Web publishing is a long-term effort. As someone who has been a web publisher for over 20 years with many projects under my belt, I know that getting a site to be successful often takes years of perseverance.
My most successful sites have taken anything from two to five years to take off and become profitable. During these years, I have had to keep investing time, money and effort to keep pushing through.
And it isn’t just about the resources. Throughout these years, I have had to deal with bouts of fear, uncertainty and doubt as well. Wondering whether or not I should keep trudging along with a project is probably something all entrepreneurs go through, and I was no exception.
In this article, I want to share some insights about the process, not only to share the difficulties but also to convince you that pushing through the grind is worth it. It’s the only way to success and may be the single most important thing that separates successful entrepreneurs from those who give up.
Related: 9 Best Practices for Managing a Multi-Site Web Publishing Business
The journey from vision to viable website
The initial phase of ideating a website is often exciting as ideas flow freely. Then comes the long slog of securing the domain, hosting, installing WordPress and populating the site with initial content. With some website ideas, you may realize the concept wasn’t viable after all. Knowing when to halt projects that aren’t panning out is crucial.
The slow build of organic traffic can also be disheartening. Most web publishers aim to generate traffic organically through search engines rather than pay for ads. This organic growth is steady but slow, as search engines can take months to crawl, index and rank newly published content.
Many articles never rank well, and even those that do often take a while to appear in search results. Website owners must persistently publish content without certainty that it will ever drive traffic.
Platforms like Facebook can drive website traffic faster than search engines. You typically know within hours whether a social media post resonates with your audience. However, it takes most publishers weeks or months to discover what content succeeds on social platforms. The formula is often elusive.
Taking the leap of faith
No matter how experienced you might be, launching a website requires a leap of faith. Success lies on the other side, but summoning the courage to step out with a new idea rests on the hope that your efforts will carry you across.
Website owners must overcome fears and trust their commitment will lead somewhere good. Resources like mental resilience help make the leap possible when results aren’t immediate.
Related: 5 Quotes to Help You Maintain Entrepreneurial Persistence
Sticking it through can pay off big time
Over the years, I have seen many web projects take off later than expected. I have had websites I had deemed “dead in the water,” only to see an influx of traffic hit the site later on.
Sometimes it’s a question of continuing with the same effort, digging in and waiting out those initial months. Other times, you have to keep on experimenting and trying out new ways to drive traffic.
For example, I have recently created a Facebook page for one of our sites. It has taken me months to figure out how to create content that page followers would find enticing enough to click through and visit the site.
Going back to the site stats dashboard every day only to be disappointed by the lack of traffic wasn’t easy. But I knew persistence was key in figuring out how to engage the attention of Facebook followers, so I kept it.
And it worked. Facebook traffic from that page ended up increasing that site’s traffic by more than 50%. Had I quit earlier, I would have missed out on an important asset for my business.
Knowing when to let go
The sad truth is most websites fail. As entrepreneurs, we must know when further efforts are futile. Ending a project at the right time enables pivoting energy into ideas with greater traction. However, giving up too easily results in missed opportunities. Determining the line between persistence and futility is key.
So, how do you know when to quit? Sometimes, a good method to follow is to gather intelligence from others in your field. This information would serve as a benchmark for your project.
For example, when I wasn’t sure if my Facebook page would work, I contacted successful publishers in my network and discussed this with them. They provided me with important tips, but more importantly, they encouraged me to keep trying.
And other times, you just have to trust your instincts as an entrepreneur. This gets easier as the years go by and you gain experience. And remember, it’s okay to make mistakes until you reach that point. It’s all part of the journey.
Related: How to Know When to Give Up, When to Pivot and When to Persist
Lessons for all entrepreneurs
After over 20 years as a web publisher, I have learned that success comes to those who persist. My most rewarding website journeys have been the ones that took years to gain traction.
There were certainly moments when I wondered whether it was time to change course or give up entirely. Yet ultimately, my willingness to push through months or even years of uncertainty, regularly adapting my approaches without losing sight of the end goal, is what breathed life into my visions.
My advice for fellow entrepreneurs would be this: Remember that business success is a marathon, not a sprint.
Allow your ideas the time and care needed to find their footing. Not everything will succeed, but pulling the plug too swiftly guarantees failure.
Perseverance in the face of doubt is the quality that will carry you across the invisible bridge. With a commitment to refining your efforts, visionary ideas can and will transform into thriving endeavors.
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