Are You an Online Publisher, Online Retailer, or Both?

Knowing your online strategy means knowing whether your online business activities will include online publishing, online retailing, or both.

The difference between online publishing and online retailing is this:

Online publishing is the business of developing, acquiring, copy editing, designing, posting, marketing and distributing content for a public audience using web pages, email, RSS, PDFs, podcasts and other digital formats.

Online retailing is the sale of goods or merchandise from a website in small or individual lots for direct consumption by the purchaser.

Knowing your online strategy means knowing whether your online business activities will include online publishing, online retailing, or both.

One of the largest online publishers we’ve found is Yahoo!. Yahoo! gets over 137 million unique visitors every month, and this number has been climbing as they’re up 18.2% according to Yahoo is no longer “just a search engine” with their new content-rich sites such as the celebrity gossip haven omg! and their self-help portal Yahoo! Answers, which shows up regularly in search engine results when asking something in question form. When you search for big keywords such as “finance” in a search engine, even on their largest competitor Google, they show up on page one. Google loves Internet hubs, and Yahoo! is one of the largest, boasting almost 1.5 billion webpages.

One of the largest online retailers is Amazon. They see over 52 million unique visitors every month and have been steadily climbing. Unique visits are up 10% this year and their average stay is up 15.6% to almost 8 minutes according to Compete. Engaging customers with user-generated reviews is a key to the success in Amazon’s editorial strategy.

We spend all of our time analyzing, interviewing, and noting the business practices of successful websites. We’ve come up with seven strategies that are fundamentals of online publishing success. Most publishers we analyze and work with don’t necessarily implement all of the strategies perfectly, but knowing what they are and asking the right questions within your organization will certainly put you on path to make more money online.

These are our seven strategies for online success, reworded as questions you should be asking yourself:

1 – Editorial Strategy: How many platforms do you currently publish in? Which of the platforms are “content originators” and what is the process for repurposing that content from one platform to the next? Which platforms are intended for direct profit and which are intended for audience development?

2 – Business Strategy: Which of the existing 12 online business models are you currently deploying? Is your website architecture properly supporting those business models? Are there any revenue generating opportunities you are missing?

3 – Keyword Strategy: How visible is your site in the search engines? How many keywords are in your universe? Are you currently managing your online content development according to what your users are searching for?

4 – Website Strategy: Is your website architected in a way to attract traffic from Google, convert that traffic once it arrives and monetize those visitors? How many of the 12 webpage templates are you deploying and where could you make improvements that will increase your overall conversion rate?

5 – Email Strategy: What is your email contact strategy? How much revenue are you generating per thousand emails sent? What can be done to increase that number?

6 – Organizational Strategy: Are you organized by function or by platform? Is anyone in your organization dedicated only to the Web? How are you integrating your print and online publishing teams?

7 – Reporting Strategy: Which numbers and metrics do you track on a regular basis? Which are most important to you?

Publishers who routinely ask themselves these questions and refine their business processes as they go are seeing the greatest success online.


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