This is the first article in a three-part series designed to help you build a real online business.
You are here – Build Your Business On A Firm Foundation
Article 1 – How Can I Reach You?
We wrap up with – Five Ways To Monetize Your Blog
In my last article I shared a few reasons why being easy to reach is so vitally important in today’s fast-paced world.
If you read that article you know that I believe that having your own WordPress blog is vitally important. From one-person startups to billion dollar companies, blogs are how we share, connect, sell and do so much more.
If you are going to have a blog (and you should) then you want to build that blog on a firm foundation.
The idea of firm foundations has always been important to me. I believe it applies to marriage, parenting, business, faith and more.
In fact, I did a little research and discovered that one of the tallest buildings in the US stands at 94 stories tall. That’s a big one.
Here’s the key – it has a foundation 110 feet deep! That’s eleven stories deep for just the foundation!
That’s roughly 11% of the entire building’s height just for the foundation!
I wonder how many of us spend anywhere near 10% of our time working on the core foundation of our businesses as opposed to focusing on the urgent instead of the important?
In like manner, our online businesses need a solid foundation to be able to scale and stand the test of time.
With that in mind, here are a few key areas of focus when building, or rebuilding your online platform.
Focus 1 – Helpful Content
There are no longer any doubts about the value of content marketing. The content marketing business is huge and content is by far the best way to attract an audience, grow your list, make connections and sell things online.
But content marketing is still misunderstood by many people. They feel they need to be a “great writer” to do content marketing. Or that it will be too time-consuming.
Here’s the truth – if you post to your blog three times a week you will be following content marketing best practices.
And you don’t have to write all of those posts. In fact, there are three proven ways to get content onto your blog.
1 – Your own writing.
If you want to write, go for it! Just write like you talk and you will do fine. While writing can be hard (let’s not pretend) sharing is easy.
Can you do this? Let’s say you see a movie you really like. Then you see your best girlfriend at the gym and tell her about it. All you do is share what you liked and why you think she might like it too.
You can do that!
And if you can do that, you can write articles on your blog. It’s the same process.
2 – Guest posting.
Everyone today wants to get the word out about their business. Let other people post helpful content to your blog and add a pitch for their product to their author’s box at the end of the article.
You and your readers get great content. They get to promote. Everybody wins.
Starting is easy. Post a message to your Facebook or Twitter accounts and ask if anyone wants to post to your blog. Or put a link in your top menu for guest posting.
3 – Curate the best content.
Curating is simply the process of ethically using small pieces of helpful information from other sources and then commenting on that to make a new piece of content.
It’s simple, fun and highly effective.
The key to success with curation is to only pull from the best of the best sources, and to always provide full attribution to the original source in the form of a link to their content.
I teach curation, and have clients who curate content every day, spending about 15 minutes a day to add fresh, high-quality content to their blogs.
They are building their lists and making sales not by being “great” writers but by being great curators. Great gatherers of the best content. You can do that too.
Focus 2 – Your List And Automation
No matter how popular your blog becomes people are going to forget to return. It’s natural – people are busy, distracted and they move on.
This is why you must have a vibrant list building program for your blog.
By encouraging people to join your list (best done by offering lead magnets) you gain permission to stay in touch and offer more helpful content.
But you gain much more than that. You gain the opportunity to be of service, to make real connections and yes, to make friends who buy from you again and again.
Automating your email is an often overlooked area for bloggers. It is very easy to do and can create massive amounts of time freedom.
Here are two ways to automate your email.
Method 1 – RSS to autoresponder.
Almost all autoresponders worth their salt have this feature. You simply tie in the RSS feed from your blog (all blogs have this) with your autoresponder by filling in a form. Then you tell the autoresponder company how often to broadcast to your list. Most choose to send one broadcast a day.
The advantage of this method is that all readers get the most current information. When a person subscribes they begin getting the daily content automatically.
Since the broadcast goes out daily, you have in essence a daily ezine with fresh content updates.
You can even add ads to the template you choose if you so desire!
Method 2 – A follow up series of articles.
This is simplicity itself. When you post a new article you simply add the article as a new message to your autoresponder follow up series.
The advantage of this method is that you can choose in which order the articles go out. That means you can send you “best of the best” content first and make a strong first impression.
Or you can group your messages so they have a themed focus, like affiliate marketing or driving traffic.
With this method you also choose how often the messages go out. But unlike the RSS method above, with this you can also alternate solo ads if you want.
I call this the Breathing Method of marketing and teach it here.
Focus 3 – Your Catalog Page
Another important part of your content marketing is your Catalog page. A catalog page is simply a page where you list all of the products you currently offer or promote.
Many people call this a “store” page or even a “products” page.
The key here is that you want to not only list the products but sell them. So take the time to write up about 100 words on why a person might want to buy that product.
Then add a button to take them to the sales page for that product.
POWER TIP: Instead of a button taking them to the sales page, take them to a squeeze page and let them get on your follow up series. It’s a much more powerful method of selling online.
Catalog pages are incredibly popular and often lead to more sales. They are also often overlooked so many miss out on this powerful selling opportunity.
Focus 4 – Your About Page
For many blogs, the About page is the second most visited page of all. This is perfectly natural and logical.
How many times have you heard someone saying something you agree with (or disagree with) and then wondered “who is that talking?” It happens often in real life.
It is natural to want to know who is behind the advice or information we are being given. We want to know where our doctor went to school. We are comforted by the knowledge that the people who advise us know what they are doing.
But a great about page is more than just facts and figures. It is an opportunity to make a human connection too.
Improving your about page is a key step in making your blog more human, more approachable and more effective.
So there you have it – four ways to build, or rebuild, a firm foundation for your online business.
Content marketing works because it follows the Golden Rule. Give first and it will be given back to you.
And when you build on the Golden Rule, you will be building on the most solid of all foundations. You will be giving of yourself without requiring an immediate return. You will be helping, not asking for an order. If you want to start your own business, investing in buy silver and gold is a good start. Visit Money Metals for more information.
And giving and helping are beautiful things indeed!