Planning and Thinking play a large part in the preparatory stages of launching any business. Try to avoid expensive mistakes by spending a few days thinking about the knowledge you have and your interests.
You will be building websites and writing a large number of articles in the same area, so it must be a field that you are comfortable with and that you enjoy talking about.
Buy a small notebook or just use pen and paper to make your notes, but most people find that planning on paper makes it more real. Personally I use a spreadsheet to plan any new projects.
Make a list of all your interests. Mine would be teaching, gardening, cooking and writing.
Decide which one you are going to concentrate on in the first instance, or combine two of them. These fields are all much too wide. Gardening websites are ten a penny. There is too much competition for your site ever to do well. Instead you would be better off concentrating on one aspect of gardening like Improving Your Soil or Growing Potatoes.
The aim is to set yourself up as an expert who has something to say that is worth passing on.
Once you have made your decision, and focused on a niche within your chosen field you need to look at your competition.
Do a few searches online in your chosen niche. There will be competition. It shows that there is a market there and is not something you should necessarily avoid. You are going to become The Expert in your chosen area and come to dominate it.
The next aspect to research is your web address (domain name). This is a very important factor in how well your website will do, so do it diligently.
Search engines rank each page of a website according to its title and content. Each time someone searches for a phrase or keyword search engine computers trawl all through their databases of every online page that they know about and attempt to bring up relevant website pages.
You need to decide which search phrases you want to be top in the rankings for.
Try entering a few words into Google™ and see what phrases come up. Use Google.com rather than your national-level Google if you want the best results.
Your domain name needs to be broad enough but focused on your niche. An example would be the domain I have for teachers, www.EscapeTeaching.com. It is focused on helping British teachers to get out of the classroom because that is what I know about, having done it myself.
If you are interested in butterflies then forget www.butterflies.com, forget www.AmericanButterflies.com or even www.CalifornianButterflies.com. Try to focus on making money from butterflies. www.PhotographingGardenButterflies.com might work, or www.HowToEncourageButterflies.com.
The best domain names have long since gone or have been taken by parasitical domain sitters who hope to sell domain names they bought for $10 for $5,000.
Always choose a .com name because they have maximum credibility.
Avoid – and _ (hyphens and underscores) because nobody ever remembers them.
If you are focusing on a national market like UK, then a co.uk domain has advantages and is worth thinking about.
You need to buy hosting and your domain name. The web host’s computers hold your website’s pages and allow visitors to access them. Hosting costs money, but not a lot. This is the only expense you will have for a few months.
There are many different hosting companies. Prices are very competitive. You need one that offers unlimited bandwidth, storage and domain names because you want maximum flexibility to grow your writing business. A 12 month hosting plan will cost about $85.
Each host uses a slightly different interface to administer websites. This website gives step-by-step instructions for the host I use and recommend Blue Host. (Referral links cost you nothing and are the reason this site is free). This site is set up on Blue Host
- Go to Blue Host (referral link)
- Sign Up for their hosting plan, it includes a free domain name
- Use the search facility on Blue Host to find a suitable name
- Go to your control panel
- Domain Manager Tab
- Assign domain to hosting account and tick a box
- Go to the cPanel Tab
- Scroll down, click on the large “W” WordPress icon
- Install a brand new version
- Allow the default options to stand
- Check the Legal Information box
- Click Complete