Creating a Web Presence

So, yes, this is hypocritical since I haven’t even posted here in months. And yet, a friend of mine needs some guidance and this is the right venue. More than that, there’s a common need for a simple how to guide to creating a place for yourself, your business, or your passions within the social network. Here’s my attempt at that in 5,000 words or less. I’m going to use the example of my passion, Yiddish preservation. In order to create a community absed movement, I created a set of interlinked sites.

Step 1: Choose a Name and a URL

I selected “Yiddish Lives” with URL: http://www.YiddishLives.com
I wanted something that was memorable, not previously used, and had something special about it – in this case that something special was the double entendre.

Step 2: WordPress

Create a website and a blog for free using WordPress.com. There are other alternatives, I just happen to be a fan of WordPress for a number of reasons.
http:YiddishLives.WordPress.com is what I got for free. By paying an additional few bucks, I had them register my domain (YiddishLives.com) and use that for my primary blog URL (http://www.YiddishLives.com).

Note: Chosing the names and URL’s can be a lot of pressure. You can always change/add your domain at any time, as long as it’s available.

With your site set  up, you can create a full fledged, traditional website as well as a blog, additionally.

Step 3: Creating Social Network Accounts

Assuming you have your site and blog set up, how do you get people there? Or, for that matter, how to you take them from there elsewhere in ways that are mutually useful to you and your viewers? This is where the network comes in.

Create accounts (for free) at the following:

For two last two sites, I chose to stick with my personal pages, so I could make use of my existing social network – that was my personal choice. I could have used (and may well at some point) YiddishLives as a new account there.

You may wonder how important some of these sites are. While there may be very good reasons for not using them all, it is surprising where people come from. In my case, I was not expecting Flickr to be important whatsoever. And yet, I found much of my traffic on many occasions to come from there.

What is vital, however, is that your contributions on each of these sites link back to your main site or some other location in your social network. That leads us to …

Step 4: Interlinked content

If you look at any of the videos in YouTube, you’ll notice that the the very first text is the link back to the main site. The same is true of the photos on Flickr, the profile page on Twitter, etc.

For LinkedIn and Facebook, there’s a field for “What are you doing now?” That’s an excellent place to tought your site updates or new blow postings. What that done, all of your satelite social networks point back to your main site. And that’s a good thing.

Step 5: SEO – Search Engine Optimization  – or – FINDABILITY

When you set out to create a presence on the web, you should have a target audience in mind and an idea of what will be of interest to them. If so, then you might be able to estimate some search optimization – things like words to make sure you have in your title, in your postings, in your URL’s (you’ll want all three of those).

Additionally, by using WordPress, it is all SEOoptimized from an HTML standpoint. For instance, it makes sure you have an H1 tag with your title. It also allows you to set up a sepcific URL that contains the key words your target audience is likely to look for on Google or Bing.

Step 6: Google – Gmail Email and Google Docs

It’s totally free and is quite a reliable way to create and store text documents as well as spreadsheets.

Step 7: Zoho for CRM!

http://crm.zoho.com is free for 3 users and is a very full featured CRM tool (Conact Relationship Management). It’s great for organizing communication, contacts, leads, and prospects as well as helping you track activities and organize tasks. Yiddish Lives sells nothing, but since I want to work with people, the zoho was an important need. At first I thought spreadsheets in google docs would be sufficient for communication tracking, but it is not a gret tool for that. And again, Zoho is free

Step 8: Measure, Tune, & Refine

Watch the analytics on your wordpress site to see where people are going, where they’re not going on your site, where they came from…
And be prepared to be surprised!

Where to spend money:

My astute reader will of course have noticed by now that this involves very little financial spend. Above we only suggest paying for the URL registration itself and the configuration of the main site and blog to make use of it. Even that is very optional. If you’re comfortable with a URL like YiddishLives.WordPress.com, then no spend at all is necessary. (In this case, you’re creating a subdomain of WordPress.com).

So, is there nothing to spend money on? Well, perhaps there is. I am personally incompetent at creating anything remotely attractive on the web. Knowing HTML, JavaScript, Adobe, MovieMaker… knowing all of that does not instill in one a sense of design. However, I do have a sense of aesthetics. That is an unfortunate combination. It means I can horrify myself with how badly I suck at attempting artistic layout on a daily basis.

If I had one place to spend money, I might suggest a graphics designer who could help design your main site within WordPress. I personally wouldn’t necessarily worry about the blog, since there are so many great themes out there, that there’s no need to custom design one (my personal opinion – and really geared at people starting up). A graphics designer is a great resource for logo creation, some ideas about branding (language and images), and working with you to create a very compelling first impression when someone sees your site.

That said, I would recommend against starting with a web designer until you’ve tried your hand at everything above. Until you’ve gotten that far, you won’t reallyknow what you need to ask for. You won’t be in a position to guide your image consultant in any meaningful way. You’ll also be encountering a much higher expense if you can’t tell them concisely what exact deliverables you need from them.

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~ by naturarerum on September 26, 2009.

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