Successful Website Advice – Avoid It

Written On Day: 83
medieval market

Lets assume that you just started a site, or are planning to.  You are looking for advice and ideas.  The first instinct is to do a search on Google for your niche.  Click on the top results and have a look at what others are doing.

This website’s niche is making money online.  There are about 5 big players for this niche.  Websites and blogs that get thousands of visitors a day.  They are an outstanding success.  Make lots of money.  The Walmart, Mircrosoft, and Kellogs of the make money online niche.

All of them give advice on how to make money online.  They give tips about website design, what to sell, how to write, basically they answer the question: how to have a successful website.  They can do this because they have authority – their website is successful.  Do what they do, follow their advice.  It worked for them so it will work for you.

Wrong.

True – they know what they are doing.  They did all the right things.  The proof is their success.  If your goal is to have a website exactly like theirs then follow their advice.  Design it like their website, write like they write, post when they post.  Follow their advice and end up with a website very similar to theirs.  It will identical in all aspects except for one – the most important one.  Your website  will not be a success. 

The fundamental flaw in doing what the successful websites do is that you are setting yourself up to compete against the best.

Following Advice Of The Successful Leads To Failure

Lets say its the year 1300.  You live in a bustling medieval city.  And you are sick and tired of your day job – there is no point in plowing the local prince’s field.  You want to go into business for yourself.

You wander around town in your woolen tunic with hands clasped behind back, looking for business ideas.  You come across the city market.  Little stalls selling assortments of goods.  Mmmmm, maybe I should open up a stall.  But what would I sell, how will I sell it?  You look around for the busiest stall. 

Careful not to step in donkey shit, you make your way through the maze of stalls.  Most of them have one or two people haggling over trinkets.  No big money there.  Then suddenly you see it.  A stall with a lineup.  At least 20 people waiting in line, all of them happy and waiting eagerly to make a purchase.  The owner is gleaming as the money moves from the customer’s hand to his.  You have found a successful stall.  The sign above the stall reads, “Prowalkers – The best and biggest walking sticks in the city”.  The plan is to wait for the end of the day and seek advise from this great business man.

Hello, my name is Fergus.  I am tired of my day job.  I want to be successful like you.  What advise can you give me.  Being a kind and patient man the business man goes into a long lecture about what makes his business successful.    He tells you how to build the stall, how the merchandise should be arranged, how to advertise, and most importantly  – always smile at the customer and ask them to come back.  You thank the man for all the great advise.  Skipping home your main concern is whether to have the house re mudded or to buy a new apple cart once the silver coins start rolling in.

The next few weeks are busy.  Following the advise of the business man you set up your stall.  You are very pleased.  It looks almost identical.  The design is the same, the layout is exactly how he recommended.  He sells 9 foot tall walking sticks, you sell 9 foot tall walking sticks. 

Monday morning…the grand opening.  You wake up early and rush to the market, setup your stall, and wait eagerly for the masses.  The only worry is whether there will be enough room in front of the stall for all the hordes of people lining up.  Probably not.  But you console yourself by realizing that if they squish together then at least 30 people can stand in line.   The church bell dongs and the market opens.

By the end of the day you are in tears.  You sold only one walking stick and that was to the village idiot.  Weeks pass with little change.  Your stall receives very little traffic.  And the few that do visit already have a 9 foot tall walking stick.  Where did you get that you ask.  Proudly the man looks at his walking stick and replies, from Prowalkers of course.  He has been around for years, has the best walking sticks – everybody buys their sticks from him.

Two weeks later you are back in the fields digging up the princes potatoes. 

Do Not Follow The Successful

When your are starting off, it is very tempting to look at the successful site and do as they do.  This is a mistake.  By doing what they are doing, by following their advice, your site will be similar to theirs.  And that puts you at a major disadvantage.  Because then you have to compete against them.

The best way to use the successful sites is to try to find something that they are not doing.  Do something that they never mention.  Or best yet, do something that they recommend against doing.  Since everybody will follow the advice and not do it,  you will be the only one doing it.  While everybody is thinking about how to improve the horse carriage you will be creating the Model T.

The greatest opportunities and surprises are down paths least traveled.  Paths which start with a warning sign, “Danger, path unexplored – enter at own risk”.

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