Do you want a website for an online shop or to grow your business? Maybe you want to have a profitable blog. To help you get started, I put together a list of resources I use to operate my business, blog, and shop. I have full confidence that these tools will help you reach your goals. I wouldn’t suggest them otherwise, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.
When you’re ready to start, I ask that you use my links to open your account. Some services offer me a referral that helps support my blog so that I can offer you more helpful content.
Resources for a Successful Website
If you are not computer savvy AT ALL or you just want a straightforward beautiful website, go with Squarespace. I have actually lost clients because they figured out how to design their own website using Squarespace. You can get hosting, a domain name, a theme, and SEO all wrapped up within Squarespace. If you don’t have a clue what any of that stuff is, you’re probably better off going with Squarespace because the more time you put into figuring out website garaging, the less time you’re working toward your money-making business.
If you want to dive deeper into building a website here is a highly suggested list of resources.
In order for your website to be found online, your website needs to be connected to the internet all the time. Therefore, your website information lives on a server, and you’ll need a host who has a server to do that for you. I use Dreamhost. I am impressed with their amazing, seriously super amazing, customer support! I honestly never get angry when I need to ask them a question because I always get to talk to a real person within a live chat and their staff is incredibly knowledgeable. Dreamhost has always been able to answer my questions or fix my problems within 10-30 minutes. I definitely recommend them.
Dreamhost also offers a one-click install for WordPress, which makes getting a WordPress site must easier for non-web developers like me. I’ll explain WordPress next.
WordPress is a management system for your website. Think of it as an iPhone (or Android, if you prefer) The iPhone is great, you can call and text, but it’s all the apps on the iPhone that make it great! In WordPress, we call “apps” plugins, and WordPress has thousands of them!!! You can get plugins that boost your search engine rating, so that Google can find your website better, or install an online shop, add pretty Pinterest “Pin it!” buttons to your images and beyond. It’s designed to be user-friendly, and there is WordPress.com which is different then wordpress.org, and I believe that WordPress.com is even more user-friendly if WordPress.org isn’t your thing. Oh! And both a free! 😀
A theme is how your website is laid out. Your business will depend on the type of theme you’ll need. If you’re a food blogger, you’ll want a theme that highlights your recipes and images, if you’re a personal trainer maybe you’ll want a contact form and calendar for people to schedule appointments online.
I suggest getting a theme from Creative Market. This is an online shop for designers to sell and buy each other’s work. Because graphic design is a wide range of skills, sometimes it’s easier to buy something like stock photos than to take all the photos yourself.
There are thousands of themes to choose from and it get’s extremely overwhelming. I’ve been there. Keep these things in mind while choices your theme:
- Never get a free one. Designing a theme is a full-time job, it takes a ton of coding from a successful web developer. If you find one for free I doubt that it’s useful and it may have malware or a virus within it. So, just avoid it.
- Does work for your business or goals?
- Does it include plugins like Mailchimp and WooCommerance? And are those included in the price?
- Read the reviews!
- Your website won’t look like everyone else’s. If 100 people downloaded the same theme all those websites would look different because it’s your content that really makes it unique.
- Just pick one, it’s not that big of a deal.
Beautiful Themes Available Now
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Woohoo! Most likely you wanted to make a website to make money somehow. Well, WooCommerse is a plugin that you can easily install to set up an online store. WooCommerse makes it easy to sell physical or digital goods and can connect with Paypal and other accounts for easy transactions. Woo helps add in shipping options, sending recipes and more.
There is no point in having a website if no one will find it. Yoast (rhymes with toast) is another plugin that will help search engines find your content. At the bottom of each page will be a bunch of red lights next to some text that will tell you how to improve your page to get a better rating. Your goal is to get as many green lights as you can without going crazy. It’s okay if you can’t get them all green, but you’ll at least want your page to be green overall.
For Example: If you Google “Crystal Whitlow Design” I pop up! 😀 YAY!
As soon as you start a website you’ll need to start an email list ASAP. Email marketing is another topic altogether, but I’ll give you a bit size scoop. The goal of email marketing is to lure in your ideal client with an offer that they can’t refuse. In exchange for an email address, you would send them something that helps solve their problem. Once you have their email address, you would follow up with additional materials to further help your client, but it would be something you’re selling. Not giving away for free.
For example, you have a yoga studio and your goal is to get more members in your doors. You could offer something like, a printable guide that explains 10 yoga poses to do every day. New yoga students who are searching for beginner yoga material would find your offer and think, “Hey! I would love to know 10 yoga poses that would be beneficial every day, I want that printable. I could do that every morning before work/school.” So, they give you their email address and you automatically sent them their printable. You now have fulfilled a desire with a potential client because you already know that this person is interested in yoga.
Sometime after that, you would send a follow-up email, but this time you would tell them about your studio and offer one free class. Once they come for a class and enjoyed their experience, you can cheerfully get acquainted and tell them about your awesome membership specials. They like your vibe so they fill out a membership form. BOOM! You just got a new yogi to chaturanga with! And it all started with an awesome printable you offered for free.
If your business is service based, you could send your rates and prices to interested clients. This is a great way to ween through clients who have the budgets to pay for your services. Then, since you know that these people are interested in working with you, you can send a follow-up email asking about their needs and how your business could help them.
Offering sales can work as a hook too. People like free shipping, 25% off, a free gift with a purchase of $50 or more. You can get creative with it.
Small Business Banking
- Spark: Captial One Business Account
How to Start an Online Shop Selling Your Designs on Products
How to Brand Your Business
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