Online business (much like any other business) is really about give and take.
There is your “give,” which is what you bring to the table: your content, entertainment, or useful information. Then there’s the “take,” which is what you get out of this social transaction.
Here are some typical “gives”:
Information. Most people online are looking for information. Either it’s directions to a restaurant, a movie review, or an article about anything. Good websites provide useful information of some sort.
Entertainment. Another thing people search for online is entertainment. Whether it’s a viral video website or a website with the latest gossip, people actively look for this content. Many websites are based around these themes.
Free Stuff. Many companies, individuals, or websites give away a free product in order to establish a relationship or to get visitors to “opt in” to their email list. The free gift can be an ebook, an informative newsletter, or coupons.
Here are some of the typical “takes”:
Community. Some people just want new readers to become regular visitors to their sites and make friends with like-minded people or those with similar interests, talents, or ideas.
Business. Many websites are set up just to get ad clicks or impressions, or ultimately to convince visitors to buy a product or service.
Profile. Some people want to raise their profile in a certain industry, or distinguish themselves from others in a particular market–in other words, they want to create a brand.
For online article marketers, the give is the informative article they write. Maybe it’s a review of several similar products or it could be a short tutorial on how to start your own website. The take is the link to their website in the signature box at the end of the article.
For someone with a freelance writing website, the give can be informative articles about how to look for writing work, how to write SEO articles, or an ebook about successful strategies for writing for the web. The take would be a link to their writing services.
For someone who owns a video entertainment site, the give is obviously the entertainment. The take typically is advertiser revenue or some kind of membership cost. Internet marketers use the awkward phrase “monetizing traffic”, which basically just means that people who come to a site are subjected to advertisements
You always hear people say, “Content is King.” This is no more true anywhere than online, where search engines operate mostly from “reading” written text.
The better your content–your give–the more successful you will be, that is, the more opportunity you will have to receive something in return.