I haven’t got a website. How do I get one?

‘I am a health professional and I hope to get a website up soon to ‘advertise’ my service. I see the great importance you place upon social sites as word of mouth, etc, but I am still not sure how that actually works.
Your site gives excellent detail on specific areas (eg tweet management, etc.) but can you direct me to info that explains the BASICS of why and how I should bring social sites onto my website in the first place. (I value and protect my privacy, do I really need to “expose” myself and thoughts on social sites just to go with the trend in order to get business my way??).”

Great Question!

Another comment from a Health Professions Publisher, Mel:

‘Now you’re just getting beyond me, or actually it’s just that I’m so behind!!’

How does it all work and fit together? I am about to launch a basics series, but in the meantime let’s answer these questions:

I haven’t even got a website.  How do I get one?

If you want a basic site you DON’T need to spend thousands – start simply, one way would be to get yourself a WordPress site, install a package like Thesis which is nice to search engines (which means you get found) and completely customisable which means it doesn’t have to look like a blog, and find a good hosting company.

The best recommendation I have is to hire someone to get your site put together and going.  There is no need to learn how to do it because you will be learning how to work your site after it’s built.  When I first started the basic question I had was:  How do I get a blog?  Where do I go?  WHO do I ask?

Whether it’s a blog or a website (there is no difference between to the two) here are the steps.

1. Hosting service

If you are offering a professional service you need to get your website hosted by someone as it gives you a lot more control over your site. WordPress has some recommended hosting services

2. Software

I would recommend using something like WordPress, which is a free, open source publishing programme which can also be used for basic content management a focus on ‘aesthetics, web standards, and usability’. It was originally designed for blogs but is now being used by many business websites because it is so versatile.

3. Design

Once you have chosen your software you’ll want to customise it.  There are many free design templates available which I have tried, but now I would recommend buying something like Thesis (it’s not expensive) which allows you to design your site relatively easily even if you’re not a programmer.  Then think very carefully about what you want on your site.  It will save you money if you know the elements you want before you employ someone to set it up for you.

4. Set up

I would recommend that you find someone to set up your site, ask them to install Thesis and incorporate your design elements (logos, what you are selling the different sections of your site). You can do it yourself but… having done that, and hindsight being a wonderful thing, I would have saved myself a couple of wrinkles if I had gone straight to an expert.

4. Dynamic content

However you design your site, build a part into it that has new content.  If you want to be found by search engines (in other words you want your customers to find you) you need to have new content on an ongoing basis.  Many people do this in the form of a blog – (take a look at Beyond Digital Media as an example, the new content is under the ‘news’ section). You may feel that you don’t have time for a blog, or have nothing to say, but it doesn’t have to be a huge piece of writing.  If you send out a monthly newsletter use this as your dynamic content- break it up into a couple of paragraphs at a time and publish those on your blog as well as sending out the complete newsletter.

Having new content on your site will immediately set you apart from the more static (boring) websites of which there are a gazillion.  You want your site to be found.

5. Social networks

Now that you have a website you want to start advertising it.  Social networks are a good place to do this find the ones that are relevant to your area.  Bodyinmind has a research focus, so the social networking sites I use there are more relevant to clinical researchers compared with the sites I use for this site.

6. Who do you ask?

If you don’t know anyone to host or set up your website, ask friends who do have a site, who they used and start there. I have now used a couple of services and people for this site and for BodyInMind and if you’d like to know who I use or can recommend drop me an email.

Advice

If you would like some specific advice for your site, whether to incorporate a blog/ social media for your customers or more general advice for what you are planning – drop me a line.

Related readingHow to get started with a blog