For fans of college basketball, the term “four factors” has become a red-hot buzz phrase that immediately snaps smart heads to attention.
Ken Pomeroy, one of the great evangelists of Four Factors basketball theory, explains on his website, “Essentially, the four factors are the building blocks to the efficiency formula.”
He clarifies in the sentence that “the four factors tell you why a team is good or bad.”
Chances are you aren’t a religiously devoted college basketball fan like I am, but that doesn’t mean that the basic spirit of the college hoops Four Factors cannot be applied to our objective here at Synthesis — helping you conduct a more profitable business online through superior WordPress hosting.
So let’s take one shining moment here today and discuss four factors — the four factors — that separate good websites from bad.
- Content & Design
Having a winning strategy for each of those factors can lead to you conducting a winning business online over time.
And Synthesis customers have a leg up on their competition for each factor.
There’s a recurring nightmare that seems to haunt many web “conductors” I know.
In this nightmare, the conductor works hard to create content that’s presented beautifully, then their relationships propel the content into virility, at which time their well-designed monetization strategy kicks in to maximize the content’s value … except, right at the moment when they need it most, that their site crashes.
Sadly, this isn’t a nightmare at all. It’s an all-too-often occurrence that haunts the waking lives of far too many conductors of online business.
And the root of the issue is faulty infrastructure, which is why it is the first of the four factors listed.
So many of you have been learning about content marketing, relationships, and smart monetization from the Copyblogger editorial team for years. But do you now what all of those lessons amount to if your site is built on the wrong infrastructure?
Nothing. Less than nothing actually, if you account for all the work put in to get to that point.
A number like 502 or 404 flashing in your customer’s face; a frustrated reader who loses patience waiting for a page to load; or maybe the world is looking at what used to be your website, but now is just that infamous white screen of death.
That’s why paying more for premium WordPress hosting should not be seen as a luxury. It’s a necessity.
Actually, it’s a cost of doing business online with more hidden value than you probably ever imagined.
If you disagree, then you may as well stop reading this post and never set foot on the Copyblogger blog again. What would be the point?
If you aren’t going to be truly ready when your number is called, don’t take a number.
2. Content & Design
This is the first element in getting your number called.
The second is relationships, which we’ll discuss next, but even the best, most plugged-in business relationships cannot get you very far if you’re not offering up a message worth spreading.
And your message consists of two elements:
- What you say
- How you say it
Said even simpler: content and design.
You may be wondering why content and design are not broken up into their own factors. You may think I grouped them together simply to for purposes of symmetry with the college basketball Four Factors example I framed this post with at the beginning.
You’d be wrong.
Content is design. Design is content. They are one in the same. They’re inseparable.
Just a handful of weeks ago, Chuck Longanecker wrote an article for Mashable entitled “Why Great Design Is the Future of Content Marketing” in which he argues:
Facebook Timeline, Pinterest, and Instagram are forcing brands to think and act more visually. Couple that with the impact of mobile browsing, and these emerging trends give new meaning to the phrase ‘show, don’t tell.’
This is why it is important to not only have your infrastructure squared away technically, but to do so with partners who understand the big picture and can help you execute it.
Managing editorial calendars, writers, graphic artists, designers, and all of the other elements of strong content and design can be daunting.
Managed hosting saves you time so that you can focus on the above, and the Synthesis blog will fall right in line with Copyblogger and StudioPress to continuously provide tips that will you make you better at it.
This is probably the most overlooked, underappreciated, and ignored element of success in business — whether online or off.
You can have a fantastic infrastructure capable of handling thousands of concurrent users, and you can have content that would knock the socks off a barefoot monk, but if you don’t have relationships with people who can help you spread the word, your potential to conduct successful business online is severely inhibited.
Think I’m overhyping this? Think again.
Use Synthesis as an example. We’ve grown from new kid on the block to WordPress-hosting heavy hitter because of our relationships more than any other single factor.
Pillar #1 in the Internet Marketing for Smart People course is relationships.
Here, relationships are not described as merely important; they are king.
You may have thought content was king. Nope. Because what is a content king without a kingdom?
Building relationships builds the kingdom, and there is absolutely no substitute when it comes to a) getting your content seen, which we just discussed; and b) monetizing your content once people have seen it, which we are about to discuss.
This is the final factor, the one that we are all shooting to maximize and master.
If you’re conducting a website that is more of the “online business card” variety or a large corporate site that is internally focused with custom configuration needs, you’ll have focused on getting the technology right with a provider that knows how to do so.
And this is where the four factors for conducting winning business online come full circle.
You have to have adequate infrastructure that can serve the well-designed content you are going to leverage your relationships to promote, so that you can execute your monetization strategy … which you have no chance of executing efficiently without:
- Reliable uptime
- Rapid response time
- Security you and your readers can count on
- Expert resources to help you out along the way
When it comes to conducting winning business online, just like content is design, infrastructure is monetization.
A managed hosting provider should help you deal more effectively with all of the many moving parts you’re managing, whether through solving a specific issue, or saving you time in one area that you can devote to another.
We conduct winning business online ourselves, so we know how to be there for others trying to doing the same.
Ultimately, success online always comes back to these four factors, and it is the proper mix of the four that determines whether a site is good or bad.
Or make the choice right now to be great.