It’s official. You’ve started a business.
Now how are people going to find you?
The world is full of talented people–you’re one of them. Unfortunately, most of these talented people have no idea how to let others know they’re talented, or that they’ve created a great product, or that they provide a great service.
A lot of these talented people fail.
At the same time, there are a lot of successful people in the world. Some of them are more talented than you are.
Many of them aren’t.
The difference between success and failure often has nothing to do with the quality of the service or product you provide, but with your ability to market your business.
In Days 1 through 3 we’ve laid the groundwork for a successful business. In Days 4 and 5 we’ll go over how to build on that framework and market your business.
Make sure you download the worksheet for Day 4 by clicking here. Review the worksheet as you follow along with this post.
Let’s get online.
On Day 2 we talked about choosing the right business name.
Now it’s time to buy the right domain name. Your domain name should be short, to the point, and easy to remember.
As you look for a place to buy a domain name, you’ll see all sorts of deals from domain name providers of questionable reputation.
You want to purchase your domain from a reputable registrar.
Godaddy.com is fine–not necessarily an endorsement, but they should do the trick and they are my go-to domain registrar.
Whatever you do, you want to purchase from someone that gives you access to manage your DNS records on your own.
Don’t freak out over getting a .com.
It’s always nice if you can, but with new industry-specific gTLDs (Generic Top Level Domains) coming out, you might actually benefit from purchasing a .photography domain.
Depending on your industry it could help you stand out.
I only use WordPress to build websites, and I highly recommend it.
If you’re tech savvy, feel free to use Ghost, Movable Type, Joomla, or whatever makes you happy.
If you’re planning to be a massive online store, I might recommend Magento. (But I would recommend WordPress and Woocommerce for anything with less than 1,000 products).
My point is, you’re going to need a Content Management System (CMS), and there’s a reason that WordPress is the CMS powering 25% of the entire internet.
Because of that, there’s a wide breadth of available WordPress resources.
You can easily find WordPress themes and plugins to help you create a high-quality site. Many resources are free. Those that aren’t free are affordable, and many plugin and theme providers give excellent support.
You really can’t go wrong with WordPress.
Oh, and one more thing. WordPress is open source (free!) and works fine out of the box.
The only thing you need now is hosting.
When you’re looking for WordPress hosting, don’t just go for the cheapest you can find.
Let’s talk about some minimum specifications, and then feel free to go for the cheapest hosting you can find that meet these requirements.
Don’t get shared hosting. You’ll find places that will offer you hosting for $2.99/month. Heck, you might even find lower prices.
This is probably a terrible idea.
What you may not realize is that these hosting plans are “shared.” This is very common with WordPress hosting providers who are looking to make a quick buck.
Shared hosting means that there could be dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of websites sharing space on a server with your website. If one of those websites starts eating up all the bandwidth, guess what happens to your site?
That’s right, things slow down a lot.
Speed is excessively important in today’s internet business world, so you really want to avoid shared hosting if you can.
You should spring for the VPS. It’s a virtual private server.
This means that if your neighbor’s site starts eating up bandwidth, it has absolutely no effect on your site.
A VPS might be more expensive, though for the tech savvy in particular, there are options that are extremely affordable.
My favorite WordPress setup is Digital Ocean’s SSD servers on a LEMP stack. I provide instructions for that setup on my website here.
At Digital Ocean you can get by on a VPS for $5/month and get page load times in 1 second or less.
For the non-tech savvy you’ll want to look at other options. Unless you’re willing to learn about web server administration, you should throw in the towel and spend a little extra on managed WordPress hosting. Here are some providers:
These are providers I’m familiar with. The important thing is you want to get a VPS if you can swing it, and you want to signup with a company that provides responsive support.
With WordPress installed on servers with a good hosting provider, you are ready to build an online presence.
Getting your business website up is only half the battle. You need to get the word out to potential customers and clients.
To do that, you need to find out where those clients hang out.
List 1 to 3 social media sites you plan to use to build an audience around your product. Facebook should be one of the sites.
You should use your industry expertise to determine if there is a social network that caters to your specific niche audience. Make sure you include them, if any, on your list as well.
Once you’ve got your list, login to Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, or wherever else you need to have an account and set things up.
Most of today’s discussion was technical as we covered what it will take to get your business online.
These are the points where most would-be business owners give up.
As a business owner, you’re going to learn about a lot more than just internet administration. The full scope of all the hats you will end up wearing is enough to make most people give up before they start.
You aren’t most people.
If the tech stuff really is too much for you–I’ve had some clients who absolutely don’t get technology for whatever reason–go back to your business plan and review the list of your team, the people you need in order to succeed.
See if any of them have the tech expertise to get your business online. If all else fails, hire someone to go through the steps we went over today.
But most important, be open and willing to learn.
Successful business owners adapt. They evolve. But most importantly, they keep learning.
The internet isn’t going away. To be successful, today and in the future, you need a website.
Spend some time finding a good web host and installing WordPress. Setup your website and your social media accounts.
On Day 5, we’ll go over what you’re supposed to do with all the technology you just prepped.
How are you feeling? Overwhelmed? Excited?
Let me know in the comments.
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LAWYER & ONLINE ENTREPRENEUR
After graduating from law school and passing the bar, I struggled to find work, pay my bills, and make ends meet. That's when I decided to take control of my future and start working for myself. Now, several years and a handful of companies later, I'm sharing how I launched a successful business, and how you can do it too.