As part of job we run into many first time bloggers and web presence new persons. As you would expect, they spend a lot of time being preoccupied with what their site looks like. We understand this and can appreciate that it a personal expression and why it would be an important, the completion of your website design is only the end of the beginning.
However part of our job is to re-orientate a new-comer to understand that if you are spending money our your presence and if you expect and eventual return whether it be monetary, notoriety, community or whatever, the business of the website is business. That is your design is a consequence of your desire to meet your objectives, itself is not the objective.
If you have the most beautiful restaurant in your City but it is down a dark alley that no one goes down then all the attention you spent designing is no good if no one turns up. In other words, the objective is happy paying customers or community members, of which design is 10% of your time.
You would be amazed at how successful seemingly humble down to earth sites are when they deeply focus of servicing their community. Audiforums.ca has almost 10,000 members and Audiforums.com has 68,123 members. These sites have spent almost nothing on design, but everything on building their community.
Our recommendation always to put some of your budget aside for community building and SEO work because getting your blog/community started is a very time consuming effort. If you have someone who has done it before and can guide you, can save you months of work figuring out what to do to get in front of your audience. While building a community can be enormous fun and you will find online friends who have a common interest, it is also the most important part of your blog.
The steps that you would take to starting the genesis of your community is roughly as follows:
- Decide on the platform what you want to use
- Work with your designer to build out the look and feel and functionality
- Work with the site builder to structure your site to appeal to (a) your potential community and (b) search engines
- Complete the structural elements including social integration tools that you want to use
- Create the baseline analytics for your site
- Build the content for your site.
- Build a community aggregation strategy including backlinking, cross posting, writing submission and many other techniques
- Restructure your content and functionality as you understand your audience better
- Restructure your community building strategy as you learn from your users
- Repeat etc
I have probably left a number of steps out, but you can get the gist of this. Community building is 50% of your time, content building is 40% and design is 10%.