After you have clarity on what your online business will be, your next step is creating your brand. Decisions need to be made. While you can change all of this down the road, it works so much better if you have this figured out right from the start. Here are my first tips:
Creating Your Brand:
The most important part of your brand is your Why. It’s not your logo or necessarily your tagline (which can be your why). Why are you here? Why did you start your business? Why are you different? Why should it matter to “me”?
Your why story works beautifully and makes an impact. If you have a good one, be sure to include it. If you don’t have one, think about it and write it out. Make it real.
Make a list of possible business names that can be translated into a domain name and (hopefully) reflects your brand. I highly recommend that domain name ends in .com as opposed to any other. People automatically type in .com from force of habit. All the major websites they go to all the time generally end in .com – Amazon.com, Netflix.com, Target.com, etc. It’s rote.
Obviously, you’ll want your domain name to say something about your business. That’s what makes it part of your brand. Even if it’s one of those tilt your head, squint your eyes, and look-again type names. For example, I own the domain name “PepperStuckintooth.com” (LOL). You can probably guess it has something to do with food, or cooking, or both. Yes, it has recipes. (I’m not suggesting you go there, I haven’t posted to it in many years. I plan to again at some point. I love to cook.)
I also own “MyWebGal.com” which is a great domain name considering what I do — especially when anyone else but me says it! One like that would be hard to get now though. I got it in November 2002 as a gift from that Guru who also gave me my Big Break.
Once you have your list and before you start crossing off names, go to your favorite registrar (where you buy your domain names) and start entering them in the search box (starting with your favorites). See if the .com is available. If you find any, add to your cart (or cart “Save” list) – the ones you like. When you’re sure which one(s) you want, go to your cart and remove the ones you don’t want. I tell you this because you may not remember which ones you thought you might like once you move on to purchase.
Often times during the purchase, you are confronted by a bunch of add on offers before you get to actually buy the domain. Ninety nine out of a hundred times, you won’t want to make those purchases yet… unless you’ve done business with them before and already know what you need. You can always go back and purchase whatever else.
Other products you will need, if you don’t already have them are:
- Hosting (I recommend Cpanel / Linux)
- SSL Certificate(s)
You will get free email addresses, WordPress installation app, and backup service with cpanel.
Okay. Let’s say you selected one and purchased it. Next thing to do is think of a slogan or business mantra or even “one word” that describes your motive. (My one word is “faith.” Not just my faith in God, but my faith in YOU and people I work with.) And perhaps a logo, though that might come a little later…
Colors are important to consider when creating your brand. Then again you can change them later if you really want to, but try to stick with at least one. My “one” color is black but other colors change from time to time. Last year my second color was bright green and my “symbol” (for lack of a logo) was three green leaves. Consistent colors are associative with your brand — especially on Social Media.
I also highly recommend quality images. Just make sure when using them on your website that they aren’t high resolution, huge images. You’ll need to minimize them to even upload them into WordPress. Once uploaded you can use Smush to optimize load times. (See my post on where to get free images here.
So, those are my recommended first steps in Creating Your Brand.
There’s more to it but it’s a good start!