Easy Website Tips for Solo Business Owners With Very Little Money or Marketing Skills
I could just tell you how to make a website, but I am going to work backwards by giving you the Six Must-Haves to make your website work, then dive into Squarespace. If this sounds good to you, let's get started!
My Results: To improve my business, I started with a Squarespace website, THEN, I started a weekly blog, posted articles to LinkedIn, added Instagram to my social media tool box and started using hashtags. Since January I have gone from 128 connections on LinkedIn, to 200 in August. By using LinkedIn ALONE, I attracted 1000 people to my website in ONE week! Think of your Squarespace website as a jumping off point for the success of your business and you will see things change for the better. Take a look below at the metrics from 9/7/15 - 9/11/15 and you will see where my website traffic came from. This is another great feature found in my favorite web building platform.
I am FIRED UP today! (Actually, I am mad!)
My 10 year old is insisting on doing all of his school work his own way. (I homeschool my three kids in case you are here for the first time.) So I just got done putting my foot down...more than a few times!
I heard myself saying to him: "Don't make excuses!" and "Follow my instructions, if you want to do the worksheet right." I realized, I had to follow my own advice when it was time to make my new website in June. I made excuses about not doing the other things that would make my website successful, even profitable. I had a wordpress website for years and built other websites on that platform. But, it was quite a bit of work! I wanted something easier to build, so that I had the time to add other marketing calls to action to my to-do list.
After that, I found Squarespace and saw how easy it was to get a professional website and online store, I knew this platform was the last piece to Operation Streamline! No more excuses for WAITING for people to come to me. Sometimes you have to get mad to get stuff done, right? Well, that happened.
The Six Must-Haves For An EFFECTIVE Website
It is one thing to have a website as a kind of place holder for word-of-mouth visitors. It is another thing to have a website that WORKS for your business, to get you business. Read further, if you want your website to WORK for you and to bring you the proactive results you deserve.
- Graphic Design - If you are not a creative professional and you can't hire a designer, use Canva to create banner images, and other design elements for your website. I made the graphic above in Canva as an example. I used my own photo of my home office and chose a template I liked. Then, I customized it with the copy I wanted to use. It took 5 minutes and cost me nothing! Now, I can pin that image to Pinterest and when it is clicked on and they want to read the article, there will be a link to my website so my target audience can get to know me better. Yet, ANOTHER FREE MARKETING TRICK!
- Professional, Cohesive Web Design - Squarespace is my first choice for this, with many clean and polished templates to choose from, you can't go wrong.
- Be Social - Pick three social media accounts that you can use to link to your website. My favorites are: Facebook, Linkedin and Pinterest. If three are too much, then pick one to start with and learn how to use it. Great experts to follow on this topic are: Social Media Examiner, Rebekah Radice, Mari Smith. For a complete run down on the experts, go to the Top Rank Blog post 25 Social Media Marketing Experts You Need to Know.
- SEO - Getting ranked on Google, Bing, Yahoo, and more, requires key words embedded in your posts and web copy. Moz's Beginners Guide to SEO is a great resource! For solopreneurs like me, money is tight, so DIY is my middle name! Taking the time to read a few detailed step by step articles has helped me be more strategic. It is an empowering experience that has given me confidence in my skills, while adding to them.
- Email Marketing - I love MailChimp. If you have less than 2,000 subscribers, it is FREE! This article from Kissmetrics is perfect for the beginner and will help you do email marketing right.
- Blogging - I know! I'll be honest, this one I really wanted to put off or avoid all together. There is already so much on our plates, we are left wondering "How can we do it all?". But, out of all of the tools I have added to my re-branding campaign, this one has been the most effective. Why? Because when you blog, you are putting your money where your mouth is by sharing insider tricks and tips. It gains trust. It shows you care to take the time to help others with their own journey.
Graphic design, web design, social media marketing, SEO, and email marketing are all essential parts of a website that will WORK FOR YOU. I have added blogging, because since I added that to the mix with this website, my exposure has increased A LOT. That is why a user friendly, website builder for "non-coding" people, was so important to me and probably is to you too!
How to Set Up Your Website
- Choose the billing plan that is right for you.
- Buy your domain name (Either from a third party or for $20 on Squarespace) Go to: the Squarespace website to follow the links to purchase a domain name, then follow the links to create a custom email through google apps
- Include a keyword that describes what you do, keep it short and easy to remember. Mine has the word design in it.
- Decide on what pages you will need. A good rule of thumb is no more than 6. Use secondary, drop down pages if you need more than that.
- Choose a template. I chose to keep mine simple with no sidebars, but I am missing them a bit. I might change the current template to one with sidebars soon, so I can show related posted and make it easier for the user to find what they need. The template I used is Adirondack.
- Add ecommerce at no extra charge. To get started selling products of all kinds, Squarespace has videos and how to's that make it easy to set up shop. Check out my newly added shop for worksheets and planners that are designed to help you work out your business plan at your own speed, in the right order.
The great thing about this website platform, is that you can see examples of real life businesses using different templates. This helped me so much. Being able to see other design possibilities, makes choosing the right template for you a lot easier.
If you are not happy with the website you have, there is something you can do about it...and,no, complaining is not it! Squarespace isn't for everyone, but for a home based business or solo business owner it is a great fit, at a great price.