Whether you’re establishing a new venture or you’ve been running one for a while, marketing a business online is challenging. There’s much to learn, and always something new. That’s the impetus for this five-part tutorial on Marketing a Business Online.
This series was inspired by a friend who’s starting a business. She asked for recommendations on everything from online marketing tools to public relations tools, and I had plenty to share.
The first marketing tool we discussed was a website, and how to get one that’s stylish and hassle-free! So this tutorial, #1 of 5, offers insights and tips about how to get a nice website up and running. Here’s a top line on every step involved…
5 Steps to Get a Website
If you’re serious about marketing a business online, you need a website. If you don’t have a website, your competitors probably do and will easily win the sale. What follows are the steps to get a nice website going:
- Buy A Domain Name
Start by brainstorming possible names for your website and/or business blog. (Some domain names you like may already be owned by others, so think of several.)
- When choosing the domain name for your website, it’s sometimes best to use a word combination that people will type in search engines to find what you sell. You may have a reason for choosing John-Doe.com, but note: It’ll become easier to learn about your site on Google if your domain name is generic. Examples: business-consultants.com.
- However, if marketing a business as a brand, try to pick a compelling moniker. Domain names like JohnChow.com and SethGodin.com are memorable. So are Twitter.com and LendingTree.com.
- Either way, try to settle on a domain name that’s easy to remember, easy to spell, and as short as possible.
- The domain name for our site, CopyClique.com, was obtained from Network Solutions. No issues; just requires an annual renewal fee.
- Choose A Website Hosting Service
I equate getting web hosting to getting a dial tone for your phone. It’s a web hosting service that takes your site “live” in cyber space. Having tried a couple of them and having discussed web hosting with a few Internet marketing long-timers, I’ll vouch for the following:
- Copy Clique uses web hosting by Page.ly to host our WordPress.org website & blog. We love the fast, courteous customer service Joshua provides. Page.ly makes those rare, scary situations alright. 🙂
- But I’d also have to recommend HostGator, which is preferred by a few friends and clients of our writing service. What attracts them to web hosting by HostGator is the ability to run multiple websites at one, low price. (Note: Most services make you pay separately for each site.)
- Some web hosting services will take you through all of the next steps for a price. If you’re too busy, not interested in learning web-related coding, etc. to start marketing your business online, it’s best to pay someone to handle all of the following.
- Choose Your Content Management System (Cms)
Here, you’re deciding which website publishing software you prefer to work with. There are several good CMS choices. You can read a comparison of the three biggies here: WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla. Conceptually, think of this as choosing whether to work in PowerPoint vs. Word vs. Excel.
Each of the above CMSs are open-source softwares: they’re free to download and use. You (or your website designer) can simply go to their home page and download it. If you do it yourself, you’ll need an FTP software like the free FileZilla, to load it to your web host account.
Now, some personal insights:
- org is the choice of 22 out of every 100 new domains in the U.S. With WordPress.org you can publish a static website, or a blog you plan to keep fresh with updates, or both. (Note: CopyClique.com uses WordPress, and it’s a great for marketing a business online.)
- There are thousands of (mostly) free plugins you can download to make your site do cool things. For example, there are plugins that allow you to show your newest blog posts in the sidebar, show your choice of advertisements, make a members-only site, add a shopping cart, and much more.
- Pick Your WordPress Theme Carefully
What’s truly yummy about using WordPress.org is the wealth of site designs you can choose from. They’re called themes, and there are tons of free themes as well as premium themes in the marketplace.
Warning: CHOOSE CAREFULLY when selecting a WP theme and you don’t know CSS, HTML, PHP, etc. You’re likely to encounter a confusing step. Some designers won’t help you until you pay them more… and some don’t make this clear beforehand.
- I’ve been “stranded” this way before and it’s frustrating, a time-waster. Luckily, I discovered Elegant Themes. They offer beautiful WP theme designs; have a free community forum if you have questions; and offer very reasonably priced support.
- Get Affordable Theme Installation & Tweaks Help
If you choose a WordPress theme that doesn’t come with human help, there are solutions. Services like Ninja Blog Installation do wonderful WP theme tweaking, making your blog look and function exactly how you want it to.
- You can also find good web design and programming help in the Internet Marketing forums. I’ve had pretty good experiences hiring WP help at DigitalPoint. Be sure to read the feedback their previous customers wrote.
This concludes Part 1 of a five-part series on Marketing a Business Online. Part 2 will cover Online Public Relations Tools. If you like, subscribe to receive the next tutorial once published. I welcome your comments and tips!