Last week, I ran into an old high school friend while I was out to dinner with my parents.Â As we got to chatting, he told me that he was interested in starting a website for his future photography business.Â Since he’s still in school, and doesn’t have a lot of capital to put forward, he asked me for advice on where to begin in creating his website, and how he can get started in a way that promises growth for his business.
It’s an interesting predicament that he, and like-minded entrepreneurs, are in: Can a unique, persuasive website be created if you don’t know anything about creating a website, and don’t have the resources to hire someone to do it for you?
YES! (I’m an optimist)…Â BUT (I’m also a realist), you have to be willing to “do your due diligence.”
Because I know that many of our Grok followers are like my friend, and are of the DIY school of thought, I thought I’d create a list of where to begin if you’re inspired, “broke” (i.e. don’t want to shell out $100,000+), and want to create a website.
1. Figure out what you want to sell and if there’s a market for it. There are some markets that are over saturated; within which a mom-and-pop site would have difficulty competing.Â Examples of this are SEO, iPods, and shoes. You generally have a better chance if your “product” is something with quality you can control, like a service. When you’re competing in an industry where everyone is selling the exact same thing, your only means of differentiating yourself from your competitors is price, delivery time, and freebies (like shipping).Â This makes your chances of success much slimmer.Â (I warned you that I’m a realist).
2. Check out the competition. Do some keyword research. Figure out who else is out there in the area that you want to succeed in. This day and age, it’s extremely rare that you’ll create website for a business that isn’t already out there. If you’ve already determined that there’s a market (see #1), make sure that you can offer something better than your competition. Go to their website(s) and pick out what you don’t like from a visitor/customer perspective and how you’d do it better, then make note (WRITE IT DOWN OR YOU’LL FORGET) to do it.
3. Create a UVP. If you’re a Grok follower, you’ve heard us (possibly for years) go on and on about creating a UVP (unique value proposition) but I promise that if you spend the time on the front end creating a strong UVP, you’ll reap the rewards in the long run. Think about why you want to start this business. What need is there in the industry? What do you want to do better (and with more passion) than anyone else out there? How will you accomplish this goal?
Ok, that’s enough to get you started. Stay tuned for part two! (Note: None of these steps can be completed in a few hours, let alone a few days, for even the most diligent of workers. Remember, you signed up for the long haul, and I’m not promising that you won’t have to work hard, but you’ll be working smart.)