So often I’m asked where someone should start their online business or new business venture… the decision for them usually flip-flops between starting a Facebook page or starting a website. Right here, right now, I want to let you know that the answer should always be start with the website.
I’m not saying this because I’m in the website business, I’m saying this because without owning a piece of online real estate, you really have nothing!
Here are the basics for getting that website started…
Purchase your domain and hosting
Head over to Bluehost and buy your domain and hosting in one place. This step should take less than 10 minutes (if you haven’t done domain name research, it might take a little longer!)
We’re not going to delve deep into your website design/function/look in this post — that’s coming, I promise, but for right now, I suggest you install WordPress and pick a theme from the searchable repository within the WordPress dashboard. Enter enough content that you wouldn’t be ashamed to send someone you want to do business with over to the site! That’s the first hurdle that your website needs to cross — non-embarrassment.
Create an Opt-In form
The next thing you website needs is some way to capture information from your website visitors — most people have success with an email opt-in (although this is a whole other discussion, again for another time.) Suffice it to say that the easiest route to go on this one is with MailChimp… since their system has a “free forever” option. Fair warning – a generic opt-in box isn’t going to do much for business, but having it there from the get go helps to put things in place and things can grow when the time is right.
OK, so now that you’ve setup a permanent home, let’s talk about Social Media… which is really where things are at these days, right?
Your social media presence is like a rental agreement, so long as you play by the rules, you can hang out, network, make friends and grow your online presence. This goes for the big guys – Facebook & Twitter as well as all the other social playgrounds that are available. (Not going to list them here, because I know the list could never be all inclusive!)
One important difference between your home and your social media rental agreement: If for some reason someone perceives what you’re doing as a violation of your agreement with a social media site, your presence on that site could be revoked. Playing the social media game takes a lot of work, and while it’s super effective at magnifying a message, there are inherent vulnerabilities and shortcomings to them.
When you use social media be sure to learn what works, what doesn’t and how to tweak your message to have it come across in the most organic method. I’m not finished reading #JJJRH yet, but I strongly recommend it already! It’s a book full of theory on how brands of all shapes and sizes can learn how to effectively use social media.
Two more notes on this topic —
- Use consistency in your branding. When you pick your social media identities, make sure they matches your website (as close as possible) or at least match all your social media identities to one another. In my case all my social media identities are fitJaime <– I actually own this domain but am simply redirecting it to jaimeslutzky.com right now
- Avoid plastering your message across social media Social media involves being social, so make friends, create connections, have fun and guide interested parties back to your website whenever possible.