While in the past many people dreamed of becoming an astronaut, a firefighter, a singer, or an actor, it seems like the big lofty dream for our current generation is to start a business from your laptop and make money in the comfort of your home (even while you’re still in your pajamas, if possible). However, it also seems that the majority of people who find themselves dabbling in creating a laptop business think that it won’t be long until they’re on the way to getting rich quick and living the four-hour work week.
While I certainly don’t agree with the idea of a four-hour work week, or with the notion that the Internet is some magical tool that will instantly lead you to riches, I do think that with enough planning, determination, and hard work, it is possible to create a successful, profitable business using the tools available on the Internet.
I want this blog to be more than just something you read for motivation; I want it to be a source of practical advice that you can take and apply right away to start seeing the kind of success that will help you lead the lifestyle that you want. Because of that, in today’s post, I’m going to talk about some of the powerful tools and tactics on the Internet that are available for you to use to enhance your online presence and build a business that will get you started on the path to living your dream lifestyle.
1. A Website
A website is of course a fitting place to start, because your website is the cornerstone of everything else you do online. Whether you want to create a consulting business, an ecommerce, or a blog where you sell informational products, it all starts with your website.
But you may wonder, where do I even start when it comes to creating my own website. Fortunately, there are many options, many of which are relatively inexpensive. One option, and the option that I’ve chosen for my website, is to use WordPress. WordPress.com is the self-professed best place for your personal blog or business site, and apparently 23% of all websites are powered by WordPress. This option gives you flexibility when it comes to design and layout, it’s relatively easy for a novice to get the hang of, and, best of all, it’s completely free.
There are some limitations when it comes to building a site with WordPress.com, including an inability to extensively customize your site, but for someone who is just starting out, it can definitely be a great option.
2. Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) may sound like a very technically advanced term, but it’s critical to understand if you want to have long-term success with creating and growing your online presence. Basically, SEO involves using both on-page (meaning your website) and off-page (meaning other peoples’ websites) tactics to optimize your website and help it show up higher in the results for search engines like Google or Bing when someone types in a query on their computer or phone.
I’m fortunate enough to have a friend who owns his own local Whitby SEO company, and he gave me some helpful advice when it comes to optimizing your site for the search engines (advice which I have yet to implement on my own site):
- For every blog or article that you post, be sure to have one keyword as the focal point for that article. For example, if you have a fitness blog and you want to your article to rank higher in the search engines for “how to lose fat as a 50 year old woman,” you should start with having that term as the title of your article. Then, it’s important that you sprinkle in keywords and images that relate to that topic throughout your post. This helps search engines like Google understand that your article is a relevant result to display for a 50 year old woman who is looking for ways to lose fat.
- Getting links from other authority websites is very important, because this shows Google that you’re a credible source of information. Using the fitness blog as an example again, if you write an article for the Women’s Health website and they credit you for your contribution by linking back to your website, this is a huge vote of confidence for your site, and will help make sure that Google ranks your site higher for different search terms.
SEO is something that requires a lot of time and effort to really do right, so it’s important that you get started with this right away, as soon as you create your first website.
3. Social Networks
I won’t dive into this topic too much right now, as I’ll try to go into more detail on this in the future, but in brief, taking advantage of social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest is a hugely powerful way to build your online presence and drive traffic to your business and your website.
These social networks had a combined user base of 1.4 billion users in 2012, so needless to say, there is a lot of potential to reach your target audience using these networks. Without going into too much detail, social networks like Facebook have powerful tools that let you craft a message and direct it to a very specific, targeted group of users – the ones who are most likely interested in hearing what you have to say. Many businesses have become hugely successful solely through the use of sites like Instagram and YouTube, and so can yours if you leverage them properly.
This article was meant to be a starting point to give you a few quick pointers about actions you can take right now to get started with building your online presence. If this post seemed simple at times, it’s because I didn’t want to get too much into the nitty-gritty. I’ve found from my personal experience that too much knowledge can be a bad thing sometimes. It can be very tempting to try to understand absolutely everything about a subject before you actually take action, so I’ve purposely given you only the bare necessities that you need to know to start taking action.
With that said, go out there and create a website using WordPress.com, optimize it for search engines like Google using the simple tactics I’ve listed above, and create your first social media profiles for your business. This will give you a huge jump start when it comes to building your online presence and getting started on the path to lifestyle design and fame.