What are the characteristics that publishers and marketers should think about when planning their online business?
In Mequoda’s view of the online world, there are four primary traits that all successful online publishers have in common. They are:
The question of how to drive website traffic often boils down to one thing: producing and posting great content.
If you’re a publisher of information products, your website’s primary strategy for serving your audience and interacting with other web properties should be the content that your site provides.
One of the advantages that print publishers have when they go online is a deep archive of content. Just think about all the content sitting on your shelves, collecting dust, that haven’t generated one cent for you over the last 12 months.
Wouldn’t it be better to unleash that content online and optimize it for search, where it could encourage links from other publishers and possibly become a valuable source of revenue?
Naturally, this content-unleashing initiative involves not only deciding how to categorize all the migrated content, but how to make it happen from a technological standpoint. It’s also critical to search engine optimize each article.
The second characteristic publishers should commit to is becoming Google-friendly.
Google is often the single largest source of online traffic for the publishers we’ve interviewed and those we’ve helped build. It’s certainly Mequoda’s biggest source of incoming traffic, right next to direct links and Twitter.
Being Google-friendly requires several disciplines. First, you must commit to doing extensive keyword research, to understand exactly what your potential audience is Googling on a daily basis that your content should help answer. Second, you should architect your site around those keywords. This greatly increases your chances of being found. Last but not least of course, is writing your content with your keywords in mind.
Being Google-friendly also means being friendly to other publishers. One strategy for being friendly with other online content providers is to use permalinks, so they can confidently link to you, knowing the article they’re linking to will still be there in a week, a year, or a decade.
In addition to generating direct traffic from other publishers, permalink pages also help provide the links that Google uses to decide the hubs of authority in any market.
In order to compete with the hubs of authority in your market, everything you post online should be done with an eye on search. Knowing firsthand the exact terms your potential audience is Googling on a daily basis is the first step. Architecting your site and optimizing your content accordingly is the next step, and is key to online publishing success.
The web itself is only one part of an effective online publishing strategy. For most online publishers, more page views will be generated from email than from their website.
Further, for those publishers who also sell books, reports, events, or other information products online, our research indicates that email will generate as much as 60-80 percent of all online sales.
So, we very much believe that the website mission should be to maximize your web-to-email conversion rate.
Attention must be paid to email as a publishing platform. Email should be taken as seriously as any other publication in terms of programming, and every publisher should have an email editorial schedule that includes formats and frequencies.
Last but not least, be profit-minded. Remember that the purpose of your website, as a publisher, should not be mission-oriented or self-entertainment, as are the majority of websites and blogs out there today.
Readers need to be served and partnerships need to be built, but at the end of the day, successful online publishers have consciously decided to run an online business. They understand that the price of being here tomorrow, is making a profit today.
Do you meet all four criteria?
Are there any other traits or characteristics of online publishing success that you’d like to add to this list? Which characteristic do you think is the most difficult to commit to, or execute on?