Making A Labor Of Love Profitable - Advice On Creating A Successful Macintosh Website
by David Engstrom
Like many people who have posted Macintosh related websites on the Internet I did it for love not for money. Quite frankly my Macintosh made me do it and the Internet provided the vehicle. The Macintosh, as most owners know, has a way of getting under your skin - infecting you with the urge to create. This is especially true for the neophyte or new owner who often for a period of time seems wedded to his/her new Macintosh to the near exclusion of everything else. Thus it was with me - as I explored my new machine and the Macintosh community I became more fascinated and intrigued with what the computer was able to do. Having the requisite amount of testosterone racing around in my system my interest of course turned to how I could speed this puppy up. From the results of this experimentation MacSpeedZone was born (although at that time it was called "The Mac and Mac Clone Performance Comparison Page" - unwieldy at best) Fitfully and crudely at first MacSpeedZone has matured into a very useful reference site for those seeking Macintosh information and gave birth to a companion site MacReviewZone which in a unique way references a great deal of information in one easy to use focal point.
As your relationship with your site matures you begin to look for ways to support and justify the amount of time, energy and expense you are putting into your site. It is at this point that many Webmasters seek out sponsors or decide to call it a day. Below I will detail several steps you might take in creating a website that might be attractive to advertisers and some ideas about obtaining sponsorship.
Create Something Unique And Useful
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery however if you create a site that is just a carbon copy of an already existing site it is doubtful that you will be successful. There are numerous Macintosh news sites out there on the Internet and some have overlapping information. The successful one however have been those that have brought a unique voice and presentation that helps differentiate themselves from their competitors. The online Macintosh Community is huge and information hungry. If you provide it with some unique and interesting content it will come to your site. MacSpeedZone has inspired a handful of other performance related sites Each approaches the issue of computer performance from it's owner's unique knowledge and perspective. This has led to an overall increase of interest online in performance issues and thus an additional interest in MacSpeedZone - these other performance sites are good for us.
The key to getting sponsored is knowing the market and who is advertising in it. Who in particular would be interested in your site. For instance a performance related site will be attractive to makers and distributers of CPU upgrades (though not exclusively so). Visit other sites and see who is advertising there. These people are your best bets as they are already advertising and know what they are getting into. Contact these companies and be persistent - sometimes it takes a few tries for your message to get to the appropriate person. Don't undersell yourself or oversell yourself. If you think you have got something worthwhile that an advertiser would be interested in let them know how they will benefit from adverting with you. Think about what you can offer them beyond simple banner advertising. Do you have a subscriber mailing list? Can an advertiser utilize that to reach your audience. Be creative in this area. Potential advertisers may like your site but they will want to know how advertising with you will effect their bottom line - they will not be offering charity no matter how much they personally may like your site. People actually click on banners. I did not think so before we started running them since I never click on banners, but people do. However studies have shown that the major usefulness of banners is in "branding" - exposing an advertiser's name in front of a significant audience. Keep this in mind when approaching advertisers.
Be patient in developing sponsorship at your site. For most of us obtaining significant sponsorship has been a slow building process and depending on the scope and nature of your site, may be a limited one. However any sponsorhip of a site you have carefully labored over will be rewarding Also keep in mind why you started the site. If it just becomes about making money your site may lose some of it's flavor.
There are many excellent Macintosh sites out there and whenever there is something new in the Macintosh market related sites spring up like mushroom after a spring rain. The good thing is that advertisers have come around to realizing the usefulness and potential benefit of online advertising and jumped in whole hog. So the pool of advertising dollars that can support various Macintosh sites has grown substantially larger than when MacSpeedZone was first started. There is no better time to start a Macintosh related site than the present - jump in and give your idea a try.
David Engstrom is the creator and proprietor of MacSpeedZone and MacReviewZone
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