Jul 16 2012
I’m aiming this post directly at website owners. For the rest of you out there who simply love to come to websites to comment on them and be a royal pain in the ass then carry on and keep doing what you’re doing. However, I want to address something I’ve seen in the nearly 5 years I’ve been running websites.
Thousands upon thousands of people start websites every single day with the hopes and dreams that their site will break the mold and become a monster. And that’s fine. But there are also thousands of people who actually expect this to happen. And not only happen, but happen quickly.
The online world is no different than the outside world when it comes to business. A website is extremely difficult to grow and it takes a ton of work not to mention an awareness of the ever changing landscape of the internet……
The real reason I’m writing this article is to in a way apologize to all the sites I’m so jealous of for growing so quickly and what seems like “effortlessly.” You see, there are tons of websites out there that we as webmasters don’t understand how they got to their respective sizes. There are sites that you look at and think to yourself “how in the hell did they get so gigantic?” And at the same time you get super pissed off about it too. Why? Because your site isn’t as large.
What you don’t realize is that there are tons of factors involved and usually you’ll be surprised at why a site is the size that it is. You see most of us see a huge site and think that it was luck. We think that all the traffic is organic and for whatever reason people just flock to that site. But if we looked into every single detail and penny spent, we’d notice that things are nearly never that way.
Let me take a great site that male lifestyle blogs tend to look up to: The Chive. I know a ton of webmasters that hate The Chive. But I know that The Chive’s audience loves The Chive. In case you don’t know who these guys are, they are one of the bigger photo websites on the web. It’s run by Jon and Leo Resig. I’ve spoken to both guys a number of times and both are good dudes. The reality of The Chive is that it started by simply taking other photos from Russian Photo sites and reposting them on their site.
This is a common practice on the web and usually people don’t get pissed as long as the original source of the photos is credited. But does this happen EVERY time? Clearly not. Is The Chive at fault here? Maybe. Maybe not. But you have to look way further than that.. The Chive didn’t merely repost photos and become massive. The Chive took advantage of every single traffic burst they received and pounced on it. It wasn’t until they set up a massive internet hoax about a girl interviewing for a job that the site went “viral” and blew up. However, this hoax could have simply been a catalyst that died. But it didn’t. These guys busted their asses and made sure every single post after that was excellent so they could retain their readers.
And then they didn’t stop. They launched three other websites. They have a store. A huge Facebook page. And the coding behind the site makes it search engine friendly. There are just so many things going on behind the scenes that people don’t know about. And if you think the site just runs on cruise control, you are wrong. Sure, today it’s easier than say a year ago but that’s not the point. The point is that there are tons of photo blogs out there. Why is there’s so big and others not? And why even bitch about it? People think they can start a photoblog and then poof! Huge site, tons of money. Wrong. It’s hard work, like anything else.
Does it take luck? You’re damned right it does. But I believe sites make their own luck by working hard day after day and year after year. The big breaks will come but how will you capitalize? So yeah, there are sites out there that piss me off. There are sites out there that make no sense to me. Sites that make millions and I just don’t get it.
But 9 times out of 10 I can rejoice in the fact that this simply didn’t come out of nowhere. They all share a common bond of busting their asses to get where they are. Oh and by the way to my point about WHY sites get large? The sites that grow fast and in a short amount of time? Most if not all of those sites have spent a TON of money to do so. It’s that simple. Money buys you traffic. Money buys you publicity. Money buys you an audience. Starting a site from scratch is extremely difficult these days. Having money or buying a site is your best bet.
Oh and as far as HOW to build one of these massive sites? Well that’s an entire book waiting to be written…
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