I am sure that many of you would like to start, or improve, your online presence, so I thought it might be useful to share with you the origin of this blog and my Facebook page. A while ago I was having a conversation with my business partner about how the most enjoyable aspect of my job was sharing things I have learned about conducting business on the web with passionate people who were looking for a little guidance. There is a lot of information on the web, but more often than not, it’s not presented in a very fun or welcoming way, and I decided to start a blog and Facebook page to do things better. Long story short, I needed a new Facebook page and a website.
I’m sure most of you know that I run a very successful web development company called Web Impakt. Web Impakt employs many project managers, designers and developers and creates dozens of websites every year. Here is the thing you might not expect (or at least not expect me to admit):
I didn’t use Web Impakt when I needed a website, and maybe you shouldn’t either.
This is not to say that I don’t feel that I have the best talent available working for me, I do, or else I wouldn’t employ them. The problem is, at the end of the day I am still running a small business and I have budgets. My staff, as lovely as they are, will still expect to get their paycheck even though they are not working on a project I’m getting paid for. More importantly, I’ve given my clients timelines of when their projects would be finished. I don’t know about all of you, but I get pretty impatient when I have a new idea that I’m excited about. I didn’t really feel like taking my place in the back of the line behind my clients, nor did I expect my clients to say, “I’m glad you’re excited about your idea! Please, move my project back a week, I just want you to be happy.”
Fortunately, my idea didn’t require me to do anything too ground-breaking. I had some ideas for some content, and I wanted to get them out on the internet for people to learn from and enjoy. Add a form for people to contact me and sign up for a newsletter, and that pretty much sums up my needs.
Stake Your claim
1) First thing’s first, I need a domain name. Well, I don’t NEED a domain name, but “lindseysweb.com” just rolls off the tongue better then 188.8.131.52. I head over to GoDaddy.com and pick up “lindseysweb.com” for $7.99.
2) Next I need a Facebook page, so I go there to create a page. I can’t get a nice URL like http://facebook.com/lindseysweb until I get 100 fans, but I guess if I’m impatient I can always buy some fake fans… or wait I’d better not.
3) Next I just complete all of my Facebook information. If you want some more ideas on how to do that correctly, make sure you read our “Facebooking Bad” and “Facebooking Good” posts from earlier.
Find Your Style
Here is where people can spend a LOT of money. Design work is long and requires a lot of back and forth to help bring the vision of a website from a client’s head out onto the screen. The simple fact is, you don’t always need (and in many cases don’t always want) a 100% groundbreaking and unique design. I Googled “WordPress Themes” (of course, if you really want to pinch some pennies, you could Google “FREE WordPress Themes”), and picked out a theme that had the feel that I’m looking for: Jacqueline Wordpress Theme. Looks pretty familiar doesn’t it?
I’m using WordPress, because I love its power and flexibility, but honestly you could just Google “website builder” and have a lot of the work done via companies like WIX or WEEBLY. There are many easy-to-use website builders out there, and they are very valid options.
Show Your Audience
Now, here I have a bit of an advantage over many of you, because I own my own servers, so it would be a bit silly for me not to host my site on them. Even if I didn’t, it’s still a pretty easy process:
1) Go to a site like “Blue Host” or Google “WordPress Hosting” and find a pricing plan that works for your budget. Make sure they offer phone support! Even the best of us is going to bang their head against the wall a few times, and it’s not fun if you can’t ask questions when that happens.
2) Give them a call and tell them you want to install WordPress with whatever theme you have chosen. Sit and wait on the phone while they set it up.
3) Google “WordPress Tutorials 101” and learn how to add posts, pages and images.
That’s really all there is to it! Once that is done, you are only limited by your own imagination.
Now, to be very honest, it is nice to have a staff that I can turn to when I run into a snag or if I need an image or graphic that is too complex to for me to put together. So, it’s a great idea to have a web development team in your corner to help you out with these types of things. Another thing to keep in mind is that if you’re looking on doing something more with your website, things can get pretty expensive (depending on the loftiness of your ideas). The main thing to remember is, if you have an idea that you want to share with people, you don’t need a large investment of time or money to start. Good luck!