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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 02-Jun-09

 


Tuesday 02-June-09

Creating a successful website

I was asked recently how I developed the changingminds.org site. The site has been reasonably successful and it's a subject I ponder from time to time. I could have written more but one of the rules is 'keep it simple' so I kept it to ten points.
 


So how did it all start? I'd been writing for a number of years and wanted a hobby that would hopefully become a career. I'd been wanting to write a book on persuasion for years and the first 'big idea', ten years ago, was to create a 'category killer'. Just like Toys'R'Us, if I could cover all the bases, then people would not need to go elsewhere. Two rules, then:

1. Start with a big idea.
2. Be the best.

I then just got my head down and got on with it. I researched and read endlessly, which is something I really like. So two more rules:

3. Persist. Write every day.
4. Build a big research library.

The site grew organically. I write what I find and where I am studying at the time. For example I'm doing a M.Sc. in Psychology at the moment so there's lots of pages from that. I recently bought another book on Sales so I'll scan that for new ideas. I often synthesize across readings, so one page may have many sources.

I've managed to get up the Google rankings on a lot of subjects mostly by playing the rules. You can find more of the principles I used here: http://changingminds.org/webmasters_adsense_secrets.htm. In particular, I focus one page on one narrow subject. So:

5. Focus each page.

I believe in what I'm doing. I've worked on the principle of 'build it and they will come'. So

6. Have faith in yourself and what you can do.

The site is written with an old verion of FrontPage. It's simple, flat pages for the most part. I taught myself HTML and enough Javascript and PHP to get by. I designed the layout myself and improve it from time to time. I keep an eye on who's looking where. For example lots of people go to the body language pages so I've extended that section.

7. Keep it simple.

8. Learn and evolve.

And finally you need to promote the site endlessly. I'm writing this on the train into London and just gave a demo to the lady sitting next to me. I have an RSS feed and use Twitter to tell the world about updates. I've also written a 'book of the site' which is quietly doing quite well and will continue to add products.

9. Sell the site!

10. When you have attention, sell other things.
 


 


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