8 Guidelines for a Successful Site
#1 Care about what you’re writing
You will be way more successful if you have a passion about what you’re writing. You should also care about how the site looks, the ease of getting to information, and the quality of the content.
#2 Provide something useful or at least purposeful
Define your site. What is the purpose of your site? Would readers want to visit more than once? What makes your site unique from other sites? Your goal is to try to add value to the web and to the community.
#3 Don’t build a site that embarrasses you
If you can’t comfortably put your name on the site and let people know who you are, then you probably shouldn’t build it. It’s not that people who build junk sites don’t make money, but it’s a lot easier to advertise for a site when you’re willing to tell people what it is.
#4 Don’t get greedy
Don’t cash in too soon and make sure ads are subtle and don’t detract from content. Putting ads on your site too early can kill your site or make it look like web spam. A site must give people a sense of an established presence before it can get away with advertising. Nothing kills a new site faster than tacky ads. Offer your content graciously.
#5 Plug your site whenever you can
Your return label on regular mail can have your website. Your email signature can contain a link to your site. Same goes for forums. Just remember the previous rule: don’t embarrass yourself–if you need to hide your real identity, it’s probably overdoing it.
#6 Focus on traffic, not search engines
Search engines should be trying to optimize themselves to find good sites. Make your site good–a good site has a lot of people that want to visit.
#7 Seed your site
If you’re planning on running a site that has community-driven content, start by trying to seed the content you have to get things started. You need to have something there to attract the first people.
#8 Find a niche
The less competition the better. Try to have a site that is focused towards a particular audience that is being less serviced than it ought to. Better to be the master of one specific area, than a jack of all trades.