So far we have covered a lot of the basics in a general way. In my last post I talked about the importance of having an email list of clients/customers and using an auto-responder or email service to handle that list. We will be talking more about lists and how to make money with them (monetize) in my next post. But this time around lets finish up the needed elements of an online marketing model. Specifically having an online presence.
When I talk about an online presence I am referring to having either a web site or a blog. Someplace to send your customers to, or to use to interest new buyers onto your list. Even if you only plan on doing email marketing you should still have a web site, if for no other reason then to have your own domain name to use in your emails. Sending out email newsletters and offers from a Gmail account just will not do. If you are following my emails this would fall under two categories, Product, and Promotion. You need a site if you are selling your own products, and you will find a web site extremely useful for Promotional efforts.
There are several ways to put yourself online, depending on your needs. I have several different online sites aimed at different uses and niches. The easiest way to get online is through free Blogging software from either Google (Blogger) or WordPress (wordpress.com). I have used both in the past and for a free site I prefer Blogger, mostly because they don't limit your placing affiliate advertising on your blog, they actually provide that if you use their AdSense program. Unless your Blog is enormously popular you won't make a lot of money this way, but for me it does pay for all of my web sites. Both Blogger and WordPress are easy to use and can be set up in just a few minutes. But the free versions are limited if you plan on doing a lot of promotional work, or if you need more advanced programming like a shopping cart.
The next level up is a basic web site. You will need a domain name, and domain hosting. But you can keep the rest of it fairly simple. WordPress is included Free with a lot of domain hosting packages and most domain hosting can host a WordPress installation. The nice thing about WordPress is that the actual software is free and their is a large community who come up with more advanced templates and plug-ins to expand your WordPress site into a fully functioning business site.
Beyond that you can of course go for a fully functional, professionally built web site. But I only recommend that after you are making a good income on the internet and can afford the investment. No need to go that route when you are just starting out.
I don't feel that Twitter or Facebook, or Google+ for that matter, give you enough of a web presence without also having a web site. At least not for business. But social media can be an important part of your promotional efforts and I will discuss that in a later post.
So, now lets look at some specific recommendations:
Domain Name: Unless you are sticking with Blogger or the free online WordPress you will need a domain name. You may want to consider one even if you are sticking with Blogging as you can point a Blogger or WordPress site at a domain name, thereby giving you the benefits of a custom identity. I admit I have a couple of blogs on Blogger that stick with the blogspot.com basic domain name, but I use those for teaching and as a location for my hobbies, not for marketing.
When choosing a domain name for business you should do some keyword research to come up with a name that is appropriate for the market you are targeting. You could use a general name like my "How To Gurus" which will allow you flexibility in what you sell, but it won't help with Search Engine Optimization. Or you can select a more specific name like the 'About Affiliate Cash" that I am using as a basic site for an internet marketing series, not really an exact match, but it does work.
After you have selected a name, or names (try to come up with at least 10), you will need to register that domain name with a domain registrar service. There are a ton of these out there, I personally like GoDaddy but there are others. I have links at the end of this post in the Resources section.
Domain Hosting: This is only needed if you are not using one of the Free online Blog solutions, either Blogger or WordPress.com. For all other web sites you will need a hosting solution. Also if you want to get the full benefit of WordPress you should go for a hosted version and not use the online free version. Again there are a ton of hosting providers out there. My personal choice is HostGator, they have very good pricing (starting as low as 4.95 per month), plus their hosting works well with WordPress and they easily handle video streaming as well.
You can always start with a Free online blog and then upgrade later to a domain name and hosting service as you build your online business.
GoDaddy : my preferred domain name service.
How To Gurus Video Training. Here are a few of my video training titles that cover in more detail what I discussed in this post:
WordPress Training - http://www.howtogurus.com/ECO/01_Make_WordPress_Website_DVD.htm
Blogger Training - http://www.howtogurus.com/ECO/01_Make_Blogger_Website_DVD.htm
How to Build a Web Site - http://www.howtogurus.com/ECO/01_Web_Design_Proj_DVD.htm
That's all for now.
Next time more about Email Lists and how to make money from them