opinion

In Pursuit Of Excellence

Stephen Yagielowicz
I was talking to my old friend, Wasteland owner Colin Rowntree, the other day, and the discussion turned to a focus on the fundamentals, and how building one site to the best of your ability and taking it as far as it will go, was a much preferable stratagem than the typical one of repeatedly "throwing shit at the wall until something sticks" – that is to say, launching site after site, project after project, in the hopes of someday turning a decent profit.

This lack of focus is something that many webmasters, including myself, are guilty of. In my own case, I start many sites and projects in order to pursue the possibilities; but my goal is usually to have something to tell all of you about – having chosen "webmaster resources" as my 'niche' over 5 years ago. I don't have the time or energy to successfully run dozens of websites, and with my short attention span, I am fairly content to build, write about, and then abandon, website after website. A Top List today, a TGP tomorrow, an MGP on Tuesday afternoon.

The projects I thus engage in are usually driven by the fad du jour, and generally taken from what folks are currently discussing on the industry message boards. Once upon a time, all I wrote about was AVS sites. Now I write a lot about TGPs. I can help you get started, but you're on your own from there...

Many other webmasters have a similar pattern, but not for the same reasons. They experience a lack of immediate success (or a level of success below what they had hoped for) with their current project, but hear that some other guy is making loads of money doing some other thing, and then whammo! It's time to shift gears and try something new. Not surprisingly, they experience similar results with their new project, often because they did not invest the time, energy, and commitment required to bring it to a state of excellence and ultimately, profitability. This is too bad, and is what my lovely wife Dawn refers to as "spinning your wheels."

This is understandable for newbies trying to find their place in the industry, but there comes a point when after a while you need to settle on one thing, and develop it to its fullest potential. You come to a point where it's no longer a learning experience, but a desire for a reasonable financial reward that drives you into making a commitment to a particular project. But will you act on it?

What that project is, and how it turns out, is entirely in the hands of the individual executing it, and dependent on his or her level of skill and dedication. To quote a previous, but in some ways similar rant, "Ya gotta wanna..."

For example, if what you want to do is take pictures of pretty models, then take the best pictures of pretty models that you possibly can! Don't loose your focus by trying to manage a content production company or run a website at the same time. Find a broker that can handle your output, get paid, and then go take more pictures of pretty models. Learn about lighting, learn about composition, figure out what all those buttons on your camera do and why. Become the best damn photographer that you can be!

Want to run a website? Ok, then, what kind of site can you build and successfully operate? Everyone is 'hot' about TGPs these days, but do you really want to enter a market with 100,000 other competing sites (a number that is growing daily), many of which feature the same damn galleries as each other? What would set you apart from those other sites, and allow you to turn a profit? Where will your traffic come from?

This isn't to say that you can't make money with a new TGP, but if you want more than beer money, it had better be an 'excellent' TGP. What would it take to make such a site, of the level that I'm talking about? I'm sure that some folks will think that a free script and an hour a week is all that's needed. After really considering it, however, I believe that it would be a full time "plus" job for someone who really wanted to do it, taking up at least 8 hours a day, each and every day. Most folks aren't willing or in a position to make this level of commitment, and so putter along with a site that might be good, but is certainly not 'excellent' – and definitely not reaching its full potential in terms of traffic, or revenue. I'm not trying to discourage you, but if the TGP game is what you're interested in, forget building a hundred of them, build one and work it until it's the best damn TGP out there, and then keep working it!

Want to build a pay site? Ok, how will your pay site be different than all the others out there? There'll be many people who disagree with me, but IMHO, if you don't have original, exclusive content, then you're doomed from the start. Sure, lots of folks with more money than me have made, and continue to make, 'profitable' sites with nothing more than an old Z-Master content CD. But these sites are far from excellent, and if the companies producing them focused their energies on one kick ass site, instead of 100 shitty sites, everyone would be better off – surfers, affiliates, and other pay site owners included.

There's more to this story, but I'll save it for another day. In the meantime, click the link below and let me know what you think of all this. Did I make sense? Did I hit a nerve? Am I full of shit? Post your thoughts below!

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