I want to share a little of my background with you today. I’m not special, and I didn’t have blinding computer or marketing skills when I started. In fact, I didn’t have any of either of those things when I started.
Watch the video below to find out how and why I got started online.
If you like it, or have any questions, do leave a comment.
Assuming you’ve done your research as per that post, and you’ve decided upon an area – or niche – in which you can get some traction and where you know there is a hungry market, you’re ready to move to part 2.
Part 2 is all about getting your first website up and running. Now before you think that’s going to be tricky, I want to say two things:
1. It isn’t
2. Even if it was, you don’t need to do everything yourself as there are lots of people who can – and will – help if needs be, for less than the cost of a cup of coffee generally (especially if you tend to buy coffee from Starbucks or another of those ‘pricey but nicey’ outlets).
The video and accompanying pdf document at the end of this post show how to set up your first site, using either the WordPress-hosted web space or your own self-hosted web space. [If that means nothing, don't worry, it's all covered in the video. In fact, if any of the terms I use in this post don't mean anything, you'll find they're covered in the video. If not, ask a question by leaving a comment and I'll get back to you.]
Hosting Your First Website
I would strongly suggest that you get your own hosting if you’re even remotely serious about starting an online business. There are at least two very good reasons for this:
1. It looks MUCH more professional
2. It gives you MUCH more freedom in terms of what you can do
You will need two things in order to ‘host’ your first website. Firstly, you’ll need a hosting package. I use TSO Host, and have done for a number of years, and for over a dozen of my sites. I highly recommend them, on grounds of price, support and uptime availability, and you can check them out here. I recommend TSO Host. [Transparency: that link has an affiliate code in it, which means I will be able to buy roughly 1.46 cups of the aforementioned fancy coffee per year if you use it to purchase your hosting, which costs £15 per year, or £1.25 a month]
There are of course countless other hosting service providers, so feel free to use one of those if you’d prefer.
Now, before you get to the videos, I want to touch on something that isn’t really outlined in detail within them, and which is important for the ‘bigger picture’. And that is choosing your domain name.
Your Domain Name
Whilst I don’t want to confuse anyone by talking about Search Engine Optimization (or SEO for short) at this stage, I will say that there is value in your domain name – the name of your website, for instance, mattbisogno.com – containing something as closely resembling your market area as possible.
SEO is simply the means by which websites can be tweaked to tell Google and the other search engines where is the best place for them to appear when people are looking for stuff on that particular site.
Targeted Domain Name example
For instance, if you started a company in Hackney, and the company name was Apple Puff Personal Training, you might want to have a domain name of personaltrainerhackney.co.uk if it was available, rather than applepuffpersonaltraining.co.uk.
The reason for using the words people might use to search for you (‘personal trainer Hackney’), rather than your brand name (‘Apple Puff personal training’), is because you are far more likely to be found with the more generic term… to begin with at least.
[My main horse-y site, geegeez.co.uk, now receives over 2,000 searches a month for the term 'geegeez', which of course means nothing except that it is a known brand after being online for a number of years. It was a terrible choice for a domain name! If I knew then what I know now...]
Incidentally, the example above is for Mrs Matt’s website, although she tends to use her other one, personaltrainer-london.co.uk
OK, let’s recap. What I’m saying is try to choose a domain name that might contain the words that your target audience would type in when searching for a site like yours… ideally, your site!
As an example, if you’ve decided to focus on synchronised swimming tips, then www.synchronisedswimmingtips.co.uk would be a GREAT domain name, assuming it’s available. You can check the availability of domain names at TSO Host (and other hosting sites).
Take your time over this, if necessary, to find the right domain name. Because here’s the thing: almost everything can be changed later. But your domain name cannot easily.
So yes, take your time. But do not procrastinate!!! If you’ve taken more than a few hours to research and then another day to ponder your available options, you’re wasting time. Move on.
Getting Your Site Up
OK, splendid. We’ve got a niche, and we’ve found a pretty good (ideally, an amazing) domain name. Now it’s time to build the site. The video and pdf below were created a little while ago now, but the content remains relevant.
Whilst some of the ‘look and feel’ elements of what you’ll see have changed slightly, you will still be able to follow these to get your first site online.
Enough from me. Here’s the video:
And here’s a link to the pdf document which supports the video:
By the end of this session then, you should have chosen a domain name for your new website, got yourself some ‘hosting’, and installed your very own blog onto your domain name. Awesome!!
If you have any problems, leave a comment below, and I’ll try to answer if I can. The reason to comment below is because others might be having the same issue and this way, I can help them as well as you. Make sense? Great!
Well done if you’ve got this far. I hope you’ll be excited about what comes next…
Now might be a pretty good time for me to tell you about that then!
In the next installment, we’ll work on making our site look a bit more presentable, both to human visitors and to our friends, the search engines.
OK, so here we go. And yes, it is a long title, and an accompanying long video.
Today’s material is quite heavy going, but it’s super important groundwork. People talk about ‘laying the foundations’ for this or that. Well, these items are fundamental and, if you skip this, you’ll either end up watching it later… or failing.
So, please, take the time to watch this and make notes. Mindset is the most important thing to get right before you start. Market research is the most important thing to get right when you start. Everything else follows.
Enough from me. Here’s the video. The next one will be along in about a week’s time, to give you some thinking time and some ‘acting’ time!
Today is a good day for me, because I’ve just realised a massive milestone has been achieved. I’m not sure exactly when it happened – probably back in November last year – but I did something weird today in my Google Analytics account…
I checked the stats for geegeez.co.uk since the site was launched in September 2008. 11th September 2008, to be exact. 9/11. Which, by a convenient quirk of fate, was precisely forty months ago today.
And here’s what I noticed. Dear old geegeez.co.uk, the little site which has always had sand kicked in its face by the big boys, but still come back for more time and time again… well, dear old geegeez.co.uk has had over A MILLION visitors!
That’s pretty amazing, I think. But more amazing than that is this:
1. geegeez.co.uk is only interested in horse racing, a subject which doesn’t actually have that many followers online
2. geegeez.co.uk is almost exclusively focused on UK horse racing, which reduces the target audience still further.
3. I’m lousy at getting people to sign up for the goodness therein. Always have been, but hopefully always won’t be!
Here’s a snapshot from my Analytics account, which will show full size when clicked upon:
My first million website visitors
Some of the most interesting stats are beneath that headline figure though.
geegeez.co.uk has had over 330,000 individual visitors. That makes my conversion rate of visitors to signups something like 3.91%. That is seriously shit bad, believe me.
Those visitors have collectively viewed more than two and a half million pages. That is pretty good.
And the average time on site of two minutes eighteen seconds, I would think, is exceptional.
So, two things, sort of related to each other.
Firstly, THANK YOU to all of the geegeez.co.uk readers who have contributed to this milestone in my career (and life – geegeez is my ‘baby’, and this is a special day for me, sad as that might sound ).
And secondly, although I’m humbled by this, I also think it’s a fair indicator that – despite being crap at getting people to sign up – I’m not bad at the whole online thingie.
So, I’m going to show you some of the things I do to get people to visit, and re-visit geegeez. These things will work in any market or business, as long as there is genuinely some interest there.
It’s going to be a free series, and it will only be available to readers of mattbisogno.com… to begin with, at least. So if you’re not already signed up (and only 58 of you are, further testimony to my, ahem, genius when it comes to opt in conversion (as it’s known in the trade)), and this is of interest, then get your name down. Here’s the form:
As I do every year, I am taking part again in this year’s Challenge. It is an opportunity for me to go ‘back to basics’ and to remind myself of what needs to be done in a successful business, in this case, specifically an internet business. (Yes, they do exist!)