There’s a section in one of the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy books where a two hour flight has been delayed because they’re waiting for the delivery of “small, lemon-soaked paper napkins for your comfort, refreshment, and hygiene”.
The people on the flight have been put into suspended animation for 900 years as the delivery still hasn’t arrived.
Whilst that’s plainly absurd (and memorable – it’s been several decades since I read the book but I still remember the passage) it’s a lot closer to how some people operate their internet marketing business than they’d care to admit.
Any excuse will do rather than get something happening.
If that’s you, it’s time to snap out of that mode!
For instance, I read on a forum this morning that someone wasn’t ready to launch their new site because they didn’t understand SEO (search engine optimisation).
That’s a fairly standard blockage for people – SEO has an air of mystique about it, at least partially created by people who sell you SEO services.
But in practice it’s one of those things that you can get reasonably right with very little effort.
If you’re using WordPress, there are SEO plugins such as Yoast that guide you through the process and even give you bullet points on things you should consider changing. The advice is usually OK although how closely you need to follow it is less certain – beyond the basics of a title and maybe a meta description, everything else is pretty much up in the air. Things like keyword density, using images & videos, word count and near enough every other factor are inside a very broad band marked “your mileage may vary”.
Other factors that are often stumbling blocks include:
- Setting up your autoresponder sequence – whether that’s the initial welcome message, the signup form, single or double opt-in (I prefer single opt-in wherever possible), whether or not you should take people directly to the download page (yes) or anything else that’s lurking in the control panel. Lots of things to dither over if you’re not careful
- Before that, some people anguish over the precise domain name to choose or which hosting package to go for. Domain names are what you make of them – Google meant nothing a couple of decades ago, big companies spend a fortune on name changes (throwing away all the branding they’ve paid for until that date), most of the time I guess you probably don’t even know the domain name of the site you just clicked on. Hosting does vary in quality but for a low traffic site (which yours probably will be except in your wildest dreams) it doesn’t much matter unless you’ve chosen something that charges a dollar a month or offers lifetime hosting for a one-off price.
- Creating content. This is often a showstopper. We question whether we’re worthy to create it even though the answer is almost certainly yes. If you know enough about your niche subject or can research the topic you’re discussing, you are qualified to create content. Double check any facts so you’re not compounding falsehoods but that’s a simple search process. Then write away and click the publish button. If you get something wrong, you’re not alone. Correct it. The same as newspapers have a corrections section most days to change what they’ve said in the past except with a website it’s normally just a matter of editing what you’ve written.
- Choosing a niche. Sometimes this is a complete blank for people – they’ve no idea which niche to tackle or even where to start. Sometimes it’s a case of you can’t see the wood from the trees – there are so many different potential niches that you don’t know where to start. Go with your first instinct if you’ve got niche overload. Run through your hobbies and interests if your mind is blank. There’ll be something there even if it’s doing its best to elude you. Or you could ask a friend for advice if you really are drawing a blank. Will you get it right every time? Almost certainly not. But there’ll almost certainly be enough traction in whichever niche you chose to get you going and you can always move on, letting the site languish in a dusty corner of the web, if it turns out to be the wrong choice. If that’s the case, treat it as a learning experience because it will be.
- Over-analysing things. This happens a lot. You can spend months or even years trying to out-guess what will happen. Because most analysis is really guesswork. Economists are good at this but if you go back through their predictions they’re no better than your daily horoscope, sometimes worse. No-one that I’m aware of has a working crystal ball to predict the future. A lot of work has been done to retrofit the predictions made by Nostradamus – one of the better known people to produce a bunch of prophesies – but that doesn’t mean they were evident before they happened. Until you do something, you probably won’t know what will happen. Especially in the world of internet marketing where there are just so many factors involved. Even things like adverts aren’t totally predictable – the numbers of people searching fluctuate by the hour as well as the day and week and season. There are just too many factors and most of us aren’t qualified enough to do full-on multivariate testing or don’t have enough data to make it reliable.
If any of those are holding you back, make a decision that you’re going to move forward instead.
Pick a time and a date – preferably today.
Then do it.
Yes, you could break out into a cold sweat at the thought.
But the nice feeling that happens once you’ve decided to take the plunge will make your earlier worries fade.
You may even look back and think to yourself “was that all that was stopping me?”
That happens a lot – and you can make it happen to you!
And if you’d like more real world advice on internet marketing, take a look here.