One of the frequent conversations I had at the domain conferences was about developing websites. Due to the Missouri.me 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 Whisky.com and PalmSprings.com 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.