One of the most popular posts on this blog has been How I made a million in three months.
In a now-famous posting on WebmasterWorld, a guy usernamed Markus007 outlines what he believes to be the secrets to his wildly successful web site, which went from $40 a month to a million in three months.
We now know that Markus007 is Markus Frind, and the site is PlentyofFish.com, a free dating website.
Andrew Johnson at WebPublishingBlog has two terrific posts about Markus and PlentyofFish.com, including an interview that is a must read. Here’s my favorite conclusion from the first post:
As humans one of our biggest weaknesses is becoming obsessed with what is not important. We spend 90% of our time on that little 5% — and that is why so many of us fail. PlentyofFish is an example of what happens when someone understands that its not the fancy design that brings in visitors, its something else. He understands that search engine traffic is important, but its even more important to have visitors that come back to your site again and again. [Emphasis added by me]
In the interview, Andrew asks him what he believes to be the key to his success:
Function over form to build an emotional connection with the user. Blend ads into content, No flashing crap, make the site useful. Basically all those things that everyone knows you are supposed to do, but very few people actually do. There is no magic bullet, but you should always test new designs or new text etc to get the result that you want. You will never have the worst design and never the best, but through testing you can always improve.
You should read both posts, then take a look at the site. It is very simple, and very automated. One person handles millions of posts per day.
You want examples and how-tos? Here you go.