How to Launch, Grow, and Monetize a Website

How to Launch, Grow, and Monetize a Website

Thinking about launching a website? It can be intimidating when you’re first starting out. But throughout my time as an entrepreneur, I’ve come up with a set process for ideation, testing, promoting and monetizing. First, a little about me. Over the past 20-some years, I have launched multiple online businesses. Some I consider successes, while others have been failures. I’ve always been interested in education, so I launched my first business in that industry at age 18. I provided a private tutoring service that offered students in-home sessions.

While it was successful, I quickly grew out of it and moved on to other interests. In the early 2000s, I decided to up my game and move into digital marketing. I had the educational and content side down, but digital marketing has a lot of moving parts, and it took a little more effort to learn. I spent hours at Barnes & Noble reading about the Internet and online marketing. Reading about it wasn’t enough, though; I needed to tap into shared knowledge.

Continue reading “How to Launch, Grow, and Monetize a Website”

Build your support system and patience

Build support system and patience

Be patient and open minded

Not every business will succeed nor will grow in the direction you want it to. Be patient and ask questions. There are more resources today available to you than there was in the early 2000’s when I started PearlyWrites.com. People are open to sharing and willing to have conversations to where there are even networks and forums specialized on self learning a craft. Free courses are always popping up!

When I presented at SEO industry conferences representing an employer, the feedback from my session floored me!

All anyone wanted was real, truthful information that they can take and try on their own.

As some say, my delivery is direct, quick and full of details that many can’t keep up with. But all this experience helped me build up confidence toward being open to trying new things, being patient with my businesses and showed success can be achieved in a variety of situations.

To gain more access to individuals you would like to be mentored by: Use your manners.

If someone helps you solve a problem or is willing to mentor you, use your manners and thank them. There is no need to purchase a gift but a simple “thank you” message, handwritten card or phone call goes a long way.

If you’re considering starting your own business, here’s how to leverage your experience and jump-start your next venture:

Build a support system.

It’s not unlike an entrepreneur to think they can succeed on their own. The reality is that we all need a support system — whether it is a partner, a spouse, a business partner, family, or friends. It can be one, two or three individuals whom you trust and have your best interest in mind.

Fortunately, my spouse has been my support from the early days of when I launched the tutoring service. My sisters are extremely supportive, my two childhood friends and my mentee turned friend and now business partner, Mitch Strohm. Mitch and I connected in 2005 and neither one of us ever saw a future of launching a business together.

Throughout the years, Mitch was my mentee and has grown into a strong digital marketer. So naturally when my husband offered the idea of personal finance for cannabis, I discussed it with Mitch and our LLC, Natural Media, was born! Our first business under the company is MarijuanaRates.com, the financial side of cannabis.  

Marketing roadmap

The idea has been decided, the roadmap is being followed and the business is being built. Now what?

  • Do you launch the business and start marketing right away?
  • Which marketing channels do you use?
  • SEO, Paid Media, Outreach, Email?
  • But wait, I need a list. Do I purchase a lead list?

Marketing Roadmap Questions

Take a deep breath and cheer that your business idea has launched. Enjoy the moment. Being worrisome will not help your marketing efforts so stop it. Cluttering your mind will just make things worse and bring you back to the first step.

If you’ve launched a website for your product, let a few people in your network know.

  • Ask them to test the site by clicking or trying to “break” it, and ask them to document their findings to send to you.
  • Once you receive the feedback, fix items that you can afford — the most crucial first.
  • Then review your website and choose one or two items on your site that you want to promote.

Ready to take the next steps in launching your web business?

Need help?

Be open to learning new things

Be open to learning new things

One tip to remember, even if you have launched a web business before, there are always new things to learn. Whether its a new social media network, content management platform or analytics software, be open to learning new things.

Places to learn for free:

  • Forums like Reddit to read, interact and learn
  • Subscribe to newsletters from authority journals
  • Take advantage of free webinars
  • Some established businesses host local events to share their experiences

Be open to learning

If you have some money, you could pay for help but someone like me where website management, SEO and marketing is my craft, I spend a few hours a day reviewing the site maintenance, the analytics & making adjustments to our marketing campaigns. As a business owner, learning how to set up and review the analytics is a must because as you start monetizing, your partners will be asking for metrics to measure success.

For example, on MarijuanaRates.com, one monetization path we use is a crowdfunding campaign. After a lot of research, we found a platform perfect for creatives and launched our first campaign this week! Without being open to learning new things, we would have stuck to the traditional approaches which can be challenging in an industry not accepted by the Federal government.

Don’t assume you know everything about your craft.

Using the title of “expert” or “guru” is lovely, but why do you need to tell people? Shouldn’t your work or past experience speak for itself?

Even as a 20 year veteran in the digital marketing industry, I continue to research and learn.

You don’t have to attend school or classes, but you can stay up-to-date with the latest developments in your industry by building a network you can tap into for knowledge and new insights about your industry.

Continuing Education

In SEO, the base of the algorithm hasn’t changed in many years. It comes down to answering users queries with real, researched information. User intent has always been at the forefront of the Google algorithm. But when the first large algorithm update occurred, the online marketing community shook — it came to be known as the Google Slap. Since then Google has created a zoo of algorithmic updates to bring quality websites and information to the top of the organic search rankings.

For many in the SEO industry, when they saw their site lose 50 percent of their traffic, the fury and frenzy began. People were asking if Google was being fair. Even some sites who followed the “rules” got penalized. Reconsideration requests were sent and some of the sites who didn’t get put back into Google search had to readjust their marketing tactics.

During these times, it’s very useful to tap into your network and learn from others. Don’t assume you know everything. Unless you are the programmers who create the Google algorithm, you never know if your site will get dinged in search index rankings.

A good book to read is “Marketing in the Age of Google” by Vanessa Fox. It’s a great resource in understanding how to work within Google’s rules toward being successful with your web business.

Which techniques do you use to keep learning?

Set your own deadlines

Set your own deadlines to succeed

Although you have plenty of motivation to being your own boss, it takes self-discipline and accountability to complete actual tasks and projects. Since many web businesses begin with a self-employed individual or partnership, setting up a project management system, to keep your growing business on track, is suggested.

Incorporate seamless project management into your strategy.

Not every business needs to start with all the fancy software and tools. Many software companies offer a free or low cost option to allow for management of projects. Do your best to eliminate back-and-forth emails with contractors who are being used for ongoing tasks or projects.

project management

Some management tools to look into include:

  • Trello – A project management tool to help keep projects moving along and inform a team of the  different stages. This also helps cut down on emails.
  • Basecamp – Another project management tool.
  • Slack – Communication is a must when building a team!
  • GSuite (Google Apps – Drive, Hangouts, Voice) – All of these tools are free or affordable for a budding entrepreneur. With my present business, MarijuanaRates.com, we use Google Apps since there are two of us with lots of ideas and daily communication.
  • Sprout Social – Yes, I know. Sprout Social could be pushing the budget a bit. But they give a nice package for their cost. Having worked in corporate settings, getting to use the big, bad, expensive social media tools, Sprout is a favorite of mine when it comes to management of social media campaigns.
  • Mail Chimp – As you are growing your list of contacts, and want to email them all about an update, Mail Chimp offers you an affordable way to touch base as well as remind your network to consider you for services.
  • Buzzstream –  A contact relationship management system designed for social media and email interactions.

Look into building your site on WordPress as it is easy for a new business owner to learn, create and manage.

* Very important: If you can’t complete a task or project, you will never make money.

 

Full article appeared in The Altucher Report.

Inquiries, Inquiries and More Inquiries

The month of February has started off with many inquiries from all different types of companies and projects. From marketing companies and graphic artists to SMB’s and individual businesses, I have been sending quotes out everyday.

The challenge is to receive a response back from these inquiries after I give my copywriting rates. The time to receive a response or an estimated time when the project needs to be complete has posed a difficulty. Until they need your services, a response to an e-mail or phone call does not occur.

As I always say, “All the promises are nice to hear but till a contract is signed and money is exchanged, it doesn’t mean S***.”