Free Business Resources for your Business & Website. Starting your own business and being self-employed can bring you freedom in income and happiness. When it comes to marketing your business, a website is a required part of your Marketing Plan. I have outlined all the tools every business needs for their website and business.
Your Business Website
Before your business or blog website can be seen online you need these three things: a domain name or URL, website hosting; and a platform to share your content on the internet.
This is your website address / domain name / URL etc. You can have any domain name as long as it’s available. You can use your name, your business name, your business keyword, or just a fun name if you prefer. There are many places you can purchase a domain name from, it really doesn’t matter, I have purchased domain names myself from many sites including Crazy Domain Names, GoDaddy, HostGator, Bluehost, SiteGround and have been in charge of domain names for clients that have bought them from places including Netregistry, Melbourne IT, as well as smaller local domain name companies. I also sell domain names as part of my services. It usually comes down to the price factor and what company you prefer to deal with. For the purpose of this lesson, I’m going to walk you through purchasing your domain name through Crazy Domains.
Before you get ready you need to have these things:
– A domain name idea plus a few backup ideas
– Your credit card
If you are purchasing an Australian or country domain name. e.g. .com.au or .co.nz etc. you will also need your Australian (or another country) registered business number. You don’t need this if you are only purchasing a .com or .net etc domain.
When purchasing a domain name, you have a number of options. Let’s say I wanted my web address to be ‘thomaswebdesigns’. Depending on availability, I might be able to choose from the following:
If your business or blog is in Australia and only serves people within Australian then a .com.au domain name is perfect for you, or you can also pick a .net.au or .org.au. A .org.au address however, is normally only used for not-for-profit organisations. A .com domain name is ideal for business that serve customers outside of Australia, although sometimes it’s good to buy both the .com and the .com.au domain name to cover all bases. You can also purchase specialised domain names like .sydney or .melbourne etc. I don’t particularly use or recommend them unless you have a specific reason to as they are more expensive. Keeping in mind, domain names have no influence in Google search ranking factors and only a tiny influence with Bing searches for when you start to market your website in search engines. .com and .com.au are more well known but you really want something that is going to be easy for your audience to remember.
Hosting is a service that allows your website to be viewed on the internet. Once you purchase hosting you will be provided with a server that has a certain amount of space for your website, if you go over the space or disc allowance then your website will most likely go down or you will then need to purchase more server space. A hosting provider can host your website and/or email address on their server and depending on what type of information is on your website/emails will depend on how much space you need. If you have a basic business website with a dozen images and regularly get business emails without large image files then a server space of 500mb is suitable. If you have a large website with a large amount of traffic or images added daily, such as directories, job boards, classified sites, ecommerce websites or large blog sites then you will likely need more website space.
As a do-it-yourself(er) you are best to start with say 500mb to 1gb and upgrade as you need to. The other thing you want to look at is the type of website hosting. There are many types of hosting from shared, dedicated, managed etc. Dedicated hosting is more expensive and unless you have a large business then you are best to start with basic ‘shared’ hosting. Dedicated hosting is extremely fast as it has almost all the products required to optimize your website and you have complete control over the server. If you’re going to go down this route, I would recommend Amazon web services. Shared hosting can be a little slower, but you can definitely speed your website up with a good hosting provider and a few website hacks. For most websites then shared hosting is completely fine.
If you are using website building platforms such as Squarespace, WordPress.com, Wix etc then your hosting is paid as part of your website building tool so you don't need to purchase website hosting as you are already paying for it.
Okay, now let’s get started and purchase your website hosting if you decide to have a self-managed WordPress website.
STEP 1, jump onto the Siteground website. I have used many hosting providers and helped clients improve their website speed and I believe Siteground is one of the best for people that want to manage their hosting themselves.
Platform to share your website content on the internet.
There are many website builders including Self managed WordPress, WordPress.com, Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, Godaddy website builder, HTML editor, Shopify, Drupal, Joomla, Cake PHP, Magento, Prestashop, including ones I have never worked with from Levo Builder to Rocketspark and so many more.
No wonder why people get confused. We can normally help people edit most website builders however we specialize and love Self-managed WordPress. Why? It's so customizable and search engines love the clean code of it, especially when using the amazing theme DIVI by Elegant themes.
Once you have set up your hosting for your website you can generally easily install the website builder of your choosing unless you are using platforms such as WordPress.com, Wix, Squarespace etc as these have hosting set within the platform that you pay for rather than using hosting above.
Once the website building platform is installed you are now ready to create your own website. If you are going with our recommendation of using Self Managed WordPress then Grab the FREE 7-day guide to create your website and we will walk you through installing WordPress.org to build your website with.
Best theme to use for your Self Managed WordPress Website?
Divi by Elegant themes. From US$89... Why Because it's so customizable so you can make it look similar to any other theme plus its fast loading and website speed is an important factor for user experience and search engine rankings.
Best Plugins for WordPress
Plugins are little pieces of software that can add more functions to your website. e.g. you can add a shopping cart plugin, or a contact form, or a slider or a calendar to your website. Whatever you are thinking of adding there is most likely a plugin to install for it. Just be careful as adding too many plugins can slow down your website which takes it longer to load so people can get annoyed and stop visiting your website. As plugins are created by many different website developers and are updated often to improve their function, some plugins clash so having too many can cause errors on your website.
Wordfence for security
Akismet for preventing spam on comments or reviews.
Yoast SEO for search engine optimization
UpdraftPlus for back up’s
Monsterinsight to view basic website stats (optional as long as your connected with google analytics you can view your states separately through google analytics)
Your Business Brand- Graphic Design
Having a Business Brand helps your clients and customers to identify your business. Branding is basically your business DNA - how it looks, colour, word usage, and overall style.
You can hire a Graphic Designer or if you have a basic idea what you want then our team at Thomas Web Designs can create a logo from an idea you already have.
If you like to play and do your own designs then the following are great tools you can use.
Create beautiful designs for your website, social media and advertising, from logo's, business presentations and more. Upload your own images, or use the stock images available. Check out Canva.com now- It's free to use for most things.
Allows you to create amazing imaging and graphic design. Check it out with a free trial here.
Another great design program that allows you to create stunning images with a easy-to-use graphic design tools, Grab your free trial here.
It's illegal to use google or use images without permission so if you are looking for some professional stunning stock images then read my blog article on "Amazing websites to find professional stunning stock images."
HOW TO EARN MONEY FROM YOUR WEBSITE?
Here I’m going to go through some other ways you can monetize and earn money from your website. In this particular instance, I have given examples of something a personal trainer might sell.
- Selling your own products that you buy at wholesale and sell at retail pricing i.e. Meal replacements and health bars;
- Selling your own services i.e. Personal training sessions;
- Selling other people’s products through an advertising cost i.e. Advertising a friends product that you charge them to have on their website;
- Selling other people’s products through drop shipping. Selling products such as resistant bands like Resistance Bands Elastic Band for Fitness Equipment Rubber Bands Rope Training Tube Exercise Stretch that you advertise on your website for a higher price and the seller ships to the buyer on your behalf;
- Selling other people’s products or services through affiliates. Selling fitness clothing through panaprium.com on your website. Check out https://www.panaprium.com/pages/affiliate-program-become-partner or https://www.shareasale.com/ for other business affiliate programs. When using affiliate links you need to make sure you follow the terms and conditions of affiliate marketing;
- Selling digital products that you create including e-books, planners, checklist, or an online course etc that the client can download digitally. A personal trainer might create their own e-book on how to lose weight and sell it through their website;
- Selling membership or subscription packages. A personal trainer might create a plan that people pay a monthly fee to access recipes, home exercise routines, plus the motivation to keep active.
These are several ways you can look at making income for your business. I would suggest looking at one at a time and increasing these overtime.
DRIVING TRAFFIC TO YOUR WEBSITE- YOUR MARKETING STRATEGY
Start by getting listed on Google My Business and Bing Places (You only have to do the free sections) if you don’t have a shop front or public office that's fine, just opt to display the town you live in. (You may serve customers all over Australia or even the world but starting local is often the best place).
Create a blurb about you and your business.
This is mine.
I’m Jacinta Thomas, also known as your humble wordpress web design tech whiz and online marketing consultant. I’m a reserved, yet highly motivated and adaptable digital marketing expert ready to use my online marketing knowledge to help your business be seen online and ramp up your sales. I also love horses, dogs, cats, country music, chocolate and most of all helping people. I help family focused entrepreneurs build top ranking, self-managed websites, help work through any wordpress tech issues and set up with hosting, blogging, SEO and social media, so they can earn more money and live their dream life. Love to meet you all.
I also use this one for when I’m sharing more local.
I’m Jacinta Thomas, and live locally in Goulburn. I’m your humble wordpress web design tech whiz and online marketing consultant. I’m a reserved, yet highly motivated and adaptable digital marketing expert ready to use my online marketing knowledge to help your business be seen online and ramp up your sales. I also love horses, dogs, cats, country music, chocolate and most of all helping people. I help family focused entrepreneurs build top ranking, self-managed websites, help work through any wordpress tech issues and set up with hosting, blogging, SEO and social media, so they can earn more money and live their dream life. Love to meet you all.
Now get a few headshot photos done. No need to spend big. iPhone takes great photos. Ask your family and friends to take a few photos for you. I mainly use this one. (Tip, Canva.com cropped it in this fancy pattern for me)
Now start connecting with local networking groups and join Facebook groups. Just remember, don’t just promote your business and run. Introduce yourself and your business first, then share free valuable content and your blog posts and engage with other members. This will start bringing in new clients or clients that will refer you. There are a few Facebook groups I use
Also register your business on these free business directories. Read more about this in my blog post here.
Tell your friends and family about your business and ask them to share it with their friends. (Just don’t hound them).
Don’t forget to share your freebie around as well as the more people you drive to your website the higher you will get on search rankings.
That’s it, keep networking and sharing your business around. I wish you well with your business journey ahead. I have marketing and SEO packages that can help grow your businesses so please reach out at any time for help.
ATTRACTING CLIENTS & BUILDING YOUR AUDIENCE
When you are building your website you want to make sure you are clear that you are bringing the right clients and driving them to your products and services.
When someone first lands on your website they might not be 100% ready to buy from you so if they are not then you want to start collecting their contact details so you can follow them up and keep putting your business in front of them on what you offer so they will eventually buy from you. There are a few ways you can start building a list.
Using an Email Marketing platform is a great tool to collect and store your client's email addresses and send then emails. You can send emails to them weekly, monthly, and even set up automatic email campaigns and much more.
I recommend using Mailerlite as it’s free for the first 1000 subscribers and it’s very easy to use for first-timers. There are many others including MailChimp, Convertkit, Drip, Aweber, etc. I have used all for various clients and some have fantastic features etc but for any small to medium-sized business then Mailerlite is perfect for them.
Facebook Messenger bot
Some people get overloaded with emails and prefer to use facebook messenger, plus Messenger seems to now have a higher open rates and click-through-rates (CTR) than email. I use and recommend Manychat.