Would you spend $100 to make an extra $8,000 a year? Of course you would! I recently surveyed over 50 folks who purchased one of my senior service guides and set up their own business. One of the questions was “How much extra income did you make after you set up your business web site? The average increase in income was over $8,000.
A simple website is the best way to advertise your senior service business. A website is the new 21st century version of traditional Yellow Pages advertising, because most prospects expect to find your business, or any other services and products, on the Internet.
If you think putting up a website is expensive, think again. The cost of hosting a website has dropped over the last few years, so today you can get high quality hosting for under $10 a month, with all the bells and whistles that used to be expensive add-ons, now included free with hosting.
Today, a website is an essential marketing tool for any business, and even more so for a senior service business. A basic, no-frills website can help you find new customers and stay in touch with existing clients.
A website can help you build your senior service business in 3 ways:
- Market your service to new prospects.
- Educate consumers about your services.
- Help prospects and current customers contact you.
If you’re new to building a website, make a list of what you want to accomplish before building your site. For example, do you want to make it easy for new prospects to learn more about your business before they contact you? You’d be surprised at how many prospects have no idea of all the services you provide, so have a page listing your services. An “About” page can be warm and fuzzy, with a picture or two of your family, your dog, or even a photo from your last backpacking trip!
Most basic service business websites include a FAQ page that contains all the frequently asked questions (FAQs) and answers about your services, a contact page with both phone and email contact information, a page listing the services you offer, and, after you have them, testimonials from satisfied customers. It can be helpful to visit other senior service business websites to see what others are doing as well.
If you are like most new business startups, your advertising/marketing budget is tiny. Why not harness the power of the Internet to build your business, without spendings a lot of money, by signing up for website hosting with one of the companies that offers not only affordable hosting services, but also free help to create your website?
You may have heard about hosting companies that offer free hosting, but here’s why you should only consider paid hosting for your senior service website:
- You can use, and control, your own personal or business domain name, such as “Myservicebusiness.com”. When you have registered your domain name, you own the name, which can help your search engine visibility when prospects search for a senior service business.
- Paid web hosting is very affordable, and you will get better tools and resources to help you create and maintain your website.
- No ads. Free hosting companies may place ads on your website. That’s how they make money, even though your website hosting is technically “free.”
I’m a big fan of WordPress to build a website. Although it started as a blogging program, WordPress has now become a capable, yet user-friendly site builder that can be customized to meet the needs of almost any service business.
With thousands of free themes and free help from a huge online forum of users, it may be the best way to build an affordable website. In addition, there are thousands of “widgets” and “plugins” that can be added to your website to provide additional features like videos, shopping carts or customer surveys.
Even if you’re not a tech-savvy person, setting up, maintaining and adding to your site is easy enough for most users to do themselves, especially with the detailed free videos detailing how to do just about anything with WordPress.
I use Bluehost for my website hosting, because it’s so easy to use, with a free domain name, 1-click automatic WordPress installation, free email accounts, and great customer service by phone, chat or email 24/7. I highly recommend Bluehost for your first website. Click this link to get a special discount off the regular price of hosting.
Please note that this is an affiliate link and, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small referral fee if you decide to make a purchase. I make this recommendation only because I personally have used Bluehost hosting for 9 years, and found their service to be exceptional.
Now, as the title promised, here’s how to set up your own website in 6 simple steps for less than $100:
Step One … Get Started Now!
First, visit the Bluehost website (www.bluehost.com) and click the “Get Started Now” button:
Step Two … Pick A Domain Name
This will take you to the next page, where you can choose your new, free domain name, or use an existing domain name.
Take some time with this, as you want a domain name that makes it easy for prospects and customers to find you when searching the internet. Here are a few tips to help you do it right:
- The shorter your domain name, the easier it will be to remember. Aim for two or three words where possible.
- The fewer the characters, the better. The average number of characters in the top websites is just 9. Think amazon.com
- Pick a name that gives visitors some idea of what they will find at your website, or what your business does.
- Don’t use numbers, because they are easy to forget.
- Say the name of your new domain name out loud. The best are easy to say and stick with you. For example, Google, Facebook and YouTube.
- Make a list of domain names you are considering and ask friends and family what they think.
- Having trouble coming up with good names? Search for websites that are in the same business as you. For example, if you grow lavender, do a Google search for “lavender growers.” Doing this will also help you rule out names that are already taken.
- Make sure your choice of names is not in use or trademarked by someone else.
- Pick a “.com” extension for your domain name, as it is more trusted by the public than lesser-used extensions like “.biz” or “.info”
For more domain name ideas, search for “domain name generator” online. One of the free services that pops up can generate names you may never have thought of.
Step Three … Pick A Hosting Plan
Once you’ve chosen your domain name, you’ll be asked to choose your plan. My advice is to stick to a basic plan, as it’s affordable and provides everything you need to start up and claim your slice of the internet.
Step Four … Install WordPress
On their website, and on YouTube, Bluehost has over 150 free videos explaining how to set up and manage your web site. Here’s a link to their YouTube channel:
I strongly recommend using the free WordPress tools to build your web site. You can get free themes, a sturdy content management system, and thousands of free “plugins” to hep you do everything from set up a mailing list to tracking your website visitors. Bluehost has dozens of free videos on the link above to help you with setting up your WordPress site, including the “WordPress Walkthrough Series” and “WordPress Tutorials.”
Step Five … Pick a Logo
You want to have your business look professional, and one of the best ways to do that is to have a logo created just for you. My favorite for affordable logos is fiverr.com.
You can spend as little as $5, but my suggestion is to get a basic logo from two or three designers there and pick the one you like the best. (Give each one the same instructions about the look and color you want ) You can also have them take the finished logo you pick and make it into a “banner” or “header” for the top of your website.
At fiverr.com, just enter “logo design” in the search bar to get started. You’ll find hundreds to choose from, so I recommend using a “level one” or “level two” seller/designer who has at least 100 five-star reviews. That will narrow the field down, and make it easier to find the best ones.
Explain to each logo designer what you want, such as text only, text and images, and the colors you prefer. When you have the 3 finished logo designs, pick your favorite, and add any extras from that designer you may want, like a header for your website using the new logo.
Step Six … Spread the News
Congratulations! You’re almost there with your new website. Take the time to watch the videos, and add the pages you need to help prospects and customers find your business online. Be sure to add your website address to your other printed materials, such as business cards, flyers and brochures so your customers can easily find you when they are online.
If you get stuck, or have a question, or need a new theme or plugin, help is just a click away at www.wordpress.org. WordPress has a very active member forum, where you can get your questions answered at no cost. Just visit the site, and click on “support” in the top menu bar.