The wedding website “The Knot” may seem like a recent concept, but it is already fifteen years old. Begun in 1996 with seed money from then-giant AOL, the online wedding brand has a recognizable logo design and a model that has been copied multiple times by many competitors. The brand now includes weddingchannel.com, The Nest, and The Bump, following women from marriage to the baby carriage. Starting last week, The Knot is a NYSE publically traded company under the trading symbol XOXO.
Why has this website worked well? How can you duplicate this success within your own brand? Here are a few of our thoughts on the subject.
- Diverse sources of revenue. Many people begin a website on a niche topic such as this one with no idea of how it will earn money. The fact is that advertising is not always enough. The Knot has monetized its business in several ways, including online gift registries and partnerships with retailers such as QVC. The site also sells its own branded merchandising and has normal advertisements. These revenue sources have created enormous success for The Knot and show a diverse number of ways that a non-commerce website can get revenue.
- A large and steady amount of traffic. Even a monetized website needs to have a large amount of traffic, in order to make the significant amount of income that The Knot currently enjoys. There are several ways that the website has accomplished this. First and most important, it has a brand, a strong brand that can be recognized by young women all over the country. This brand solves a very common problem by offering a one-stop website with information and resources for planning important milestones. While advertising has been a part of the equation, people have to like what they see enough to engage with the brand and return often.
- A professionally designed logo and visual brand. The visual aspects of the brand are also important because these design elements make the customer base trust the website. The Knot’s logo design has a sky blue background that is clear and serene, relating to the happiness of these occasions. The name of the website is written in a continuous, lower case script, which gives a friendly and approachable feeling. There is no image, which may be the reason that the brand has been so versatile. It has changed with ease into a brand encompassing a variety of life stages.
Success depends on luck to a certain extent, but luck is not the sole factor or even the most important one. Online businesses such as The Knot must be designed for success. They must have a plan for attracting traffic, earning revenue from that traffic, and keeping their audience interested and engaged. This is a formula that can be seen in a variety of online brands, especially those that survived the notorious dot-com bust. There is still potential for earning money online, but you must follow proven paths to success.