The do’s and don’ts of starting up online
James Fryer, deputy editor of online Gloucestershire arts and entertainments guide SoGlos.com, 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. Soglos.com’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 SoGlos.com 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.
AND THE DON’TS
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.
- SoGlos.com 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?
- SoGlos.com 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 Soglos.com 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 Soglos.com at the top.
At SoGlos.com, 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.
- Social Media: Think like your audience
- Speaker Q&A: James Fryer, deputy editor, SoGlos.com
- Q&A: Ciaran Norris, head of social media, Mindshare
- Q&A: iVillage’s Lulu Phongmany on the business of building online communities
- Tips from The Economist and Bloomberg on how to maximise newsroom experiments