So you’ve just worked out that this internet thing isn’t just a fad or craze. You realize that you could actually make some money online, maybe running a part time business or to increase the customers to your offline business. Perhaps you’re just wanting to jump in and see where the stream takes you.
Regardless of your motivation – welcome!
With hard, consistent work over the long term, you can achieve anything you want online.
If I were starting over online, knowing what I know now, this is what I’d do…
Build Your Base Of Operations
Your base of operations, aka your website, will be the focal point of everything else you do online. Think of it like an offline business shopfront. This is an area you are in complete control; where you’re the landlord and tenant. All your marketing and social media activities will come back to your website.
- Get yourname.com or .net or whatever is available. You only need one domain, so don’t go crazy with it. I get my domains from Godaddy. Get the private registration (deselect Business Registration), but nothing else from Godaddy.
- Get a basic hosting account. Make sure it has cpanel. I mainly use Hostgator. Use the code SEOPERTH25 to get a 25% discount.
- Point the nameservers from Godaddy to your Hostgator account (download my free, step-by-step Build Your Own Website Guide if this is getting too complicated)
- Setup a primary email address (in Hostgator). It might be firstname.lastname@example.org
- Setup a secondary email address for all the signing up you have to do. Maybe something like email@example.com
- Setup a wordpress site on your domain. Just use one of the free themes til you figure out what you want from it.
- Start writing about things that interest you. Or about which you have an above average understanding.
Sign Up For The Major Social Media Sites
Join Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Linkedin. Use your primary email address to sign up to these sites. Fill out your profile as completely as possible, linking to your website. Set the same avatar (profile picture) across all the sites. The picture should be professionally done, preferably with you in a suit or other business attire.
Claim Your Name
It’s important to claim your name across the web before other people do, particularly if you have a popular name. Try to get your full name as the username everywhere. This greatly helps with cross-channel marketing. Don’t know what that means? Check out this post on I’ve Seen You Out There.
Go to KnowEm and check for your name. Sign up using your secondary email address. Even if you think you won’t use that site, still sign up & claim your username. It’s impossible to predict which sites will take off and which will crash and burn, so be prepared for either.
Go to Gravatar and add your primary email address and profile picture. Now, whenever you post a comment at most blogs your picture will come up, rather than an empty box. This aids with people recognizing you. See this post for further information on how Gravatar works.
Over To You
Now it’s up to you how you want to proceed. Get involved in the major social media sites. Keep posting to your website. Your destination is up to you, but enjoy the process and don’t get too hung up on any one system: the only unchangeable thing about the online space is that everything changes.