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If you’re not “tech savvy,” then you are going to love this section.
You’re about to get a step-by-step breakdown of exactly what to do and where to go to get your first website up and running. Then, you’ll get the list of online business tools and resources I used to turn a blog that sold nothing into a multimillion-dollar business.
This guide will save you a ton of time down the road. And show you how simple and easy building an online business can be.
Before I give you my recommendations though, keep two things in mind.
1. Don't nickel-and-dime with service providers. Pay for the right service and move on so you can spend your energy on growing your business.
2. Reliability is priceless. Cheaper services might save you $10 per month — until you really need them. Imagine after months of work, you finally score a guest post on Huffington Post, get a ton of traffic to your website, and then your site crashes. Those few bucks just cost you hundreds of subscribers and thousands of dollars in revenue. Pay a little extra and sleep well at night.
The first thing you need is your web domain, or URL. If you don’t have one yet, I recommend picking something simple and straightforward. Don’t make the mistake I made and create the scammiest sounding website ever: iwillteachyoutoberich.com
Here are some good examples to get your brain thinking:
To see if the domain you want is available and to purchase it, I recommend going to Hover.com.
Next, you'll need to set up your web host for your website.
One popular hosting option is HostGator, though you can often get hosting through whatever site-build you use. For example, I recommend WP Engine for students building their site through WordPress (we’ll cover what site-builders to use later).
Since you’re just starting, you can go with low-cost options. For example, if you’re using WP Engine, then sign up for the Personal option. As your business grows and you get more traffic, you can upgrade to a higher level.
NOTE: Once you have a domain and host, you’ll need to connect the two so your domain points to your site. I won’t go into detail on that here, but if you get stuck, know that companies like Hover and WP Engine have excellent customer support and can help you.
Now that you have a place for your site to live online, it’s time to actually build it. I’ll break down some of the top site-builders to use shortly. But I recommend WordPress for most people. It’s what I use and fantastic if you plan to blog regularly.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to spend $3,000 on web design when you’re just starting. You can get some beautiful, professional-looking templates that do the job fine for much cheaper.
The free themes you see on a site like WordPress don’t look great. But for a little bit of money you can get a clean, professional look. One theme I recommend is Genesis at Studiopress.com
Congratulations! You now have your own website up and running.
Down the road, you’ll need more online business tools for creating products, managing email, and customer support. Here’s a list of the resources I use and recommend that will help you scale your online business from $10,000/year to $10,000/month, to $10,000/day.
Creating your audio/video products
PowerPoint slides (for video products)
Storing audio/video content
Email marketing campaigns
A/B split testing
A/B split testing
While I recommend WordPress for most people, the fact is that may not be the best choice for everyone. For example, if your goal is to sell physical products online, you may prefer Shopify.
Below is a more detailed breakdown of the options available to you.
WordPress.org is the most popular website-builder on Earth. It’s the engine behind everything from the New York Times, which gets millions of visitors every month, to tiny personal blogs, which barely get any traffic. (In fact, 48% of Technorati’s Top 100 blogs are managed with WordPress.)
(But before I explain it further, I want to make an important distinction: there’s WordPress.com and WordPress.org, and they are NOT the same thing. WordPress.com is a blogging platform that requires no software installations or downloads; just sign up and start using it. WordPress.ORG, however, is blogging software that must be installed on a web server, but allows full customization. For more information on the differences, check out this guide.)
Squarespace offers a host of elegant themes and allows users to build crisp, modern designs into their websites. It’s perfect for any online business that centers around image-driven content (such as food blogs and fitness).
Shopify is an awesome e-commerce platform for an online business’s storefront. Hundreds of thousands of merchants use this software as a way to grow their businesses and customer bases.
With over 63 million registered users, Wix is one of the largest website-building platforms in the world. It offers one of the best drag-and-drop builders available. This is great for anyone who hates fumbling with codes and finding plugins.
With over 30 million users worldwide, Weebly focuses on providing an intuitive site-building software with a variety of free services.
Weebly is a great option for beginners who want to create a website for their online business as fast as possible. It’s easy to customize WITHOUT spending a lot of money as well.
OK, let's do a quick recap to decide which website builder is right for you.
Excellent option for bloggers and people looking to grow their business because of the fantastic features and the flexibility of the platform — you can customize it so many ways and even turn your site into a solid e-commerce destination with plugins such as WooCommerce.
Perfect for online businesses who rely on imagery — graphic artists, photographers, culinary experts, etc. — because of the modern style. Designed to showcase your products and services. Also, because of the drag-and-drop editor, it’s a great solution for creative types who want to avoid hassling with coding or customizations.
The top solution for online stores because of their robust platform that handles every facet of e-commerce: you’ll have control over invoices, coupon codes, inventory, and customer interactions at your fingertips.
Great choice for the novice who wants to quickly create a website and doesn’t want to worry about future modifications. Their drag-and-drop site-building platform is superior to even Weebly, which makes the design process very intuitive. Once you make it, however, you’re stuck.
Great option for the beginner who wants to create a website for their online business as fast as possible and wants flexibility in the future for customizations WITHOUT spending a lot of money.
I've thrown a lot at you. If you want, I can send you a printable PDF of all the online business tools listed above that you can always refer back to. This guide will help you from your first $1,000, to $10,000, to $100,000 even $1 million and beyond.
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