Back in the 1990s, and I'm dating myself, setting up a website and getting found online was a piece of cake. At least compared to what is involved now.
It was a “build it, and they will come” environment as early adopters jumped on the World Wide Web bandwagon back then. But, of course, that's now ancient history in terms of Internet time.
There also wasn't the magnitude of competition either. Try to find a topic or product that isn't saturated with hundreds of thousands of other sites doing the same. (We'll cover that in more detail later…)
Doing the Samo-samo
Same is defined as “being one or identical though having different names, aspects, etc.“
That pretty much sums up what you cannot be when having a website in 2021. Whether you are a blogger or have a business website, this applies to you.
While it is pretty easy to set up a blog or a new website, thanks to WordPress, getting exposure and getting found if you are the “same” makes getting traction all the more difficult.
The sooner you make a concentrated effort not to be the “same” but to be incredibly different, the sooner you'll start getting noticed and see more results. And, that, my friends, means leaving your comfort zone.
comfort zone ~ noun:
an environment or situation in which a person feels secure or at ease; also figuratively, an established lifestyle in which a person feels comfortable as long as there is no drastic change
Nothing online resembles the above definition. If you want online success, you need to be prepared to leave your comfort zone in the dust. You are going to need to be able to learn new things. Lots of new things, test strategies, and become the one-of-a-kind powerhouse that only you can be.
Unique, Different, Exclusive, Particular, Rare, Uncommon.
To be unique, different, exclusive, particular, rare, or uncommon will require you to take some risks. First, ask yourself if you tend to stay in your comfort zone and be honest about it.
If the answer is “yes” or even “sorta,” it's time to step out. It's time for you to be prepared to be a fish out of water. Only those that push the limits of what they think they can do, learn, or can be done are those that succeed online.
There is no more room for “same” online.
Once you are willing to leave your comfort zone, you'll find that you will be more open-minded almost magically. You'll be ready to seriously entertain new concepts, methodologies, practices, and the reality of what it takes to survive and thrive online.
Risk is a Habit for Successful Netrepreneurs
Ask any successful Netrepreneur, and they will tell you that they leave their comfort zone regularly. Netrepreneurs try new things — all the time.
Not all attempts may produce the results they desire. But they try and learn something new with every effort. This is because they know that what they learn can then be applied and improved upon.
“But, I'm an honest person with a great product!” That's what every site owner believes. But, unfortunately, that's not enough to be found, get exposure, stand out.
To build a following, to create that emotional connection that is so important to building your tribe of customers, that statement is not enough. You will have to prove your honesty and build your reputation over time. Something many onliners don't have patience for.
So, today we're going to get to the basics of what you can do to differentiate yourself and stand out online so that your blog or website has a running start.
Get ready to leave your comfort zone.
Let's Do a Search
Go to your favorite search engine and do a quick search using the primary keyphrase to look for you. How many results are there? Five figures, six figures — seven?
There's your competition. That number of websites are already ranking for what you do. A little overwhelming, right?
This won't be the last time you'll feel overwhelmed. But as you learn and step out of your comfort zone, that feeling will subside and be fewer and farther between.
Most folks I work with get stuck creating their site to be what a website “should be.” Everyone has a different approach to what that is. Each business and site owner is different and has its own vision.
The thing is, being benign or “what you should be” isn't enough to stand out from others who are already established doing the same thing. You can be what you want without looking and sounding like everyone else.
Thinks to Consider Right Now
How do you portray yourself?
What do you have to offer? Blah, blah, blah about what you do that is no different than anyone else is boring and will not differentiate you from anyone else.
Develop your site to portray a unique personality. Edgy, empathetic, sincere, genuine. Words have meaning. Use them to show what makes you distinctive.
Talk about your passions, what you stand for, why you do what you do, why — exactly. Why should visitors do business or subscribe or join your site? Tell them why with emotion.
This is a visual medium.
Do what you need to not look like everyone else. For example, you want folks to land on your site or blog and immediately realize they've not seen a website like yours before. This draws them in and encourages them to poke around and find out more.
First, you start by having a contemporary professional design. Then you personalize everything you can to be you.
You do this with the images and the color scheme you choose to use. Then be sure to integrate that approach consistently in everything you do. On your site, social media, business cards — everything. That's called branding.
Product or service differentiation.
- Why are your widgets better, unique, special?
- Do you detail why visitors should buy from you over anyone else?
- Why should folks subscribe to your blog?
- What can they expect if they do?
You need to provide convincing answers to all of these questions. Your content needs to be written in a way that makes folks jump for the subscribe or Add to Cart buttons because they must have what you are offering.
You can't be everything to everyone.
So don't try. Determine how to target those folks you know who will read your blog or want your product or service.
Hang out where your target market hangs out. Take note of what they talk about, what they are passionate about, and the vocabulary they use. Then integrate that into your site.
Are you social? Participating in social is one thing but doing so in a memorable way is an entirely different approach.
Learn as much as you can about online marketing and SEO. You won't succeed without this knowledge. In addition, a solid understanding of what is involved in these topics can guide you to making more informed decisions and strategies.
Ditching Your Comfort Zone is Uncomfrotable
Don't worry about going off into uncharted territory, whether learning something techie or trying a new strategy. I can tell you from experience that no one who ditches their comfort zone finds it an easy thing to do. It isn't.
It is common not to be completely comfortable learning the intricacies of technology that apply to what you want to accomplish. Nor do any of us relish the idea of having to dive into uncharted waters to see what may — or may not — happen. But we don't let that stop us; we do it anyway.
I remember one of my most stressful comfort zone desertions when I started working with databases many years ago. I had to empty some information from one of my site's databases.
Not the whole database, just the tables that contained invalid and no longer needed data. Yep, that was freaking me out because if I messed up, well, it would be a mess. But I knew that I would then have the know-how if I just sucked it up and learned. I remember how nervous I was.
Before I clicked the appropriate buttons, I checked and double-checked I was doing the right thing. I remember thinking (and saying a little prayer) that I wouldn't crash or destroy the whole database in the process.
Once I completed the process, I was not only relieved that I did it correctly, I was pleasantly surprised that it went so smoothly. That night I had several shots of Ouzo in celebration!
Doing this task is now a no-brainer. All because I pushed myself to learn and challenged myself to complete that task risking possible Armageddon. Well, it wouldn't have been Armageddon, but that's how we all feel when we take significant risks on something new.
What About You?
When was the last time you left your comfort zone? A bit of discomfort can be a great motivator and downright exhilarating due to the anticipation of the unknown that lies ahead.
Keep reminding yourself of the potential benefit and results as you push through. Stop right now and jot down a list of things you can do to challenge yourself. Then start checking off those boxes!
At your service,