The Ingredients of a Successful Website
The first published article on Six Revisions was about the things you need for a web project to succeed. Two years later, the site has reached a point that I would consider "successful".
The definition of "success" is different to everyone. To me, I define success as having a large audience that consists of readers from all over the globe that love and enjoy your work as much as you do.
In this article, I would like to reflect and share with you the things I consider to be the ingredients of our recipe for success and growth.
Unyielding passion for your work
Growing a web project takes time and dedication. It involves many days with little or no sleep. It has an abundance of minutia tasks that need to be done when you’d rather be doing something else. Building a website necessitates a schedule that would make anyone but those who are truly passionate and dedicated to their idea, give up. Do you have it in you?
A strong knowledge about your subject
Whether you’re building an email app that will revolutionize the way people do emails or a web publication about baking cookies, you have to know your subject inside and out. When you’re not well informed, it clearly shows through to your audience. Being knowledgeable about your subject is about creating trust: Internet users are wary about the things they consume on the Web. If you can’t prove to them that you can be trusted, they have thousands of other sites to choose from.
The foundation of any web startup is the people that have built it. It’s no secret that the largest component that drives the continual growth of Six Revisions and Design Instruct are their brilliant writers. Without them, our two sites wouldn’t be where they are now.
Discovering people with the same passion and belief is rare. Thankfully, we’ve found a few of them that have decided to join our family (you can see just some of them on the About page). I spend a lot of my time working with our writers, as well as helping them grow their own websites.
Partners that complement your skills
In the first article of Six Revisions, I said that you should avoid going solo for your web project. When things start to build up, in order to carry forward your growth and keep up with demands, you need to collaborate with someone.
For Design Instruct, I knew I needed someone who would be better than I am with visual art and design. I was a graphic designer back in the days when dinosaurs still roamed the earth, but have now since moved onto web development and web design. I also knew that I couldn’t run two sites on my own, yet I was fearful to put my fate in the hands of just anyone.
This is when I approached my brother (Isaac) to team up with me. He’s an illustrator and photographer by trade, and someone who—regardless of our relationship—is vastly dissimilar from me. He has brought his knowledge, skills, fresh ideas, and passion to the table.
Design Instruct and Six Revisions wouldn’t be able to advance without a solid partner, and I’m almost certain that your web project won’t be able to either.
An open ear to your audience
Your users have a lot to say. They have a vested interest in your growth and have entrusted you with the responsibility of constantly improving yourself to meet their needs. Oftentimes, when we believe in something so steadfastly, we tend to shut these voices of alternative thoughts out.
Critics are a penny a dozen on the Web—the Internet gives people a cloak of anonymity that make it a piece of cake for raffish individuals to say negative things about your web project just for kicks.
However, there are also many people with ideas and suggestions that can make your site better. Take advantage of the collective nature of the Internet by listening to your users’ opinions, suggestions, and ideas. They have taken the time to share these ideas at no cost to you but your time to listen to them.
Relationships with people in your industry
The Web has the ability to connect us with people that we might not be in close proximity to. It’s important to foster and create relationships with people in your industry, regardless of whether you consider them competition or not. When we are working together rather than against each other, we can drive innovation and grow together instead of creating a counterproductive environment.
Make it a habit to reach out and contact the people in your industry. Participate on discussions in their website (you can, for example, frequently find me in the trenches of Smashing Magazine and Envato comment sections), see if there are opportunities to team up and build something together, trade war stories, and just get yourself on their radar.
Staying informed about the happenings in your industry
Keeping up with the events happening around you is critical. It’s part of being knowledgeable about your subject and is something your audience expects you to be doing. Especially on the Web, when things change so rapidly and interests are fickle, it’s imperative to maintain your information current.
Effective time management skills
Having a good time and task management habit ensures that you can keep up with the growth of your web project. Time is the primary limiting factor to your growth, and thus, you have to treat it as a resource, just like your budget and your technology infrastructure.
What stuns advancement of any project is the fear of change. Fear of change leads to fewer or no innovations. On the Web, being risk-adverse is not a good trait to have. In a realm where things move very quickly, being a stick in the mud will only make sure that the people around you that are taking all the risks will be reaping the rewards instead of you.
Looking out for opportunities to grow
The reason I personally respond to every email (I get hundreds a week) and carve out blocks of my time to partake in interviews, participate in discussions, write on other web publications, join panels, write books, and other activities that may not have a direct impact on Six Revisions or Design Instruct is because I never want to end up saying, "I wish I’d done that."
Being receptive to possibilities outside of the websites that I run, without a doubt, has contributed to the growth of my own web projects.
What are your own ingredients for success? Let’s talk about them in the comments below.
- How to Design for Your Worst Client: You.
- How to Stay Ahead of the Curve as a Designer
- 6 Things You Need for Your Web Project to Succeed
- Related categories: Project Management and Web Development
About the Author
This was published on Mar 6, 2010