Which tools do you need to build an online business?

Recently, a client of mine bought a product that she didn’t need. She didn’t need it because she already had a similar product, one that did the same thing. But she didn’t understand that and I realized that she wasn’t clear on the building blocks of her online business — what each piece was for. In her case, she bought a page builder when she already had one.

What are the major Building Blocks of an online business?

Building blocks An online business has what I call Building Blocks. The major ones are:
  1. Your website, with an optional “page builder”
  2. Your email service provider
  3. Your shopping cart with a merchant account and gateway to process credit card payments
  4. Your social media accounts — I won’t cover these in this post

Secondary tools might be a webinar service, a pop-up form creator, an appointment calendar, and any number of other possibilities.

Just like toy building blocks, you fit the pieces together to make a strong infrastructure for your online business. For example, you…

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by Ellen Finkelstein

Renee Shupe of Get a Geek in Your Pocket on keeping your website secure


renee-shupeThis interview with Renee Shupe of Get a Geek in Your Pocket could save your website from being hacked! Renee Shupe helps entrepreneurs maintain their website and keep it safe and secure.

After watching the video, be sure to check out the summary with the questions I asked and brief answers. There are some great resources below the video, too, including Renee’s free offer. The video is 11 minutes short. Read More

by Ellen Finkelstein

3 top website mistakes


I’m writing this at the end of 2012 because I want you to have a successful 2013!

internet-marketing-3-top-website-mistakesThe impression your website makes is crucial. People quickly decide whether to stay or leave, often within a few seconds! In that time, you need to convince first-time visitors that they can get something of value from you.

I review websites and have found that the mistakes I describe below are the BIG 3. Fix these and your results will dramatically improve — assuming that you have a high quality offering that people need.

1. Unclear message

Your message is two-fold:

  1. What you offer
  2. What your visitor should do

For example, you might offer small business coaching. Maybe you want your visitor to download a free report that provides valuable information for small businesses but also describes your services.

I mention the free report because one corollary mistake is not having a way for people to engage with you without purchasing something. Many people are not ready to buy right away, so you need to have an alternative. Usually that’s a free report, e-book, video course or audio lesson.

So your home page could say:

Are you a small business owner looking to increase your profits? Acme Consulting guides owners like you through a systematic process of 1) analysis, 2) action, and 3) verification.

Learn why these 3 steps are crucial for all small businesses by downloading our free report, “3 Steps to Higher Business Profits.”

And do you know what? Your home page doesn’t need much more than that!

A video of you saying the same thing is good; video is very engaging and helps people get to know you in a more personal way.

2. Confusing layout Read More

by Ellen Finkelstein

How should you create your website?


So you want to have a website!

What’s the best way to create a website?

There’s no one right answer–it depends a lot on what you want to do with the website, how much money you have, how much time you have, and how comfortable you are with technology.

For small businesses–social entrepreneurs, for example–who are just starting out without a significant budget and who think they can roll up their sleeves and do some of the work themselves, I recommend WordPress.

By WordPress, I mean WordPress.org, not WordPress.com. I explain the difference here.

WordPress is mostly known as blogging software, but you can use it to create quite an extensive website, as well. However, if you have big plans, such as customizing pages for returning customers (as Amazon does, for example), you may want to go with an HTML site. It will take longer to create and it will cost you a lot more.

Most computer-literate people can create a WordPress site, but you need some guidance to make it look like a site and not just a blog. Without guidance, you’ll find yourself tearing your hair out — and we don’t want that!

WordPress is free and most web hosts offer support for installing it, but you can also go to www.wordpress.org and download and install it on your own. If you do that, you’ll probably want to have an FTP program (I recommend the free FileZilla).

WordPress lets you create pages and posts:

  • A page is like a web page–it has only the content that you put on it.
  • A post is what you use when you blog. WordPress automatically puts the most recent post at the top (plus creating a separate permanent page).

Blog posts almost always allow for viewer comments, while pages rarely do.

The trick to making your home page look like a home page is to set up your home page to be static, as opposed to always showing the latest blog post. First you create a page and then you set your home page to be static, showing that page.

There’s a little more to it than that, but once you have your static home page, you’ll be on your way!

I can coach you through the process of creating your own website. Once you have your domain name and web hosting account and have written a small amount of content, the whole process takes just a couple of hours! Contact me if you’re interested.

by Ellen Finkelstein