Today with the advent of user generated content, there is no dearth of websites catering to every useful and useless thing on the Internet. If a website has to attract your attention and keep you with them, it has to be really relevant and impact your life in some way. Launched in June 2010 by Ms Aparna, the website women’s web aims to cater to the thinking women.
Aparna is a post-graduate in Communication from the Mudra Institute Of Communication, Ahmedabad. Having worked primarily in marketing function, with roles in market research, B2B marketing and marketing communication for the past 10 years, she found her calling in creating a website catering exclusively for women.
Here are the excerpts of the chat with Aparna:
Qn. It’s heartwarming to see a website entirely dedicated to women. When did this website start?
Thank you. We had a soft launch on April 14, 2010. We started gathering users from around August 2010. I would say that the last year has been pretty eventful at Women’s Web.
Qn. What kind of background work went in before creating this website?
It took me around 8 months to get Women’s Web online, ready for viewers. Apart from deciding on the major areas of interest for our website, I was busy finding the tech team who would support my website operations.
When you look at the women’s websites – overall the beauty, fashion and weight loss dominates other areas. And there is lot of sameness. What would a thinking Indian lady love to read – that’s the question behind driving force of the content.
Qn. How do you get articles for your website? What are the major category of issues you cover in this website?
If I have to name few of our major areas, they would be Careers for Women, Parenting, Health, Book reviews. We also have a section called Field notes, where we request people actually working in Social service sector to come and share their views. For the articles, we write some ourselves. Usually, we have some writers with whom we collaborate when we need article on a particular topic. Apart form this, we get experts to write on various topics. Our readers also send us some interesting stories and articles.
Qn. On listening about reader contributed articles, we have to ask you this. What does an article take, to get published on Women’s Web?
It’s already given that anything that is not in line with women dignity and respect will not be published. We are a progressive website, and would love that the article has a contemporary and modern feel to it. Good writing skills are recommended. However, I would like to add that sometimes we get personal stories from reader, which are not conforming to our format. But, we still go ahead and publish them because we connect to the story and believe readers will connect too.
Qn. What are the challenges you faced to get your website noticed, in the millions of websites that sprung everyday in the internet?
We use social media extensively – pretty active on Facebook and Twitter. We recently started out on Pinterest and LinkedIn. We do conduct Facebook Chat with an expert every fortnight to get more user engagement.
This is where to find Women’s Web:
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/womensweb
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/womensweb
- Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/womensweb
- LinkedIn Careers Hub: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=4517938
Qn. Tell us about a good incident and a bad incident – vivid in your memory related to women’s web.
Sure. Few months back, we published a free ebook for junior masterchefs. A renowned journalist from The Hindu approached us and wanted to write our review. This is good incident, and we got lot of encouragement from this incident.
For the bad incident, it happened in the early days of Women’s Web launch. The tech team we partnered with, did not stay with us at the launch. And this delayed our launch. Once we got a supportive tech team, our operations run smoothly now.
Qn. How much was the initial investment? How does women’s web earn its revenue? Did you break even yet, on your investment?
It’s tough to give a correct number, as we did few reworks during our initial launch phase. On an average, the initial investment would be around 2 Lakhs. We operationally broke even, and are able to pay for our monthly expenses. However, still the initial investments are yet to be recovered.
We earn money through advertisements and sponsorship ( like contests). We also have affiliate programs, where we earn a very short share when someone buys a book from our website.
Qn. What are the future plans for Women’s Web?
Women’s Web will stay a magazine. Our goal is to empower the thinking women in India. We plan to offer content in a variety of ways – like videos, learning programs, information on women entrepreneurs and ebooks.
We just started Women’s Haat. It is a “women to women” space that is mutually beneficial for readers and businesses. It is a visually attractive listing service that allows all our visitors to discover interesting new products and services, and support women owned businesses.
Team Women’s Web
Currently, Women’s Web has one full time staff , Anne John. While Aparna looks after the business development, marketing and potential sponsors, Anne is busy doing the content management for Women’s Web. Aparna and Anne both brainstorm on the topics that might interest readers, and we get awesome content published.
On Women In Business
We ask Aparna on how difficuilt it is to leave her full time job and plunge into creating a women’s website. She shares with us, that after 7 years of corporate life – she did independent consulting for around 3 years before she decide to take the big step. So, the transition is gradual, she smiles.
Aparna has good support from her family, and they encourage her to pursue her passion. We further quiz her on her thoughts about an area where being a women is more advantageous than being a man in entrepreneurship. She replies, “I would say, women may be more collaborative. They seek numerous opinions before taking any step. But, it also requires a fine balance of whose opinions should carry weight and when to take the final decision”.
Signing off, we ask if Aparna has any advise for women entrepreneurs. Her reply is the highlight of our entire conversation. Today, Indian women need to spend some time thinking on what their dreams and passions are. We have a set path – and we unconsciously follow the path. But, there is nothing like finding your dream and pursuing it.
I’ve already become a fan of Aparna and her website on Facebook. Go, checkout her website here!
We wish Women’s Web all the very best. Do let us know your feedback in the comments.
*Photo credit: Bilat Singh Thongram