If you’ve never had a website before, it can be easy to get excited — or overwhelmed; pick your emotion! — by the prospect of all the exciting features you can add to it. So you’d better get cracking, adding all those features in to your website, right?
Data will drive your website
When you launch a new website, the most important goal is to get data — that is, names and email addresses and other useful information (gender, age, interests, etc, etc) — about prospective customers.
Without data, you can’t possibly make your website as good and effective as it should be. So instead of spending all your time creating a website with dozens of pages filled with copy, and fancy widgets and image galleries and anything else you can think of — stop.
Instead, concentrate on creating a website with simple information about your business and then add some form of call-to-action — ask them to sign up for a newsletter, or to download a guide or something else valuable that people won’t mind handing over their email address for. And all you need is a very simple website.
Create a simple website and collect data
There are plenty of ways to set up a simple website that contains all the information you need, such as:
- Who you are
- How to contact you
- What your services are
You can set one up, completely free, via Google My Business. If you have a Google email address — and you don’t even need a paid one, though you should — you can claim your Google My Business profile and start creating a website.
You can also create a free site at WordPress.com — Although, since you’re a business you should probably start off with a paid one, at WordPress.org (AKA the “real WordPress”).
WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org
Most WordPress beginners don’t realise this, but there are two WordPresses. The original — AKA the “real WordPress” — is WordPress.org. That’s the open source, 100 percent free platform that anyone can use; all you need is a domain name and web host.
WordPress.com, on the other hand, is a hosting service created by the co-founder of WordPress.org that people often confuse for the “real WordPress,” WordPress.org. It has five plans — a free, very limited platform, and other paid ones that start at around 36 dollars and can be as much as 5,000 dollars.
On WordPress.com you cannot sell ads or join any rival advertising networks, either as an affiliate marketer or programatically — WordPress.com has its own advertising program called WordAds.
We use WordPress.org, because it’s inexpensive — well, free really; except for the cost of your domain and hosting — and there are almost not limits to what you can do with WordPress. It’s a lot like owning your own house versus renting one. (In this analogy, WordPress.com is your landlord.)
In the Minimal Viable WordPress Website Training Course you’ll get to see first hand how Aussie businesses setup their first WordPress website, including some of the challenges around domain names, email addresses and SSL Security Certificates.