17 – Letting Social Media Take a Back Seat

It is near impossible to run a business without a website & email list these days.  Here’s a quick checklist bite of how to get set up so social media can take a backseat while you’re in control. https://rachelbrenke.com/epi17

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On this episode of The Business Bites Podcast, we’re going to talk a little bit about how to setup a blog or a website quickly, because I was actually surprised at how much feedback I received from episode 15, where I talked about what should a website terms of service include. So many people told me that they were relying on social media platforms in order to reach their audience, and they didn’t have a paired website. It was really, really concerning.

 

I want to go through exactly kind of a checklist of how you guys can get setup extremely quickly, because for me, there is this feeling of, “I cannot put social media as the, the main controller of my business. I need a domain, pardon the pun, but I need a domain that I can control, that’s all me, that’s all exactly what I am able to manage the message, how it’s provided, and ultimately get any of my clients or customers onto an email list, because to me, that’s my number one goal at the end of the day.”

 

Let me give you an example. I’m going to share a couple of numbers. I have been utilizing all sorts of social media for years, but I’ve been driving people to email list for multiple reasons. One, like I just said a little bit ago, I want to be able to control the format of the message that goes out there. Two, I don’t want to be at the mercy of any other company to be able to manage what I say, how I say, or limit people being able to access my stuff, but also because I want to drive people to my email list should all of that disappear.

 

I understand, keeping in mind that email clients could also up and disappear , but I am able to download and keep all of that email data with me to be able to reach my customers at any point. I cannot export from social media. I am also not in charge of the algorithms there either. It’s really kind of scary to think how many people are putting their eggs in one basket of social media.

 

Now, let me preface what I’m about to go into about how to setup a blog or website quickly to say I’m not saying get rid of your social media. What I’m saying is I feel like that your social media should be a way to bring in an audience, bring in your customers, send them then to your website, which is your little corner of the web, and then send them to your email list. Here’s an example for you though too to show you, in real life, and these are my numbers as of this recording.

 

I started out a lot on my business really focusing on social media. My Facebook has reached 40,000 fans. My Instagram is about at 8,500. My Twitter is slowly growing because I don’t spend a lot of time on it, admittedly, at about 4,500. Those are the main ones that I do kind of focus on, but as you can see, Facebook is where my client avatar is. If you guys have any questions about what an avatar is, go check out episode 12, The Magic of a Client Avatar, because I think that will really help you.

 

All of that to say is those numbers don’t seem that impressive, right? But my email list has over a hundred thousand email subscribers on it. These are hundred thousand people that I’m able to get into their inbox, guaranteed for the most part that they’re going to be able to see my message, see what I’m trying to self, what I’m trying to serve, what I’m trying to do to help them. Whereas, even though I have 40,000 on my Facebook page, I am lucky now based on algorithms for unpaid for maybe a hundred people to like a post.

 

In the old days, when I first started out and really focused on Facebook, it was thousands at a time. That’s a real life example to show you that the numbers publicly on social media aren’t always indicative, and that you could see how there’s [inaudible 00:04:03] client in algorithms and basically pushing you. Facebook does this, and a lot of platforms push you to pay for paid advertisement, which paid advertisement’s going to be another podcast that I’m going to talk about. It’s not a bad thing. I’m just talking about from the standpoint of being able to control my message, get people to see my message and my content without having to pay directly for people to see it each and every time. Yes, I pay for newsletter client, but it’s not the same as having to pay and compete for advertising space.

 

Let’s just jump right in. Setting up the blogger website can be extremely overwhelming, so here’s a quick breakdown that I’m going to give you guys. It has recommended resources, products, and services to help you figure out how to setup your blog or website or e-commerce shop the best way possible. Of course, setting up hosting is one of the first things you need to do. You need to find someone who’s actually going to host the website for you. This is where your website or blog will be hosted or parked or sit.

 

It is important to find a reliable host to ensure that your website is accessible to your clients. I’ve had situations where on Black Friday, one of my biggest days of the year, the host that I was at at the time completely went down, and I lost a lot of money. I’ve had times when it’s just randomly gone down in the past, when I did not have a reliable host, and I lost customers and people who wanted to book me for specific services, and then never came back because it was too much of an effort. There was too many barriers to get them in. We don’t want that to happen.

 

The next is to choose a domain name. A domain name is the address of the website or blog. This is where you can choose the fun ww.blank.com or .org, .net, or whatever variety is out there. The key is to look for something that’s easy to remember, but also reflects your brand or business and does not conflict with somebody else’s trademark. We don’t want to be doing any infringement.

 

Domain names can range from a couple dollars and into thousands, depending on popularity and demand. Now, most hosting sites provide domain name and purchasing services, so keep in mind that you can do this together, but you don’t have to. Another thing to keep in mind is that you don’t want to have too many long letters or something that’s similar to another website, such as the potential of infringement previously.

 

Now, one note I do want to put here is when you get to the point that you’re able to financially get this, consider making an investment in alternative domain names that differ from you business name as well, such as one of my brands is the TheLawTog. However, as a vendor of photography contracts, the domain Digital Photography Contracts is also used to point to TheLawTog.com. I can utilize both, and it also helps for SEO purposes.

 

Next, you want to build your website. This one is pretty self-explanatory. Actually I have an episode called Bootstrapping Your Website. It’s episode number four. You can check out to see how to build your website. This is what is essentially your virtual storefront. This is your virtual business card. It should be treated just as important if not more important than any actual storefront. In determining the type of website or blog platform, it can be overwhelming, and there’s many different options.

 

Like I mentioned in episode four, Bootstrapping Your Website, I really geared it toward a lot about WordPress, because I feel like the use of plugins, themes, and widgets allows for a completely customized view with limited or no coding knowledges in order for you to be able to set it up quickly and relatively cheaply. All of my sites are WordPress sites. I relatively manage and create and set them up all by myself. For me to do that, that’s saying something.

 

All right, next you want to build your blog. The website, again like I said is your hello or storefront. The blog is the handshake, though, that you’re giving to your clients. This is where actually where the majority of your potential clients or customers should land if you’re using the blog as an efficient marketing tool for your past and current customers to talk about you. Note, though, if you want to work with a theme such as for WordPress [flatform 00:07:59], you need to acquire WordPress.org and not a WordPress.com. Then the theme will load in the WordPress [flatform 00:08:06]. It’s like WordPress is the cake, and the theme is the icing and decorations. That’s where you can build your blog and website from.

 

Of course, once the blog is setup, don’t just let it sit there. You need to institute blogging into your normal workflow by efficiently blogging. This is something that I feel like you really guys should stick into your calendar at all times. Episode nine talks about Get More Time for Your Business. It actually shares my system of how I’ve backed create all my content so that my blogging drips out for me, yet I’m not blogging all the time.

 

Next you go into learning about SEO, search engine optimization, making it so that people can find you. Here’s just some quick tips on SEO. We do have a episode with episode seven, a Bite of SEO with Zach Prez, who is an SEO expert. You can listen to that one to get a little bit more, but here’s just a couple of tips. Name your site appropriately. Input in your site description. Make sure you include keywords, and it is a real description, not just keyword stuffing, not just stuffing a whole bunch of keywords that you want people to use to find you into that.

 

Update it frequently. Always put out fresh content, such as using a blogging schedule. Have relevant content to your audience. Categorize your blog posts, so it’s easy for the users and readers to find. Use key words. Again, this goes back around. Think about what your readers are going to be searching. Those are the keywords. Make sure if you have a flash site that you always pair it with words, like the keywords that I’m talking about. Flash sites are pretty, but they don’t drive SEO, and anytime you use images, please always make sure that you’re including a description or in the ALT tag, exactly what the images is … I’m sorry, the key words are that you want to utilize, that way it is searchable.

 

Of course, once you’ve done all of that, you need to utilize an analytics tool such as Google Analytics to track the audience, see how much traffic you’re getting, what are the top blog post. From there, you also want to link it on social media and share all these posts. Of course, going back around to what I was talking about with the newsletter list, you need to have a newsletter list going. If you are letting people come onto your site with no alternative to get information from you except to contact you, then you’re really missing out. You need to capture these passerbys with a newsletter list opt in that entices them for a future information blast.

 

Now of course, don’t spam or over email them, as they will unsubscribe or delete emails. Of course, make sure that you have the proper privacy policy and terms in place, which we discussed about in episode 15, What Should Your Website Terms Include? Once you guys have all that in place, you can steadily  get people to go from social media to your website, and then get them onto a newsletter list so you can serve them directly and convert them into purchasers for your products or your services, whatever it is that you’re providing. Get into their hands, but make sure that you have a blog, and utilize it effectively in order to drive these people to a more one-on-one connection, so that overall you’re able to serve them, and you’re also able to sustain and make a successful business.