You know exactly what you’re going to offer to your ideal customer, and you know exactly how you’re going to offer it.
Well, you’ve heard a lot about blogging to grow your online business, so you want to do that. And you’ve heard a lot about using wordpress for that reasons, so you think you should do that too. You know you have to develop a credible website, have a way to engage with customers, and of course get the word out.
But if you’re new to this, you’re probably thinking where the heck do I start?
What follows is the most straight-forward, easy-to-understand, step-by-step action plan to getting your online business up and running in one week. I’m about to hold your hand and walk you through each and every major step you need to take to establish the foundation for your online presence.
If you feel totally confused about how to get started online, today is your lucky day.
Day 1 – Buy a Domain
If you’ve hung out on the Internet for any length of time you probably know that your web address is your domain name. That’s what people type into their web browser to find your site.
It’s also serves as the hub of your online business and brand. Your domain name is going to be plastered on everything from your business cards to your social media profiles, so be sure to select a domain name that fits in with your brand and marketing objectives.
A lot of people think they can save money by using blogging services like blogger.com or wordpress.com to start their online businesses. This is a big no-no. Not only is a violation of terms and conditions of these sites in some cases, but if you’re truly going to start and online business you need to take the right steps out of the gate. This means you need to purchase a domain and self-host your site (more on hosting later).
When choosing a domain you want to avoid being too clever. If you’re building a personal brand, purchase a domain name using whatever publically recognizable name you want to be associated with. This is what I’ve done here at marleeward.com, hence the domain http://marleeward.com.
If you’re building a business brand, purchase a domain name that matches the name of your business, or that clearly identifies the kind of business you are in.
For example, becomeablogger.com is a site dedicating to teaching people how to build successful businesses around their blogs. And if you didn’t know anything about this site, you could easily infer that it has to do with becoming a blogger based on the domain name alone.
Plus, these are probably keywords their target audience uses to find information on this topic. Having the words “become a blogger” in their domain name may increase their relevancy to Google search engine spiders indexing websites for those keywords.
There is a lot of debate as to whether or not having a keyword rich domain name influences search engine ranking.
In my experience, having a keyword rich domain name, can positively impact search engine ranking but it is not the end all and be all of SEO. There are many other factors that carry much greater weight in your search engine ranking, so don’t fret if your business doesn’t lend itself to a keyword rich domain name.
Websites like proflicliving.com, zenhabits.com, and ittybiz.com have domain names based on the name of their businesses alone and all three sites do very well.
Also make an effort to:
•Stick to .com domains only – and never purchase the .org or .net (or anything else) when someone already owns the same .com. You’ll only lose traffic to the original .com domain.
•Avoid clever spellings (or deliberate misspellings), numbers, and dashes in your domain name – all that makes your URL hard to share with others.
•Keep your domain as short as possible – no one remembers or wants to type a really long address all the time.
•Avoid trademarked names like iPhone, Amazon, or Kindle – you’ll very likely lose it later if the trademark owner finds you.
Once you’ve decided on a domain, it’s time to buy it! I always recommend GoDaddy.com for domain names (and domain names ONLY), because they don’t play any domain name funny business and their pricing is competitive.
To make your purchase, head over to www.GoDaddy.com, and in the search box at the top of the page, type the domain name you’d like to buy. Hit “enter” and GoDaddy will tell you if the name you want is available or not. It will also suggest some alternatives for you to check out. If you find that your desired domain is not available, go back to the drawing board. You don’t want to buy a domain that is overtly similar to an existing site.
Once you’ve found a domain you like, click “add to cart” and then “continue to registration.” Then just follow the prompts to set up an account (you’ll need this when you set up your hosting account in the next step).
You can generally ignore all the added features GoDaddy will offer along the way, and watch out for them because their checkout process can be tricky. Only buy your domain name. Also consider paying for several years at a time, because a domain that is registered for five years will have more credibility in the eyes of Google than a domain that is register for one. Plus, you won’t have to worry about renewing your domain every year.
That’s it! Now, you’ll need to get hosting to attach your snazzy domain to your soon to be website.