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Have your own website
Irrespective of whether you are starting as a blogger or owing a local grocery store, having your own website is the way forward in today’s digital environment. Despite the advent of social media, here is statistics to have your own website:
Website hosting options
The easiest and the fastest way to launch your own website/online store is using website builders like the ones by GoDaddy:
WordPress: Recommended platform for your website
Having said about website builders, still, I believe WordPress is the best platform for any freelancer or small business in the long run which too is easy to operate with a host of plugins to choose from and almost no coding knowledge needed. All our websites including this one are on WordPress.
Having said that WordPress is the recommended CMS, this is not to discourage a website operated on say Joomla or Drupal. For the highest level security, one may choose to go for Drupal though there is nothing to deny that the same security cannot be made available for a WordPress website with additional coding/plugins.
The biggest advantage of WordPress today is the availability of a large number of plugins and themes, both free and paid, as there is a momentum here leading to a large number of developers involved in this platform. What started as a blogging platform is today a complete CMS with advanced e-commerce features, thanks to plugins like WooCommerce. Our own experience is that Drupal is hard to implement, Joomla though relatively easier lacks eye-catching templates or themes.
In the words of web developer Brandon Graves, “WordPress is the most popular free and open-source content management system in the World. It is based on PHP and MySQL. It has various features, include a plugin architecture and a template system. It is most associated with blogging, but now in these days, it is also the first choice of the business owner for select CMS for the website.”
Difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org
With WordPress.com, one can start a blog/website for free but with heavy restriction, making it almost unfeasible for any meaningful professional work. They have only annual plans and no facility to pay in monthly installments. Third party plugins and themes, the cream of WordPress, is only allowed with the Business Plan priced 9600 INR for one year.
Our experience at Splendid Digital Solutions with web hosting service providers
I remember starting with a free blog on www.wordpress.com during 2010. Despite restrictions, for a newbie, I recommend the free plan which provides a first-hand experience using WordPress for free.
With WordPress.org, you need to start with buying a domain name and a hosting plan from a third party. We are having web hosting accounts with WP Engine (this site is powered by WP Engine), GoDaddy (www.woosplendid.com, www.finsplendid.com, www.digitalsplendid.agency, www.micsplendid.com), 10Web (www.digitalsplendid.news). Few of our clients’ websites are with NameCheap (www.dibyenduadhikary.website, www.mondalpackers.space). What we observed is that all of them provide dedicated 24×7 customer support with agents that often are willing to go the extra mile.
It is to be noted that the pricing of WP Engine is on the higher side, mainly because they are more a technology company with WordPress web hosting as a means to an end.
When it comes to GoDaddy India, their customer support is only over the phone (tollfree) and no chat or email support. For WP Engine, 10Web, and NameCheap, we are using chat facility with satisfaction. We like the StudioPress themes based on Genesis framework that come with the WP Engine plans.
With 10Web, we find the premium plugins that are provided for free with hosting plans of immense use. With 10Web.io personal plan, what you are getting in addition to hosting of one WordPress website is a facility to manage 30 sites. So, while one of our websites (www.digitalsplendid.news) is hosted on 10Web.io, we are using its premium plugins on our other network websites as well as of clients (up to 29) by installing 10Web Manager plugin.
For a professional website, be it a blogging or ecommerce store, at Splendid Digital Solutions, we recommend among other plugins, OptinMonster (lead generation software), WPForms (drag & drop form builder), MonsterInsights (intuitive analytic dashboard for Google Analytics data), and RafflePress (giveaway plugin), all from the team behind WPBeginner, the free WordPress resource site for beginners.
Managing forms with WPForms
Any website is incomplete without a form be it a contact form or survey form that provides a way to interact with the audience while collecting leads or customer information. The reason we are recommending WPForms is that it is a drag and drop form builder that is easy to use, loads very fast and comes with relevant addons that are constantly updated.
Armed with a host of add-ons that are regularly updated, you are in safe hands. To save time so that you never start from scratch again, use WPForm’s elaborate pre-built form templates that are regularly updated based on the experience handling WPForms users of almost every niche and industry. Using a Likert Scale on your site’s survey forms gives you an opportunity to know your customers’ feedback/opinion. While designing a customer feedback survey about a certain product, service, or experience, you get immediate access to sample Likert Scale Questions to choose from. Click here to know all about WPForms Features & Addons.
The way forward: Partnerships
Once you have your website filled with relevant contents/images/videos/
According to the owner of a content writing service provider from the US with more than 6000 Twitter followers, most of his sales is through personal references (word of mouth); website as a stand-alone entity only amounts to a very small proportion of sales. All being said, you focus initially to build your website. This is not to discourage on your effort. There can be exceptions, and you can take it a challenge to make your website viable economically on a stand-alone basis (starting with Google AdSense). Irrespective of the outcome, next phase of complementing with direct selling/reference or any form of marketing should only be to take the revenue stream to a more positive trajectory.
If yours is an e-commerce portal, you perhaps already have a brick-and-mortar shop through which you have existing customers to grow with. You may now opt for organic SEO or for faster result inorganic SEO (paid programs) in the form of impression/pay-per-click programs like Google AdSense. Starting your affiliate account with well-known brands like Amazon or cj.com as advertiser/seller means you reap the benefit of showcasing your product to a large number of prospects who visit them to compare before purchasing, something your stand-alone website cannot do. Also, one can go for offline ads or direct mail marketing in addition to email marketing.
An option which most bloggers or small website owners exercise is getting associated with relevant communities like MyBlogU (Content Writers), Stack Exchange which helps in building leads while being online.
Here is an advice for photographers/creative artists implementing gallery on their websites to sell images: “The thing to remember about this is, the framework is the easy part. A lot of photographers get all caught up believing if they build a cool shopfront, buyers will come. Unfortunately, commercial buyers just aren’t interested in browsing individual photographer collections UNLESS… your work is absolute top quality and unique.
If it’s at all run-of-the-mill, they’d much prefer to use a library where they search 100s of collections at once. Some people do make a go of it obviously, but they usually either stop being photographers and take on a full-time marketing role… or they have the resources to pay someone to do it.
A much simpler option is to create a fantastic personal website to showcase your work, but link that to a proper stock library site, with all the features you want already built in.
That way they do all the tedious marketing plus you get access to their existing client list, so you have a real chance of selling your work regularly… and you get time to keep making great photos.
Something to keep in mind anyway!”
Also, included in widespread practice is providing freelance services through channels like freelancer.com, Fiverr. These may be considered as part of off-page optimization from SEO perspective. At a time when marketplaces like Flipkart, SnapDeal, Amazon are becoming preferred choice of online buyers to compare products from different producers before buying, even online portals like Chumbak that have a brick-and-mortar offline presence together with state-of-the-art online portals are entering into some form of partnership with these marketplaces.