The do’s and don’ts of starting up online

James Fryer, deputy editor of online Gloucestershire arts and entertainments guide, outlines his top five do’s and don’ts for success online.

DO # 1 – Be Great

  • Set out to fulfil a niche and be the best at what you do.’s high-quality editorial content is Gloucestershire specific arts and entertainment-related, and exclusively written by experienced journalists.

DO #2 – Search engine optimise.

  • Ninety per cent of traffic comes through Google. Marry publishing and SEO through a bespoke CMS if you can afford it.

DO# 3 – Know your market and products.

  • Be very specific about your target market of advertisers.
  • Research what you competitors (both off and online) are offering.
  • Create a clear suite of products.
  • Clearly distinguish between editorial and advertising – know what can be bought and what can’t.

DO #4 – Establish a clear sales strategy

  • A great website with an established audience may organically generate some advertising sales, but not enough.
  • Divide your roles to encompass media sales, or commission sales professionals.
  • Promote, but don’t get bogged down with web-specific advertising features.

DO #5 – Forge partnerships

  • Carefully plan and forge print and radio partnerships, if applicable.
  • Syndicate content in a controlled fashion, increasing audience and brand awareness. But, cash is almost always better than a contra-deal.


DON’T #1 – Compromise your model

  • Develop and adapt, but don’t compromise what you set out to achieve and what you believe in. Don’t give in to pressure to diversify unnecessarily.
  • Maintain your editorial integrity.

DON’T #2 – Be afraid to stand up for yourself.

  • Stealing content online is as easy as copy and paste.
  • has experienced more than 200 individual infringements on their copyright from amateur blogs to the largest publishing groups in the UK.
  • Make the choice, you lose time and money tackling it, but you may be able to seek retrospective license fees.

DON’T #3 – Spend all your time on Twitter.

  • Is social media activity building you an audience which can be monetised, or directly making you money?
  • has had some success with Twitter etc., but real success came with
  • YouTube. 3,500,000 video views. Excellent for link building and monetised through AdSense and licensing.
  • Time on the telephone trumps time on Twitter.

DON’T #4 – Rely on UGC

  • User generated content may be here to stay, but we agree with predictions that the new decade will see a resurgence of the importance of high quality journalism, written by journalists.
  • Advertisers trust because it is written by professionals.

DON’T #5 – Stop moving forward.

  • Respond and develop quicker than large publishing houses.
  • Content is still king, but innovations including interactive map, bespoke CMS development and new embeddable widgets all keep at the top.

At, 2010 will see:

  • A redesign
  • The launch of iphone apps
  • 100,000 uniques per month.
  • Unveiling of new franchise model, empowering independent publishers across the UK.

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