So, you’re starting a business? Or you’ve decided to freelance? Either way I’m sure you know an online presence is a good idea. And this means having a website.
Some people don’t have the technological know-how to build their own website and that’s okay. But, even if you hire someone to do it for you, you’d still need to tell them what you want. What do you want?
My journey to freelancing started with selecting how I’m seen online. I spent hours pouring over page after page about what ‘the best’ way to do it is. What did I learn? Not very much to be honest.
It was like going to a really boring university lecture. You took notes, but all you actually learned is that Tom lost his virginity to Emma the night before! There’s far more interesting topics to research I promise you!
That’s why I’ve created this short guide to how I chose to get started online. It’s a collection of what I learned in my searching and note taking (minus the gossip stories). Enjoy!
Choosing your URL
The first step for me was choosing a URL, a domain. That’s the website address. For example, my URL is www.copybean.co.uk. But we’ll get to how and why I chose that in a moment.
‘So how do you decide on the best website address to park your website?’ I hear you ask. Well, there are many approaches to picking a suitable URL. Here a couple that we’ll explore today:
This is a great option for freelancers working alone. It’s also used for portfolio websites. An example of this might be a photographer’s portfolio – a website showing a collection of their best work.
But as you can imagine your name may not be available. My name’s Bob Taylor. Both names are super common. And that’s why this wasn’t an option for me.
You can also explore mixing your name with the business type or keywords. For example, I could’ve gone for www.bobtaylorcopywriter.com. But, for me it didn’t have the zing I wanted.
My advice – if your name is available, snatch it up right now. It’ll cost you less than a cup of coffee to secure that URL. So even if you choose not to use it, you won’t lose much.
Keywords are common search words or terms in Google or other search engines. Adding keywords to your URL can help with Search engine optimisation (SEO). SEO helps your website get found by google.
For a cleaning company, a likely keyword would be ‘cleaning’. So, you might want to consider adding in keywords to help google find you.
If your business already has a name then this could be the way to go. An example of this is www.amazon.com. Amazon is the name of the company, so naturally it’s their URL. It’s short and snappy. And it’s under 16 characters.
But what if your company’s name is ‘Greater Manchester Cleaning Company’? Not only is that business name 32 characters (double the recommended maximum for a URL), it’s not snappy. It doesn’t have that great ring to it. It’s not easy to remember and difficult to type.
That’s where you might want to consider getting creative with it.
This is the URL type I decided to go with. You can get super creative with this one. If you’ve got a brand in mind this one works. It could be something you are or want to be known for.
Let’s see how we could get creative with our cleaning company. We could consider what the main cleaning job the company does or wants to do. This could be office cleaning, domestic house cleaning etc. Let’s go with office cleaning.
Now think of synonyms for office or cleaning. Think of other words people use to describe these things. You can use my pen to paper technique (shown below) and see what looks good. Here’s a couple of examples: www.officescrubbers.com, www.deskscrubbers.com.
Here’s why I went for ‘Copy Bean’. Copywriter is a long word and takes up 10 characters. So, I thought up shorter variations of the word. I got Copy, pen, chat etc. These were only 3 or 4 characters.
I then looked at what I like. I considered animals and foods. I made a list of them on paper and creatively mixed the two together. This worked to see what looked and sounded good.
Copy Bean is short and sounds good. It also sounds like coffee bean. My branding was born!
Putting brand to website
The next step is deciding how to put that brand on your website. Remember that your website, in most cases, will be the first thing people see. We want to make sure the brand remains professional. And it’s important that the message of your website isn’t lost in the branding.
Coffee beans could’ve easily taken over my website. I don’t sell coffee beans so I don’t want my visitors to only see stuff about coffee. It’s great to play on the words. But it’s vital we stay clear in what we’re selling. You’ve got be clever with it and know when enough is enough. Luckily, I had my wife to reign me in on this one!
If you’re struggling to get it right, contact me. I’ll help you get the words to paper and get your visitors engaged in your content.
Get professional photos
Now you have your URL, your brand and a website, it needs images. Ain’t no visitor gonna stick around without pretty pictures!
I recommend paying for a professional photo shoot. Know what you want before you go. Get your brand into the pictures and showcase yourself or your company.
I’ll be honest, I was super nervous about having a photoshoot. But I went in with a plan. I knew the images I wanted and where they’d sit on my website. For me, knowing this helped to get it right first time.
Now you’ve decided on a URL, considered your brand and had a photoshoot. It’s time you filled your website with engaging and meaningful content. Hey, look at me. I’m a copywriter. I can get you exactly what you want.