Tired of posting to social media without success? Here are six easy steps to build a website and gain customers while maintaining control of your content.
I have followers... why don't I gain customers?
Are you tired of posting to social media ad nauseum, growing your followers, and not getting any sales? Maybe you are building up your social media followers in the hopes that you will attract and gain customers who want to buy your products and services. But does it work? Is adding followers helping you to gain customers?
The short answer is no.
Money talks - or, in this case, buys views.
The first reason social media doesn’t work is that access to those followers is controlled by that platform. And those platforms want you to pay them to boost and promote your business to get more exposure. You are the product social media sells.
And if you don’t advertise? Very few people will see your posts or products – just the same ones over and over who interact with your page. What this means is you do not own access to those followers; the social media platforms do, and they will make you pay for that access. And if you don’t pay for the exposure, you won’t gain customers.
Control is Key
The second reason social media doesn’t work is organic reach sucks. Organic reach is when you post, and your followers see the post. I am sure you noticed that even if you have 1000s of followers, organic reach with social media is a joke. Very few followers actually see your posts. And the posts they do see are not in order or in any way controlled by you.
This poor reach and disorder make it very hard to build your brand consistently. Maybe you’ve also noticed that when you follow someone, you suddenly stop seeing their posts and are fed new pages and people to follow in your social media feed. It is called a feed for a reason – you are fed what they want you to see based on how you interact.
If you don’t click like, comment, or watch their reel, the algorithm decides you don’t want to see them anymore. There is no consistency. Meta et al. decide what you will see and when. As a business, you can continue to try and churn out content, feeding into their machine, or you can take control of your followers.
Followers aren't Customers
If you’ve taken my Business Management course, you will already understand this concept. Followers aren’t necessarily your target customers. They may even be your competitors. What you need to do is gain customers that WANT your product or service. How? By targeting them and providing them with an easy way to access you. To do this you need to know who your ideal customer is and what they are searching for. So, besides taking my Business Management course, you need to create a space where you have control of the messaging: who sees it, when they see it, and market to them directly.
So, how can you take control and gain customers?
How can you take control and gain customers? Don’t rely on a questionable algorithm or spend money chasing social media views to gain customers. Instead, build a website to maintain control outside of social media. Control of what? Control of your customers or potential customers – their contact information. When you build a website, you collect email addresses and cellphone numbers. You send your posts and products directly to their inbox or cell phone instead of hoping to be seen on social media.
Build a website and post your SEO-optimized content for more exposure to the right people. Exposure how? People will find you through search engines, and you can direct them to your website through social media (yes, it is still important, but not you aren’t relying on it solely). You will gain customers who want your products or services rather than a random collection of followers who will likely never buy.
The 6 Easy Steps to Build a website to gain customers
You don’t have to be a programming whiz to set up a website and promote your business, but you will need a few tools and some know-how. Maybe you are wondering: How can I build a website on my own? How do I create a website?
Let’s look at what it takes to build a website and gain customers. In the next article, we will look why you should have a website, ways to generate other revenue streams, and what to put on your website to collect contact information and gain customers.
Bookmark this page to use as a guide as you build and grow your website!
1. Choose a Domain Name
Choosing a domain name is one of the first steps to build a website. A domain name is the address people will use to access your website, referred to as a URL or universal resource locator. This is the name you see in the address bar at the top of the webpage.
It’s essential to choose a name that is easy to remember, easy to spell, and reflects the content of your website. If you have a business name, try to incorporate it. And, like choosing a business name, ensure the URL is available and not too similar to competitors.
You can purchase a domain name from a domain registrar like Namecheap *Check with your website host, too – they may offer a discount or deal when you set up your website.
Once you purchase the name, you pay each year to retain ownership of that URL. This is usually around $20-25 a year, depending on where you get your name from.
2. Choose a Website Host
Once you have a domain name, you need a server to host the website’s files and make them accessible to visitors. When choosing a web host, such as CloudWays, HostPapa, BlueHost, Hostinger, or Crazy Domains consider factors such as reliability, speed, and customer support. If you use WordPress as your content management system to build a website, your host should be WordPress-friendly.
Check out these special offers on website hosting packages.
3. Content Management System
A content management system (CMS) is software that helps you create, manage, and publish content as you build a website. Without one of these, you would need to build your website using code. And for most of us, that is way too difficult.
Many CMS options are available, but the most popular one is WordPress, a free, open-source CMS that powers over 40% of all websites. I use WordPress to build my websites – it requires some knowledge or interest in website building. Your website host should be able to provide a WordPress installation for you for free of charge.
All-In-One Website Builders
***All-in-one website hosts, like Weebly or HostPapa, include a website builder. Generally, these hosts add their name to your URL unless you pay for a custom domain name. **All-in-one hosts are an excellent option for those who do not want to build a custom website on WordPress.
The different subscription rates determine the level of services you receive. These are the easiest way to build a website, especially if you do not want to create a customized one. You often only need to pay for their services and get your domain name; no other steps are required.
Why build your own WordPress site, then? Again, it comes down to control. Website builders can control your data – if you stop paying for their services, you lose all of your pages (this varies depending on the service). If you build with WordPress, you can move your site to another host without losing access to your database (aka customers). Some hosts with site builders, like HostPapa allow you to use WordPress (no builder) and act as your host.
It pays to shop around when choosing a host and deciding on using a builder or WordPress. And, you can always find someone to help you with the technical side of setting your site up.
4. Design and Theme
If you are using WordPress.org to build a website, then your website must have a theme. The all-in-one websites also provide designs or templates that are similar to a theme. You can choose from one of many free or paid WordPress theme options. The theme sets the style of your website.
When choosing a WordPress theme, ensure it’s responsive and optimized for search engines. Responsive themes work on different screen sizes like PCs, tablets, and mobile phones. You can customize most themes with your brand colours and fonts, and if you wish, you can even build your own or buy a ready-made design. I use Kadence on the FurnitureFlipping101.ca website. My course builder is LearnDash.
5. Plugins or Apps
Plugins are add-ons installed on your WordPress site to add extra features and functionality. Thousands of paid and free plugins, including critical ones like SEO, analytics, and security management, such as Sucuri and iThemes, are available. There are separate SEO options as well if you need more flexibility. We will look at SEO in the next article.
Shopping Carts and Sales
You can incorporate a shopping cart plugin or app to sell your products online. WordPress sites often use WooCommerce, but there are other options. I use ThriveCart on the FurnitureFlipping101 website.
If not provided by your host, you can add a security certificate to improve your site’s security if you have a shopping cart or collect people’s information.
If you plan to gain customers, you will need a way to interact with them. To do this, you will use a plugin to manage your contacts and a third-party service to email them.
First, you need a forms plugin to create the form that will gather the email address, and then you need an SMTP email management plugin to send out your emails. SMTP management systems help prevent your emails from getting marked as spam. A big challenge can be finding plugins that complement each other. WPForms has several add-ons to work with many plugins, including an SMTP service. Another good option is Formidable Forms.
Create A business Email
You need email mailboxes to send and receive emails. Ideally, you will use your domain name to appear more professional. Your email address would be xxxxxx @yourdomainname.xxx, rather than @gmail.com or another free email service.
Your web host may offer these as part of your hosting package, or you may need a separate service.
Security, Analytics, and Email Providers:
Finally, you must create content for your website, such as ad copy, images, videos, and other multimedia elements.
When creating content, ensure it’s high-quality, engaging, and optimized for search engines. Also, update your content regularly to keep your website fresh and relevant. Use your professionally staged, edited, and watermarked product photos, embed links to your YouTube videos, and create a consistent brand across your website and social media platforms.