|My Website Failure(s)|
I cant believe the time and money I wasted.
A couple of years back I became very enthusiastic about building an online dating site.
After six months of research, graphic work, content writing and programing I was ready. If I say so myself it was a first class effort. It had all the bells
and whistles that a site of this nature needed.
So with adequate funding I sailed off into the sea of single romance.
Rather than soaring like an eagle it was more stuttering and sputtering like a
wounded duck till it finally nose dived into the swamp of failed websites!
What happen?....I came to the party too late!
Timing is everything in war and commerce. I failed to adequately judge the strength and deep pockets of the giants like EHarmony, Match, Friend Finder
and the big head lead they had on all of us smaller rivals.
Also not factored in was the emergence of the free sites like Plenty of Fish,
Face Book, My Space, et al.
After eight months and loads of deniro I strucked the colors and limped off the
fields of on line romance.
The final score? Eighty six paid members, five hundred and four free members and a badly dented bank account.
The moral of this little tale of woe? Pick your spots carefully and dont fall in love with your own efforts.
You have to know when to hold em and know when to fold em!
Anyone else been down this road? Lets hear from you...KF
(Then there was the time I made a site for....No I cant go there, too painful!)
[edited by: King_Fisher at 9:09 pm (utc) on Mar. 16, 2008]
Looking at the positive - it's good for your portfollio when you go to see clients who can then check out yr website.
Also in this world of change, guess it could be used for something else - just needs a bit more brainstorming?
I've been down that road. In my case I just didn't have enough time to follow through even though *I* thought it was a good idea :)
I'll spare you the details but I'm slowly learning not to bother chasing a small niche that will never be big or all that profitable. I've got two "bigger" sites and they're more worth my time now than all these little ideas... Lesson learned.
experience gained through this is very valuable. It's the whole concept of internet marketing that matters and this project was just a small part of it.
You only fail in internet marketing when you give up and if you're here means you didn't fail.
Deep huh? :)
Oh, I can beat that story, except for the part of "adequate funding," it is similar. We were not too late, just not big or fast enough. Or slick enough.
It's tough to get people to believe you. I can get in the door, but then it's "What do you know?" I was right, but others got the market.
Swanny, I hope people listen to you about not bother chasing the small stuff. I was too big, but the people I'm working with now are thinking too small.
None of my sites have failed, I'm too dumb to know when to quit!
Small niches, well streamlined in operation, can work out okay. If they don't require excess time investment after becoming reasonably established, they can each throw off small profits for a very long time. I know that it's a bit against the grain, and for good reasons - but if you can be the big fish in the little pond there are opportunities in running a string of sites. Tie the the hosting and merchant accounts together to chop off a lot of repetitive overhead, streamline the operations. Excess labor and non-streamlined operations/overhead are death to the small niche. Time and operation costs will eat up every nickel of cash flow. Still a lot of good fishing in small ponds I think.
Actually looking seriously at a couple of much larger than usual opportunities (for us) right now, but that is primarily because we think that the big players in these 'medium ponds' suck and are vulnerable.
You did what you could King_Fisher, and while it's probably no consolation at this point, you should at least have the satisfaction of knowing that you put your best effort into it.
I've had several sites fail miserably, fail so badly that I took them offline. Whether it was the idea that wasn't right, the timing, the promotional efforts, etc.. I don't know. I mean I could point a finger at any of those and say it was the cause. All I really know is that those sites didn't work. End of story.
When "Plan A" doesn't work, you go to "Plan B." If Plan B fails, you go to "Plan C." I guess the moral of the story is just keep banging away until something works.
You already know this though.
KF, without looking at much of the details of the site, you might just find a way to use the resources you already have to make it unique and better, so don't give up on it just yet.
When faced with exciting ideas, they should be first noted, and thought over for sometime, before they get implemented.
I think a site MUST offer something unque to compete and exist in this internet environment which is full of bu**S*** and also high class ites. It is important to find a niche and then start small.
Without any funding I have launched a few sites. One ecomm site is doing well. It offers a product that is currently NOT available online in my country. It is also a low margin product so the big guys are not interested. I am happily toiling along. Today received a phone call from a customer saying the site was beautiful.. I think site design is ugly but yes..the content and product is beautiful for the interested person. That is what I focussed on.
One info. site is sinking fast. Even after one year it has hardly any back links.. Topic is too obscure..for Americans ( who still drive the internet economy).
Rest of the sites are doing o.K.
Some good, some bad.. some satisfaction.
Call me a diehard optimist but I'm yet to be convinced that the timing can ever be wrong. It's just a question of getting the angle right.
|Call me a diehard optimist but I'm yet to be convinced that the timing can ever be wrong. It's just a question of getting the angle right. |
That's a great point, if I remember correctly Google was just a bit behind yahoo (overture-goto) when they decided to get in the search engine game.
|I cant believe the time and money I wasted. |
Hang on a sec here. Can you take a minute and make a list of all the things this has taught you? Beyond the single one you're focusing on. The benefits may not help your bank account, but there are richer assets than money, and I'll bet that list is at least 50 items long.
Any millionaire will tell you: "I've lost everything many times. This is how you learn how not to fail" (or to quote Aerosmith, "You've got to lose to learn how to win." :-) )
I've got dozens of these, literally. At first I thought like you did, wow, what a waste . . . then I met my wife who showed me, among other things, there is nothing you do that is a waste. All of these "failed" projects have paid back a hundredfold in customer and personal projects that have come later. Without the failures, I wouldn't know what would work.
Walk away from it, then come back in a few months, you will see a new spin you can put on it.
And you learn something too. Even in failure, maybe even especially in failure.
Each of my sites that failed, and there have been 3 so far, I learned new things. I had to get into different coding languages that went beyond basic HTML and that experience in itself was worth a lot. I learned what didn't work, and while that lesson certainly isn't as valuable as learning what does work, it's still good information to have.
I'm an optimist too. Somewhat jaded but an optimist nonetheless. I really do think it's a matter of timing though. It's also a matter of catching people's attention. I mean look at that million dollar pixel site, for instance. What an utterly stupid idea - yet it worked. Yeah, it was a gimmick but the bottom line was that it worked. It won't work tomorrow though and that's the fatal flaw. Timing, durability, offering something people are going to need on a continual basis. I'm just rambling here but these are things I think are key to a successful site.
Given that you never know how successful a site will be before it is running, you have to consider development time and resources required before getting into it. My personal strategy is to launch a "bare bones" version that must prove itself before I put all the fun features in, and the shinny appearance on it.
The down side of this phased approach is you cant create something really spectacular from the outset, and your considerations are about turning something out at as low a cost as possible. The upside is that you save lots of wasted time, if the idea doesn't work.
There are thousands of dating sites out there - to succeed you have to find your niche. Don't build a dating site for everyone - build a dating site for millionaires, for people who have at least a college degree or whatever group comes to your mind - go where the money is. Make it exclusive - and expensive.
A few years ago when everywhere online auction sites where spreading and no one would have invested a dime in just another one I had a client who focused on an auction site for airplanes exclusively - with success. Why focus on thousands of auction items for a few hundred $ when all you need is to sell one airplane worth several millions $ to make the same or even more profit?
If you focus on a certain group it is much easier to target advertising and if your service is exclusive enough you need less members. Whats the use of having thousands of members who pay 10$ each when all you need are a few hundred paying 100$ or $200 each.
[edited by: jecasc at 6:48 pm (utc) on Mar. 17, 2008]
A failure is only a failure if you choose not to learn anything from it. (Or if you are somehow incapable of learnign anything from it.) Whether it is a business or relationship or other type of investment that didn't work out, you should always try to learn as much as you can about why it didn't work out the way you planned.
Most of the time, you can boil down the problems to one or more of the following:
2) Implementation (which can include location)
4) Outside factors over which you had almost no control
(Also, things constantly change, so what is successful today may be dead in a year. And vice versa.)
Dissect what went wrong and factor that into the next endeavor. Later, when you do succeed (and you will, if you learn from the mistakes and fix them in the future), and many people complain with envy about how "lucky" you are in your successful venture, you can just smile knowingly.
I have to agree about the "angle" you approach it. I think the failure is often of our vision of what the site should be. A fresh idea, a new angle and a "failed" website can take off.
I had a blog which was getting some traffic but was not able to find a way to make any money from it. I gave up on it for a while but after a fresh look I realized we (the visitors and I) had a specific problem in common so I set out to solve it for myself. Then I wrote a 90 page ebook about it and suddenly the money appeared.
That lesson has helped me many times over for other sites I developed. Give the customer what they want and not what you think they need so be open and flexible to adapt to their needs.