Day 1: Have an Idea – Small, Big, or Kooky
“If you want to build the next Facebook, but you can’t program, it’s probably not going to happen… You either need to have the money to hire someone or you need to learn how to do it yourself. Go build it and you’ll learn the whole process.”
Ideas are like clouds. They’re always floating around, but it’s hard to get a grasp on them. Luckily, you never need to grasp clouds – but to build a successful website, you do need to have a solid grasp of your idea.
That’s where we come in: we’ll show you the tricks and traps of coming up with a great idea. By the end of this module, you’ll know what you want to do online and why.
What is Your Website going to do for You?
“I’m using my blog as a weapon to fight for success. The blog is where I go to speak, get my products out, and share all of my opinions. Without that sword, I can’t beat the Cyclops. Without my blog, I can’t get that success.
All men are created equal. All websites? Not necessarily. Below are the four ways that your website can work for you.
1. Share Your Ideas
Do you have a unique perspective, a strong opinion, or just a lot of loose change rattling around in your head? Having a website transforms your ideas into a virtual newspaper, TV show, and radio program all rolled into one. Once you start sharing these ideas, you’ll build a community of like-minded individuals. It’s easy to make money from a dedicated community.
Joe Penna just started making creative videos and posting them on the internet. After about a year, he started gathering an army of fans. Now he has 1.3 million subscribers who watch his videos and buy his t-shirts.
2. Strengthen Your Service
If you are already providing a service, then a website is a great way to take it to the next level. Your existing customers already know about you, but we bet that they’d like to tell some of their friends about you too. A simple webpage with your info gives them an easy way to do that.
Plus, establishing an online presence is the best way to attract new customers. Especially if you can provide your products or services digitally (i.e. eBook, web development, internet marketing, graphic design, etc.). Without a website, you’re severely limiting your ability to make a lot of money.
Jacob Cass credits his blog as the single most important reason for his success. It allows him to raise his rates dramatically because people around the world are demanding his expertise. He will never have to find customers because they’ve all found him.
3. Launch Your Product
Selling your very own product is one of the best ways to make money online. We’re the right people to ask: we just released our book of interviews with young entrepreneurs. A product can provide a solution for your visitors and it can be fun to create. In a few days, we’ll explain how we went from 20 visits per day to over 2,000 on the first day of its release.
You don’t need to have a product right out of the gate, either. In our case, JuniorBiz.com was up and running for over two years before we launched our book.
Adam Horwitz, at 18 years old, built a simple website, drove lots of traffic, made an irresistible offer for a timely product and earned $1.5 million in three days. He wouldn’t have made a dime without his website.
4. Become a Business of its Own
Some websites are fully-standing businesses all by themselves. If you create a website that people find valuable, then your earning potential is limitless. The business world is transitioning to the internet and you need a website to stay on the cutting edge.
Michael Dunlop makes all of his money (6-figures +) from his websites. Every penny. He started with a lot of knowledge, shared that knowledge and now his visitors are thrilled to buy almost anything he recommends.
Before you start building your website, you need to know why you’re building a website. What is its purpose? Otherwise you’re going to waste a lot of time changing things down the road.
How to Pick a Niche
“You could say that the giant is Facebook and Twitter. Being a social network in a Facebook and Twitter world isn’t easy. You have to really find your niche and use it. That’s the giant’s Achilles’ heel.”
Your niche is your own little sliver of the business pie. But since it’s only a sliver, you want to make sure it is a really tasty sliver. When picking a topic, or niche, for your website it must fall under these five qualifications.
1. Based on a Passion
You should always, always be passionate about what you’re doing, especially when it comes to your niche. Passion is exciting and that will be one of the main reasons someone will come and stay on your site.
Andrew Fashion, a high-school dropout who made $2.5 Million in two years, is a terrible writer by your English teacher’s standards. But I love reading everything he writes because he’s incredibly passionate about his life and his businesses.
2. Related to Your Business and Customers
Assuming you want your website to work for your business, the niche needs to be something that your customers are looking for.
Jacob Cass knew he wanted to use his site to attract graphic design customers. So he constantly updates his site with articles about graphic design. Occasionally he’ll throw in a tutorial to show his audience/customers how hard it is to design a logo. This shows them the real value of his service.
3. Where People Spend Money
Another thing to consider is that some niches are a lot easier to monetize (make money off of) than others. If you want to make money, it helps if your niche is actually something on which people who have money want to spend money.
People will pay to learn how to make money. It’s an easy decision with an immediate return. That’s why Michael Dunlop’s sites focus on how people can make money online.
4. Have a lot to Say on the Matter
If you’re going to be successful sharing your ideas or selling a product, you will need to be dedicated to writing regularly – and that takes passion, knowledge, and a subject that merits more than a few posts.
Through his ventures, King Sidharth collected a notebook chock-full of entrepreneurial notes. There is a lot of value in his thoughts and he has a lot of them. So he made a site and posts his notes several times per week.
5. Narrow Your Niche
It helps if you pick a really narrow niche. If you’ve got a bunch of big competitors talking about the exact same thing as you, you might get lost in the crowd. Try narrowing it down to something specific so that you can become the web’s premier expert on your subject. Niches should be small and cozy, like a good coffee shop.
Alex Fraiser’s niche is “Building a Community on Your Blog from a Young Perspective” and he’s the best in the world at it. I’ve checked. When you’re the best in the world at something, everyone will come to you.
Start with a small niche that both you and your customers are passionate about. Plant a seed and that seed will grow into an orchard of trees with money growing on them.
Brainstorming Your Domain Name
“Especially with blogging, there is practically no risk. It’s about eight bucks for a domain. So, give it a few months. There’s no better feeling than knowing that you don’t have to rely on anyone for money.”
Shakespeare said that a rose by any name would smell as sweet, but that was before the internet. Rose.com isn’t available. But there are still a bunch of great, undiscovered diamonds in the rough – for now.
Your domain name is where people will go to find your website (i.e. JuniorBiz.com). Lay claim to your domain name before anyone else does. Here are a few factors to consider:
1. Keyword Rich vs. Brandable
The first decision you have to make is whether you have a short-term (keyword rich) or long-term (brandable) plan with your website.
- Keyword rich domains (i.e. FortCollinsDentist.com, DenverRealty.com, etc.) will get a lot of search engine traffic very quickly. Think about the words your customers will search for if they’re trying to find your business. Try to get those words in your domain. Keyword rich domains are best for companies that want to use their website to list information for their offline business.
- Brandable domains (i.e. Blogussion.com, myYearbook.com, etc.) will help you build credibility and a community around your website. Your domain doesn’t even have to be a real word (i.e. Google.com, Facebook.com, etc.) which helps because you will own that word. Brandable domains are best for companies that want their website to become a significant part of their business.
Jacob Cass owns both LogooftheDay.com and JustCreativeDesign.com. When you search “Logo of the Day” his keyword rich domain comes up in the top two spots. When you search “Graphic Designer”, JustCreativeDesign.com is on the second page. But it didn’t start there. His brandable domain has climbed Google’s ladder through the community of over 25,000 people who enjoy his design advice.
2. Synonyms, Metaphors and Foreign Languages
If you’re on the hunt for a brandable domain, consider the #1 value that your business provides. Then use synonyms, metaphors and maybe even foreign languages to represent that value. I used a thesaurus and NameBoy to help me find JuniorBiz.com.
Catherine Cook’s company provides a platform for young people to find and meet each other. It’s like a virtual yearbook and it exists on myYearbook.com
This isn’t rocket science: the shorter your domain name, the more likely people will be to remember it. Every combination of four letters is gone. But if you can keep it under four words, then you’re getting somewhere.
Andrew Fashion’s website is BeModel.com.
Your domain name should be memorable. Will your friend remember this name when you tell them? Will you remember it? This is your chance to get creative. Another good idea is to avoid confusing language, like hyphens and homonyms (compare the success of YouTube.com and EweTube.com).
Everyone remembers Joe Penna’s domain, MysteryGuitarMan.com.
Is the domain clearly yours? A domain name should reflect what is at the heart of the website. If your personality is going to be a big part of the website, you can include your own name in the domain. But if you’re thinking that you might sell it down the road, then you’ll want to keep your personal info out of it.
Syed Balkhi owns WPBeginner.com and everyone knows that it’s meant for WordPress beginners as soon as they hear the domain.
Only buy .com’s. If you’re absolutely in love with the domain and the .com isn’t available, .net is next best. Then, .org.
Brainstorm, Research, and Buy Your Domain.
- Go to www.GoDaddy.com and start typing in domain names to see if they’re available.
- Once you find one that you like and it’s available, write it down on a piece of paper.
- Make a list of 5 domain names that are available and choose from that list.
- Once you know the domain name you want, buy it.
- Consider getting the .net and .org. I wish I would have when I bought JuniorBiz.com.
- Don’t buy anything else other than your domain. Save your money. You can get cheaper hosting elsewhere and you don’t need any of the upsells.
- While you’re at it, buy [yourname].com as well. This will get a lot of traffic when you’re famous.
If you find a domain you really like, get it today. A friend of mine recently decided to sleep on his domain name, and it wasn’t available the next morning. Plus, this is the cheapest domains will ever be. Lock in your price as soon as you can.
See you at the top,
Nick Tart and Nick Scheidies
P.S. This page is just one bite of a complete guide to making an awesome website. Hungry for more? Next time, we’ll walk you through getting cheap hosting for new domain. You can learn more and sign-up for the full-course meal here.
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