A continuation of my series: The 7 Tools You Need to Launch Online. This week I’m talking all about websites. Do you realize you don’t really need a fancy website to launch online? I’ll also talk about what you can use instead.
Little tip: If you’re using BeLive to do Facebook Lives from your computer, turn off their gigantic logo or you’ll have to cover it up with a gigantic logo of your own! 🙂
Notes in a Nutshell:
- Start your online business BEFORE you have a website
- You can use a landing pages as a home page while your site is built.
- If you want a quick and easy, one-page site, Leadpages has an option for that!
- It’s never too early to start collecting names.
- You need to know your own basic tech.
- Use WordPress.org when you start out. It’s not hard, it’s not expensive and you’ll never need to move sites again.
The Myth of Online Business: You Need a Website to Launch
Most of the time when people think of starting an online business, the first thing they want to do is set up a website.
In a lot of ways, this makes perfect sense – without a website how will people find you? Everyone knows that the number-one goal of a website is to increase your traffic, right?
But here’s the myth that too many people don’t understand… even with a beautiful website perfectly optimized for Google, people won’t find you if you don’t have rock-solid “I really have to know this!” content your readers love.
I’ve seen it happen over and over again… people get so excited and have a specific date on the calendar circled because it’s the day their websites will launch.
Everything is geared towards this date, but when the site goes live, nothing happens. No one knows the site exists.
Let’s look at this logically.
Content Drives the Internet
People crave information and the best way for you to rise up in the ranks of Google and other search engines is for people to share your content with each other.
You’ve probably had a friend send you a link to an article where they said, “Oh you’ve really got to read this!” right? And you’ve probably shared a few links with your friends as well. As a matter of fact I’d love it if you’d share this one… 😉 but have you ever gotten a link from someone who said, “Hey I think you’ll love the font on this website?” or
“I really think you’ll like the shade of blue that they used! Can you believe this is HEX number 035B46?”
You don’t do that right?
So, if you ask most people where they’re spending their time, money and energy, it’s on a website…
or waiting for headshots for their site…
or waiting for the graphics to be finished for their site…
but for way too many business owners, the site itself is keeping them from bringing in the money they need.
Website Creation Will Delay Your Launch
The truth is, waiting for your site to be finished is just a form of procrastination. I have a theory about this: For a lot of online businesses a website is the first tangible thing they have for their business and so it becomes the biggest priority.
It certainly does give you authority and, let’s face it, when you see your family and they ask how your little internet business is going, it’s nice to be able to show them the website, right?
So a website gives you authority but, as you will soon realize, it’s actually the content on the site that will grow your business. Writing and putting out excellent content, whether it’s video or blogs can be really hard. It takes research and commitment.
It’s much easier to say you’re waiting for your site to be finished than it is to focus on creating the content that’s truly going to build your list.
A couple of times a year I go to networking events. I tend to run into the same people.. as you do at networking events… and it always surprises me how often I hear people say, “Oh yeah, well, I’m ready to really get going now because the last six months I’ve kind of been waiting for my website to get done.”
Or “As soon as my headshots are done, I’m going to launch my site and I’ll be ready to go!”
You Don’t Need a Website to Launch
Honestly, you don’t need a website to get your business started, or even to launch. I didn’t have one for the first six months I started working on LaunchTechMadeEasy.com. What I did have was a landing page and that landing page offered a freebie: my Technology Roadmap. Because the first thing you need in order to launch is people on an email list and a website isn’t going to do that for you.
When people opted in to the freebie it put them on a brand new list in Aweber and it allowed me to email them weekly content and blog posts. I had a domain and a basic WordPress.org installation using a default theme, whatever the theme was that came with WordPress back then.
I had Aweber to collect email addresses, and I had Leadpages. Leadpages was the way I was able to make a landing page the home page on my site. I used that landing page as my home page for a good six months.
For the first six months my content was pretty exclusive. If someone hadn’t signed up to my list on that landing page, they couldn’t receive my content because there was no site to go to. Talk about scarcity!
Yet people who were on my list learned to know, like, and trust me because every single week I was sending them great content via email and a link to blog post on a basic, unadorned, not complicated blog page on my unfinished site. By the time I was ready to launch, they were a warm audience who were ready to buy.
Build Your List Before Your Site
To successfully launch online, focus on building a list first. It can take time. Once you’ve got a freebie with people opting in to receive your amazing free offer, you’ll have the time to focus on your website while your list grows.
List first, website later. That’s the formula for online launch success.