Well I thought I’d do a few articles about setting up websites and online businesses as well as online marketing, as support for my business and marketing guides. Online marketing and online business, isn’t what this website is about specifically, but I do believe it should be covered, as it is becoming increasingly more important to have an online presence, even if your business is predominantly carried out off-line.
So you’re a small business owner looking to move your business online or start a new business from scratch, but not sure where to start. You’ve heard of SEO and PPC, optimisation and opt-in forms but don’t really know what they mean and how to use them to make your business an online success.
You can search Google or Youtube using terms like “make money online” and see what you get, but be warned you will spend hours, weeks, even months wading through the marketing spam and hype to find any nuggets of gold. The information’s out there you just have to know where to find it.
This websites a pretty good place to start as I’ve got a lot of information on the subject, having built up a vast resource over the years, as part of my own research. I am also tapped in to a great network of online experts who provide great insight, as well as keeping abreast of the latest developments, without the BS you usually get. I will digest the best bits and present them for your benefit, as part of my contribution towards marketing and business content for this website. I would also suggest checking out my business and marketing guides for more insight.
Well first off I would suggest you get yourself a website. I use WordPress for my businesses, because it’s free, and easy to use, being a content management system (CMS), which means you don’t need any coding skills to update the content, as you build it up. It’s supported by a large community of designers and coders, so is always improving and evolving, becoming better each year. You can download it here, and all you will need to do is upload it to a server of your choice. I have used a couple of different hosting platforms in the past:
but there are a lot of others available, along with reviews.
If you don’t know, or can’t be bothered to learn it yourself, I will be glad to do it for you with my “done for you service”. Email me if you want more information about that. It’s not that difficult to do for yourself though to be honest. It’s a good idea to get yourself a business Facebook page set up, if you haven’t already done so, and again this is free and really easy to do. If you intend to create videos, a business Youtube channel is also a good idea, you can always embed the videos you create, in your webpages.
Word of Warning
Now, if you have yourself a Facebook page or Youtube channel you might not bother about getting yourself a website, instead using Facebook or Youtube as your internet home, but be wary about building your business based on a third party platform, because you are relying on them either not going away or changing the rules and taking your business from under your feet. Having your own website gives you control and makes you look more serious in the eyes of visitors, but they will cost that little bit more, in terms of hosting fees and domain name registration etc.
Now there are 2 major considerations at this point
- Getting visitors to you website – otherwise known as getting TRAFFIC
- Getting visitors to buy from you – converting visitors
Your site is not much good to anyone, if nobody can find it. So getting visitors, or traffic as it’s better known, is key to your success and you have three main options:
SEO – (search engine optimisation) is a number of activities you can undertake to get your site listed on the major search engines like Google and Bing. The idea is to optimise your site so it gets indexed and ranked, hopefully on the first page of these major search engines. If you’re only listed on page 10 of search results, its very unlikely that anyone will search through 10 pages to find your site. So if you’re not on the first page you are going to get limited traffic volumes to your site. It’s free but takes time to get ranked, even with a well optimised site, it can still take a few months, if not more.
PPC – (pay per click advertising ). This is where you pay to have your website advertised on search engines advertising sections. Paying for traffic is faster than the free options, in fact you can have a presence on the first page of Google within 10 minutes of starting a campaign, which means you can be found by searchers almost immediately, but you are paying for this privaledge, so is costlier than free methods obviously. Costs per click can range from 20p to £10 and more depending on your niche or market, but generally speaking a click cost of £10 infers that there is more money to be made in such a niche, after all advertisers wouldn’t be prepared to pay so much if they weren’t making money out of it.
Social Media Channels – Using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, Linkedin, to bring people to your website is the third major option open to you. It does mean learning the best practices for doing so, which is beyond the scope of this article, we will however cover it in more detail in future posts.
Converting visitors refers to converting them from being just visitors to customers, who are going to buy your product/service. I would recommend you get your site search engine friendly first then work on conversions as soon as possible. Simply because if your site converts visitors well you don’t need as much traffic for it to make money. Here’s an example to illustrate the point
- If you get 100 visitors and make one sale at £100 that’s a 1% conversion rate
- However if your site converts at 10% you would only need 10 people to make the same about of money.
Now I’m not saying you will ever get a 10% conversion rate, (in fact if you do please tell me how you did it) I am just using these figures as an easy-to-see illustration of the power of increasing your conversion rates.
Tools needed to get the job done
Now, how do we increase conversions? Well first, you need to have a focused squeeze landing page that is designed to get people to opt-in to your email list. The strategy here is based on the fact that it’s easier to get a person to give you their email address than it is to get them to buy from you, without them having heard of your brand before. It is often referred to as “selling the click”.
Once you have their email address, via your landing page, you need to send them a number of emails, providing useful information related to your product/business offering, such as tips and tricks, insight or a free sample for instance. This is aimed at building your prospects trust in you, without which, you’re unlikely to get them to buy anything. At the end of the process, you will eventually pitch them an offer, which should be aimed at helping them in some way. Gary Vaynerchuk calls this process “jab jab jab, right hook”, meaning provide value (jab), provide value (jab), provide value (jab), then ask for a sale (right hook).
At the end of the email sequence a second landing page, a sales landing page should be used so that the prospect is encouraged to purchase your product.
There are a number of landing page software providers who offer WordPress plugins, which add functionality to your WordPress website. I have used Thrive Landing page plugin for many campaigns I have run in the past, simply because it does everything I needed to do. With a simple drag and drop interface, you don’t need any coding skills to build effective layouts. It was less than $49 to buy, with no on going subscription charges, and also came with lots of educational videos to help you succeed, so is well worth the investment.
There are a number of email providers available, MailChimp offer a free service for smaller mailing lists and leads onto paid services as your list increases. It’s a great service, from my experience. Also check out Mailpoet, which is a free WordPress plugin, and works well.
I use Paypal to take payments over the internet and this is relatively easy to set up and insert the code within landing pages.
I’ve tried to outline the steps needed to get your website presence up and running, shying away from going in-depth too much and scaring you into thinking it’s just too hard.
If you want any specific questions answering please put them in the comments below and/or sign up for my newsletter.
I do provide a “Done for you service” which involves setting up an hosting account and getting WordPress installed, I’ll also add the necessary plugins mentioned above. Alternatively, have a go yourself if you’ve got the time and patience to learn.
Good luck with the new venture and hope I can provide lots of great, actionable information for you over the coming months.