Want to get online but no idea where to start?
You’re not alone.
During a recent conversation with a friend, she asked advice on how to set up her new online business. I rattled off some words like “hosting”, “Wordpress” and “Opt-in” and she looked at me like I’d spoken Swahili!
She had no idea what I was talking about.
So it got me thinking… there must be lots of other people in the same position.
They’d love to start an online business or blog but haven’t got a clue where to begin.
I thought about my own journey in the online world and all the steps I took to get my business out there.
And I came up with 10 helpful tips to get you started.
Tip #1 - Brainstorm Your Business Name
Coming up with a business name is often the hardest thing to do!
Begin by writing down anything that comes to mind. Be creative and allow yourself to think outside-the-box.
Once you’ve got a list of potential’s, you can play around with names until you settle on one that suits.
Some things to think about when choosing a name:
- Make it unique and memorable.
- Use your personal name if YOU are the brand.
- Make it as short as possible so it’s easily remembered.
- It needs to be relevant to your business – this also helps with SEO.
- Make it simple – don’t use dashes, numbers or symbols.
- Don’t get too “creative” – use the correct spelling of words so people can find you.
Tip #2 – Buy the Domain Name
It’s all good and well coming up with an awesome business name, but if the domain isn’t available, it complicates things.
Frustrating as it is, there’s no point in choosing a domain name that already has high competition or one you need to pay over-the-odds for.
And don’t choose one that requires dots or dashes as people are unlikely to remember to do this.
If the domain you want is available, snap it up quickly!
It’s best to pick a domain name extension that is common and relevant.
Ideally, you want the .com if you plan to be a global brand or service. Or, a country-specific extension (e.g. com.au or co.uk) if your business will primarily be in one country.
Check if the social media handles are available and grab those too!
The best website to check the availability of domains and social media handles is Namevine.
*It’s a good idea to do steps 1 and 2 together.
Tip #3 – Decide on a Website Platform
Once you’re ready to get your website sorted, you need to think about which platform to go with.
There’s so many to choose from but the most commonly used ones are WordPress, Wix, Squarespace and Weebly. Each has pro’s and con’s so it’ll be up to you to decide which suits you best.
I won’t go into the in’s and out’s of each platform here but if you want to know more, check out this article.
I’m personally a big fan of WordPress and have always used it for my websites and blogs. It has amazing functionality and there’s so many widgets/ plugins available, allowing you to customize any part of your website.
It is a self-hosted platform (whereas the others I mentioned above aren’t). This is not an issue though as there are some excellent (and reasonably priced) hosting companies out there.
Tip #4 – Organize Hosting (WordPress only)
To get your website live, it needs to be hosted on a server. You can’t host it on your computer or laptop as the files are too large.
You can buy your own server but we’re talking megabucks to do this and it’s definitely not necessary for 1 small website.
There are many hosting companies available, all with different packages and benefits.
I did some extensive research into this a while back and decided to host my website with Siteground as their reviews were fantastic. They have a top-notch customer support service – this is very important when you have website issues!
Plus, they have 5 server exchanges in different parts of the world (3 in Europe, 1 in Asia and 1 in the USA). Without getting all technical, what this means is that your website speed will be quick.
Tip #6 – Choose a Website Theme
A website theme is essentially the look and feel of your website.
Back in the day when websites first came to be, they had to be built specifically by a web developer. This involved lots of mind-boggling coding and hours of work.
Now though, we have access hundreds of user-friendly website themes which can be used without needing a computer degree!
Google “best themes for (your specific field/ business)” and you’ll get examples of handpicked themes deemed suitable for your industry.
Some themes are geared for blogging or portfolios whereas others for selling products or multi-service businesses.
Things to think about when choosing a theme:
- Does it do everything you need it to?
- Is it easy to use?
- Will it fit with your brand vision and long-term goals?
Tip #7 – Unique Branding & Logo
How do you want your website to look? What kind of vibe are you going for?
Your branding is key as it reflects you and your business.
How can you best appeal to your target audience?
A logo is really important as it looks professional and forms part of your branding.
Or, you can design your own using an app like Canva.
If cost isn’t an issue, hire a graphic designer and they’ll do the whole shebang for you.
Tip #8 –Write Engaging Copy
I can’t stress how important your website copy is.
If your copy doesn’t connect with and engage your audience, they won’t hang around on your website.
Consider your website the “face” of your business. It may be the first point of contact when potential customers come across your business.
So creating a good impression is essential.
Check out 7 Common Copywriting Mistakes Businesses Make to see what NOT to do.
Tip #9 - Create Quality Content
Once you’ve got your website populated with well-written content, you need to start thinking about Content Marketing. This is information you can share with your audience.
Not only does it keep your followers engaged, but it’s great for SEO. Learn more about SEO.
Content can be in the form of blogs, social media posts, videos, infographics – anything that adds value to your customer’s experience.
It’s best to have Content Marketing plan in place so you know what you’re going to do and when. It makes life a whole lot easier.
Tip #10 – Have an Email Opt-in
You MUST have an email opt-in on your website. Not just one, but several dotted about in different places.
This gives your audience the opportunity to keep updated with news and blogs.
And most importantly, gives you their contact details for your marketing list.
So when you have a new book or course coming out, you can drop them a quick email to let them know.
An opt-in can be as simple as a sign-up box or you can make it really enticing by creating a nice little freebie. This could be free report, e-book, checklist, webinar, or template.
I hope you found this post useful. If you did, please share it with any friends or colleagues who may be in need of a helping hand.
If you'd like help setting up your website or creating awesome content, please get in touch.