If You Build It ... Will They Come?
My Online Entrepreneurial Lessons

Back in 2006, I made the plunge to "go online." At the time, I was coaching competitive travel youth sport teams year around and was always searching online for new game strategies, drills, and better coaching techniques. There were several website that had a few of the pieces, but not one who tied it all together with a good "why" explanation.

I found my niche, a youth sports website that offered coaching advice for youth sport coaches that clearly explained coaching strategies, what type of practice drills teach specific skills, and how to effectively communicate to youth players between the ages of 10 and 18 years of age.

I spent three months setting up the 100 page site based on keyword research, linking in Google Analytics, creating a blog with more than 50 posts, creating an RSS feed, and republishing a few posts to EzineArticles (online article directory).

Nobody Came

For the first six months, I religiously checked Google Analytics to check my visitor and RSS feed stats. After six months of hard work, I was the proud owner of a website that had a couple unique visitors per day and zero RSS feed subscribers. When I talked with a few friends who had websites, they had the same frustrating experience.

Lesson 1: Just because you built a great website does not mean anyone will find it.

Lesson 2: Creating a blog with a RSS feed and publishing unique and informative content does not guarantee you will get visitors.

Lesson 3: You need a good keyword selection process to generate search engine traffic. It starts with a broad selection of keywords that you narrow down until you understand the conversation in the visitors head, the problem they are looking to solve, and which keyword or phrase generates the action the business owner wants.

Monetization Strategy and Customer Value

After several more months of development work, I solved the traffic problem and wanted to start monetizing the website traffic to pay for the domain registration and hosting costs. I had heard that Google Adsense was an easy and effective monetization method. I signed up for the Adsense program and put three Adsense blocks on each page and waited for the money to come rolling in. It never did. I spend the next three months tweaking the number of ads, the ad block location, background and text colors, ...

Lesson 4: Google Adsense can be a good monetization method for the right market, but not all. As a business owner, you need to have a clear understanding of your lead generation and sales funnel and how you are going to monetize your visitors before creating your first web page.

Lesson 5: With Google Adsense, many times less ads are better. With information sites, too many ads make the visitors "ad blind" and, in many cases, reduces the number of ad clicks.

After 18 months of development and posting to the blog two to three times per week, I broke the 5,000 unique visitors per month barrier that placed me in the top 500,000 websites on the Internet (according to compete.com in 2007). In today's competitive market, it will require a lot more visitors to reach that top half million mark.

My next monetization strategy was to offer related affiliate products that I personally used on the teams I coached. Many of these products were tools for player development. My reviews were honest and provided recommendations on the most effective ways to use the product to achieve the desired results. Although I was getting high click through rates to the affiliate products, somewhere over 60%, people were not buying the recommended products.

Lesson 6: Most businesses have a poor sales cycle strategy, even when the product recommendation is aligned with the product sales page. This is especially true for offline businesses who are trying to take their business online. Businesses need to understand and develop their sales funnel and guide the prospective customer through the sales process to maximize their revenue generation.

Where is this site today?

By the end of 2008, after three years of development and learning, this site has between 200 and 500 unique visitors per day. At just over 10,000 visitors per month, this site ranks in the top 250,000 website on the Internet (according to Compete).

How can Velocity Traffic help?

If you have read this far, then you are looking for a solution to your traffic and conversion problem. Velocity Traffic offers services from customized web development solutions for the business wanting an online presence to market domination. Through a process of understanding the value of a customer and keyword research and selection, bringing targeted visitors to your site, and developing a bullet proof sales funnel, many small and medium businesses can turn their website into an effective sales machine that produces additional leads and revenue.

To change your website from a money sink into a revenue producer, request a free initial consultation to see what Velocity Traffic can do for you.