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The Vow Factor How one dotcom survives--and thrives--in the ultracompetitive wedding market

By Scott S. Smith

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Beth Drucker, 46, and her husband, Lou, 49, have found eternalwedded bliss-not only as husband and wife, but also asfounders of a tremendously successful Web site, Back in 1996, after the couple launchedthe wedding supplier referral service with just $3,000, the sitebecame an instant hit. Today, with front page listings on everymajor U.S. search engine, their site averages almost 300,000visitors per month. We asked Beth what it takes to make it in thecompetitive dotcom world.

Many wedding-related Web sites fail. How have you kept yoursgoing for five years?
Because of my [design and illustration] background, I was able todesign something with a sophisticated New York look, rather thanthe pink hearts and flowers of other wedding sites. I spend about50 hours per week working on the site-that includesinterviewing vendors and experts to get site content. We also sendout e-mail newsletters to remind people we're here.

But most important is search-engine placement. We did a lot ofresearch on each engine and asked around about who was good atcustomizing submission forms. The easy route so many dotcomstake-paying a service a flat fee to submitforms-doesn't work well. You end up as No. 632 whenpeople call up a keyword. If you do it right, you'll get areputation for results, which will attract vendors.

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