How To Start A Website For A Small Business
If you are a felon in the process of starting your own business, one of the most important keys to your success is having a website.
The reason is simple – everyone is online these days, people sleep with their phones:) So if you want to get new customers, grow your business and stay ahead of your competitors, your business must always be on and available, through your WEBSITE.
Even if you don’t know anything about computer programming, today there are easy and free online tools you can use to build a professional looking website, all by yourself!!!
Read on, to find out exactly what you need to do, and get started right away.
How To Get Your Website Up And Running In 15 minutes
Starting a website is very simple. You will make it happen using a web hosting service, called SiteGround. Just follow the instructions below and your brand new business site will be up and running in no time. If you have any trouble setting up your account you can always call the company’s support staff.
1. Click on the this SiteGround link. You will get a special discount by using this link. When you are on the SiteGround website click on the area that says “get started now”.
My most important sites are hosted on SiteGround. I use GoGeek, but then again I get over 2000 visitors daily, so basic is not for me.
I’ve tested many other hosting services in the past 10 years (MediaTemple, GoDaddy, BlueHost, HostGator, NameCheap) … and except for SiteGround and NameCheap, they were ALL horrible (especially Hostgator and Bluehost, which are the same company btw). So go with the best, and avoid downtime and transfer hassles later.
2. You will be taken to a screen where you can select your plan. The best option is the second one that is labeled most popular. However, you will be perfectly fine selecting the cheapest plan.
For 99% of sites, I recommend the least-expensive $3.95/month package. Most will never need a more advanced level, but if you do, you can always upgrade later. No need to overpay for something you don’t need now.
3. Once you have selected your plan you will be given an option to choose a domain name. This name will be how people get to your website. For example, this website is named hirefelons.org. You may have to try a few times to get a domain that is not taken. SiteGround offers a FREE domain name with any hosting package!
4. Next you will need to enter your account information. This form is pretty standard and should be quite simple to fill out. Make sure you use a valid email address.
5. Once you have submitted the form you will be asked to confirm all of your choices. This is where you select the options you are choosing.
6. After you pay for everything you can now sign into your account. On the second menu bar at the top there will be a link called cpanel. Go ahead and click that. Once you are there, there will be an icon in the middle of the page that says install WordPress. Click on that icon.
Here is a good video overview of how to setup WordPress in cPanel in less than 1 minute!
7. You will be taken to a screen that will let you start a brand new install of WordPress. The button will be green and will most likely say either START or INSTALL.
8. Click on the drop down menu box and select your domain name. Then click check domain.
9. Once you check the domain you will have to check two boxes. The first one will give you the advanced options you need to login to your site. The other is simply stating that you have read the terms and conditions. Once you select those, you will see something that looks similar to the image below. The site name or title is just what the name of your site is.
It is a good idea to use your domain name in this area without the www. or .com attached to it. This one is “Hire Felons”. Make sure you write down your admin username and password. You will need these to log into the site. After you do this, click INSTALL NOW. It should install fairly fast.
10. The install should not take very long (usually its under 1 minute). Just keep that page open and running. After it finishes installing, go to your website and type /wp-admin after it. An example of this is www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin. This is going to be where you will log into your site form now on.
11. Now that you have logged in you will want to hover over the POSTS option in the left side bar and then select ADD NEW.
12. Once this page is open you will be able to type in the name of your post and also write whatever it is that you want to. When you are done, just hit publish. Then, you can view your content.
13. If you would like to change your theme or go over a basic run down of how to use this software then please watch the video at the top of this page. It covers this more in depth.
5 Advantages Of Having A Website
Here are the most important reasons why you want to get serious about building a website for your small business.
1. Grow your brand
As you can see from the statistics below, pretty much every person uses the internet to find information about goods and services that they need. Currently, there are over 2.4 billion people in the world who are using the internet! Even if you have a physical store, or restaurant, you will get a lot more clients if people can find your place online.
2. Potential clients expect to see a website
That’s right, even if your site is just a few pages that describe what you do or sell, and give your contact information, people will be looking for it. If you don’t have it, this can be a red flag for many people (especially younger folks) that turns them away from your business, without even giving you a chance.
3. You can tell your story
Many people want to use goods and services that have a story behind it. After all, this is what all of marketing is about, creating a compelling story that others connect with and selling it. Well, you have a unique story to tell! Talking about where you came from and how you are turning your life around may inspire many people to buy what you are offering and spread the word to their friends and neighbors. By the way, you don’t need to directly talk about your criminal past on your website. In fact, its best if you don’t. But surely, you have plenty of stories that would be meaningful to others.
4. Make money while you sleep
While you may catch the zzz’s at 10 pm, many people like to shop well into the night, or look for whatever else they need (a painter, hair styling salon, secretary, cleaning lady, etc). This is where your website saves the day: people will find it, and will contact you via email, or buy something from you, at any time of day – 24/7!
5. You website will do all the talking for you
You may be shy about putting yourself out there and talking to strangers about your business and why its so great. Well, your website can do that for you. Just write down what your company offers, why its better than others and post it through social media sites, such as Facebook. Boom, people from all over will start checking out your business, and a lot more of them than you would be able to reach in person.
6. Gain credibility
As we mentioned before, not having a website basically translates into very low credibility in the eyes of consumers. On the contrary, a professional looking site with well thought-out information lends an air of respect to your business. If people like the way you present your goods or services on your website, they will be a lot more compelled to give your company or store a try.
7. No website = lost revenue
While having a site helps boost your earnings, not having one can actually hurt them. This is because you are loosing both present and future clients to competitors who do have their websites. Keep in mind, though, that having a sloppy, ugly looking site that is hard to use, can be just as bad for business. Maybe even worse! This is because you are turning people off and they will most likely never want to return.
What Your Business Website Should Have
While this is a huge topic that we can’t cover in this post, lest quickly go over the basic ingredients of a good website that would appeal to people.
1. Contact info is very easy to find (phone, email, address, etc)
2. Clear navigation – people hate confusing websites and leave pretty much instantly
3. Professional images and good descriptions
4. Quality content – it doesn’t have to be long, it just has to speak to your audience
5. Deliver a clear proposition and its value – what is so great about your business or product that people should want it?
6. Social medial buttons – allow visitors to easily share your website with others
7. Polished design – there many beautiful themes on WordPress that are FREE. In general, buying a more professional looking theme with greater customization options is not terribly expensive – $30-75
8. Mobile friendly – be sure to use a RESPONSIVE theme that adapts to both smartphones and tablets. Most people today search for stuff on the go, through their phones, so your website needs to have a mobile theme.
Check out the following posts to help you get started with opening up a business:
1. How to get a business loan or grant if you have a felony
2. Entrepreneurship training program fro felons
3. How a felon can start his/her own business