You’ve made the decision to transition into your own business. You know you need a website and to plan first steps. What else is involved?
The list below is designed to help you understand the steps, so you have a more thorough idea of what’s involved in the cost when you engage a service provider, or, whether you have the time and expertise to DIY.
1. Check the domain name is available.
As a Personal Brand strategist, of course, I recommend calling your business by your own name – whether you want to do this for the business you’re starting or not, check your domain name is available. If you’re just starting out on the path to building a business and you find the domain name isn’t available in a form that you’re happy with, I recommend you think again on the business name.
If the domain isn’t available, try a different version of that name. For your own name, add your middle name or initial, or turn it around (lovejude.com.au has an elegance to it that i fought hard to resist)
If you’re using a more generic ‘business name’, (eg mybusiness.com.au) that may not be available, add in a location or specialty. (mybusinessbondi.com.au)
A domain name doesn’t automatically deliver SEO benefits – so sydneyaccountants.com.au won’t necessarily rank well for accountancy in Sydney. Domain authority is relevant. This is measured by the age of domain name, the visits and dwell time on that site, the changes and updates to the site, which signal to Google there’s new reasons to index, and the links to the site: backlinks.
2. Check the name is available on socials.
There are far more social accounts than domain names, so it may be less likely you can nab your business name on socials. Try the variations suggested above, and aim for the closest you can get.
3. Prepare for your Branding
The content you’re delivering to the world is immensely important, as is the look and feel of your brand. 95% of our purchase decision-making takes place subconsciously. Your visitors are assessing you before they even know it. If you’re going to spend money, I recommend you budget for spending it here. Often, even when clear on tone of voice, vision and values, colours and fonts can feel overwhelming and this can create a stumbling block
You may not want a ‘Logo’ in the traditional sense, however your name prepared graphically in a font you like is a logo in its own right. Use your own judgement to see if a typeface reflects your values and the values of your Brand:
Is it modern, practical, supportive yet no-nonsense? Look at Sans-serif fonts: Montserrat, Open Sans for web, Gotham for print
Established, elegant, structural, traditional, timeless, classic? A serif font such as Garamond for web or Didot for print
Whether you will be developing your branding yourself, or outsourcing to a graphic designer, you’ll need branding for the following uses. Thinking of this list, and the creation of resources for each of these areas helps you understand cost
- Instagram – done well, Instagram will use your colours, fonts and logos over and over – these days, it sets the tone for your look and feel
- Other socials: Facebook banner and profile, LinkedIn banner and profile, Twitter banner and profile
- Email signature
- Business cards
When thinking about your branding, look at others in your field. What do you like about them, what don’t you like?
What are your favourite colours: in clothing, in nature, in house paint, and what emotions, if any, do these convey for you?
From these, select a standout and choose tones of that colour to use within your branding. choose a compatible colour as well – either from your favourites, or from a compatible colour picker tool
A good designer will step you through these choices. Being as prepared as you can, with your values, the emotions you want your brand to convey, and your colour preferences will pay dividends for you and for the designer.
4. Website build
Within a website, you need:
- Domain Name: Purchase and redirection to point to the website
- Written content – website copy that explains how your business or you as a brand, is relevant to and solves the problems of your clients/customers/industry.
- Photography (see my post that explains how to get the best from your Photo shoot): portrait photography, product photography and additional photos and graphics to add interest to content areas. Photos are prepared for web so they are clear and crisp as well as small. Google, and users, like images that look great on all screens and load quickly
- Pages (including, not limited to): Home | About | Service Pages | Contact | Blog | 404 | Terms and Conditions | Privacy | Landing pages for new services and specific sales
- Products and ecommerce setup
- Bookings software
- Course content and delivery software
- Membership software to protect course content
- Lead Generation: a valuable return for an email signup
- Calls to action – on each page, often a number of times each page, use a Call to Action to ask the visitor to do what you want or need them to do: contact you, sign up for a download, read a blog post. These are incidental pieces of content that are almost invisible, and immensely important to think about.
- Hosting for the website, if using a CMS (content management system) such as wordpress.
- Ongoing maintenance and updates for wordpress
- Integration with your email so queries come through via your contact form (which is spam protected by captcha)
- Google analytics integration
- Yoast SEO setup
5. Growing your audience through Lead Generation:
Don’t underestimate the power of emails, nor think that you’re imposing, or being a nuisance asking for a visitor’s email then sending out newsletters and information.
Keep in mind, you’re sending out interesting, informative information to people who want to receive it. Those who don’t want it can unsubscribe.
To grow an email list, you need a ‘funnel’ – this involves writing and designing a valuable download for your audience, for which they’ll want to pay you with their email. This online form – generally served as a popup, a footer call to action, or a call to action on a specific sales page, is keyed into software that collects and stores details and from which you will be able to send out informative emails to your audience. This is called EDM: electronic direct marketing.
The more you know your audience, their problems and your solutions, the more valuable is your ongoing emails to them. I have a newsletter template here to help you manage your newsletter writing.
6. Marketing: Spread the news
Be prepared to spread the news: through your networks, your socials, your family and friends. Be clear on what you’re delivering, who is your target market and how to find you. People like to get behind new ventures.
If you don’t have the time or technical know how, engage a social media service and/or a PR company to help you with media outlets.
To continue to upload to socials requires content. Think of where this is coming from? Can you reuse blog posts? your page content? Relevant quotes from authors or others in your industry?
Social requires graphic creation – think of how this will get done or who will do this for you.
7. What is your time and cash budget?
Like anything, if the budget isn’t set up for spend, do YOU have the time and skills for Brand building? If you don’t have the time and skills is there budget to engage a professional.
If you don’t have the time, do you have a budget, if you don’t have a budget, do you have the time? A new business requires marketing and outreach. If you don’t want to spend, what is your plan for promoting?
What is your budget for marketing and start up costs?
How much time have you set aside for marketing and start up tasks?
Do you have a budget to continue to promote, build an audience, sell your service, products or time?
Do you have a budget for expertise and to continue to do as they advise?
Understanding what’s involved in marketing your business
This isn’t an exhaustive list. It’s intended to help you understand what’s involved in going online, what you’re paying for when you engage a professional and what you will need to do yourself if you’re going alone. Understanding your budget, time frame and comfort level is essential. Think of each element as a separate entity and break this list down to understand the time, cost or effort these things will take.