I’ve had a couple experiences lately that have reinforced a couple of my core beliefs about success on the web. These beliefs have proven out over different areas throughout my time in the web industry, whether it is site development, marketing or web application development. Your mileage may vary, but this works for me.
More than anywhere else, the web democratizes information and lowers the barriers to entry for competition. So, if you have a good idea today and you want to make something of it, you had better act. Chances are that there are a dozen others thinking the same thing, and a couple of them are willing to take the risk and move on their idea. Agility is key.
It doesn’t do you any good to copy everyone else. You need to have an original idea, or at the very least, an original take on an old idea. Sometimes that means taking risks and presenting a new web application, product or service that will not please everyone. If you’re not different, you’re not going to be noticed.
This could be the idea itself, the design, the ease of use – any number of things. If people don’t want to talk about you, then you’re not going to be successful. I tend to think that design is half the battle online – rock people to the core in the first few seconds, let them experience your quality.
Above all, you have to be a true believer yourself. If you don’t believe in the product, site or service, then why should anyone else? You might think people won’t notice this part, but that’s not true, it comes out in the little details that will set you apart from your competition.