7 Essential Steps for Your Online Success!
As somebody new, or not so new to the world of Internet Marketing, welcome! I am happy to assist you on your journey to success.
More and more people are working from home, some have to as there work is now ‘remote’, rather than office based. The way we work has changed forever. Many see working from home as the only thing they can do. Many have unfortunately been made redundant due to the ongoing Covid 19 pandemic, others are ‘furloughed’. Others see this as the opportunity they have been waiting for… as they want to make ‘real’ money online. However, their eyes glaze over and the mental shutters start coming down, when all the ‘tecchy terms’ start being trotted out – domain names, FTP, hosting, content, auto-responder, c-panel, graphics, outsourcing, payment and billing systems etc. etc. Yes, you do need to know and understand these elements of your business but let’s take things easy, one step at a time.
To be successful, there are 7 Essential Steps you MUST take!
Step 1 – Your Own Domain
I have read many blogs and articles stating you can happily make a great deal of money selling other people’s products via email and or social media, without a domain. I am sure there are such people but I did note, the authors of such articles all had their own domains, hosted on the internet!
By having your own domain, you have a presence and authority, which you build up and enhance over time.
So, what actually is a domain? It is your ‘address’ on the internet, where people and the web browsers they use are able to find you. You will be used to seeing domains such as ‘yourdomain’.com, or similar to mine, richardgbrown.com. The full web address would be http or https://yourdomain.com. The http stands for hypertext transfer protocol and the s stands for secure. Most sites are now using the https so that they are secure and have authority with the Google search engine. Both domain name providers and hosting companies provide the means to secure your web address.
If you wish you can have your domain hosted on a free platform such as WordPress. Your domain would look like this:
Do you think that lacks credibility and presence. I do!
Also, you need to be aware that if you decide to go down the route of a free platform, you will have to follow their rules. Their rules are so that their business is shown in the best light, and to their benefit, not yours. You may or may not be able to advertise on your site. Or, if you are they may be decided for you. You may not be able to use plugins.
If you don’t have your own domain with your chosen hosting, you will be dictated to what you can and can’t do with ‘your’ site. This will, if not immediately, certainly over time, be very limiting. You have been warned!
There are numerous domain name providers and you can find them all on Google. They have different fees, renewal costs and what they do and do not offer. As always, you need to do your own research. You can always change who hosts your domain after the initial contract. Domain hosts are a critical part of internet marketing. They ensure the law re registration and hosting of domains is complied with and that domains are unique to you. I use in the main, one of the most popular:
They are competitively priced and I can vouch, have excellent back up and customer service. They do offer deals for new customers.
There are numerous domain name suffixes; .com, .co.uk, .net, .org and also others like apps and london. If at all possible, especially for your first domain(s), buy a domain name that ends in .com. This will assist you re your rankings on Google. This is all part of ‘Search Engine Optimisation’, a topic in itself and one I will cover in a later Blog.
So, let’s get to what you want to read about! The actual name of your domain. I always advise that you choose a domain that is your name, or a brandable domain. This is nothing to do with vanity, it is to do with your branding. It is who you/your company are. It must also pass the ‘radio test’. This is so often forgotten. What do I mean? Well, read it out aloud to a friend/family member and ask them to write down what they heard. If it’s correct, then it’s passed. Simple? Yes, so don’t include numbers, e.g. …4you. That will be written down for, four and 4. As for hyphons and underscores, no, no, no! Also, no longer than 14 letters at the absloute maximum. You’ll have see them, ‘fredericksmithandsonshardwarestore.com’.
If you’re focussing on products and services, you may wish to have same in the title of your domain. That’s fine but don’t choose a name that includes a registered business name etc. You can easily look them up. Stay legal! If you wish to have a domain name that is ‘keyword’ rich (I’m drifting into SEO again), it may have a better chance of ranking well initially but in my opinion there is too
much emphasis on this and these don’t work as well as they did before. I’m happy to be challenged on this point!
Step 2 – Hosting
Now you’ve bought your domain – fantastic! Now, you’re going to need somewhere to host it, so people will be able to find and see it. Think of the domain as your street address and hosting as the building in which your company resides.
There are many, many hosting companies and not surprisingly many of those are owned by the same company. Two very famous hosting companies are Bluehost and Hostgator. You will probably have heard of them but did you know they are owned by the same company? I have used them both in the past but all my domains are hosted by:
They may not be the cheapest but the support and hosting is second to none. Investment at this stage will save you a lot of money and more importantly time, in the future.
Beware of the ‘free’ hosting offers. I can assure you from bitter experience they are an utter nightmare. You have been warned!
The minimum specifications you will need from your hosting company will depend on what you want to accomplish and how much traffic you plan to visit your website.
Most companies are flexible and you can change the specifications as needed.
If you plan for a large website with corresponding traffic and need hosting to match, you should consider having the site hosted on a dedicated server. If not, then you can have multiple sites hosted from one domain. The other sites become sub-domains. Again, your hosting company will advise.
Check with your hosting company re regular back ups and security for your site. This will prevent you losing everything in case of the site crashing orul whentransferring being hacked.
Once you have decided on your hosting, you will be given log in details for the site’s control panel, called ‘CPanel’. As its name implies, this is where your site’s engine room is and there will be tutorials within your hosting. They are all slightly different, so do spend time in learning how to use your cpanel.
You will at some point need to transfer files into and from your hosting server. This is achieved by using FTP or file transfer protocol. You will need a programme and many are free, so do your research and choose one that suits you. I use Filezilla and have never had any problems. Support at my hosting providers have been very helpful when I’ve needed to transfer files, images etc.
https://filezilla-project.org (Windows and Mac)
Step 3 – Images
Yes, essential for your website. Due diligence needs to be exercised though in the choice and use of images. Why? Quite simply, copyright. Can you imagine if you have an e-comm site, selling watches and you used a picture of Daniel Craig as James Bond with a super watch. You would be sued and probably financially ruined. There are many sites that sell images and there are sites that you can get royalty-free images (so you do not have to keep paying, every time you use the image). There are also sites that provide free images and many offers for large numbers of stock photos. Do shop around.
Stock and free photos being readily available, are not unique, so if you are in a highly competitive niche, you may end up using the same photos as a competitor!
I use regularly:
If you can, use your own photos! Today’s mobile phones have excellent cameras and your photos will be unique. Loved by search engines, as nobody else has them!
Step 4 – Graphics
Almost, but not all sites need graphics. What do I mean? Logos, banners, e-book covers…the list goes on. Graphics are one of the driving forces of the internet and need careful consideration. Have a look at competitors’ sites for some good ideas and then get creating. There are many DIY graphics software systems for sale. I have bought one or two in the past but the results to be honest were very amateurish, so ended up in the bin.
You may be dab hand at Adobe Photoshop or similar but if not, there are many designers on Fiverr, Upwork etc to help you. I’ve used a few and now use a designer in the U.K. You won’t be disappointed and their charges are very competitive:
Whatever route you take, always know exactly what you want and if you’re outsouring the work, never pay all the money upfront.
Some questions you may wish to ask:
What is the estimated delivery date for the finished project?
Do you have samples of your work?
Do youhave references?
How many revisions may I expect?
If I exceed the number of revisions for the price, how much are additional revisions?
Are there any special terms I need to be aware of?
Step 5 – Billing
If you’re selling anything online, you need a payment system, so you get your money. Some use a credit card processor. There are a number of criteria that need to be fulfilled, such as credit checks and usually an upfront deposit. Leave this consideration until you’re well established.
I am sure you’ve not only heard of but used PayPal? They make it easy for people to pay and for you to receive the money, less their fee. There are a number of other payment processors around and again, you will need to research and choose the payment processor that suits your needs.
I use Paypal and as long as you’re ethical and deliver to the customer what you say you will, thy will always work with you to find an amicable solution.
Step 6 – WordPress
I know there are a number of ways you can set your website built and of course, you will decide which platform to use. My need is for a site I can work on easily and do not need a degree in computer programming! WordPress allows you to craft a website that rivals the functionality and appearance of top end bespoke websites. Don’t forget I mentioned earlier the drawbacks of hosting your site on WordPress servers. Host it on your own choice of server. You then control everything and is simple to learn and use. Once you get the hang of the basics, there will be no stopping you. There are excellent tutorials on everything WordPress:
There are many WordPress themes (how your site looks) that are free and some you pay for. Why? They give you a lot better functionality and options. If you can afford a pid for theme, do so. It will pay you back in the medium term. I use optimizepress:
Step 7 – Take Action
We all have to start somewhere and the hardest step is always the first. You have now discovered the pieces of the puzzle for online success. If you take action and follow my 7 Steps then you are on the ‘fast track’ and will be way ahead of the game! Congratulations, because you’ve learned the basics in record time.
To Your Success,