It’s easy to spot a bad site in your niche – it’s the one site that rarely changes. When it comes to creating sites, you never should get it “right” the first time and here’s why.

Rule 1: Don’t Optimize Too Much, Start With Good Content

Being a perfectionist consumes too much time. Content is more important. Don’t get me wrong, you should try to make steps towards that “perfect” site, perfectly optimized for your readers, for your revenue, for mobile devices, for security, for scalability .. I could list thousands of things you can optimize your site for. But, it all comes down to making the most effective changes and TESTING.

No matter how ugly or under-optimized your site is right now, readers will come if you have good content. When I first started making sites, I visited a site called mydigitallife.info nearly every day: Not only was the domain not very brandable, the design was horrible (back then), but the content was so awesome that I and many others would return, craving for more.

Rule 2: Implement Changes Gradually

Testing is the most important thing you can do. Readers will quickly get used to your site navigation, no matter how bad it is and they might complain if you constantly change it, so keep one rule in mind. Perform a lot of tests, but make sure to implement changes gradually, your readers will thank you. If you only change a few things at a time, readers can more easily adopt. If you do a major re-design every other month it will confuse your readers, inconsistency is never a good thing, not in movies, nor on websites.

Rule 3: Don’t Get Things Right The First Time: Good Sites “Evolve”

Develop Your First Site Slowly

Image: Growth Rates Are More Important Than A Good Design Or Initial Revenue

When you’re first starting a site, you’re motivated to take action, but don’t get burned out. Good sites don’t appear over night – they are developed over years. As a rule of thumb, it will take up to 2 years for your site to really start generating traffic, most people give up after a few months. That’s why it’s important to start slowly, don’t rush things and it’s also a good idea not to monetize your site too aggressively early on.

The same goes for a good design. You can buy or develop the best template for WordPress or Drupal, it will not be ready out of the box – you need to actively work on your site design and keep rule 2 in mind: Implement changes gradually.

Intrinsic Motivation Is Important To Develop A Site Over Years

There are a bunch of other rules I follow when I start new sites, but for someone starting out here’s another valuable lesson:

If you have a desire to make money, don’t follow the hype – you need intrinsic motivation to build up and develop a blog over years and really get noticed in your niche. If you’re just following a hot trend to make money, you won’t get far. It’s a good idea to build up a smaller site to make some additional money and cash in on a “hot” trend, but if you’re not really interested in the topic, starting a real site based on it, is usually not a good idea. Have a passion you already know a lot about? Great, get started. There’s nearly no niche that can’t be monetized – just think out of the box. Even if the topic you’re passionate about has a very low CPC on Adsense, it should not demotivate you – on the contrary, this could be a good indicator that it’s easy to get traffic and once you really make it, you can sell ebooks, software and info products on the site to build up multiple revenue streams.

Learnt a lesson yourself over the years? Post a comment below!