is seen by specialists, because this information may help you to streamline your offerings.
In the last article, I offered you some ideas about whether to carry your own products or services, or whether you might consider third-party sales to make a profit with your Web site. In this article, I’ll look at some shopping cart sites to consider what makes some shopping sites work. Is the site successful because of its slick design, the “buzz” about its product or service, the great shopping cart program, or is it because some people just seem to have all the luck? In the article below, I’ll take you to sites that use five different shopping carts to understand what works for some and what may work for you…
In the last article I gave you some ideas for a basic business foundation that includes community, including a link to information about how to develop a business plan. As you create your business plan, you might decide whether you want to become an affiliate salesperson for a product or service, or whether you might decide to sell your own merchandise or skills. How can you incorporate sales and still maintain some integrity with your site? In this article, I’ll demonstrate how you can become a small business “expert” in sales without appearing overt or downright scary to viewers.
One-Person Revenue-Producing Sites
Some of the examples I used for the last article were rather large sites, like C|Net, EBay, and Suite 101. These sites employ many people just to maintain and build a site, let alone to run business operations. What if you are a one-person operation? Do you have a chance to make money, or are you doomed to draining your bank account with your Web site? If you build and maintain sites just for the heck of it, then more power to you. Many of us, however, need to make enough money to pay for the server, bandwidth, and any other small (or large) expenses that come across our paths.
You can either sell your own merchandise or services, or you can become a sales associate or affiliate for another business. Even if you carry your own products, you might incorporate another business’s products or services to enhance your sales. Below, I’ll talk about some advantages and disadvantages between selling your own products/services and then how you might incorporate third-party sales.
Taking Design to the Desktop
How many of us use a background on our desktops? I think if I were to post a poll about it, I would get at least 95% of people saying ‘yes’. But what is it most of us see when you look at the same familiar screen 2 thousand times a day? A good looking woman, a sports car, or a tranquil scene of some fish floating around on a reef somewhere exotic is a good place to start when you try to envision other people’s monitors because the majority of people never stray further past the default wallpapers Microsoft ships with windows.
A few create their own wallpapers or use programs such as Microsoft PLUS to extend their desktop capabilities, when in fact there is a really cool way of using the desktop which was introduced back in Windows 98 which not a lot of people know about or care to use if they do.
That forgotten feature is the ability to use web documents on the desktop. And the fun doesn’t stop there. Not only does it support HTML, but if you use a page from the web then the options are quite open for what you can view.
Locally (using files off your own machine) you can use HTML, CSS & Flash documents.
Remotely, I haven’t tested it with all file types but I have ASP & PHP pages displayed with ease, so I’m assuming CFM pages etc. should run ok. If not you always have your trusty browser to rely on ;)
Note: I have not tried to view dynamic pages locally as I see no need to view my own pages in that way, so it may be entirely possible to view asp, php pages etc.. locally. I just haven’t tested that possibility.
Last week I reviewed Amy Kim’s strategies about how to build and maintain online communities. Her outlook on community carried an “organic” or growth-oriented perspective. However, Amy’s strategies concerned a human aspect rather than a profit motive. Unless you have a lot of time on your hands or an inheritance, you might wonder how to pay for this community. This week, I’ll offer a few examples to explain how to grow profit along with your online followers.
Online Community + Profitable Ideas
While some Web developers are happy with the commissions that they make from associate programs, other folks might dream about a Web site that makes enough money so that they can quit their regular jobs. As avid Web users, you might have noticed that many seemingly profitable businesses utilize online community to help build customer loyalty. How do they do it?
How do you build and maintain an online community for your site? How can you instruct your clients on how to build online loyalty for their sites? Further, how can anyone handle the angst that seems built into interactivity with unknown and sometimes hostile viewers? When Amy Jo Kim wrote her book, “Community Building on the Web” in 2000, she outlined some of the first guidelines for building online interactive loyalty with an emphasis on “organic” growth. In this article, I’ll review Amy’s strategies and compare them to a current venue to consider whether her strategies still stand true.
Thanks to the widespread popularity of search engines like Google, most computer users know that the answer to nearly any question can be found on the internet. The problem is that finding the specific bit of information they seek may be harder than they expected. If you can help your site's visitors find the information they need with a minimum number of clicks, you can make them very happy. You’re on your own to create compelling content, but this article can help you create a search feature your visitors will love.
FreeFind offers hosted search technology, so there's nothing to download or install.
Last week I promised the coding wizards out there that you could shake your collective heads at my efforts with PHP and MySQL this week. However, despite my lack of skills and with a little help from my server manager, I managed to upload WordPress 1.5. From that point, with very little further help, I added a three-column template and modified it to suit my needs. Therefore, I wrote this piece for any designer (or beginning coder) who longs for a three-column personal blog, but who freaks out when she views a string of letters, numbers, and punctuation marks that look like an alien language. A warning, however: You must at least have access to an FTP program and you must know how to use it.
Web Ready Digital Video
With the recent increases in Broadband speeds, delivering high quality streaming video on the web is now possible. Whilst the final result will depend to a great extent on the quality of the original video, when it is resized for inclusion in a web page, say 320 x 240, any shooting errors or compression artefacts become much less noticeable. Any consumer DV camcorder should be capable of producing video of sufficient quality for web use.
This has been made possible largely due to the new Windows Media Codecs, which produce excellent results with virtually no loss of quality from the original 720x576 (PAL) or 720x480(NTSC) input.
So what do you need to get started?
A DV camcorder
Editing software – Adobe Premiere, Canopus Edius, Vegas etc.
Encoding software (usually included on your editing package) or you can use the Windows Media version, downloadable from Microsoft. http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/9series/encoder/default.aspx
Some basic lighting – you can usually hire this for the duration of the shoot.
A clear idea of what you want to shoot. This is the most important aspect. You should spend more time in pre-production than you do on shooting and editing.
This article is the third in a series of articles about the popular blog software ‘Wordpress’. In this article I had intended to show how to use Wordpress as a simple Content Management System (CMS) rather than a blog. However, in the gap between my writing the last article and this one, Wordpress 1.5 was released which contains new functionality called “Themes” and so this article will use the new Wordpress themes in order to create a site that uses Wordpress as a CMS type application rather than a blog.
Installing or upgrading to Wordpress 1.5
This article assumes that you have a working copy of Wordpress 1.5 installed on your server with the default template installed – basically just what you get after installing for the first time.
This article is the second in a series of articles which discuss how to create your own blog using software available for download. In the last article I explained how to download and install the popular, free, blog system “Wordpress”, and by the end of the article we had a running installation of Wordpress using its default template.
In this article I will be discussing how to create your own template for a blog. I will be using Wordpress as my example however the techniques used here could just as easily be applied to another blog with a similar templating system, and while this is a follow-up to the first article it could be followed as a standalone article if you already have blog software such as Wordpress installed and want to know how to create your own templates for your blog.