Site Builders Tips

The following is a reprint of an article written by Jay Servidio, President of Teleteria, Inc., in the January issue of IA2000 magazine. Jay Servidio was asked to write this article for the Interactive 2000 Trade Show in Las Vegas (Jan 13 - Jan 14, 1998) which is the largest adult internet trade show in the US. He was a guest speaker at the convention on Custom Web Site design.

A SITE BUILDERS TIPS FOR CONSTRUCTING A PROFITABLE WEB PAGE

Twenty thousand new people come to the Internet each day, and with the day-by-day growth of confidence in credit card commerce, the Internet's billion dollar sales of 1997 are projected to shoot up to $20 billion by next year. Adult Web sites will generate a good portion of this revenue so its important to look at what goes into making a successful adult Web site. Just because your product deals with sex and involves the Internet you shouldn't neglect the successful business practices used by Wall Street darlings to make money. In my thirteen years at AT&T, MCI and Sprint if I only learned one thing it was this: you win customers when you offer them service that is a) cheaper and b) better (i.e. faster, easier and friendlier). Similarly, there's a wrong way to create an adult Web site and a right way. The right way makes use of the same elements as any other business, no matter the industry.

Like the selling of any product, you must concern yourself with manufacturing, distribution, marketing, and since having a Web site is a long term investment, like owning a store, maintenance. Once these elements are established and under control, then, and only, then, should expansion be considered.

With the Internet some of these elements overlap, which is the beauty of online commerce. In traditional media, the process of creating the product is distinct from its distribution. Once you create a movie on a VHS tape, 15 million people don't suddenly have access to it. A completed Web site, however, is at once the product, its own store and the means of distribution.

Two general types of adult sites are common on the Internet. One style is the "link site" consisting of a list of other adult sites and links to them. This kind of site derives its revenue by selling advertising. The more hits, or visitors, the site generates, the more money it can charge an advertiser.

The second type of site is the membership-based site, where income is generated from access fees. What is offered here is not links to sexual content, but the actual content itself. This is what the Internet surfer wants and, overwhelmingly, is willing to pay for.

The second adult Web site is the focus here because, in general, it can be more profitable than the link site. Its potential market is the millions of Internet surfers, as opposed to the several thousand adult site advertisers link sites court for income.

"Manufacturing"

What goes into building or "manufacturing" an adult Web site? First off, a free page of sample images is the bait that draws a potential customer to your site. My advice is, deliver on a promise. If you say you have a large free sample section, then have a large free sample section of quality pictures. Quality free photos are very important because they have the power to turn a casual browser into a paying customer. The same goes for live video streaming. You should consider including a few freebies to entice them into purchasing. If they like your calling card (the free stuff), they are more likely to buy your goods.

For both sample pages and members-only photos, remember that more is better. Quantity, here, is a measure of quality, because it creates an impression of value. For instance, for the sites I create, typically I'll have three to four pages of large, free photos, and then for the member, 25,000 images separated in 20 categories.

In addition to quantity, however, you also need quality. Attractive models under good lighting and in provocative poses are a must. Although image quality is important, you must also take care not to frustrate a customer or potential customer with large file sizes that take forever to load. Keep them small and the user will be grateful.

The design of the actual Web site, the interface, is important too. A delicate balance must be maintained between attractive design and file size. Clean and simple is the overriding rule here. You can add a few bells and whistles, such as Java applets and animated GIFs, to draw the user in and let him know that time, money and effort went into constructing this site. Just don't overdo it.

Billing procedure is also a key issue. The approach I recommend is to have a third-party company collect membership fees and disburse them to the the owner of the Web site directly, instead of going through the site builder. This way the client has an his own account that he can access at any hour of the day. I believe the site builder's income should not come from a percentage of membership fees.

Distribution & Marketing

So your site is created and it looks good. The next step is distribution which is as simple as getting connected to a server. A server is a powerful computer where your site is stored so that every telephone line in the world can access it. If the site builder who also runs a server, benefits can be had.

Now just because millions of people have access to your site, this doesn't mean they will find it. You have to get your number, or in this case Web site address (URL), out there. You do so by registering with search engines like Yahoo! and Alta Vista and also by establishing links on other Web sites. This can all be done without spending a dime. Paid advertising, like banners, can also be effective if you have the money to spend.

A good site builder will also help his clients devise an effective marketing campaign that is within their means. I believe this type of consultation is especially invaluable when you are dealing with Internet.

Maintenance

The product is not just the site, it's also the service required to keep that site productive. Maintaining a site is time-intensive work which I think the Web designer is much better equipped to handle than the client.

The average length of users' paid memberships to a site is for three to four months. Unless a site is refreshed and photo libraries are restocked, users will head for someone else's adult page. Another idea is to have a "what's new" section which highlights your commitment to evolving content.

Members will also need technical support to deal with things like PIN code problems, should they arise, hardware or software problems, etc. Here too, I think that the site builder is much better equipped to provide technical and customer service. This frees up the client so he can devote more time to promoting his Web site, the key to success.

Some general words of advice: don't expand beyond your means. Get your feet wet first. See if this is your kind of market. When your site is successful and is reaching critical mass then start looking into building more sites. I also advise that a client build more sites that are linked together rather than to build a bigger site. This way there are more sites that can be registered in search engines, which means greater coverage.

Each new technological advance, as for instance with video streaming, where the image will become faster, cleaner, smoother and larger, will create greater demand for adult Web sites in the future. This coupled with the 20,000 new surfers who are coming online each day, makes me optimistic that adult Web entertainment is just beginning come into its own. By understanding what elements go into a good Web site, you're well on your way to riding the wave too.

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