First, I have to say thanks to Rich and Jeff for their great advice! I posted some questions on these forums about 4 months ago and received some key advice from both of you. I`m not one of those persons who forgets where he came from, so in a year or 2 you may get a mystery check in the mail from an old friend.
I`d like to share some of my lessons learned to help others from falling in the same traps I had for about 5 years. First, a little background. My best friend and I started a website about 5 years ago, www.moontowncafe.com , to try to help poetry writers get published. The site became quite popular but did not generate much income. Luckily, we were not counting on the income to pay bills. Here`s what we learned (some through trial and error, some from Jeff and Rich):
1. Don`t start a business with your best friend (this should also include your family)
2. Don`t get so wrapped up in day-to-day activities that you lose track of your original goal. I was spending way too much time maintaining the site that I could not concentrate on our original goal nevermind the future. Which leads me to point 3.
3. Everyone knows someone (or has an uncle) who is the leading expert in web programming and design. Believe me, they are not! Do some research, and pay a little money for a real expert.
4. Listen to your customers and adapt to meet their needs. For 5 years I knew what my customers wanted, but I wasn`t listening. Listening to your customers also means analyzing your traffic reports from your server. For example, if the top exit page for your site is the store, maybe the prices are too high or the page needs improvement. You could find this out by adding a quick survey to your site. Now, after implementing a few small changes, we are seeing an exponential growth in traffic. Again, thanks you guys!
Feel free to email me (Kyle O.) any questions at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Good luck to all of you!!
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