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Frédéric Filloux:

Two French journalists come to me with a question: which business model for their new project? They are about to resuscitate a fairly well-know trade journalism brand, planning to go mostly online — and marginally on dead trees. As an answer to their new investor’s questions, they first considered the “tried and true” formula: free website + advertising support + hope for the best.

I cut them short: No.

Forget about the typical website: Go mobile first.

With an smartphone app, or a mobile website, you’ll have room to maneuver. Unless you are concocting a clicks machine targeted at a huge audience, there no longer is money to be made in classical web advertising.

And your specific project adds two challenges. First, living outside English-speaking markets. Second, targeting a niche market: a business audience.

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