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Is there really such a thing as a “right way” to build an online business? There are many ways that can be considered right. There is also about 10-times as many ways that can be considered wrong.
It’s easy to tell if you’re doing things wrong. If you’re not making money, you’re doing something wrong. I’m assuming your goal is to make money? Or at least, one of your goals in the overall set of goals is to make some money. Money keeps the lights on! It fixes the old stuff when it breaks or replaces it when making repairs becomes impossible.
As you consider what you’d like to accomplish online and the tools you’ll need to do it, you may suddenly find yourself bogged down and overwhelmed with information overload. This happens when you have too many choices to pick from. You find yourself overwhelmed by the pros and cons of each option.
I know… what if you do something stupid and make a bad decision? You’ll get through it. You have in the past and will this time, too.
We’re all familiar with spending lots of energy while getting lousy results. So let’s take a look at the bare bone basics of what you need and why.
You need your own domain name. You’d do better with several (another subject for another day) but you can do just fine with one. If I were you, I’d pick one that describes what you do or offer as clearly as possible. If you’re already known (locally or otherwise) your name will work, too, as a domain name.
You need to be able to write “sales copy” or simple product information to start with. I know some people are really turned off about the concept of “selling,” so let’s phrase it differently. You have to explain to people how you or your products will benefit them. There are thousands of books and software programs (seminars, too) designed to teach you how to do this. They, too, are a source of overload.
Don’t get overwhelmed by overload.
Do the best you can with what you have. If you can hire someone to do the work for you or assist you, fine. If not, look at other examples online and do your best with the resources you currently have available. You can always go back make changes. You won’t be fined for a lack of perfection by the Internet Police.
Next, you need to design your website or at least figure out what you want it to look like. You’ve probably already looked at other sites and have a basic feel for what you like or dislike. That’s enough to get you heading in the right direction. What comes next is the part that bogs people down and creates overload.
Know the Options – Stick with the Basics
Do you take the time to learn “how to build your own website” or not? You can take a class, buy a book, watch a video or buy do-it-yourself software. Some people will do all of the above and then some! You can see how time-consuming this can be. You can talk to other website owners, webmasters, etc., and get an idea about what’s involved in the whole process… but before you get swept away, remember these simple pointers.
- A clean look, not a cluttered hardware store window look.
- Purpose-driven (fill out a form, send more for more information, etc.) as opposed to a “library of information and options.
- Less moving parts.
This is how you START in the world of online business and marketing. You can always add more things later on once you have a model that works for you. Always keep in mind, what works for someone else may not necessarily work the exact same way for you. Everything has to be tested and you make the necessary adjustments as you go.
In many ways, the Internet can be as complex or as simple as you want it to be. You can do a lot with one or two things, or very little with a dozen or more things. Can you see that?
SOCIAL MEDIA – YEA OR NEA?
Long before the term “Social Media” became a household phrase, people have used the Internet as a form of communication with people from around the world. Now, we have sites dedicated to doing just that (being social). The original communication model being taken to the next level. Thanks to sites such as Twitter, the news is being even faster than the mainstream media is able to deliver it.
What does this mean for you? Well, maybe a lot… maybe not. What I mean is, if you’re delivering time-sensitive information – you now have the ultimate platform to do it from. With time, the tools may change but the concept will remain the same.
If you haven’t already, set up a simple personal profile on Facebook and make some new friends and rediscover some old ones. If you invest a little time in it, you can promote you business through your personal page. If you find Facebook to your liking, go ahead and create a business page, too. It doesn’t cost a dime unless you want to create a business page that’s capable of functioning like a mini-site through the use of Iframes.
What’s that? Did I hear someone say overload just opened the door and peeked inside?
Here’s a simple fact that I’ll share with you “off the record.” My own business increased about 400% since starting with Facebook. And that was ALL through the use of a plain old personal profile.
At the very least, social media can work for you similarly to the way a basic business card does. That’s at the very least.
You can use Facebook the same way if you want to. If you find you really enjoy interacting with people, go ahead and take it to the next level. The real question is – what’s right for YOU? Even if you’re business is 100% online, as an individual, you’re not going to have the time to do everything. Can you be on Twitter and Facebook, build your website or blog and still have enough time at the end of the day to live in the “real world?”
Those are questions you’ll really have to answer for yourself. Most people would say no. So why go there? Most people do because they’re simply following the herd. What they don’t realize is, most of the herd is broke.
Social media is better suited for some people than it is others. Some people are more comfortable with social settings (online or offline) than others. The same goes for Facebook.
GETTING STARTED TODAY
Instead of telling you what do next, I’m going to ask you a question. “What do you want to do?” In other words, what appeals to you the most?
If you’re just starting out or just getting started AGAIN (wanting to get it right this time), this is the real question you need to ask yourself. For example, if you enjoy making videos and have a good personality, you can use YouTube to promote your product. Yes, it can be as simple as that. Video sites (such as YouTube and others) can be used to sell and promote all kinds of things.
You can have a video blog if you don’t enjoy writing or creating content. What’s that? Are you starting to experience overload again? Okay, let’s stop right there and break it down into simple bite-sized chunks.
Here are six options.
- Websites with Blogs
- Micro-Blogging (Twitter)
- Social Media (Facebook)
- Video Sharing (YouTube)
Pick one. Work it for a month. If you enjoy it, consider taking it to the next level. If not, try one of the other five remaining options. You’re bound to find one or two you like much better than the others.
What happens if you find they’re all very difficult, you ask?
Go rent a movie from Redbox and get a good night’s sleep.