If you ask some of the great business leaders of our time, and times past, what made them so successful (?), you will find very often their success was rooted in their ability to find people that were good at something, and then help match them with people who needed something. When it comes to taking a small site and making it larger and more popular, the solution will invariably involved many people.
So what goes into making a successful website? Let's think about it for a moment. We will need:
- Web designers who can make the site look nice, and tweak the html, and make continued improvements over time.
- Programmers who can continue to improve the functionality of the website for the users, the administrators, and the marketers, while keeping the code base up to date with the latest technologies (bells and whistles)
- Marketers who will perform tasks like search engine optimization, directory submissions, paid advertising, email marketing and more.
- Users who will frequent your site, providing content, telling friends, and contributing their time because they enjoy being a part of what you do.
- Administrators and moderators that will work together with the other groups to connect each of them together into a cohesive group with a shared vision
When you think about making a large website, it is nearly impossible to do everything yourself. When you start out, you may find that you have strengths in some of the above roles, but trying to do all of them is not going to work long term in a majority of cases. So the next consideration is going to be what you need most now (and you will make this consideration on a regular basis, as it will change). You may need to get some feedback from others about this, and the people that provide feedback may also fall into you core group later!
Here are a few key questions that you should ask to help assess what is needed most right now:
- Does your site present the correct image to reflect your purpose?
- Are the design elements well organized and adaptive for future growth?
- Does your website have what is needed to allow users to join and interact with your site, and easily make a positive contribution? (could be buying items, adding content, casting their vote, etc.)
- Are you able to easily view important data about your users so you can see trends?
- Are you able to easily manage the needs of your users, and provide help to them when needed?
- Do you have a process in place for spreading the word about your website?
- Are the pages of your site optimized for search engines, yet easily traversed by your users?
- If you already have a good number of users, is there a need for additional help to better communicate with users?
- If you already have some moderators or administrators in place, is there any additional needs for helping maintain the common vision, and help these people do what they do best?
- Are there any ways you can improve the interaction between your groups?
It is important to continue to ask these questions, and see how you can attract the people you need. Often you will find that if you work with good people, they will help you in this journey. Don't be afraid to ask people what they think you need. Just make sure you have also asked yourself these key questions. People can be your greatest asset, and allow you to grow more than you ever imagined possible.
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