Hey everyone! Welcome to the first lesson of my ten part workshop. The purpose of this workshop is to show you the strategies and tactics that will enable you to use the internet to start, build and grow an online business.
This workshop is for everyone. Do you…
- Have a business idea but don’t know how to get started?
- Have a brick and mortar business but want to expand with online marketing?
- Have an idea for a product line but you don’t know how to monetize it?
- Have a service business and you want more clients?
This workshop is going to be an overview of strategies and tactics, but that doesn’t mean we won’t get into specifics!
If you have any specific questions that pertain more to your individual business, you can contact me directly and I’ll be happy to help.
Let’s get started!
The First Step in Building an Online Business – Building Your Website
One of the mistakes that people make when starting an online business is thinking that building an audience or a following is the first step. There is certainly a time to build a following. The marketing is obviously a critical part of our work.
But the problem becomes that people start with building a Facebook page or building an Instagram page. The common thinking is that if you can get likes and followers, then you can grow your business through social media.
Understand, when you are using social media, you are the product. Social media sites are essentially advertising platforms. So Facebook is using your content to display their ads. They don’t owe you anything and they are essentially leveraging your content to grow their own business.
When you start with your own website, it gives you control over your content and ownership over your property.
If you focus on growing your own brand and growing your own website, you will not be dependent on Facebook to spread your message. You won’t be dependent on Amazon to sell your products and you won’t depend on Google to sell your services.
People will come directly to you.
Is there a place for advertising, social media, amazon, affiliates and lead generation?
Of course there is, but none the less, the first step and the most important step is to build your website and dedicate yourself to spending time on your own brand first.
You want to use these third party websites to grow your website and your brand. Not the other way around…
So with that what are your options for creating a website?
WordPress is a great web platform. WordPress is essentially a blogging platform. WordPress specializes in creating websites that are content heavy and that are easily recognized by Google.
WordPress sites are great for…
- membership sites
- service business websites
- contracting websites
- magazine style websites
- ad based websites
If the purpose of your website is to provide information, then WordPress is the option for you.
Now, I highly recommend creating a self hosted WordPress site. This means that you SHOULD NOT create a WordPress site by creating a membership on WordPress.org.
Here is my exact advice.
- Go to StudioPress.com – Buy a theme.
- Go to GoDaddy.com – Buy a domain name. Call GoDaddy and tell them that you have bought a WordPress theme, but now you need to host it and install the WordPress application.
- Stay on the phone with GoDaddy and make them walk you through the process. They will do it. They are very helpful.
Now, as your site grows, you may want to think about switching hosting services since GoDaddy does not provide the best hosting. But in the beginning, this is the easiest and most straight forward option that will give you the most bang for your buck.
Once you have hosted your WordPress theme, you can go back to StudioPress, log into your account and set your website up by following the step by step directions provided once your purchased your theme.
That’s it. You are now on your way. You can begin filling the site with content, creating blog posts, creating service pages or whatever you plan to create.
Shopify is an e-commerce platform. This means that if you want to build an online store that sells and ships out physical products, Shopify is the place for you.
Creating a Shopify site is much easier than creating a WordPress site because you don’t need to set up separate hosting. Just go to Shopify.com to get started.
Shopify also has great service so you can call them and just demand that they stay on the phone with you until you have properly set up your store. They will help you all the way because they want your monthly fee.
Reasons why Shopify is great when you are building a e-commerce store.
- They have built in integration to shipping and tracking numbers
- They have built in inventory management
- Shopify has a deal with Stripe which means that you will be able to easily process credit cards
- Shopify links up to PayPal so you can take PayPal payments
- The platform comes with some easy to use and highly valuable marketing apps that will give you additional tools to grow your brand
- Shopify makes it very easy to categorize your store
- Building your site (and making it look beautiful) is a relatively easy process using Shopify
Finally, Shopify has a great iPhone app. This will give you the advantage of having an up to date understanding of your sales, of your inventory and of your days web traffic.
Teachable is a website platform that makes it easy for people to create, build and sell online courses and educational products.
Online education is a multi billion dollar industry. People are hungry to buy courses of all different kinds. You can create online courses from anything to art, marketing, math, astronomy or podcasting. You name it, there are people out there who will pay good money for the expertise and knowledge that you have.
The trouble becomes how to properly format your course in a way that is digestible.
That’s where Teachable excels.
Their back end user interface is extremely user friendly. Teachable created a platform that will help you build out lesson plans and distribute them to your customers in a way that is inclusive and educationally friendly.
Also, it is very malleable for all different types of content. You can create video courses, written courses, audio courses and even create quizzes and tests for your customers and students.
Bringing the Point Home
I hope by now you see and understand the importance of having a website as your “home base.”
Before we move on, I would like to note that I am not against using social media or third party aggregates to assist in growing your business. But you want to have control over your content and your money.
Now that we have gotten started on building our home base, we can get busy on learning how to grow your business. Over the course of the next two weeks, we will learn about different digital strategies that will both grow your brand and also convert your traffic into sales.
Thank you so much for joining along and please reach out if you have any questions!