Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Four C’s of Internet Success

Doug McFarland, of Media Metrix, explained that successful sites have four elements, all beginning with “C”. They are: Community, Content, Communication, and Commerce. And I think that’s their order of importance, and the order that a site owner should address them in the process of setting up their website. As the site develops and grows, each of these elements will become more prominent and important, but as a site is being built, they should be taken on in that order.


It’s very important to realize that your customers aren’t just people who give you money, they are your friends. They are your associates. They are people with common interests. And you get to pick who they are.

The very first thing that should be addressed in the creation of a web business is: “Who will be coming to it?” Once the audience of a site is established, everything else might not fall into place immediately, but it will have a place to fall into.

Then you can ask things like, “What do they want to know?” and “What do they need?”


The content is the information that you have at your website. Studies show that three-fourths of web visitors return to their favorite sites for strong content and constantly refreshing information.

And if you’ve effectively established your community, it should be relatively easy to identify the subjects you can provide content in. Finding that content can be time-consuming, but it’s not difficult. Sites like ( can be great resources.


The best thing someone can do when they come to your website is to buy something, right?

The next best thing they could do is to join your mailing list. In fact, sometimes I think that the mailing list might even be the best thing they can do. Because on the mailing list, you can bring them back again and again to buy over and over. Establishing the list is critical to the success of your business.

How do you entice people to sign up? First, simply ask them to. Many will come to your site, be intrigued by your content, and want more. Others will need more to draw them in. Offer some product as a premium in a drawing. The bigger the offer, the more likely people will be to sign up. You will, of course, need to balance that with your ability to provide the prize!

Once you’ve established a drawing, list it at contest sites like ( These draw lots of people interested in winning free things, and you could be amazed at the signups you’ll get.

Of course, once you get a list established, you’ll want to use it to bring people back to your site. For more content, or for product! Establish a regular email newsletter. It’s not spam, because everyone on your list has requested to receive it. It’s better than third party bulk mail lists because you know that these people are actively interested in YOUR site.


Lastly, establish your site as a place to buy things relevant to your content, and that appeal to your community. Choose products, find sources and put them on your site. Hook up your merchant account to make payment easy. Announce new products in your newsletter.

These four elements, taken in that order, can boost your site up to commercial success!

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