With more than a billion active websites and blogs on the internet today, it’s easy to get lost in the mix. Whether you are launching a new brand, have an existing business, or simply want to stand out from the crowd, there are proven processes that can help you meet your goals.
As someone who has been in the industry for over twenty years now, I know what it takes not only to run a successful online business but to also build a personal brand in the process. Here’s an inside look at methods and steps I’ve used to help grow my personal brand and business to where it is today.
1. Go live with a domain, web hosting, WordPress site and blog
This is a no-brainer, but still, so many people neglect the importance of having their own domain name, web hosting, and building a website or blog as their main online hub. Yes, there are social networks where you should be active and other platforms where you can share content, but if you want to 100% own your content and be in complete control, you need to have your own site.
Going live with your site is easy, and WordPress makes the process of website design and content management super easy. Best of all, it is free to use and there are no technical skills required. When you’re ready to setup your site, a shared or small business hosting plan is usually more than enough. A good web host will provide you with unlimited traffic, a freeWordPress installation, and sometimes even a free domain name at signup. Many of these plans are attractive to individuals and smaller brands, simply because hosting costs are affordable (e.g., I’m the $10 per month range).
When you look at the time and money investment here, there is simply no better business opportunity in the world today. Anyone can start a website or blog, and turn it into an online business, while also competing against some of the biggest name brands in the world.
2. Rank for your brand name in Google and secure social profiles
If you want to run a successful online business or monetize your expertise and passion, it’s important to make a name for yourself. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to make sure you rank at the top of Google for your personal name or business.
There are a few different ways to accomplish this:
Rank your site – This is one of the easiest and most effective ways. Using all of the data points and reference above, create a website that promotes your personal brand, shows off your expertise and grows with time. If you are creating a personal brand, be sure to secure your real name as a domain if you haven’t already (e.g. JohnDoe.com). You can see a list of famous names who missed out on securing their name as a domain and probably regret this today!
Rank social profiles – Google loves social media platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. At the same time, since these social platforms are so trusted they are also quite easy to rank. If possible use your personal or brand name as your username, then send a few social shares and backlinks to your social profiles and you should start to see them rank in no time.
Rank contributor content – After your site and social profiles rank for your name, another great way to get boost search engine rankings and grow your brand is by distributing content and guest blogging (like I am doing in this article). Start contributing content to other sites, and you can soon get this type of content to rank in Google for your name as well.
Google is a never-ending supply of traffic and daily first impressions, so be sure to follow these steps to reach more audiences every day.
3. Identify a real business model and monetization plan
One of the most common problems that individuals and brands face when they focus on content marketing and SEO to build out a site is this: they are merely building a site. If you want to find success online, you need to have an actual business model. Content and traffic are great, but even if you aren’t selling anything, you still need to have a monetization plan in place.
As I mentioned earlier in this article, there are more than a billion active sites online and many of them consistently create content. That is your competition. So you need to not only create better content and get it in front of your direct audience, you also need to create value and attach a business model as well.
Be sure to follow each of these steps and implement them into your new or existing business or brand today. Millions of people will start a website or blog for the first time this month, make sure you are always progressing so you can stay in front of the crowd.
Zac Johnson is an entrepreneur with more than 20 years of online marketing experience, and currently blogs at ZacJohnson.com. Connect with @zacjohnson on Twitter.