Finding out what you need to get a website can be a little tricky when a simple Google search will give you a whole heap of sites and blogs telling you what you need while offering ads and services.
It’s not as hard as you may think.
Put simply: A website is like having a digital brick and mortar store.
- Your URL (website/domain name, i.e.”www.GroundFlow.net”) is the store and business name.
- Your web host is your digital landlord. Some are slums, some are legit, and some are online-gentrifiers. This is important not just because of price, but because you want a reliable web host that is always running and not down (which causes your website to be down).
- Your social media act as your businesses promo department. Think of them like your personal radio/tv/news/publication resource for how you get the word out about your business.
That’s pretty much the foundation of having a website. From there, it’s a matter of your ability to add content, promote it and keep up with a routine that fits your real life schedule. That’s the part where people get tripped up because they’re not consistent. Period. And creating a routine isn’t hard either, it’s sticking to it that people have the most issue with.
If you’re ready to start building your website/blog/online platform now using those bullet points I talked about above, keep reading…
Coming Up With Your URL (Website/Domain Name)
This might sound easy but it’s one of the first things people overlook. Now a website name like “www.IdasaTariq.com” for someone using their name like me or “www.MartyAndAmandasPies.com” for Marty And Amanda’s Pie Company may seem like a no brainer, but what if you have not so popular brand niche? A long company name like how a law firm would?
The key to a good website name is something simple that your audience can remember you for online, and one that resonates with you and what you stand for (probably the most important factor for this). Exactly like your brand or company logo, just with words and a “.com” or any other “dot” extension your web-host offers (more on that in a second).
Try keeping it at 3-5 words, using only words that describe you and what you do. So for a law firm or brand with a long name you may could use “hiretheright.lawyer” because people will a.) use search engines with that phrase “hire the right lawyer” and b.) it’s an easy enough website name to tell your clients when they want to reach you online. See how that works? Be creative and think in terms of what phrases apply to you when your clients (new and prospects included) go to search engines to look for you.
Selecting a Web Host (the right one)
Selecting a web host can be tricky if you don’t know what you need and what to look for. Just as I mentioned earlier your web host is your digital landlord. And like real life land lords, some are in it for your best interest and some are in it for the money. Sometimes, you get fortunate and find both. But at the end of it all, you don’t want a digital slum lord sucking your wallet dry and offering you no stable, reliable website up-time.
Typically if you’re just starting out and getting your first website, your site will cost you around $60 for the whole year. This will usually include your domain name for free with 12 months of service. The web host is responsible for putting your domain name and website on one of their physical internet-servers (which is how your website shows up online), much like how your landlord leases you the storefront.
Now I know there are a bunch of quality and reliable web host providers that you may be familiar with like 1&1.com, BlueHost.com and HostGator.com to name some. For the last 4 years I’ve been a member of GoDaddy.com and their service and customer service has always been top notch for me. Part of that I think was a mix of me working on the “ground-floor” of retail and sales working in customer service, which improved the conversation. But their customer service has always been top notch for me and also have had a good rapport with the service reps outside of tech support, which has been a big plus because it’s that “go the extra-mile” business model that kept me coming back.
Whomever you chose for hosting, find the one that fits your needs and expectations for your business moving online.
How Socia Media plays into all of this
Social Media’s most basic use is getting the word out about something and sharing it. Seems simple right?
Now most quasi-blog experts will say you need to be on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and all the other top social media platforms in order to succeed online with your business. And that’s straight up not the truth.
Does social media improve your brand? Mos def. But not all the time, especially when you use it improperly. The whole point of social media is being “social”, but most treat it as a personal diary and free-advertising medium. Going about that way destines you for failure and further away from reaching your clients and audience. Instead you want to use the social media platforms that work best for YOUR business model and audience.
- Facebook is more personal-sharing, where people share info and content they like with their friends, family and colleagues/co-workers. Content which relates to a person’s personality and needs works here.
- Twitter is more conversation-styled, where you post 140 character posts to attract your audience, which levels the playing field when competing against spammers and other competition. The creative, engaging & most-relatable post wins on here.
- Instagram is for the photo and picture-centric crowd. If your brand and company is based around visuals and images, Instagram is the place to be; especially when you have good stories or relevant words to add to your picture.
- YouTube is the DIY video hub of the internet. How-To’s, non-boring tutorials and interviews help you thrive on here, as well as posting your video portfolio. Keep in mind, YouTube is the #2 search engine as of this writing (next to it’s parent company and fellow search engine, Google.)
- LinkedIn is for business professionals with a touch of Facebook. You can add your resume to here and connect with other professionals in your industry. I’ve found that more business professionals than customers are on here, so if your product and service is aimed towards business providers this would be a good place to be.
- and there are toooooooon of others you can search for….
Bottom line, if you decide to use social media, you only have to use the ones that make sense for you connecting to your audience, clients and customer base. Unless you have the budget, people and resources to be able to maintain all the social media platforms above with some sense of quality and consistency, stick to one or a few so you’re not juggling and wasting precious time.
The key to great social media is having dope, great and professional quality content to offer, and then just offer it on your social media platform with a plan. Get your results, adjust your plan, and promote again. Simple and repeat.
To End It…
I hope this little guide right here helps you in setting up your site, or at least gives you a better idea of what you need if you’re not ready to start.
One of the things I dislike with a passion (trying not to say “hate”) is the amount of blogs and sites online that can lead you in the wrong question and not take your concerns as business into full vision when trying to educate. I get how for some folks, creating content that’s exactly like or identical to what your competition is creating might seem like a good idea, but it doesn’t define YOU. It just makes you “like so-and-so” where “so-and-so” is important, influential or successful.
Just like how you had to define what your business was, does and who it does it for BEFORE you invested your precious money and time in, you have to have the same working logic for your website and online presence. If you treat your online business like a business card, than expect people to only file you away for when they need you or be placed in the junk pile. But if you treat it like a digital brick-and-mortar store and have some common sense with vision, you can make a profitable extension or business online.
Don’t fall for the shortcuts to making money fast. You can put together a website in a day with all your inventory, services and info listed and still not get a single online visitor…simply because your website screams “I’m just like the rest” vs. “You need to get comfortable and sit for a second while I give you some great stuff”. You’re in this to help people AND THEN make money once they’ve been helped, not sell them a dream or a “this might work”.
You didn’t come here to figure out how to “kind of put a site together that might work”. You came here to learn how to setup a site that works and is worth investing in! My job is to do that effectively and different from my competition, which is why I focus on companies and brands that are audio and media based.
What do you think? Still have questions about starting a website or want to share your thoughts? Leave a comment below and describe your journey with either owning a website or thinking about starting one.