Online publishing has become very popular over the past several years, and for good reason. Consumers are hungry for quality content, especially the one they can access on the go. Many Internet users are accessing e-books, articles, and podcasts with tablets or mobile phones instead of waiting until they can access a desktop computer. It’s no wonder many people are interested in getting into the online writing and publishing business, but like any other venture, you need to have a plan if you are going to make it a success.
Define Your Target Market
Who are your customers? Your first step in establishing your online publishing business should be to decide who will be the audience of your writing. Picture your ideal customer as clearly as you can, including how old he or she is, where your customer lives, what kind of work they do, how much they earn, what kinds of hobbies they enjoy, etc. The more you know about your customers, the easier it will be to offer them products they are interesting in buying.
Educate Yourself about Quality Writing
Since you will be asking people to pay for content, you need to know what types of content are driving the market right now. Ideally, you will want to be able to know your customer base well enough to be able to anticipate their needs and offer them the kind of content they will need ahead of the market curve, but this will come with time and experience. Conduct market research to find out what types of writing has done well in the past and what consumer are interested in now so you can offer selections which will generate sales immediately.
Make Sure Your Website is Easy to Use
When you are reviewing your website design, put yourself in the shoes of the potential customer who has never clicked through to it before. Is your site clear and easy to navigate? People who are looking for information and content online are not going to spend a lot of time searching through your site to find what they are looking for. Your design needs to capture their attention right away or you will lose out on the chance to make a sale.
You will also want to make sure that your shopping cart is easy to use as well. Go through each step as if you were buying a product to weed out any snags in the process. A customer who is having difficulty paying for or downloading the product is not going to complete the transaction and will not visit your site again.
SEO Optimized Writing
You will need to conduct some keyword research and use these phrases in your web copy to help your potential buyers find your site. Google makes changes to its algorithm regularly, but basic SEO principles around offering good quality content are still your best bet to ranking well with search engines.
Offer Something for Free to Entice Buyers
People like to feel they are getting some type of incentive to try something new, and offering some free content is a way to establish a customer base. You will, of course, want to limit the amount of free writing you have on offer, but offering a few e-books or podcasts at no charge will help to turn website browsers into buyers.
Ask Your Customers for Feedback
An effective way to find out how well you are meeting your customers’ needs is to conduct a survey. You can offer a free download or another incentive to each person who takes the time to answer your questions. Be sure to include a section where respondents can write in their comments to share specific information with you about what your business is doing well and where you can improve.
Monitor Your Site’s Performance Regularly
Use your webmaster tools to monitor your site’s traffic and customer buying patterns carefully. The information gleaned from these sources will help you keep a close eye on which keywords are bringing visitors to your site, your bounce rate, and whether your visitors are staying there long enough to make a purchase. You will need to tweak your keywords every so often as you see patterns emerge and be sure to add some long-tail ones into the mix, since they are more likely to attract people who are ready to buy.
Fall in Love with Your Writing
The two of you will be spending a lot of time together, so you will need to make sure that you are willing and able to stay enthusiastic about your business over the long term. There may be times when the experience is exhilarating and others when it’s stressful, but it will never be boring. If you truly love what you do, it can be the glue that holds things together on the journey.