Yet another of my holistic friends – a friend with a non-marketey and non-businessey outlook on life, as you may expect – was mentioning that she had to get some sort of a website. That it was time, she supposed, to have something on the web that might reflect her two decade career in things wonderful related to helping people through counseling and the use, in her case, of helpful remedies from the natural world.
Okay! I say, enthusiastically, so this kind of thing is really, really easy to set up today. And you hardly need much of a budget. Things have evolved. As I heard myself explaining what she could do and what she might want to avoid – like spending big bucks on hosting if you are a tiny solopreneur, as self-employed folk are called. Just get something out there that reflects who you are. Your virtual store-front, in other words. So people who do not know you can find you. Can learn from you. Can be helped by you. Just do it. And then put that link on your business card.
This way of thinking is easy for me, since I have been moving about in the world of small business and the handy business card for years. And I have been, as you know, trying ever so gently, to bring my “I don’t have a website or any marketing plans” friends into the digital age. I am working on my next e-book, but until I can just offer that to you, you can read my blog, I mention.
So what to do and not do in a nutshell, as you are trying to learn some things yourself before you pay for anything.
If you are truly just starting out, you can even have a free website to begin with that you can pay for later. A good site for that is webs.com that allows you to create all manner of things with a fantastically easy to use dashboard. (Dashboard – you go to the website, and click on visible icons for creating content, designing your website from a template, or uploading photos). And I hear more experienced people saying no, you don’t want a free site for this or that reason, but I counter with the idea that if you could rent a bixi bike before deciding on what bike to buy, would you not do that first if you could? Maybe you won’t like bicycling at all, or maybe you will be carried away with the magic of creating the route you want to take without following the bike paths….
When you get a website, you need to name it. Yourname.com is pretty great, if you can get it; barring that you may want a name that reflects what you are doing. My friend might want for professional reasons to use her name; she might also want to call her site something more creative like Aliceteachesemotionalhealth.com or something like that. It is up to you. You will find you need to create the name if you use webs.com. Don’t over worry about this part: with a free website, you can be creative to start, since the purpose is to get a feel for what you want. So Iamlearninghowtomakeawebsite.com would be just as good.
Don’t lose your site! By this I mean as soon as you have created a site, you need to put the location on your browser toolbar so you can find it easily, or on your desktop, since it will NOT show up with Mr.Google at first! So make sure you figure out the link and save it, your password and your username id ,that is normally your email, on a sticky note somewhere!
Hosting your website
You need a virtual barn door to pin your website to, virtually, and this is the hosting of it. Do not overpay for this! Sites other people recommend to me are Hostpapa, in Canada, where you spend money for hosting the site in a one shot spend at the beginning, or GoDaddy or Webs. You can get reasonably priced hosting for your site. Reasonably priced means less than about 11 per month. Do not pay more, unless you have big plans and an advisor. You don’t need to, that’s why.
I encourage you to have fun with this. After all, you are learning as you go, and developing, as I said, what is called the look and feel of what you want. And you are in the driver’s seat. You can try outrageous templates, if you like.
Create some text!
When you have what is called an intuitive dashboard, like on webs.com, you can just start entering text. Again, don’t worry much. You will be copying in texts you have perhaps already written about what you do and who you are. You are creating your own customized template, if you will, by starting to fill in the blanks. You will find it fun – I can say this because I have personally helped lots of people discover how to fool around out there. Like a neighbourhood training wheel specialist, just for fun. It is fun. In fact, if this is the first time you “see yourself” in a public web space, you have a whole new perspective on who you are. You can create the image and the persona that will be most appealing to your target market. You know how! You have been a consumer of websites long enough to know what you like and what you don’t like. Make something you like…
Save and publish!
Remember, don’t lose your site location, as I said. Until you are ready to do something called “optimize” your site, you may not find it through a search engine. That part is a whole ‘nother story. Meanwhile, you have something people can find when you send them there, though. And that is start enough for now.
Adding marketing engines to your website
This is also a different subject, but oh so fun as well. The idea I will leave you with is to be able to show your website and anything you want to tell people about what you are doing or offering by sending it to them email. Seriously! The concept is kind of like flying them your website… and is what the big guys do. When you receive an email that is a newsletter, for example, that is part of someone’s emarketing strategy to stay in touch with you. Start developing your ideas of what you could say and send to people. Not sales, just things they might like to know.
Until next time,