There are a lot of people talking about niche and targeting your ideal customer lately, but here’s the thing…
…if you’re stuck on what type of online business to start, then all of that stuff doesn’t actually matter yet!
You can’t target the right customer until you actually know WHO your customer is.
And you won’t know exactly who your customer is with any kind of clarity until you know exactly what type of online business you want to start.
In this article, I’m talking about the different types of online business and what you can do to actually get started, today!
After more than 14 years of accumulating and analyzing data about growing and scaling different types of online businesses, I can tell you first hand that TRANSFORMATION is what moves you from zero to six-figure salary, not someone else’s “framework.”
Listen up, because this is important.
Transformation comes from within. It comes from knowing exactly how to uncover your unique voice and then knowing how to use your voice to amplify your message….online.
I’ve worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs over the years, from small business owners to executives of large corporations; the most successful online businesses are not created from tactics that people teach, they are created from your very own experience.
You see, YOU have experience in your life that you can actually turn into an online business, you just need to know how to uncover it.
So lets get started!
What exactly is an Online Business?
Selling a product or service on the internet is an online business.
There are different online business models based on the type of product or service that you’re selling, but all of them have one thing in common, and that is the online sales and marketing strategy.
The first step in understanding how to start an online business is to recognize that the digital business model is still a business, in other words, in order to actually make money, you have to sell something.
What differentiates how you go about setting up your online business is actually based on whether you are selling a physical product, a digital product, or a service and also whether it’s your own product or someone else’s.
Lets dig deeper.
A lot of clients that I’ve worked with in the past have said: “I’m not a salesperson, and I don’t like sales.”
It’s almost as if they are surprised that starting an online business means that you actually have to sell something.
But here’s the difference, an online business is more like “passive” sales rather than active sales.
Passive income is the buzz word that everyone likes to use these days.
In other words, passive income means that you do the work up-front so that your product or service eventually sells itself.
That of course doesn’t mean that you don’t have to do any work. On the contrary…
There is a shit-ton of work involved.
And how exactly do you go about setting up this coveted passive income stream?
Whether you choose to sell your own services, a product, or someone else’s product, the most important part of an online business is to get your strategy and your systems set up properly.
So lets unpack this concept of strategy and systems a little further because you may have heard that you can start an online business without actually having a product or service to sell.
The 3 Types of Online Business:
Someone Else’s Product or Service (ie: Affiliate/Influencer/Commission Based)
In a ‘traditional’ business setting, you might recognize that selling a service means something like what an accountant, an attorney, or even a life coach would do…where people pay a fee for your services.
Service Based Online Business
In the past, the clients of these kinds of professionals came from the same local town or region. However now, with the digital business model sweeping the globe, clients of professionals like this can be virtually anywhere.
But that’s not all…the reality is that you don’t need to have an advanced professional education in order to sell your own services online.
Here are a few examples of online, service based businesses that have been proven to be successful even if you don’t have a formal education:
Social Media Services
If you’re great at social media, you can manage social media accounts for businesses as your service.
You can choose to specialize in one network or a few, although I recommend becoming intimately familiar with just one or two so that you can position yourself as an expert. When using Social media for business purposes, the networks are very different. A person who is good at understanding how to optimize Facebook ads for conversion doesn’t necessarily know how to leverage Pinterest for business marketing because they are two very different marketing strategies.
So if this is your desired course of online business…choose the network you like best and become intimately familiar with it so that you can offer your expertise on that particular platform.
Virtual Assistant Services
If you’re organized, you can sell your services as a virtual assistant for many different types of businesses. Virtual assistants do everything from project management to digital marketing, so depending upon what you’re good at, you can offer your services on a contact basis.
Graphic Design/Web Design/Digital Marketing
This is the fastest growing segment of the online service based industry, and if you’re a creative person, then it’s likely you’ll be attracted to this type of service based online business. The best way to get started with this kind of business is to set up your own website and start blogging.
Life Coach/Business Coach/Fitness Coach
If you’re great at motivating people and encouraging people, you can sell your services as a coach.
Any knowledge that is above and beyond what regular people have in a particular area of focus can be sold as a service online. By making your services available online, you now open yourself up to a wider audience of potential consumers around the globe, and this is what makes an online business so different from a regular business. Imagine being able to perform services for people anywhere in the world, not just your hometown.
Selling your knowledge doesn’t stop with a service based business. In fact, one of the most lucrative types of online business is to create a knowledge based digital product.
What exactly does that mean?
This brings us to #2…
You obviously know what a physical product is. If you’re going to open a fashion boutique or sell a physical product that you create yourself such as a wreath or a bar of soap, those are physical products. A digital product means that whatever you are selling is available to access online, such as an ebook, a digital download, or a digital course.
For example, one of my side streams of income is my Etsy Shop. I create artwork that people can instantly download and print on their home printers. Have you ever seen a great quote in a beautiful font that you wished you could either print and hang on your wall or share on your social media feed? That is exactly what digital art is. Want to see some real, live examples? Click here to visit my Etsy Shop.
Digital products can generate income more quickly than physical products and the best part? A digital product based online business also applies to knowledge.
For example, if you know how to do something like make the best strawberry jam or spaghetti sauce on the planet, you can teach others how to do that on a video and then sell your video as a digital product.
More often these days, this is called a digital course. Creating your own digital course is all the rage right now, and if you know how to do it right, it’s the most lucrative types of digital businesses.
Inside my Online Business Coaching Program, I use a signature method to help you uncover your unique genius zone so that you can create a highly scalable online business. And I don’t charge and arm and a leg to do it!
Because I know that your business has to be based on you, and no one else on this planet is you. That is your super-power. YOUR super power!!
Simply following what someone else does isn’t going to be the key to your success; the key to your success is to take what you have to offer, your unique super-power, and know how to structure it to fit the online business model.
Are your juices flowing yet? Are you gaining some insight into some ideas for your online business? Let me know in the comments below!
Startup Costs of an Online Business
Even though an online business doesn’t have a lot of up-front startup costs like a traditional business, it still has startup costs.
And what exactly are those startup costs?
The costs are highly dependent on the type of online business you are starting. For the bulk of online business, the costs are going to be for software tools and for online marketing.
The software tools that you will use for your particular online business will again depend on the type of online business you have. For example, if you’re a creative person and you’re thinking about selling digital downloads (like the art I mentioned above) through an Etsy shop, then your costs are going to be focused more on marketing, because there is only a minimal cost to post your artwork on Etsy.
If you’re planning to teach people how to do something and sell your knowledge, for example: how to edit videos for YouTube, then your startup costs will focus more on software, both your own (video editing software) as well as the software necessary to deliver your course content. You’ll also likely have online marketing and advertising costs, and you’ll likely use software for scheduling and research as well.
If you’re planning to do affiliate marketing (i.e.: sell someone else’s product) then your cost is wrapped up in starting and marketing your blog, which includes domain, hosting, marketing, advertising and scheduling and research.
3. Affiliate Marketing (also called Influencer Marketing)
Affiliate marketing means that you blog about someone else’s product (such as a piece of clothing, jewelry, or bag) and then if someone clicks over from your blog post or social media post, then you receive a commission on the sale of that product. It’s very important to note that this kind of marketing only works well if you have a very large social media and/or blog following. Otherwise, the clicks just will not generate enough income for you to make a living.
Perhaps most importantly, the biggest cost will be investing in yourself. In order to be successful and make a full-time income building an online business of your own is having the knowledge of where to start and how to actually make progress.
If you need some help along the way, I encourage you to learn more about my online business coaching program. It’s a live program, that means you’ll get private access to me and my team to answer your most pressing questions about your online business, as well as walk you through your software and technology integrations to help you get your business up and running in the most efficient way possible.
Think of it as if it’s your own private technology help desk, with the benefit of giving you sound advice about online business too!
Not quite ready to make an investment? Join my FREE Private Facebook Group to ask a question and get help from other bloggers, social media influencers, and online entrepreneurs! (TIP: The Facebook Group is focused on Pinterest Marketing techniques, but it’s really so much more!)
Who would have thought that a Vintage Bathroom Sign would make a difference in my passive stream of income?
This sign that I recently created is a replica of a vintage bathroom sign and it is a digital download.
That means that you can purchase it for $5 and what you get is a zip file that contains various formats which you can then print (up to any size from a regular home printer to the size of a billboard…if you upload the file to a commercial printer such as Staples, OfficeMax, or the UPS Store).
The file is a premium digital file [obviously folks] “premium” means that it will print crystal clear and not pixelated.
Once you purchase the file, you can print it as many times as you want and/or give it as a gift. (Well, up to 500 times for a personal license, or you have the option to buy a commercial license for $25 which enables you to use the file to sell your own products.)
You can also use it as a cut file if you own a Cricut, Cameo Silhouette, Brother Scan and Cut, or any other vinyl cutting machine.
So here’s what I learned about this minor “pivot” in my business:
Starting an Etsy Shop is no joke! However, if you’re a blogger, you can appreciate the amount of work it takes to produce a $5 affiliate referral fee on a ConvertKit subscription for example, versus creating a piece of artwork and adding it to your Etsy Store as a digital download.
It’s almost unbelievable.
In fact, I didn’t actually believe it until I did it.
Affiliate income does not come quickly, no matter how many people lie to you to trick you into buying their digital products that promise the world, working for hours upon hours to earn $5 in commission is just not worth the effort.
Affiliate marketing only works well if you have a large audience. Let me repeat that because it’s super important:
Affiliate marketing ONLY WORKS well if you already have a LARGE audience.
If you don’t believe that, then you might as well click off this blog post right now because I refuse to lie for profit. I believe in full transparency.
I’ve been blogging since 2008. That’s a long time. In the beginning, I wasn’t making any money with my blog except for the services that I provided. I did not consider that passive blog income because I was performing a service for a set fee.
I blogged and worked full time for a digital agency until 2018, and then I decided that it was time for me to focus on my own business instead of creating websites and digital marketing plans for large corporations.
I was stuck in the corporate grind, and it just wasn’t working for my family.
Was it risky? Sure it was, but the good news is that it paid off tenfold and I remain encouraged about sharing the journey to help others who are in the same situation.
The 2019 Pivot: An Online Boutique
Back in November, I decided to make a pivot with my blog and as it turns out, the timing could not have been worse.
I opened an online Fashion Boutique, stocked it with adorable, affordable blouses and hand-selected clothing, bags, and shoes.
I was sick and tired of paying upwards of $100 for a cute blouse from Nordstrom, and I thought, why the hell can’t people have a high-quality option for $25 bucks instead?
Obviously I didn’t know that the novel Coronavirus was about to take over the world and all shipments from China would very soon be null and void.
Needless to say, I did gain a fair amount of understanding by setting up a Shopify store, but in mid-March, I decided to close the boutique because it was just costing me time and money.
The 2020 Pivot: Etsy Store
Just like any other type of online business, Etsy is a science and it takes some time to really understand what needs to happen in order to make it profitable.
But what I’ve noticed is that an Etsy store is a great option for a passive income stream if you are an artisan.
It doesn’t matter if you create physical products or digital products, the platform allows you to sell anything you make quickly and with a minimal upfront commitment. It costs just 20 cents to publish a product.
But the reality is, it doesn’t really matter whether your passion is to grow your blog, grow your Etsy Store, or grow an online Fashion Boutique, the principles are all the same in using Pinterest to amplify both views and traffic to your website…on whatever platform that is.
Whether you use WordPress for your Blog, Etsy or Shopify for your online shop, or another tool such as Thinkific for your online course, you’ll want to make sure you check out my course because it’s the absolute best way to gain more eyeballs on whatever product or service you have to offer.
In the meantime, here are 3 tips to get more views on Etsy.
3 Tips for More Views on your Etsy Shop
Tip 1: Photos
This may seem obvious, but a picture is worth a thousand words, so if you don’t have great photos, no one will click on your item. Make sure you post beautiful, clear photos of whatever item you are selling on Etsy.
If it’s not clear what you’re selling, people just won’t click!
Also, remember…your item will appear right next to your competitor’s item, so do your research by looking at what your competition is selling…and be sure that your photo looks better!
Tip 2: Sale
Etsy has an “on sale” filter and it’s a great way to get your item to show up in more searches. Create a coupon and choose the option where there is a minimum order amount to qualify for the sale.
For example, if the items I sell in my shop range between $3.00 and $10.00, I might choose to say that in order to get the sale price, the order total must exceed $5.
Tip 3: Analytics
This absolutely cannot be overlooked, and for so many online businesses it is.
Looking at data and analytics is not easy, and that’s why most people ignore it. But the reality is, in order to know where to go in the future with your online business, you have to be specific about evaluating where you are today.
As an example, take a look at each item in your shop and compare the number of visits to the number of purchases (conversions). That will tell you how the item is performing overall, and then you can determine what to make more of.
Here’s a quick look at my Vintage Bathroom Sign over the past 2 days. A 12% conversion rate is not too bad for not even trying!
Since I know this is picking up some traction, I’m armed with ability to make a decision as to how I’m going to move forward with other similar signs.
If you would have asked me 6 months ago whether I’d be spending my time designing signs for people to hang in their bathroom I would have thought it was a crazy idea.
Just like Dr. Birx and Fauci…lets all let the data inform our decision making!
Want to gain access to some FREE SVG files (ie: the digital downloads of signs that you can print or cut yourself?)
If you haven’t already, I encourage you to join my FREE Resource Library today! You’ll get a close up view of some of my free video tutorials for growing an online business, PLUS access to free SVG files.
There are so many brand new work-from-home-ers that have emerged over the past few weeks, but what can we do to support those small businesses who are just like us, especially when we don’t have any money to spend?
It really is a time to work together, just like the media keeps shouting from the street corners…
We’re all in this together.
Moving the needle is about sharing.
It’s easy to start doing something that moves the needle for you, but it’s harder to share that success with others because you begin to think subconsciously, that sharing sharing someone else’s success might lessen the result for you.
But in reality, what I’ve learned is that when you share someone else’s success, or teach someone else how to do something, you can actually relish in the results that it creates for you.
If you happen to be especially passionate about helping women who have a creative talent that they want to share with the world, you’re in the right place!
Hope and inspiration is everything, and it’s everywhere.
Being kind, compassionate and thoughtful is the best way you can help a small mom business. You don’t have to spend any money.
Just spend a moment.
It doesn’t matter if you already have a job or if you’re starting up your own gig because you’re suddenly unemployed…here are my suggestions about how you can support your local creative business owner at no cost.
Top 5 things you can do, today, to support a local small business owner, FOR FREE!
Like their Facebook Business Page.
Although it’s not a direct source of revenue, liking a small business owner’s page will help them establish credibility for their brand online. Can you take it a step further and leave a 5-Star Review on their page if you’ve had a positive experience with them?
Like or leave a positive comment on a post on their Business Page.
Facebook has changed their algorithm to prioritize your friends over business pages in your home-feed.
This means that small businesses have a hard time getting their post in front of people. To generate more activity for them, you can leave a like or a comment on one of their posts which will spark the algorithm to show that post to others, and the engagement compounds. The more likes and comments a post gets, the more people will see it.
Follow them on another social media channel.
Do you follow your local small business on Instagram or have you subscribed to their YouTube channel? If you haven’t, you might not know about everything else they do online!
All it takes is a click, and it’s free, so why not follow them on all the channels that you use? You can find my YouTube channel here.
Like/Favor their Etsy Shop.
The Etsy algorithm works the same way as other algorithms, you don’t have to buy something to favor their shop.
It’s a great way to help them establish credibility so that when others are searching for what they sell, their shop looks credible.
If your local small business owner has a blog, take a minute and leave a comment!
This is two-fold: When blog readers see positive comments, it helps establish credibility for the topic they are reading about because they can clearly see that others have gained some insights into how that topic is helpful.
If you read a blog and you learned something new, leave a comment and let them know you appreciated the article. Secondly, when people leave a blog comment, it helps boost their overall SEO ranking inside the Google algorithm as well.
That means when a user of Google happens to be searching for a topic, that blog may come up higher in the search results.
If you are a small business owner yourself, I encourage you to share this post so that other people know how they can support you at this important time.
I also challenge you to do the above for another small business, comment, like, and share it with your own network…because these simple actions can really help them, especially at this very difficult time.
Whether you have (or want to have) and Etsy Shop, or you’re a blogger, or you make DIY products that you can sell, or whether you have a special knowledge about a topic that others would be interested in learning…by promoting your business using the proper Pinterest Marketing techniques, you can earn an income beyond what you ever thought was possible for yourself.
And here’s something: Teaching is what a small mom business can do to reverse engineer her success.
For me, my business success came from developing an expertise specifically in one nîche, Pinterest Marketing.
Once I learned how to use Pinterest effectively to propel my small business to start making money for my blog, I realized it was a business model that others could easily follow.
Use this time at home to learn how to use Pinterest the right way and see what is really possible for yourself.
I encourage you to join my Private Facebook Group, Pinterest Marketing. It’s a free resource where I post tips about how to market your blog or business using Pinterest, but it’s also a place where you can connect with other bloggers, social media influencers, and online entrepreneurs who are also on a similar journey.
I’m doing the best I can to walk along side you; I hope you’ll join me.
The Art of Social Media Marketing and using Pinterest for Business
Is social media marketing an art? The word analytics kind of screams math to me, and as far as I’m concerned, math and art don’t exactly go hand in hand.
Analytics can sometimes seem overwhelming.
Business owners know they should be measuring their data, but how do you know exactly what metrics to look at to get the best ROI? And what if it’s not working they way you expected it to?
To gain some perspective, we need to first gain some perspective and address the state of digital marketing…and the paid traffic correction that we’re currently in the midst of.
Let’s start with the obvious.
Unless you’re using a very specific retargeting and custom audience strategy, don’t expect Facebook ads to work the way they did in 2014. You can read more about that here, but in this article, I’m specifically talking about why the age of interruption is over and how you can leverage the power of Pinterest to help you implement a sustainable online business model.
You likely already know that Pinterest is a search and discovery platform…just like Google.
Search engines are completely different from other social media channels, so you have to understand the nuances of SEO (search engine optimization) in order to leverage all that Pinterest has to offer.
But don’t let those three letters (SEO) scare you. It’s really not that hard, and anyone can learn how to do it.
Using Pinterest for business allows you to reach your audience at a specific moment…the moment when they’re visually attracted to whatever beautiful idea they see on Pinterest.
That’s what makes Pinterest different from other social media channels.
Banner ads and low quality content just won’t do well on Pinterest, and that’s what I love. No shitty looking clickbait sales pages, around here yo!
Remember when anyone with a sexy headline and a Clickfunnels account could turn a profit in their online business? Well folks, those days of money-hungry, funnel hacking, sleazy business are over (thank goodness!). I still use Clickfunnels, actually, but lets not get side-tracked with my sarcasm.
Here’s how this fit’s into the big picture of Pinterest.
Russell Brunson, the founder of Clickfunnels, created a truly amazing software tool that has made it very simple for millions of people all over the world to create online businesses using the funnel system.
But the key is, to actually be successful, you first need to clearly understand how to make it all come together, and that begins with understanding the online business model and the proper strategy first.
Not all online businesses are created equal.
In order to really harness the power of Pinterest for business, you have to get deep inside your Pinterest user’s mindset, because the right combination of words and pictures can motivate action! And that my friend is how you make money.
The Storytelling Approach to Attraction Marketing
Telling a relevant story at the right time to the right person in a way that allows that person to realize they need your product or service is the real art behind social media marketing…And telling that story in a picture is what Pinterest is all about.
It’s not about posting a really long rant on Facebook, pushing the ad to cheap countries to bulk up your “likes” and posting aggressive ad copy.
Lets talk about the psychology of behavior because this will explain why the aforementioned strategy does not work anymore.
People typically make a purchase decision based on whether they think you understand their problem, and whether they think you have the knowledge, resources and commitment to solve their problem.
Social media marketing is simply an extension of the age-old technique of getting to know your customer and then meeting their needs.
The “REAL” strategy is: Measuring brand awareness and harnessing the customer journey using attraction marketing
Not funnel “hacking”.
Not “smashing” the funnel.
(By the way…If you don’t quote know what a funnel is yet or understand how to use it to grow your online business, then please take a moment to click here.)
What most of this sub-culture of fake digital marketers neglect to tell you about successful digital marketing is that the online business model is still based on traditional sales, and you can’t make it work using the same shitty, high pressure sales techniques that never worked before.
“Hello, Mr. McDigital…1999 is calling…you left your pitch-heavy, automated webinar that’s disguised as a masterclass over there, next to your friend who’s Facebook Ad looks exactly the same as yours.
If you don’t like sales and you want to start a blog or an online business, you better learn to like sales…you just have to figure out the right way to attract your audience.
(Hint: It’s not from any mentors who drank from the dirty pond.)
What’s the dirty pond? It’s the fact that nearly everyone “sneezed out an online business” lately and they all think they are giving out good advice, but really the only thing they are doing is telling the same story in a different way.
The reality is, nobody can tell you how to grow your online business, you have to let your own statistics guide your decision making.
For businesses, marketing has entered a new era, the Age of the Consumer. It takes a focused and forward-thinking business owner to embrace the ever-changing media landscape without sacrificing strategy and measurable results.
So…you want to know how to make it all come together? Let’s do this!
Pinterest is the best kept secret in online marketing.
Contrary to popular belief…it’s not Instagram.
Well, lets talk about who your target audience is for a minute. If your business is targeting people outside of the US, you’re in luck because 80% of the people who use Instagram are from outside the US according to the 2019 State of Social Media Report by Buffer.
But here’s something else to consider…if your business targets upper middle class, college educated women from the US, guess where 80% of your audience hangs out?
Yeah, it’s Pinterest.
More specifically, lets think about what those female head of households are looking at and shopping for…
If your business has anything to do with home decor, jewelry and clothing, makeup and hairstyles, children, weddings, books, travel, or food, and you’re not leveraging the power of Pinterest, you might want to start thinking about it.
So how do you measure ROI (return on investment) and really make sense of Pinterest analytics?
Well the first step is to make sure your Pinterest account is properly set up for business and that you’re doing all the things that you should be doing (including SEO) in order to drive traffic to your website.
So before you can actually evaluate your Pinterest Analytics as a small business owner, you need to actually have some numbers to look at. Starting at the beginning? Download my checklist to help get you on track for success with Pinterest.
Using Your Own Pinterest Analytics to Understand Your Target Audience
In terms of using social media to promote selling your product or service: don’t assume someone is ready to have a particular conversation with you just because you’re ready to have the conversation with them.
In other words, just because you put your business out there doesn’t mean people will come flocking. The social media fairies don’t work that way.
Consumers now have access to more information and have more control over the sales process than ever. With this change, a new way of selling has emerged. This method combines the power of Pinterest’s search engine optimization with a business owner’s expertise in both design and communication skills in a way that not only brings revenue to the business, but it deepens the value of the overall relationship.
Because social media marketing is an approach to the sales and marketing of your product that is relationship-focused instead of transaction-focused, the immediate goal isn’t necessarily to get a sale as quickly as possible; the immediate goal is to establish a relationship.
So if there is no sale…how do you understand what is working and what isn’t working when it comes to your Pinterest analytics?
The key is to know exactly what Pinterest metrics to look at and where to find them.
Here’s a quick snapshot.
If you look at Analytics directly from the Pinterest dashboard, be sure you change the drop down to “Link Clicks” as well as change the radio button to only your website to see which of your pins are getting clicked on the most. The default setting is “Impressions” which is a vanity metric that doesn’t really give you any concrete information.
Focus on the design of your pins
This may sound obvious, but if you’re not a designer by trade, the creative, typography, and color combinations might not come naturally to you. Use quality stock art, and most importantly, do not use free stock. Use Google analytics to review which pins are producing the most traffic, and model your future designs off those pins. Buy a subscription to someplace like PixiStock or IvoryMix.
Here’s a example of two different pins that lead to the same blog post. Can you guess which one has more link clicks? It’s the one with the prettier design.
If you need some help with templates for Pin design, the easiest way to get started is to create a free account with Canva.com.
The Age of Interruption is Over!
Understand the digital sales process. Instead of interrupting customers with a sales pitch, a product or service is marketed to a consumer when the opportunity presents itself. Aside from the obvious (answering questions and responding to inquiries on your own social channels, and using email nurturing the right way) how exactly can business owners join the social selling conversation?
Here is a short video to show you exactly what Pinterest Analytics to look at and where to find them.
A few other examples of ways to incorporate social selling in your online business:
A potential consumer asks a question that your product or service is uniquely able to handle. How do you find those asking questions? Solution: If you don’t have the budget to invest in monitoring apps (such as Cison.com) simply search an industry specific hashtag to see what thought leaders are conversing about. #DigitalMarketing
Example: A consumer expresses a concern or problem with a competitor’s product or service. Solution: Offer your solution in the comments. Be careful not to force your product or service down someone’s throat. Instead point them to an article your company has produced (such as a blog) or another educational piece that shows that you understand the problem they are faced with and how to resolve it.
Example: A consumer asks for your recommendation by email based on previous content you wrote about or expertise they know you have. Provide a direct link to a piece of content or an offer that provides the answer to what they are looking for.
You want to give people only what they will find valuable. If your business is a petstore and a potential consumer is interested in puppies, you don’t want to send them an email trying to sell them a fishtank. If you do, it’s likely they will opt-out of your list and you’ll never have the chance to sell anything puppy related to them again.
How does social media marketing work in the context of Pinterest?
Social selling isn’t a straightforward process; it is rather a collection of strategies designed to establish a relationship with your leads and customers.
Unlike traditional selling, social selling allows you to establish longer-lasting relationships with leads and clients by delivering only what your prospect is interested in. In order to do this, you need to understand the nuances of the Pinterest Platform in order to take full advantage of it for marketing your business.
Here are 4 tips to help you take full advantage of your social channels to help you attract real, targeted leads that are stronger and better qualified:
1. Social Listening
Pay close attention to and respond to potential sales opportunities and clients through comments on your blog and on your social channels. Often this technique is overlooked by companies who don’t have a lot of time or recognize the value of customer service.
It’s important to realize that digital media is a powerful way to connect with your audience and if used properly, your brand’s voice will be amplified tenfold by interactions that can be seen and heard by people all over the digital world.
2. Brand Building
Establishing your brand as a subject matter expert and your business as a credible authority within a particular niche is very important in today’s online landscape.
People perform online research more than ever before, so a combination of search engine ranking and detailed content that is relevant to a particular search or need will help position you ahead of your competition. Post a thought leadership article on LinkedIn or a carefully crafted Tweet, but whatever you do, make sure it’s thoughtfully aligned with your core values.
Create blogs, videos, white papers, ebooks, or other educational information about your industry that offers insight and value for current and prospective clients. The key is to provide something valuable. Don’t be cheap.
Make sure your content is informative and relevant. More content doesn’t necessarily equate to more visits…remember it’s always quality over quantity.
Your Pinterest analytics will tell you exactly which pins are gaining the most traction. The best kind of content marketing doesn’t feel like marketing at all; instead it tells a story and appeals to your prospect’s emotions. Consider what problem your product or service solves, and then create content around delivering a compelling story.
Remember when an Excel spreadsheet replaced the old-fashioned rolodex? These days even a smart spreadsheet isn’t going to amplify your prospecting. The gold mine of opportunity that exists with a CRM platform allows you to identify prospects for up-sell or cross-sell, convert existing customers to new products or services, target new marketing, or even track invoices.
Managing your interactions between customers and your business using an automation tool is the best way to monitor, analyze and follow-up upon the metrics delivered by your digital marketing efforts. Different platforms make sense for different size businesses and industries.
For businesses making over $250,000 per year, I highly recommend HubSpot. If your business is making from zero to $250,000, then your best option for marketing automation is ConvertKit.
Last but not least…
Keep in mind that the true art of social media marketing on Pinterest is knowing that it’s not about you, your opinions, your point of view or your circumstances.
It’s about helping others by meeting their needs, understanding their concerns, and adding a valuable solution to their path forward. Have a question about Pinterest? Join my FREE Private Facebook Group: Pinterest Marketing
More and more people prefer to work from home these days. A global survey conducted in 2018 revealed that 70% of professionals globally work remotely at least once a week and 53% work remotely for at least half a week.
One of the reasons why many employees choose to work outside the traditional office setting and manage their tasks from home is because working from home has been proven to significantly reduce stress. However, while this may be true for many people, some also experience stress even if they are working from the comforts of their own home.
If you are one of these people, and you are looking for ways to reduce your stress levels while working from home, here are 5 tips:
1. Schedule your work when you are most productive
If you’re working in an office, you are most likely required to report at set schedules like 9 AM to 5 PM. Whether you’re a morning person or not, you would have to get up and brave the morning commute every single day. This daily grind is one of the reasons why many people choose flexible working times and the option to work from home.
What’s surprising is that many people still follow a fixed 8-hour schedule even if they’re working from home. For many, this is the sure-fire way that they can get things done and separate their personal stuff from their work tasks.
Following this can also help avoid working non-stop, which is why many people recommend following a set time. However, sticking to a strict work schedule can also be very stressful and in reality, it defeats the advantage of working from home, which is being able to choose a time when you want to work.
Working from home gives you the flexibility to schedule your work around your personal life so you can achieve a satisfying work-life balance. However, if you’re constraining yourself to a fixed schedule, not being able to keep to this schedule can add to your stress, especially if unexpected things come up.
This does not mean however that you should not keep a schedule at all. Instead of following a regimented nine to five daily routine, find out your peak productivity time that works for you and schedule your tasks during these periods.
If you’re the type of person who can’t get things done in the morning, go ahead and snooze away. It will be better for you to schedule your work in the afternoons rather than forcing yourself to work early without achieving anything. If you find, however, that a nine to five schedule is best for you, then that’s also not an issue.
The takeaway here is that you have the power to decide when to do your work so use that to your advantage rather than being limited by it.
2. Take frequent breaks
One of the best things about working from home is that if you’re feeling stuck whether mentally or physically, you can always take a break without anyone commenting about it. Many people who work from home do not take advantage of this luxury.
Remember that you’re no longer trapped at your office desk, so you don’t need to stay there for eight hours straight!
There have been numerous studies suggesting that a sedentary lifestyle, including sitting on an office desk for long periods, can shorten your life. This can also cause a lot of physical pains like backaches and neck pains, which can add to your stress.
Before you even begin feeling eye strain or stiff neck, make sure that you’re giving yourself time to move and breathe.
Get up and stretch out. Go to the kitchen and have a cup of coffee. Contrary to common belief, studies have shown that coffee breaks don’t kill productivity, instead, these breaks can help you become more alert and avoid mistakes.
When you take these micro breaks, you are also allowing your brain to recharge so you can be more creative and efficient in doing your work.
Thinking about starting a Blog? Download this Free Checklist to help you get started!
3. Create a dedicated workspace
Whether you live in a small studio space or a five-bedroom home, it is recommended to have a dedicated working space that you can call your own. It can be an entire home office or just a small desk by the window. What’s important is that you do your work in that space and if people live with you, they are aware that that space is for you.
Why is this important? When you don’t have a fixed space to work in, you’re most likely to use just any available space in the house. This will expose you to a lot of distractions.
One of the pitfalls of working from home is having distractions. Distractions can come in the form of family members, roommates, television, or even your own bed. When you are distracted from your work, the tendency is that you won’t be able to complete your tasks on schedule which can be very stressful.
This can be avoided if you have your own workspace away from these distractions. If you don’t live alone, try to avoid working in common rooms like the living room or kitchen where people may come and go constantly.
4. Get rid of clutter
If you’re reading this while you’re in front of your work desk, take a hard look at your working table and your office. How many items do you really need in that space? Are all the items around helping you become more productive? If there are items that are not necessary, these may be adding to your stress. According to a study, clutter can restrict your ability to focus, process information, and can make you distracted.
Make sure to have your work area always clean and organized. Remove unnecessary items in your work area to help you focus better. If you have an uneaten bar of candy beside your laptop, a coffee mug from two days ago, or paper files that you haven’t touched in months, then it’s time for you to do a KonMari makeover of your workspace and get rid of anything that doesn’t spark joy, or in this case, spark productivity.
5. Know when to log off
There are people who believe that working from home can cause more stress. This is because you can be at risk of longer working hours, unpaid overtime, lack of sleep, or the inability to separate work from your personal life. When you’re working from home, nobody is there to command you to keep working, but at the same time, nobody will also switch off the lights and tell you to go home. The temptation to just keep on working exists which can result in overworking and stress. How can this be avoided?
The best way to avoid working non-stop is to become results-oriented in planning your day. Prioritize what you want to achieve during your workday using realistic timelines. Don’t cram in too many tasks when you know that it’s impossible to finish those tasks in eight hours.
If a job is too big to finish in a day, break it down into smaller tasks and stop when the tasks are completed. For example, if you’re supposed to write a 30-page report which you know you can’t complete in one day, divide the work into 10 pages a day over three days. After completing 10 pages, stop working and continue the next day.
Looking to Connect with other bloggers, social media influencers, and online entrepreneurs? Join our Free Private Facebook Group
Another useful tip is to take time to plan your schedule. If you know what work is coming your way, calendar your tasks early on to avoid stressing out and cramming when the deadlines are near. Use a digital calendar that can prompt you of your deadlines so you’ll not miss out on important dates.
Busting work from home stress
Working from home can provide a lot of benefits to employees, however, if you practice poor work habits, you could suffer from numerous distractions which can stress you out. Following the recommendations above could help you in managing your work and hopefully, reduce your stress levels when working from home.
This blog was contributed by Nathan Sharpe. Nathan is a business advisor and business writer at Biznas. He has helped many clients solve their business problems, and now imparts his advisory knowledge onto others to help them improve their businesses too.
Pinterest for Business: Your Guide to Proper SEO + Keyword Research
Are you using Pinterest for business effectively? Pinterest is a search engine, in other words, it’s a place for research and discovery, just like Google. The difference is that Pinterest is visual…in fact Pinterest is the largest visual search engine in the world!
While most people tend to think Pinterest is a social media network, it’s very different from other social networks in that by using proper SEO techniques, pins can be continuously discovered for years! My best performing pin is actually from 2014.
A user of Pinterest could be actively searching for ideas like recipes, DIY, and home decor, or they could be passively searching for dreams, plans, and goals without even realizing it. Unlike other social networks like Facebook or Twitter, your content has the potential to show up in front of people who are not yet “following” you. But in order to get your content seen by the right target audience, you need to add very specific words and phrases in just the right places…and this is called SEO or search engine optimization.
Here’s an example:
If I type in a phrase such as “chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter icing” I would expect each different photo that appears in the search results to lead to a website with a recipe for chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter icing when I click on it. It doesn’t matter if the pin was posted in 2014 or yesterday, if the picture and the words match what I’m searching for, then Pinterest is smart enough to know that and return the results when someone is searching. Pinterest is so smart, in fact, that it can even discern what the picture is even if there isn’t any text to accompany the picture.
Smart and savvy businesses can use the power of Pinterest search to get discovered. Niche businesses with target customers who match the primary users of the platform tend to do quite well. The reason is because the nature of a search engine is to return the results with the closest match to what the user is searching for. It’s a great way to ensure the right people find your content. This translates into something called attraction marketing, in other words, hyper-qualified leads that are actually searching for what your business has to offer. When you are consciously specific and strategic with your choice of keywords and long tail keyword phrases, you have a good chance of attracting your target audience.
What is a keyword and a long tail keyword phrase in the context of Pinterest?
Lets look at the example of the chocolate peanut butter cupcakes. Think about what a user would search for when you would expect this to match their results. Perhaps they are searching for a recipe, so the keyword would be: “chocolate peanut butter cupcakes” while a long tail keyword phrase might be something like: “gluten-free chocolate peanut butter cupcakes recipe.” It’s better to be more specific.
If you only use the keyword “cupcakes” then the search engine isn’t sure what kinds of results to provide, but if you use that long tail keyword phrase, there is no question about what you’re looking for. As a business, the more specific you can be, the better. Notice how this Pin pulls in the keyword description directly from the blog post as well as a pin description with appropriate keywords and hashtags:
How to Ensure Your Pinterest Business Account is Set Up Properly
Every board, board description and pin description should be completely filled in with hyper relevant keywords and phrases that sound natural. Some people make it a practice to “keyword stuff” their descriptions, and this is definitely the wrong way to go about Pinterest optimization. An example of a description with “keyword stuffing” would be:
This board is about cupcakes, chocolate cupcakes, vanilla cupcakes, peanut butter cupcakes and all things cupcake. Need a cupcake recipe? Here you’ll find cupcake recipes and gluten-free cupcake recipes. Are you hungry for cupcakes? Try one of our cupcake recipes.
As you can see, this paragraph isn’t easily “readable” because it’s too stuffed with the word cupcake. Instead a better board description would be:
This board contains recipes for the best gluten-free cupcakes. You’ll find recipes for all different flavors, each accompanied by a gluten-free recipe option.
The algorithm on Pinterest knows how to categorize your content and share it with those who may not follow you but are interested in the topic; however if you stuff a bunch of words that are either too broad or not hyper-relevant, the algorithm recognizes that and penalizes you by not showing your content to your intended target audience.
Want to learn more about how to get your Pinterest Business account set up for success? Download my FREE Pinterest for Business Getting Started Checklist!
Pinterest SEO for Business
The first step to proper Pinterest SEO is to make sure people are actually searching for what you think they’re searching for. Sometimes we tend to think people are searching for our product or services, but in reality they are using a completely different keyword phrase. For example, when I worked for a digital agency, I was optimizing a website for a client who sold a digital product that helped connect sales and marketing teams.
Initially, I made the assumption that potential customers were searching for the term “sales and marketing alignment” which has a search volume of almost 600 searches each month. In reality, only a fraction of the people searching for the product actually used those exact words. Instead, they used the words “sales enablement” which had 8,900 searches per month. So while proper SEO includes using simple words that fit into your niche, it’s important to research the words and phrases to ensure you are using words that are both relevant as well as highly searched for.
It’s best to keep your descriptions brief and straight to the point. You can use up to 500 characters in your pin description and that also includes hashtags. However, I would recommend keeping your hashtags limited to 3 hyper-relevant tags.
For example, #cupcakes is not super relevant and would be difficult to rank for unless you are a very large and well established account. Instead, you might use a hashtag like #chocolatepeanutbuttercupcakes
Keep in mind Pinterest users are mainly looking at the picture. Pins that are sized at 2 to 3 are the best performers. Most of the time, people won’t click on a rectangular pin because its much smaller and harder to see. If a picture gives someone all the information they need, they will either pin, scroll, or click. Most of the time, people overlook the title and description, but those are important so that Pinterest can properly find and categorize your pins properly. The titles and descriptions don’t need fancy, but they do need to be informative.
5 Places to Put Keywords on Pinterest
1. Your Website First
First and most importantly, optimize your website. When you write a blog post, you should include keywords and long tail keyword phrases into the title and meta-description of the Pinterest image that is attached to that blog post. Alt-text inside the image on your website is specifically meant to describe what the image is showing, it’s not the same as the image description. Alt-text is meant for the visually impaired.
There are two ways to accomplish this. One is by using the Tasty Pins plugin (if you have a WordPress site). The other way is to add the description manually by using the data-pin-description tag inside the code editor.
Why do SEO on your website first?
If your Pinterest account is connected to your website properly, it will pull the meta-data directly from the blog post. In other words, when someone pins your pin directly from your website, the specific information included inside your blog post optimization carries over to the pin.
2. Pin Descriptions
If you’ve already optimized your website, the Pinterest description will carry over and you won’t have to do anything when you pin. The best way to create a brand new pin on Pinterest is by pinning it directly from your website. When the pin image matches the blog post featured image and all the meta-data matches up, Pinterest recognized your pin as high quality. However, there are times when you will want to upload a pin image directly to the platform. The only time I upload a pin image directly is when I direct it to one of my YouTube videos. In that situation, I add a title and description to the pin, and then edit the URL to video or landing page.
Your profile is a great place to add keywords and it’s one that is often overlooked. There are two places you can add them. First, your business name. Include your business name and a brief description of what you do. Pinterest limits the amount of characters in your title, but you can add more inside the profile description.
Use this section to let prospective customers know how you’re going to serve them with the type of content or niche you are in. You can repeat keywords that you used in your business name.
4. Board Titles
In this section, it’s important to consider who your target customer is. Be specific in the types of titles you use. Use hyper-targeted and descriptive keywords and phrases. For example, it’s better to create a board called “cupcakes” and pin cupcake recipes to it rather than creating a more generic board such as “desserts”. While regular people (i.e.: your potential customers) use Pinterest for pleasure and may not care whether their pins get shown to other people, as a business, you want your pins to get shown to people when they are searching for “cupcakes” so your pins have a much better chance of being seen when they are pinned to a “cupcake” board rather than a “dessert” board.
5. Board Descriptions
This is the place where you will tell the user what you pin on the board. Write complete sentences in a natural way. Add a few hyper-relevant sentences about what kind of pins go on the board, and repeat the keyword and long tail keyword phrases.
Know Your Pinterest Audience
Last but not least, the goal with Pinterest SEO is to target your intended audience. Think about it this way: you want to attract the kind of people who will want to consume your content and share it with their friends. If you’re stuck on which keywords to use, my advice is to start with a simple list of 10-15 words or short phrases that you believe people would type into a search to find your content. In the world of marketing and advertising, we create something called a “persona” or an “avatar”. This is your “ideal” customer. Each pin (or piece of advertising) is intended to attract your ideal customer.
Once you get your target audience clicking on your pins and landing on your website or product page, make sure you are using something like the Milotree app to help convert them into Pinterest followers. If they find your content interesting enough to click over from Pinterest, it’s important to wow them with a reason to stick around and follow you for more!
No…really…how much does it REALLY cost to start a blog or an online business?
First things first…the most successful online businesses also require a blog, and if anyone tells you differently, they’re either not being truthful, or they just don’t know. There are various types of online businesses, and the biggest myth on the internet is that you can do affiliate marketing without a blog. Yes, you can, if you want to make fifteen cents a month.
Ok, maybe not fifteen cents, but you can’t make enough money to live on. The most successful super affiliates even have a blog or squeeze page builder.
So the short answer is that you can start a blog for free, but quite honestly, free blogs are not only mediocre, you will gain zero credibility with your online business and nobody will take your blog or your business seriously. The better question is:
How do I actually Make Money from my Blog so that I can turn it into an Online Business?
DO: Use the term “blog” and “website” interchangeably. For the purpose of starting an online business, they are one and the same.
This article will address most of your questions. The reality is that you don’t really have to spend a lot of money to get started. In fact, if you do spend money, just a little (we’re not talking thousands here) you will be able to get an amazing blog (website) theme that will help you gain credibility faster.
You can start a blog (website) that is slightly above mediocre for about $100; however, if you have a little time and desire on your side, my recommendation is to keep reading and you’ll learn that you can DIY your own professional looking blog or website for around $250.
But wait…there’s more!
Marketing your blog, website, or even affiliate product on social media and on an email list is a huge part of building a successful online business, but we’ll get to that in a minute. First…
This is really the number one question anyone who is even thinking about starting an online business asks:
How much money do I have to fork over up-front to start a blog or website?
Let’s focus on the details of how to start a high quality website from scratch. Serious deets. Like the concept is only in your head because you have a career at the moment, but you’re frustrated beyond belief because you work your ass off to get your kids where they need to go, your dinner on the table, your work-life balance practically doesn’t exist and you’ve been hearing about these bloggers who rack in thousands each month working from the comfort of their homes.
Did I hit the nerve yet?
You CAN do it too, you just need to know exactly where to begin. This is not just a bunch of pink sparkle here at Vogue Media, but real, actual numbers. Up front numbers. A year down the road numbers. Cold, hard, facts that no one seems to be giving you a straight answer about.
Please note that some of the links included in this article are affiliate partner links. For more information, click here.
How much does it really cost to start a blog or a website? Because I hate the answer “it depends” I’m going to give you a straight answer first: you can get started for between $60 and $250, depending upon how Type-A you are. Here’s what you need to know:
The FREE Blog
First things first, sure, you can start a blog for free using WordPress.com, but it’s a waste of time. Nobody will ever take your topic seriously if you do that.
There are basically 2 reasons why people start blogs: 1. to make money online and 2. because they are passionate about a topic. Even if you are passionate about a topic that you want to share with the world, for less than $100 bucks, you might as well set it up right the first time, otherwise, you’ll be kicking yourself in a year from now saying “damn it, I wish I would have set it up right from the start!” Then you’ll experience all kinds of annoying nonsense like trying to figure out how to transfer your blog to the “right” platform while still keeping your readership, making sure your site doesn’t go “down” while you do it, or getting knee deep into an argument with a customer service provider that doesn’t speak your language.
No thanks. No time for that. I’m a mom, I only have a limited amount of time anyway. Moral of the story…free is not always better.
WordPress.com and WordPress.org both share a similar name, but there are some very important differences between the two. Lets clear up some of the most common questions about blogging with WordPress.
Is WordPress FREE?
Yes, WordPress is Free. But it’s important to be clear about what exactly is FREE about WordPress. The code itself that makes up the WordPress core files is free. This is called “Source Code”. The WordPress platform is what enables you to make changes to your website without having to be a real web designer or developer who studied computer science. So while the code itself is free, in order to actually use it, you need to know exactly what to do with it.
So, yes, the code found on WordPress.org is free and open source (“open source” means that developers, or people who know how to write the code, can go to WordPress.org and download the files for free, modify those files any way they want…for free). The WordPress core files consist of thousands of pages of code that makes your website work. If you don’t know how to read “code” then even if you download the files, you will have no idea what to do with them.
Why might someone without a computer science background use WordPress.org?
Here’s the catch, well, there really isn’t a catch, you just need a little guidance. Quick backstory…I started creating WordPress websites for clients in 2006. Back then, I was pregnant with my first baby and I needed a job with some flexibility, however, most companies were not hiring for “Remote” positions at that time. (Omg, am I really THAT old?)
In fact, digital marketing as we know it today didn’t exist yet in 2006, so I created my own business and my mission was simple…to create beautiful websites for my clients.
Back then, I thought all websites were ugly and that people deserved to have a gorgeous website without having to pay a developer a shit-load of money to get a beautiful website. At the time, the web developers all used the same “ugly blue” hyper-links and the term “web designer” meant “computer science major” not actually a professional designer.
Fast forward 14 years and the moral of this story is that bloggers don’t have to do it the hard way anymore.
In simple terms…It’s not necessary for you to download source files from WordPress.org in order to use the “Free” version of WordPress. Instead, the easiest and most intuitive way to get your online business started is to create an account with BlueHost.
BlueHost is the most beginner-friendly hosting provider that exists today, yet it’s a complete platform that offers everything you need to run your business. But more on hosting in a moment. Let me explain what hosting is and why you need the right host.
The difference between the “Free Source Files” from WordPress.org and the “Free Blog” from WordPress.com:
WordPress.com is that platform that enables you to set up your blog completely free of charge, however, there are some VERY BIG disadvantages to using this version:
1. You cannot pick a custom domain name (i.e. your URL will be yoursite.wordpress.com)
2. Very limited monetization options (in other words, you can’t sell anything on your website and ads are very limited, so there is little opportunity to make money with your blog if you opt for the “free” version
3. Limited use of plugins for such things as an email list
4. You have to pay anyway if you want to have the WordPress branding removed
5. There is very limited theme support and very basic design themes
6. Limited analytics and SEO capabilities
WordPress.org contains the source files, however, you don’t need to be a developer to use them if you create your blog through a hosting company such as BlueHost. Here are the advantages to buying a hosting plan from BlueHost for about $60:
1. Fully customizable design
2. Unlimited plugin options
3. Your own branding
4. Full monetization
5. Powerful SEO features (so people can find your site easier on Google)
6. Capability for a membership site, or affiliate site
Here’s the stark reality: you can’t make money using a free blog from WordPress.com. Period. End of Story.
You might think that you don’t care about making money, you care about your cause. You’re super passionate about this topic that you plan to blog about. It’s a small niche topic and you’ve got some serious intel about it…and that is a great start!
But you see your blog, it’s kind of a like this virtual, inanimate love. You’ll nurture it, take good care of it, share it with others, and you’ll want it to be top notch. You’re not just any blogger, you’re about to pour your heart and soul into this and you want to run with the big dogs, because your topic has the potential to inspire others around the world.
This is not just.any.blog.
GirlBoss Secret: Raise your standards, and the universe will meet you there.
The $100 Blog
The first step to starting a real, respectable blog will cost you less than $100. What you are paying for is called hosting. Your hosting account stores all your “virtual” website files. It’s kind of like a virtual file cabinet. But if you are still wavering between the Free Blog and the $100 blog, take it from someone who has been doing this for a VERY long time, I would never, ever, ever, ever, in a million years recommend using WordPress.com to create a Free blog.
But what if you’re not a developer? What if your fear is that you have no idea how computer code works? What if you get stuck?
You dream about having a blog that makes money while you sleep. One that looks professional…like a designer created it. That’s the kind of blog you want. But you can’t afford to spend a lot of money on it. At least not yet.
Lets get back to being transparent about how this all works. You don’t have to be a designer or a developer to DIY your own stunning WordPress website. You just have to be willing to spend a little bit of time to educate yourself about how it works, and then spend a little time and money to get it set up the right way.
In order for your blog or website to be up and running on the world wide web 24 hours a day 7 days a week, those files you are getting for ‘free’ from WordPress.org need to be stored somewhere…and that is called hosting…remember your virtual file cabinet that I mentioned above?
Storing your website’s files, is not free, and neither is owning your domain name. However, hosting is very inexpensive, especially if you choose a reputable host such as BlueHost, so the benefit of setting up your website or blog through a solid registrar is of the utmost importance. Not only does BlueHost offer hosting for $3.95 per month, it’s basically a “point and click” method whereby your WordPress website is set up in just a few clicks. You don’t even need to go get the source code from WordPress.org because BlueHost does everything for you! It’s quite literally a newbie blogger’s best friend.
This is the very first step to getting your website set up right. You can even check to see if your preferred URL is available right now!
If hosting costs around $60, then what about that other $200?
The great part about DIY is this is that all of these tools are a-la-carte. That means you don’t have to buy all of them at one time or pay a digital agency upwards of $10,000 to get a gorgeous website. Lets break down a few more costs so that you understand how to take your website from ordinary to extraordinary.
The more you buy at a time, the less expensive it is. Typically you can purchase your domain (ie: Your URL) and hosting for up to 5 years at a time. If you choose to purchase only one year, the typical annual renewal fee for hosting is around $80. Note that this annual cost increases significantly if you choose to use a lesser known hosting company such as SiteGround. Often, SiteGround is recommended by amateur bloggers because it has an affiliate program. I have set up websites for hundreds of clients using a variety of web-hosts including: GoDaddy, BlueHost, 1and1, SiteGround, HostGator, and WildWildWest. I think Bluehost is the most intuitive and easy to use for those new to the industry.
Once you set up your account and your blog with BlueHost, you’ll notice that your website looks very ordinary. WordPress comes standard with their “year” themes such as 2017, 2018, and 2019. These are fine, they will get the job done, but they are all rather ordinary.
This is where the “Type-A Personality” comes in.
If you’ve been reading up, you’ll notice that the most beautiful blogs do not look “ordinary” and you probably want yours to look nicer. More Professional. You may already have a logo and preferred color scheme, and a plain-Jane or free WordPress theme isn’t going to launch your blog into the final cut where you can run with the big dogs.
In order to get a beautiful website design, the most efficient method is to purchase a theme which will cost anywhere from $35 to $100 depending upon which design you select. The great part about using a theme, is that it easily integrates with your WordPress files, so you can essentially upload the theme and install demo content with one click. Then all you have to do is swap out the text and photos, and you’re all set. The theme fee is a one-time fee. Depending upon which theme you select, some themes may offer an annual “renewal” fee which is anywhere between $50 and $100.
Please know, however, that some themes require you to buy additional plugins to make them work. The Genesis Framework, for example, is one of those.
What’s Next in Getting Your Online Business Started?
Now that you’ve got your website up and running, and you’ve shared your blogs on your social media channels, the next most common question is “how do I get more traffic to my website?”
This is where the additional tools and potential expenses come in. A lot of people think that if they set up their website, people will just find it online. Unfortunately, that isn’t how things work. There are no “social media fairies” that magically make people visit your website; it takes a lot of effort…probably more than you originally thought.
From SEO to online advertising and social media marketing, there are a variety of strategies and tools that you can put into place to get more traffic to your blog. The tools that you’ll use depend on the topic that you blog about as well as the type of online business that you are starting, but there are some tools that I highly recommend for ALL online entrepreneurs, regardless of what topic you blog about. These tools are:
No matter what Niche you are in, you will need email automation. A lot of people mistakenly get started with MailChimp or MailerLite because they offer free options. BIG MISTAKE. I could go on and on about how much of a headache you will have later if you do this, but that is for a completely different blog article.
The best choice for businesses just starting out is ConvertKit. For businesses making over $250,000 per year, then I recommend HubSpot. Why? Well because HubSpot costs a lot.
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