March 1, 2010 9 Comments AUTHOR: brucemarler CATEGORIES: Domains Tags: , , ,

Building A Website Is Not Building A Business

One of the frequent conversations I had at the domain conferences was about developing websites. Due to the launch and some of my other projects many people had questions about how to develop the sites, tools used, where we get content, etc. I am always happy to share as much as I can but there was something that I would preach to anyone who would listen and it seems to escape many.

There is a huge difference between building a website and building a business. In most cases people can have many great ideas about what they would like to do with their great domain name, they may even have all the technical abilities to create an amazing e-commerce site or content rich geo site but in so many cases there is no plan for what to do once the site is up.

If you put 50K into a wonderful website, do all the hard SEO work, if you do not have a plan on how to generate revenue after the site is up it is really just a website, not much different than a parked page, I can imagine if you spend 50K or even 10K on developing the perfect website you would want to have a plan for something more than Adsense for revenue.

So, when talking about domain development you need to think about taking it past the web development phase and how to get it into the business development phase.

To understand what I mean take a look at what the Castello Brothers have done, they understand business. With sites like and they have created businesses. I have really enjoyed my conversations with Michael and David and love the fact that they focus so much on the business rather than just the website. That is the difference between successful domain development compared to someone just building a website.

Now, everyone has different skills, I know many people much smarter than myself that can create amazing web sites but they lack the skills necessary on the sales and marketing side. This is where partnerships come in. If you have a great idea and have all the skills to implement the product and technical side then you may want to look for partners for the sales side. I know I could not of come close to creating everything my development team did on our state geo platform.

So, what is the point of this post?

Well I have heard so much talk of domain development, as we all have heard over the past year or so, I want to see people be successful. In most cases people will not be able to do it on their own, if you plan on building your domains into real businesses and not just websites you need to evaluate what you are good at and determine what pieces to build a business are missing from your skill set. Find people that you can team up with to fill those gaps. You may find that 1+1=3 when you do this.


  1. Aaron 6 years ago says:

    This topic hits home. I know many entrepreneurs who think they just have to look more trendy online than the competitors, but the truth is that successful businesses do great work and follow that work up with a great web page.

  2. Zadling 7 years ago says:

    There’s a good lesson to be learned from this post. I was listening to some of Altitude’s marketing tips today and the first thing to do when analyzing a business is to ask what you are missing. Then think of a master mind group. Your dream team of individuals that can get you to achieve your goals. Then start establishing a relationship with those people. Although it’s common sense, common sense is often overlooked.

  3. Deb 7 years ago says:

    Bruce, enjoyed your post. Any suggestions on HOW to find/pick partners and/or developers to assist you make your vision come alive? I think there are many who seem to be struggling with this part of development. Thanks!

  4. Edgar 7 years ago says:

    I find the CNN article interesting because it was written a couple of years ago. And with the emphasis in development for domainers, i wonder if website tasting will soon become a trend?

    Keep up the good posts on your website. It’s been a pleasure reading your articles epecially the geo and dotMe centric ones.

  5. Edgar 7 years ago says:

    Nice article Bruce. Although there are some models (website tasting?) where people build the website first and then the business ( your article shows the less risky path.

    • bruce 7 years ago says:

      I am still ok with people putting websites up (we just did it with ) but more talking about those that put a ton of money out and then do not understand why there is not tons coming back to them after they do it because they focused only on the tech.

      Thanks much for the article and nice comment! Appreciated.

  6. TeenDomainer 7 years ago says:

    Good points Bruce, I know there are a few things that I can not do and they are not worth my time to do so I have others do them for me. Its all about being efficient and cost effective with time.

  7. David Shantz 7 years ago says:

    Websites are less and less a about a singular destination, driven by SEO. The big success stories are using a holistic / integrated brand marketing approach that envelopes community and the added value of applications and APIs…

    From what I can see, using Compete and Alexa – there is not a lot of traffic at -could be 10X or more.

    There are so many effective tools at our disposal: viral widgets, mobile applications and social media that use SEO as an adjunct. Take “Flixster” for example… the brand is not a relevant search term in entertainment – but a huge success… There is an overview of some ideas in this disscussion at Magnity,com.

    • bruce 7 years ago says:

      It is about using social media, etc. I discuss this with customers constantly. The trick is having a plan. In so many cases people are designing great sites but never have a plan past that.

      The problem many people have is that even after traffic they have no idea how to generate revenue, all the traffic and social good will does nothing if there is no business plan behind it.

      As a big social media and seo proponent I like to preach the value of that, and I know a lot of people really good at using it to gain traction. But I also see a lot of people that are not focused on the long term goals of what to do with the exposure once they have it.

      Great comments David, it is about more than just any one piece. You almost quoted my sales presentation word for word with the holistic marketing approach:)