Online businesses are likely to weather the recession better than most traditional businesses. However you can’t be complacent.
These are the things that you should do to ensure your website survives and thrives during these difficult times.
STEP #1 – Tweak The Focus
Ask yourself whether your subject and content is appropriate for the current economic conditions. For example, trying to promote a website about property investment at the moment will be like pushing a square rock up a steep hill. However a simple tweak to, for example, ‘The Profitable Landlord’ and a re-focus on building a portfolio of rental properties during recession could be a winner.
STEP #2 – Content! Content! Content!
The quality of content will always determine your success. In tough times you should focus more than ever on creating great content. It is your chance to shine.
STEP #3 – Think Global
Many countries around the world are suffering a lot less than the US and UK. Try to make your site and content appropriate to a global audience. Get active in markets that are still growing.
STEP #4 – Global Domination
Sounds a bit 007, but it’s a good point. During a recession many of your competitors could go out of business. Often the last man standing, when the markets turn, goes onto to dominate a niche and become the biggest player in the market. Do a Google search on your subject, look at the competitive sites and draw up a plan of how you can beat them.
STEP #5 – Be Positive and Enthusiastic
If people want to get depressed during a recession they can listen to the news. Your site should be a haven away from the doom mongers. Don’t pretend the recession doesn’t exist, but be positive and upbeat.
STEP #6 – Help Your Customers Save Money, Make Money or Have a Better Life
Remember your customers are having a tough time so focus on giving them advice to make their life easier in tough times. They will remain loyal forever if you help them when the chips are down.
STEP #7 - Track Your Stats
You should always keep an eye on your web stats, but in tough times it is more important than ever. Watch which content is most read; take note of the pages that make the most money; identify changes in the keywords that people are using to find your site; follow links to referrer site; etc. Continually tweak your site based on the lessons you learn from the stats.
STEP #8 – Multiple Revenue Streams
I can’t stress enough how important it is to have multiple revenue streams. Consider advertising, affiliate marketing, lead generation, selling digital products (ebooks, reports, software, etc), selling physical products, selling dropship products, subscription and membership, webinars and seminars and offline conferences. Diversifying your revenue streams should be a very high priority; plan on doing it now.
STEP#9 – Be Opportunistic
Use your knowledge of the internet and your niche to make one-off revenues. I recently noticed a website with a good domain name had gone out of business. I bought the domain for $1,000 and sold it on for $3,300 a week later. In recession a lot of these sorts of opportunities arise
STEP #10 – Expand Your Business
I worked for a very successful entrepreneur who continually told me the best time to build a business is during a recession. Everything is cheap, competitors are dropping like flies and opportunities become much clearer as people only spend on what they really need. When the dot com bubble burst I bought a popular content website for $2,500. It had no way of making money so I simply added Google Adsense and it immediately started making $400-$500 a month. It has been making money ever since.
STEP #11 – Reach Out to Your Community
Become an active and integral player within the community that follows your subject. Participate in forums, comment on blogs, build your network and get to know the key players. You are more likely to identify opportunities and build your business if you are an insider.
STEP #12 – Co-operation and Co-opetition
As an extension of Step 10, look for opportunities where you can work together with other people in your niche. You may even find profitable ways that you can work with your competitors. At SubHub we promote the services of marketing experts in exchange for a commission.
• Running joint events
• Writing a book together
• Cross promoting services
• Co-registration for subscription sites
• Sharing marketing or content creation resources
STEP #13 – Focus on Affiliate Marketing More Than Advertising
As times get tough merchants look for ways they can make their marketing budgets go further. One way they can do this is to pay for advertising based on results. This is how affiliate marketing works. Paying for CPM advertising is likely to take a big hit over the next few years, whilst affiliate marketing is likely to boom. You should follow this shift and focus on becoming an excellent affiliate marketer
STEP #14 – Understand Currency Shifts
I know this is a bit dull, but it can have a real impact on how much money you make from your website. For example, a UK business that sells a service for $100 a month to the US was making £50 a month in January 2008, but today is making £67 a month … a 34% increase in income. Play the markets by targeting countries with strong currencies
STEP #15 – List The Businesses That Boom in Recession
Some niches boom in recession. Think about whether you can tap into them.
• Administration lawyers
• PC repair
• Home improvements
• Employment advisors
• Energy saving
• Renewable energy
• Alcohol and drug abuse
• Personal finance advice
• Debt consolidation
• Foreclosure services
STEP #16 – Reduce Costs
Go through every single one of your costs and see if it can be cut or reduced. We reduced our phone bill by 75% with one phone call and shaved another $1,000 month off other services just by asking the suppliers to reduce their charges.
STEP #17 – Don’t Rely on Free Services
This time around thousands of internet businesses which are offering free services will go bust. Don’t rely on free service providers for any of your key business activities. Move your domains, hosting, email, backup and payment processing to established and reputable companies.
STEP #18 – Keep Marketing
Marketing is not optional, but is often one of the areas that get cut most severely in recession. Keep marketing but make sure you get a lot of bang for your bucks. If you don’t have the money to spend invest time in social media and search engine marketing
STEP #19 – Don’t Do Anything Illegal
I recently read an article about the increase in the number of sites using ‘blackhat’ or banned search engine marketing techniques as website owners become desperate to increase traffic and sales. Don’t be tempted! You only need to be caught out once by the Google police and your site could be banned forever. It really isn’t worth the risk
STEP #20 – Create Content That Has a Long Shelf Life
This is a general point. Online content publishing really boomed with the blogging revolution. Blogging was all about posting regular commentary that was relevant and valuable for a few days or even hour. However today the trend is shifting to more magazine style articles which have an online shelf life of months or years. These longer ‘how-to’ style articles can generate search engine traffic consistently over a long period time. If you run a blog think about how you can turn it into an online magazine with content that will attract and retain readers for years to come..
STEP #21 – Work Hard
There is no substitute for hard work, determination and focus. The last man (or women) standing in every niche when the market turns will be well positioned to make a fortune. Make sure it is you!
Times are tough, but if you look around for opportunities, work hard and remain positive you will look back at this recession as the time when you built the foundation on which your success and wealth is built.
Bon chance mon ami!