I’ve got a friend whose about to get his website underway. He asked me what his first steps should be. Mind you his website name is his name, and he knows his niche. Also we set up WordPress on his domain, so we’re past that as well. Basically he wanted to know what the 1st steps in setting up a website were – in terms of content.
Determining what to write
The first thing I did was make a keyword research video for him to watch (which I posted at our free forum http://freeweeklymastermind.com/webinars So I asked him to watch the video and use the information to put together a map of keywords he’s going to go after with his website. Starting with the big picture. . . you really want to figure out what you’re about. If you’re at this stage, start by asking yourself what you want your “tabs” to be on the website.
Since this is a branding site, in which he’s trying to prove his expert status and get hired, he’s going to have some pretty common tabs. To start he’s going to need something like an “about me” page, a “contact me” page and perhaps a testimonials or past projects page. You don’t have to have these things – but people look for these things. Sometimes it’s good to give them what they’re looking for.
So what are the other tabs going to be? Videos and maybe tabs based on your niche? Those are the ones to look at. Start by brainstorming what they might be named and use those words to begin the keyword research. Determine from the data if the tabs you’re thinking of having match or are relevant to what people are searching for.
Engineering the Social Media angle
A second step in setting up this empire, is figuring out what social media tools you’re going to use and WHY. If you’re subject is image-heavy (perhaps you’re an arts-and-crafts expert), then you might consider Flickr, Pinterest or Instagram as a hub for your images.
If you love to read books on your niche, consider setting up groups in Goodreads and LinkedIn to connect with others reading those books. (I bet you never thought I’d suggest these kinds of things as the 1st steps in setting up a website, eh?)
Consider how you’d use Twitter, Facebook and Friend.ly among others. When building your framework – what parts of your expertise or niche can best be served by displaying them in the public eye that is Social Media. Done effectively you can really gain a great following and good traffic from these mediums.
Done poorly and you’ll end up copying and pasting your Facebook status everywhere leaving your fans at a loss of how and where to connect with you on any given topic.
Build a list by serving a need
Finally, I’d encourage you to ask 25 people who are potential clients and ask them what they’re reading. What books, websites and videos are they watching? Determine what problems they’re having and figure out how they’re going about trying to solve these questions. If you can come up with a list of books that your niche is going to – to get their questions answered – you’ll have learned a ton.
Take those books and plug them into Amazon. What are the headlines and subheadings of these books? What are the design elements? Look at the bottom of the page and write down what books were purchased by people who purchased this book. From this information you should be able to craft an e-book that your audience would really love to read. knowing what problems your audience is trying to solve will give you the insight necessary to craft an “in-demand” e-book for download.
If you can determine from the information and your interviews what problems you need to address, you’ve got the perfect e-book to trade for names and e-mail addresses to begin your e-mail marketing efforts. Truly, if you accomplish this you’ll have made great strides during your 1st steps in setting up a website.
So in the end you’ll have a great theme map of keywords from which to map out articles, blog posts, tabs and e-mail topics. You’ll know where to post your photos creating communities there and linking them back to your site. You’ll know which social networks you’ll be using to highlight different aspects of your business. And you’ll know whether you plan to use video and if you’re going to embed YouTube uploads or host your own video.
In summary, you’ll have a plan of the “what” and “where”. You’re the “who” and the “when”, and hopefully you know the “why”. In the end, these aren’t the first steps in setting up a website – these are the necessary steps in building a business.