Find out who your competitors are
After 8 months in development, I am finally launching my niche site at the end of the month. When I go live, I will have enough content and features to propel me into the top 5 or 6 in a niche that has about 20 players. I thought high traffic would be a slam dunk.
But I recently found another player who has about as much content/capabilities--if not more--than the top 3 sites, and yet after a full year, it grabs less than 30k uniques/mo--about 1% of the top sites' traffic. Point is, content and capabilities alone can not make a site (in my niche) succeed.
So I am looking to other things. I have been at this for just 8 months, but I have some advice for new web entrepreneurs and would like to get some back. One advice is:
Find out how much traffic they're getting
Rank them in terms of traffic
Find out where they're getting referrals from (e.g., via Compete.com)
If they're getting a lot of traffic from Facebook, for example, find out what their presence is like on Facebook and experiment with your own similar model to see what works and what doesn't.
"Opposition research" is a MUST for any site that wants to remain competitive, and this is one of MANY ways to market and drive traffic (albeit not an innovative one).
I would like to invite anybody who likes to add their own advice, ask their own questions, and answer/volunteer:
(1) For the traffic/revenue-minded, how long before your site achieved the traffic/revenue that you wanted it to?
(2) We all know "content" and "experimentation" are good things generally, but what specific things have you had the most success with in driving traffic to your site?
(3) What techniques are less effective, or a waste of time altogether, in your opinion?
(4) What do you do to ensure that your site is relevant and competitive within your niche?
(5) Are there any relatively cheap ways to "jump-start" traffic for new starts besides the (useful but) generic advice like "be patient," "experiment," or "add content"?
Again, comments, questions, advice and warnings are all welcome. I mean for this to be an open discussion.