Internet Marketing 101 – Do I need a website?
Do I need a website?
Many people when considering Internet marketing fall at the first hurdle, that of building a website; they see it as an insurmountable problem and either give up or spend a lot of money on having someone build one for them. Now, while there is nothing wrong with employing a website builder it can be very expensive if you do not know what you are doing and more importantly you become dependent on someone else right from the start. The other problem is, knowing what you need your website to do and also not being able to change it without further expense. You could end up with a proverbial white elephant that costs you a lot and, worse, does not make you any money. Now, technically you do not need a website, you can manage with a page on the web or a simple blog, or you could just market your services through freelance sites whereby people simply pay you to do a job for them.
Long term vs Short term Marketing
Even if you just want to market your services, say logo design or writing articles, at some point in the future you may want a presence on the web, so why not start from the beginning? Let’s say that you know a lot about various ailments and home remedies or that you were always good at writing in school and fancy some quick money writing for other people. Either way you could make a reasonable sum writing blog posts, articles, product reviews for other web owners who have made enough money to “outsource” these jobs. You may never really need to know much else about the internet except possibly how to write articles containing certain keywords to ensure your writing is Search Engine Optimized (SEO) details of which are on this website. However, what if you become really good at this? What if you feel you have enough knowledge to write an Ebook or even an actual book? If people are willing to pay for articles to be written they are willing to pay more for well written articles because Google is becoming very fussy about a lot of the rehashed stuff on the Internet. Would it not be better to have your own website to showcase your talents and to direct potential clients to see your work?
Creating a website does not need to be difficult
Do not think that a website has to look like that of Amazon or Ebay they are massive shopping sites. Neither does your website have to have a ton of pages, around 5 to 7 pages is just fine, or you could choose to have a simple blog with a number of regular posts on it to get your message across. If it all seems very daunting then a good way to learn is to start with a simple blog platform; the most popular is WordPress. Now to clear up a natural confusion; there are two types of WordPress site, WordPress.org sites are those that have advertising and can be customized to look like websites with a lot of cool add-ons that make life much easier for Internet marketers. See below
The actual base software is free, but if you want a very fancy theme (the style and set-up) then you may have to pay some money to get a theme that does what you want.
The other WordPress is WordPress.com which is totally free and which does NOT have any advertising on it or any place you can sell products, but it is a great way to learn the features of blogging software and a good place to learn your Internet marketing craft.(see below)
An alternative place to learn the mechanics of posts and pages is using Google’s own blogging tool which is www.blogger.com (see below)
Now, to create a Google blog you need a Gmail account so if you don’t have one, you should sign up for one. In fact you should have a Gmail account anyway; use it for your business and any internet product sign ups. It is always a good idea to have a separate email from your personal email, and it is easier to track the sign ups and lists you are on if they are in one email account.
Plus, Gmail is more internet marketing friendly than many other email providers and Google has so many products and services you will want to use, that it is easy when you have Gmail as this is your sign in for all of them!
I suggest trying out your blogging technique with a Google blog as it is free and you get a lot of support. It is simpler than WordPress but less flexible so you will want to use WordPress when you are ready to create your first business website. However, it is always a good idea to practice first and this blogging platform is a good way to do just that! With Google’s blog you can also add some Adsense, which is a way to earn a small amount of money and also you can use Google analytics to see statistics on visitors to your blog (more of that later). To understand the potential of blogging you can read a lot of free information, but we will cover the basics of blogging in a later article. For now, you can start making money online without a website and certainly writing articles for other marketers is one way. However, long term you should consider creating some form of web presence and developing your brand which will be the topic of the next article.