We’re going to be outlining what you should do for the first month in your online business to achieve maximum results. This is gonna be a ”blueprint” on what you should be doing to get your website into the best position to be successful.
Too many people say “I don’t know what to do” or “I don’t have enough time to work on my business.” Well, this is for you. We’ve gone through how to find an hour per day, whether you’re travelling or not, to work on your business and also how to find $100 per month to invest in it all. An online business doesn’t require a lot of time or money if you spent both wisely.
This is why digital nomads love working online… Low investments in time and money!
In this post, I’m going to break down how you should be spending your 1 hour and $100. I’ve also created a little 1-page cheatsheet of a little calendar you can print off and cross the days off as you work through them. Don’t forget to download that.
Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. I recommend these products because I genuinely think they’re awesome and not because of any small commissions I may receive. Please do not purchase any of the products unless you think they’ll be helpful to you and worth the money.
FIRST THING TO DO
So the first thing you’re going to need to do is to purchase a domain name. This is going to be the home for your online business. For this website that’s ThatMarketingDude.com so, you’re going to go and purchase your own one now.
This is going to cost you no more than $12 and that’ll be for a year. I recommend using NameCheap for your domain registrar as this is who I’ve been using for god knows how long. It’s super simple to use and you’re not blasted with upsells for stuff you don’t need. You get your domain name and a years privacy protection for free which I’ll talk about in a second.
The domain name doesn’t need to have any great keywords but it should be something catchy. I think ThatMarketingDude.com is quite catchy and then you have Google, Facebook, eBay, etc. Try and keep it to 3 words maximum, 4 at the very most as these are easier for people to remember.
Try and get a .com too. This is most popular and 99.9% of the time people will type .com in the address bar too. Failing that I would go with a .net if you’ve found an awesome name but the .com is already taken.
With Namecheap, you’ll also get 1 year free of WHOIS protection. This means you’re email and physical address is protected so people can’t find that information during a WHOIS search. After the free year, it’s about $3 to renew… Nothing really to protect your information.
Next, you’ll need to look into web hosting which is where your site will live (all the files, images, blog posts… everything). Registering a domain and hosting a domain are two completely different things. It’s really important to register your domain with one company and using the 2nd company for your web hosting. There’s been many horror stories of people who’ve purchased both with the same company and having major issues when they try to move to a different company.
Keep your domain registrar and domain hosting provider separate as it’ll make live easier if you decide to swap hosting companies which will happen WHEN your site becomes big and successful 🙂
For web hosting, you have two options which I recommend. I personally use SiteGround to host my websites but you also have BlueHost. I’m going to recommend you use BlueHost because they’re cheaper and we’re working on a tight budget but if you’re interested in why I’m using SiteGround you can take a peek at the review I wrote and why I moved from HostGator.
BlueHost has been recommended by WordPress (the platform our website will be built on) since 2005 which is pretty incredible. I’m happy to recommend these to you guys as I’ve heard nothing but good things and my peers and mentors are always raving about them. I’m even contemplating moving to BlueHost which I might do at the end of 2015 when I will be paying full price for SiteGround (I got in on a special offer for the first year).
BlueHost is going to cost you $6 per month for their starter package which is perfect for just one website. Notice that our website name is charged per year and our hosting is charged per month. You can opt for the plus package which is $7 per month at the moment, usually $10, as there’s room in the budget for it. Either one is fine.
So that’s NameCheap for a domain name which will be $12 and BlueHost for your hosting which will be $7 for this month. That comes to $19 spent so far leaving us with $81 left.
We have our domain name, we have the place where your website is going to live and now we need to figure out what it looks like. We’re going to be installing WordPress on your site with BlueHost and they’ll have tutorials on how to do that as well as setting up the DNS (Domain Name Servers) settings so your website is point to hosting company. This is what you’ll be doing for day #1… making sure your domain is pointing towards your hosting company and have WordPress installed.
When you sign up for BlueHost you’ll be given your DNS settings so make sure you write those down to add into NameCheap. Nameserver 1 and Nameserver 2 are what you’re looking for… Keep your eyes peeled.
Here’s where you’ll add them to your NameCheap account:
It may take up to 24-48 hours for your name servers to be set so if your site isn’t live straight away don’t worry. If you’re having any issues both BlueHost and NameCheap have AMAZING customer support (the live chat is the way to go) and will be able to help you out. Most of the time my name servers have active within the hour but it’s something that can a little while.
To get your WordPress website looking great you’re going to need a theme. This sits on top of WordPress and it’s what people will see when they’re on your website.
A great theme to use is called Genesis by StudioPress.com. I love Genesis because it’s super clean, looks awesome and more importantly they use child themes. A child theme allows you to edit the way your website looks without affecting the coding of the theme. This means the creators can update the theme (improving bugs, cleaning the code and just making the thing better) without affecting any visual changes you make to it.
Genesis is coding really nicely and will rank well in Google because it’s set up to help with good SEO. It’s responsive and mobile friendly so it’ll adjust depending on the screen the user has. The guys have done a top notch job.
Plus it’s a steal for $60 which is just for the framework itself. You can purchase an extra child theme but it’s $100 and will completely blow our budget. Purchase the Genesis Framework and your site will look great. We can purchase a new child theme later on if you wanted.
For Day #2 this is all you’ll be doing… Purchasing Genesis and installing it on your site. Feel free to have a play around with.
After purchasing Genesis we’ll have $21 left for the month.
The last big purchase we’re going to make for this month is going to be for an email marketing service so we can start collecting email address of your future visitors. This cost you the grand total of $0 for the first month. We’re really breaking the bank now 🙂
The service I use is AWeber and they’re f#@king awesome! The company was founded back in 1998 and they’ve only been getting better as the years have gone by. They’re arguably the most popular email marketing service for basic email marketing services.
You’ll be able to set up Autoresponder sequences which will be emails that’ll go out on specific days after someone has signed up to your list. You’ll also be able to do ”broadcast emails” which are one-offs which you can send to either all or to specific segments of your email list. Lots of options here.
Like I said AWeber will cost $0 for the first 30 days but after that, you’ll have to pay $19 per month for up to 500 subscribers. The cost will go up incrementally as your list grows.
Having a good email list will be the backbone of your entire business. Successful entrepreneurs always say “I wish I started my email list sooner” when asked what would you differently if you went back in time. Let’s not make the same mistake.
Go sign up to Weber and get your first 30 days for $0 and then install a form in the sidebar of your website so we can start collecting email addresses. There’s loads of tutorials inside AWeber to show you how it’s done. This’ll be all you’ll need to do for day #3 because it will take a little while learning how to create your first list and create the form to put in your side bar.
The remaining $21 of your months budget you’re going to keep to as a buffer. You’ll need to purchase images for your website which if you use a service like Canva (the service I use to create most of the images at the top of my blog posts) you’ll pay $1 per image. There’s lots for free on Canva too but if you want some great images you’ll pay $1 per image you use.
You’ll need to pay for specific images because of copyright issues. You can’t just use any image you find online. My favourite services where you’ll pay a few dollars for images are Canva ($1 per image), Photodune and Pixabay. Pixabay has lots of images that fall under ”Public Domain” which means you can use them for whatever you want. They won’t cost you a penny and you won’t need to credit the creator. You’ll need to check each image just to make sure though.
THE REAL WORK BEGINS NOW
There’s a few mistakes people make at the beginning by spending too much time on things that aren’t important just yet. Worrying about logos. colour schemes, playing around with creating the ”perfect” graphic for the blog post. No! We should be spending our precious 1 hour per day doing things that’s going to create the biggest impact towards creating a successful business.
Things like colour schemes and logos can come later once we have people coming to the site and the site is making money.
We want to spend the next portion of month 1 on creating content so people have something to see when they get to the site.
For the next 10 days, you’re going to write 10 blog posts and publish them immediately on the site. Later on, we’ll be scheduling posts to be realised once per week so your visitors (and Google) have new things to check out but for now you’re going to publish all 10 straight away. Your visitors are going to need things to read when they visit your site.
These blog posts aren’t going to be the best posts you’re ever going to write for your site so don’t focus on trying to make them perfect. You’ve got an hour to write each post. I want you to spend 15 minutes planning and researching the topic, 30 minutes writing the post and then 15 minutes proof reading and creating the graphics for the post. Most of my posts aren’t grammatically correct or use the correct english because I like to write the I talk. My writing isn’t perfect so it doesn’t matter if yours isn’t either. Unless you’re teaching people to write books… Then it does matter 😛
Also don’t worry about the length of these posts either… You just want to get something up for people to read.
The writing continues for the next 5 days as you’ll now be creating 5 emails that will be placed in an autoresponder series. You’ve already signed up to AWeber and these will be the emails that’ll be sent out to people who sign up to your email list.
The first email will be used to introduce yourself and to let people know what to expect from your site. You should also use this email to ask people ”what’s the one thing you’re struggling with right now?” because the responses you get will help you with future content and/or products to create. Start having conversations with people who email you so you can figure out how you can truly help your audience.
The other 4 emails should be used to tell stories, point towards posts on your site and build rapport with your audience. The 5th email can be used to promote a product your selling or for an affiliate product you’re promoting… But that’s up to you. The main focus of these emails should be to build a relationship with your audience and help drive them back to your site.
Schedule these emails to be sent out every 3 or 4 days but no longer than 7 days apart. This way you’re building your relationship with your audience over time and not sending them emails too often that it becomes annoying.
SETTING UP YOUR WEBSITE
Now we have a load of content on the site and an email autoresponder series ready to go we should set up everything we need for our site. We’ll be creating the pages our website needs and also installing the plugins it’ll need too.
I’ve created a guide that walks you through how to set up these plugins.I’ve created a guide that walks you through how to set up these plugins. The WordPress Complete Setup Guide/Cheatsheet is free and will show you how to set each plugin up.
You’ll be referencing it for the next 4 days to:
- Create the 5 essential pages (page 6.)
- Install Akismet and WordPress SEO by Yoast (page 13 and 17.)
- Install SumoMe and Contact Form 7 (page 26 and 34.)
- Install iThemes Security Plugin (page 41.)
After you’ve send all these up you’ll need to fill out some of these essential pages you’ve created. We’re going to start off with the About Me page.
The About Me page is usually the most popular page on a website because people are curious to know the person behind the website. This is the perfect place to connect with the reader and really tell them why they should be here. It’s also a great place to collect email addresses too!
People make the mistake of thinking the about me page is all about them. Wrong. The about me page is all about the reader and why you’re the person they should be listening to in whatever niche your site is in. CopyBlogger have an amazing post about the 7 mistakes people make when it comes to their about us pages… Definitely worth checking out.
You have a whole day dedicated to writing the about me page but don’t worry if you don’t get it perfect. At the end of the month you’ll have a catch up day so if there’s nothing else to catch up with I’d suggest focusing on making your about me page really pop.
That should only take about 30 minutes maximum to complete so the remaining day and a half will be spent creating your homepage.
Having your homepage set up correctly is important. You want your homepage to instantly tell visitors what your site is about and also have a clear call-to-action on what they need to do next. That CTA can be to go to a specific page, sign up to your email list, watch a video… Whatever… But it need to have these two things.
You’ll have a day and a half to create this page to really spend a bit of time thinking about what you want them to do. Ideally you should want them to sign up to your email list. You should have created a short autoresponder series already so you know they’ll get 5 emails from you over the next few weeks. Hopefully with those emails you’ll build trust and a good rapport with them they’ll come back to your site and buy products your selling or other products you’re promoting. This is how you’ll make money.
Check out the home pages of some your favourite websites and see how they’ve set theirs up. There will be a section explaining what the site is and a call-to-action. Let’s look at a few examples:
Pat Flynn from SmartPassiveIncome.com is a great example. There’s a picture of him (something important to consider and will help build a connection) and a short sentence explaining what he’s about: “I’m the crash test dummy of online business, sharing what works (and what doesn’t) so you know exactly how to build your business better.”
Just under that there’s a button that takes you to his getting started page.
Chris Ducker from ChrisDucker.com clearly wants you to sign up to his email list and clearly states how he’ll help you if you do.
There’s two different examples of different CTA’s you can use for your homepage. Don’t worry about trying to make your homepage to look as awesome as theirs as they’ve invested $1,000’s (probably $10,000’s) in their site design. The content itself is more important right now. You can get a custom site design made later on as your site will no doubtably go through many re-designs in it’s life.
Then for the last day of the month you can catch up on anything you’ve missed or haven’t completed!
GETTING PREPARED FOR MONTH TWO…
If you haven’t managed to complete all the tasks for month one then complete them before you move onto month two.
With the blog posts, autoresponder series, your about me page and homepage… They don’t need to be perfect! You can modify these later on and if you think you’ve got them perfect right now I can guarantee in 6 months to a year you’ll want/need to update them.
Focus on good rather than perfect.
We’ve covered a lot in this one blog post. Let’s quickly go over some of the resources mentioned:
- NameCheap – For all your domain registration needs. No upsells shoved down your throat like some place (looking at you GoDaddy!)
- BlueHost – This will be where your site lives. Don’t purchase your domain with your hosting company as it can cause problems when trying to move hosts when your sites outgrows shared hosting. Plus these guys are recommended by WordPress. Awesome!
- Genesis Framework – For making your site look pretty and be prepared to receive love from Google. All their themes are mobile responsive which is awesome as people are using their phones more and more to access websites.
- AWeber – The guys who’re going to help you rock email! Building an email list is vital to the success of any online business and you can get your first 30 days for free!
- Canva, Photodune and Pixabay – Between the 3 you should have all your imaging needs satisfied. Pixlr is also a good web-based picture editor… Kinda like a basic version of Photoshop.
- The WordPress Complete Setup Guide/Cheatsheet
- And don’t forget…
You’ll have roughly $21 left of the $100 for the month so use those to purchase images for your blog posts, about me page and homepage to make them look awesome. Whatever you have left after all that save it for next month so you’ve got a little extra to spend. We’ll still only be spending $100 for month two but we’ll be looking at investing a little bit into ads to get some traffic coming to the site whilst we wait for Google to show you some love.
If you’ve come this far and haven’t read the two posts that come before this I recommend you check them out:
- Finding At Least One Hour Per Day To Work On Your Online Business
- Finding $100 Per Month To Invest In Your Dream Business
Now even if you’re traveling the world or not you’ll only need one hour per day and $100 for your first month to get your first online business adventure started. Month 3 will be what you can do month in and month out whilst you’re on the move to keep your business slowly growing and fingers crossed making money. You’ll be able to reinvest the money coming in to grow your business even quicker with more tools, training and more ads.
But we’ll get to that later 😉
Time to move onto month 2 where we’re going to start making some progress. Any questions or comments leave them down below and don’t forget to share the love on Facebook and Twitter.