Making Money Online, Living Anywhere in the World Requires a Well Planned Web Strategy.
Sun Tzu, a brilliant military philosopher, outlined his strategy for war in the classic book, The Art of War. He developed tactics that gave him the winning edge even before he sent his troops into battle. In fact, his number #1 rule was, if you can avoid battle, do so at all costs. A second tactic was, if you have to go to battle, do so on your own battlefield, and finally a third was, when the decision is made to fight, do so with all your resources.
What does war philosophy have to do with web development? The answer is; Everything!
The number 1 and biggest mistake people make and the number 1 reason most companies’ web strategies fail is because they do not take the time to “avoid the battle at all costs.”
The website, though virtual, is no different than a concrete store front. When people “drive by” your store, what compels them to pull over and come inside? Is it a free offer, a referral from a friend, an article they read in the newspaper? Once they have made the decision to stop and enter your store, then what? What pages or items do they see first? How will they interact with staff once they are in your store? How will they buy, what additional items will they be offered at check out, etc?
The website analogy to all this is what we call a Graphical User Interface, or GUI. This fancy term represents “your own battleground,” a place where you need a strategy for how your customer is going to find you, interact with you and create a relationship with you online. 99% of web programmers never address GUI strategically, because they see the website development from the wrong side of the screen. Most business owners do not understand GUI strategy, because they make the common mistake that their web presence is different from their concrete presence. It seems that the internet causes people to throw all the rules out the window when it comes to developing a winning web strategy, but that’s a mistake. Business owners need to practice what I call “The Art of International Web Development.”
The greatest piece of advice that I can give any business owner who is looking for a web developer, and who wants to develop a good online strategy, is to first look at the web developer’s own strategy and how they promote themselves. Do they make money online? Have they created a winning strategy for their own business? I’ll be real with you; most code junkies do not have an entrepreneurial bone in their body. Many web developers have a false sense of authority because they know the client will be at their mercy when it comes to building a site.
So picking the right developer applies to Sun Tzu’s rule number 1, because many of the battles in web strategy begin between the developer and the business owner. A great way to avoid this battle is to do your research, and ask questions of the developer that will make them uncomfortable. Research all the websites in your competitive market, and create a list of all the websites that you like and don’t like. Pay BIG attention to the GUI – the way those competitor websites guide a customer through their digital sales space. Pretend you are a customer when you visit your competitions websites, and judge your experience accordingly.
Part two of this article will expand on both of these points – battlefield intelligence, and avoiding direct market conflict by taking the steps at your own camp to guarantee a swift, flawless victory.
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