Getting Started with Your Custom Website: 5 Steps

farm8Do you want to have an online presence for your small business? Inbound marketing on the internet starts with your website. When you have an established home base, you can expand from there into every nook and cranny of cyberspace, however your growth plan dictates.

Okay, you say, I’m ready to build a site. What do I do?

Whether you use a DIY tool to build your own site or you work with a site developer, start out on the right foot by clarifying your position in the following areas.

  1. You have a business name, logo, tag lines and descriptions, as well as images and other data supporting your brand. Sometimes, brand is born fully developed, just popping out of the blue. But more often, people need a while to develop the look and feel, and most importantly the promise that their company will make. Don’t assume you can develop these on the fly, and most website builders don’t want to create your logo or craft your mission. In other words, knowing who and why and how you are is the first requirement. If you attempt to build a site before you have a grip on this basic info, you’ll be re-building it shortly.
  2. You can clearly and simply describe your products and/or services; and/or you have a plan for the production of some kind of content that is useful to your audience. What kind of cyber real estate is right for your purposes? In the brick-and-mortar world, you wouldn’t rent a warehouse for a boutique store. Have a specific plan regarding the best presentation for your offerings. How can you cast them in the most appealing light? And, even more importantly, in what ways can you continuously keep your website content fresh?
  3. You are ready to present your own personality and passions in a public way. Perhaps this depends on the size of your business: it seems that the larger the company, the more anonymity we tolerate from them. But small businesses generally are expected to be transparent, and a website visitor should be able to discover the site’s publisher/owner, and learn at least something about the personality behind the enterprise. When entrepreneurs want to remain anonymous, they risk rendering their company invisible as well.
  4. You have in mind at least one potential opt-in item that will be enticing to site visitors so they are willing to exchange their email address for the gift. It may take some intense creativity to devise your promotional giveaway. The offering must be tempting, and it must deliver excellence in order to be convincing as a marketing tool. Allow plenty of time to come up with the perfect thing.
  5. You understand that building your internet home does not mean people will suddenly start visiting it. Building your website is only the beginning: the rest of your days are spent on social media and other real-time channels that help you focus attention towards the site, with all its usefulness and your wonderfulness.  Just as in real life, on the internet we live at home and reach out from there to the world around us.

When you’ve digested all that and feel prepared and ready, then the job is mostly technical. We’ll look at the steps to follow in another post soon.


Could you use help with the Grand Plan for your use of the internet for business or other vital mission? Here’s a sketch of how we approach internet strategic planning with you at SBOB.

About Mary Ruth

Mary H. Ruth is a virtual assistant, online marketing manager, copywriter and editor, and certified inbound marketing specialist. She has over 30 years' experience in administration and marketing in both non-profit and business sectors, having earned a degree in English Literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1975. Now living in Gainesville, Florida, she's been working online since late 2007.

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