Much of the time, the beginning is the hardest part. If you’re new to the world of health blogging, website building, affiliate marketing and online businesses, this page is for you. It contains ideas, tips and links that should help you create a valuable presence online and potentially a business (if that’s what you desire!).
Why start a blog or online business?
There are numerous reasons why an online business is a great idea, and the majority of them should be personal: the desire for a supplementary income, the desire to be your own boss, the desire for freedom and the excitement of creating something are just some of them. You could also be a personal trainer looking to increase your website’s presence and get more local clients. No matter the reason, you’ve decided that a website is what you want to build.
What are the benefits of having your own website/blog/online business?
This really depends on your own reasons for wanting to have a website or blog, but they include having an outlet for your creative or other talents, being seen as an authority in your field, creating a stream of (potentially) passive income and having something that you can call your own.
If the main goal is adding to your income, then a website and online business is a great way to start with almost nothing and create something with huge potential.
Picking the right type of online business.
I’m going to mostly focus on creating a blog-based business on this guide and website, but I don’t want you to think that a blog is the end of what you can do with an online business. A blog is a great base for any website or online business and, along with building your reputation, it can help increase your google search rankings. But beyond a blog, there are a number of other ways to make an income online.
1. Create your own product – whether its a digital product like an ebook, or something more physical, creating and selling your own product on your website is a great way to generate an income. With some tools, planning and automation, you could have a viable business selling your own product.
2. Create a membership site – membership sites, where you charge a monthly or yearly fee to be part of, can generate a stable income. These sites provide a community for your niche and normally have high quality member-only content such as instructional courses or whitepapers. This type of business functions well if it allows members to feel like they are in an elite club where they can discuss common topics and provide solutions to their problems.
Domain and Hosting
Your own website is an important part of an online business. There are a number of free platforms, like tumblr.com or blogger.com, but, as a main website, they don’t give you the freedom for customization and limit your SEO strength.
I strongly recommend you get your own domain, through a good provider like GoDaddy.com or 1and1.com. It gets harder every day to find an unused domain name as more and more people grab them up, so either think creatively, or look into buying a domain that is for sale. Sites like GoDaddy can help you find domain names that are already owned, but are for sale. The key is to find a domain name that is easy to remember, not too long and doesn’t have an extension that is too obscure, like “.tk” or “.museum” (for a non-museum site).
My main domain name registrar:
Good hosting is important to keep your website online and fast. One of Google’s ranking factors is how fast your website loads, and another is lack of downtime, so don’t skimp when it comes to finding hosting. Bluehost is probably one of the better known hosting providers and is cost effective for those starting out. They have good customer support and can help you get started.
Once you’re getting good traffic and want to get a faster and even more secure hosting, my recommendation is WPEngine. They deal solely in WordPress websites, and make it super easy to start from scratch or import an existing site automatically. While they are a bit more costly, its worth it if you have a lot of traffic and want to guarantee speed and uptime, as well as security.
My suggested hosting providers:
These are stable and get the job done.
Daily backups, staging areas, lots of speed. If you have a large site, you need to use these guys.
A blog is essentially a number of articles on a topic. Blogging is the easiest way to create content that is unique and shareable. No matter what your ultimate goal is, generating text-based content on your website is how you get search engine traffic. Even if your goal is to get people to buy your widets, or sign up for a course, blogging and article creation is important to get people to your site, as well as get higher ranking in Google.
There is no set rules for what you should blog about, how often or how long a post should be. You should keep your blogs somewhat on topic (ie: don’t blog about vintage car model sets on your fitness-based website -unless you’re tying it into a story that makes sense for the site). Posting as often as you can is really the only rule when it comes to how often to post a blog. If you can manage one a week, that’s great. If you can do only two a month, still good. If you can do a daily blog, you’ll be ahead of the pack and will eventually see the results. Overall, the more you post, the more chance of getting indexed and therefore getting traffic.
When it comes to how long a post should be, there are two ‘styles’ that most people use. Either its a basic blog post – going from 200-750 words, or what people refer to as an ‘epic post’ – normally averaging from 2000+ words. There are benefits to the longer posts, but as they do take longer to write, many people go for the shorter ones with just some ‘epic’ posts interspersed.
Overall, the best thing to do with a blog is just write. Write what makes sense to you, and would be beneficial to your audience. Doesn’t matter if its a 10,000 word post or three sentences. If your audience can benefit from the post, they’ll find it and share it.
I really recommend WordPress over all other platforms. Most others are clunky, not well maintained or very finicky. WordPress is the most-used Content Management System out there, which means lots of people keep it upgraded, and keep making plugins for it. There are five main parts to set up with a new WordPress website (once its installed): theme, plugins, page setup, navigation, posts.
Choosing a good theme is important, but you shouldn’t dwell long on it at the beginning. There are thousands of great free themes available for WordPress, and thousands more that are premium/paid themes. Choose one that matches what you want to create: a simple blog, a store with product listings, a business site with your info, etc. The benefit of themes is that for the most part, you can easily change it later. So you don’t need to find the perfect one to start, especially since in a few months your website’s plan could totally change based on what you’re seeing your audience wanting.
Plugins are the add-ons that help your website function above and beyond a basic site. Most are free and easy to set up. Here are some I recommend to start with:
Pages are your Static content on your site. Information like contact details, location details (if you’re a physical location), About the Website/Author/Business page, etc. These are outside the basic ‘blog’ post type, since they’re normally not changing, but still just as important to set up with good information.
When setting up a WordPress website, you’ll have to set up the menus/navigation. This is normally simple to start, with a basic set of links: home, blog, about, contact, etc. Most themes will have a menu area set, and you just need to set up the pages/posts you want in the menu.
Posts are where your main content writing will go. You can use the editor just like MS Word – you can bold text, make lists, add links, etc. You can also set a basic publishing schedule here, by telling WordPress when you want to publish an article. This is a great tool if you go on a writing spree but don’t want to publish all the articles at once.
So What’s Next?
There are a countless number of WordPress Tutorials to familiarize yourself with the basic WordPress setup, but in its simplicity, start blogging when you can. Get to know the WordPress setup and start blogging. The sooner you start publishing content, the sooner people will find you.
Once you have some content set up, start sharing the site – to friends, on social networks, in your email signature, etc. You can then also add it to Google and Bing’s Webmaster tools, as well as starting to build links on other sites. You’ll start to see how people use your site and can start modifying from there. The key is to keep your messaging the same, and create good, useful content.
If you find this startup guide useful, please share it and help others on their online business journey!!