Creating a Web Site and Social Media Presence for Small Business Owners | Larry Aiello | Skillshare

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Creating a Web Site and Social Media Presence for Small Business Owners

teacher avatar Larry Aiello

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

5 Lessons (22m)
    • 1. Skillshare intro

    • 2. Creating a Website in 4 Steps

    • 3. Domain Names

    • 4. Google Analytics 2

    • 5. Social Media

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About This Class

This course will go over what you need to know about websites for small business owners. 

Course Outline

  • How to create a website in 4 easy steps
  • Domain Names
  • Google Analytics
  • Social Media

This course is designed for the small-business owner giving them a top-level view of your online presence, what you need to know to tackle these tasks yourself or if you decide to outsource this function.  

Meet Your Teacher

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Larry Aiello


Hello, my name is Larry Aiello and I am an accounting professional with 30 years accounting experience and a graduate of the University of Florida.

My experience covers a wide variety of industries including real estate, healthcare, financial services and doing a lot of different tasks related to the business world. And I’m also a big geek in figuring out how the computer can improve our lives.

I really enjoy teaching and sharing my knowledge with others no matter what the subject matter.

I grew up speaking Italian at home and developed a love for the Italian language at a very young age as we would travel back-and-forth every year to visit my family and friends. Early on I realized that knowing another language is indeed a gift. It allows you to have relation... See full profile

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1. Skillshare intro: Good day. This is Larry Aiello. Thank you. And welcome to my course. Thank you for joining me. This courses on creating a website and social media presence for small business owners. In this course, we will look at creating a website and four easy steps. We'll also look at domain names, where to buy them, pricing terms, what to avoid, and checking the history on a domain name. We will also look at Google Analytics, a free and powerful statistical program that will give you a lot of insights about your website. We'll show you how to install that. I will also look at some social media considerations that you should consider for your business. Once again, this is Larry Aiello. I look forward to teaching you more about creating a website and developing a social media presence for your small business. And I look forward to seeing you inside the class. Thank you. 2. Creating a Website in 4 Steps: Welcome back. This is Larry Aiello. In today's lesson, we will go over creating a website and four simple steps. It's almost a given that every business needs some type of Web presence these days, even if you have a brick and mortar business, the average consumer now has turned more to search engines to discover products and services that they need, as opposed to the old days. When yellow Pages and newspapers etcetera were used back in the old days, you had to learn a lot of code and HTML to build websites. The good news is today that it is relatively easy to set up a website. This lesson will go over the four basic steps you need to do to get a website up and running. Here are the steps. The first thing is to get a domain name for your site. I cover this aspect extensively. In another lesson. The next thing you need is to rent a computer server, the host of files that are required to make your website function. For that, you need a hosting company. There are two that are really good at what they do, and they are host Gator and blue host. I currently use Host Gator and recommend them highly. You have to then choose either a shared hosting plan where the server you are using will have other websites hosted on them or you can get your own private server. There are pluses and minuses to each approach, but for 90% of you listening, I would say the shared hosting will be sufficient for now. It will be more economical and practical. If the website becomes a crucial part of your business, then you can move away from shared hosting. The third thing you need to do is choose of the software to build your site on your server that you are renting. You can install the software or a content management system that allows you to add pages. Make blogged post to your site. Add images, videos, etcetera. I recommend the using and learning WordPress software. WordPress is a powerful content management system, CMS, and is widely supported, and it's an open source solution, meaning that it's free. Yes, I said, it's free. There are other ones to Djamila and Drew. People are other popular content management systems that are widely supported and have passionate users which one is best? Depends who you ask. Some people like Chevy trucks. Some people like four trucks. I would say, for most businesses, WordPress will probably do the trick. In fact, I hear estimates that 30% of the websites published in the world are using WordPress. I'm not sure if that's true, but it's a lot after you install WordPress. When it comes out of the box, so to speak, it will look like a blogged. That's what it was designed to do. But you can configure it in any way you want to meet your business needs. You can leave it and keep it as a blogged, or you can set it up as a static business website with the about US page. Our services. Contact us etcetera, or you could do a combination site with a blawg. If you want to run an e commerce store, you can add a shopping cart program toe work with WordPress. However, if E commerce will be a major part of your business, there are better options in WordPress. In that case, you may want to look at software options specifically designed for that Shopify dot com and big commerce dot com or two examples that come to mind. There are, of course, others that could work for you as well. Here is the fourth step. Once your site is built on the server that you are renting as part of your hosting plan, then you need to change the information in your domain name settings to point the domain name to the new server destination. When you first buy your domain, go Daddy will park it on their server. So speak here is an example of one that is parked. You need to change the address. So when someone types in your domain, they will be directed to the proper server and your website will display properly. Think of it like changing your address in the White Pages or Google Maps You're hosting company. Let's say it was host Gator. They will tell you the new address. You just log in to go daddy and change the old address to the new address. So there you go. Those are the four basic steps. Of course, there are courses specifically designed to help you build a website, but it can be learned and can be a huge time savings for you if you decide to do it yourself. And if you're bootstrapping it from the beginning, that is probably the way to go. However, on the other side of the token, don't spend six months trying to perfect your site when you should be focusing on generating revenue, getting clients proving your business concept, etcetera. Just get a simple site up and running to get started. You can always improve things later, so that will finish up our four basic steps. Thank you, and we will pick it up in the next lesson. 3. Domain Names: Okay, Welcome back. In this lesson, I will go over domain names. Where to buy them, pricing terms, what to avoid, and checking the history of a domain so you don't purchase one that could end up being problematic. Once you've decided on a name for your business, try to get the domain name as well. Sometimes I see a domain based on a benefit which will be different from the business name . Something like pain relief now dot com is a good name for a chiropractor's office or white teeth. Now that calm would be a good one for a dental office. Those would be good names to build your business around, especially if Johnson Dental clinic dot com, for example, is already taken. The first place that comes to mind when buying domain names is go daddy dot com. You don't need to buy any of the add ons that they pushed during the check out process, but go Daddy makes it easy to purchase domains and transfer them toe other buyers if you like. There are other places where you can get them for less money if you like. Name cheap dot com is another one. You can try. They all pull from the same database. So don't think you may find one available on one service like Go Daddy and not on the other , like name Cheap. Of the one option you can consider is the privacy option. They now even have a super privacy option on Go Daddy. I don't know how valuable it would be if you ever did anything illegal, Go. Daddy would get a subpoena and you would have to disclose your identity anyway. But you can get the privacy option if you feel more comfortable. I have a few domains and haven't used it. I've gotten emails enquiring if I've wanted to purchase similar domains, toe what I already own, and I know they get that information from the Who is dot org's database somehow. But I don't feel like I get a lot of spam or anything to that nature by keeping my information public per se. The going price is about $15 per year. You may stumble across one that is owned by someone else and is being sold on the secondary market, which you can do wanna go daddy, For example, this one Cannabis med shop dot com is available and the owner is asking 7500 U. S dollars. At the time I recorded this lesson personally in this case, I would try to come up with something else if that was one I was targeting. You can purchase domains for an annual term, and then you need to renew it. Or you can buy all the way up to a 10 year term on Go Daddy. Make sure you set an auto renew feature in the settings that pertain to your domain and have a backup funding source on file. You don't want to lose your domain by accident once it is time to renew, although they will send you email notifications in advance to make sure you renew in a timely manner. So here are some tips on what you should avoid. Getting the dot com is always preferable to a dot net or dot biz, so avoid the dot net or a dot biz. Of course, if you are a non profit, then get the dot org's avoid anything that is already trademarked. For example, if you wanted to buy John's Amazon t store dot com, you would very quickly get a cease and desist letter from Amazon telling you to take down that domain anything before the dot com is subject to trademark law. I'm not an attorney, and I'm sure there are exceptions to that rule, but that's why if you see something like John's t store dot com forward slash amazon that forwards to the Amazon store. That would be fine, since the trademark is after the dot com. But again, double check within attorneys. That's your planning on doing. I would try to avoid getting cute seeing your domain name. I would avoid anything with the hyphen or a dash, for example. Pet that sitting dash denver dot com or divorce dash lawyer dot com Not saying it won't work, but I would avoid it if you can. I would also avoid using numbers in this manner, like pet sitting for you dot com or vacations to paradise dot com. I would even avoid shortening words like you y ou with the letter U. For example, Pet sitting for you dot com. I'm not picking on these domains, and they may be available and even successful, but I wouldn't do it just makes it tougher to explain it to a potential buyer during your elevator pitch, you have to say vacations and then the number two and then paradise dot com etcetera. Once you do find a domain, make sure you know the history of the domain. If it was used previously, much say they use black hat tactics to try to gain an advantage in the search engine rankings. Let's say they were pushing Viagra porn or something that you would not want to be associated with. You would definitely want to avoid that domain name. Google may have found out about their black hat tactics and penalize them, and the previous owner may have abandoned the domain. You can overcome it, but you're starting out with two strikes against you. On the other hand, they may have done some work, built up some quality links, pointing to that domain. In that case, purchasing the domain would make great sense. These links, also known as back links, count as a vote of confidence in Google's eyes. Many website owners try to develop length that post from other sites to their main money site to build up the search engine rankings. This could be a good thing or a bad thing if your domain that you're buying has some history associated with it. So how can you check? Go to this link? It is a free back link checker. It's a h refs dot com forward slash back Link Dash checker. You can also do a Google search for the domain, see what history it brings up. Although it may not catch everything, try typing the domain name and quotes in the Google search bar. That is another way to see if there are any back links pointing to the domain. You can also check out who is dot org's site, and you could see the domain name history and see if there were changes on which server it was hosted upon. Check out who is request dot com forward slash history and if you are still uncertain, find someone that works in the search engine optimization industry i e and S e o Person, and they can tell you for certain. If you are having doubts, it would be best to pay them a slight fee than to develop a site. Figure out. A year later, you're having problems appearing in the search engines. Okay, very good So those are my thoughts on getting a domain and we will continue on in the next lesson. Thank you. 4. Google Analytics 2: Welcome back. This is Larry Aiello. This lesson. We will focus on tracking statistics for your website. One thing I highly recommend that you install is Google Analytics for your website. It will give you for free analytics about statistics such as number of visitors, how long they're staying on your site, where they are coming from etcetera. It will look like this once you get logged in. So here you can see some of the information that Google Analytics tracks. You can see the number of users 232 in the last seven days. For this particular property website, you can see the bounce rate of 4.46 which is actually excellent. Anything under like 40% is considered great. What is a bounce rate about straight is basically the number of people that navigate away from your site prior to viewing other pages. Have you ever done a search? You click on the site. Oh, that's not what I want and you click the back button. That's that's a bounce. So obviously the lower the number, the better. You can also see the session duration. Average user spends about a minute in 18 seconds which is also good scrolling down. You can also see where the traffic is coming from. How much is organic? Search? How much is direct? How much comes from social media referrals, etcetera and coming down a little bit more. You could see some user information. User retention information. Not sure what that is. Could see the time of day when your users visit. You can also see what which countries they're coming from. In this particular case, United States in a little bit from Canada and on the right, you can see how much is our traffic is coming from mobile devices versus desktop versus tablet. You can even set up some split testing on your Web pages down the road. It can help you troubleshoot certain things like if visitors are abandoning your site during the check out process, etcetera. There are actually a few ways to get Google analytics installed. It is basically computer code. I think it's JavaScript that gets inserted into your website. You will need a Google account in order to use Google Analytics. If you have a Gmail account that will work, you basically need to log into Google Analytics with your Google I D. And then you add a Web property, you then need to generate the tracking code for that property. And then you insert that into the pages of your website. If you use WordPress, there are plug ins that can help you install it. It is just a one time event, and some plug ins can give you a mini Google Analytics statistical dashboard that you can access within your WordPress admin panel. It will pull in the information from Google, so you have it at your fingertips, so get that set up from the get go. You won't easily be able to go back and get those stats if you decide to do it later, but it's good to turn them on, and you can refer to them later once your business is more established. Google Analytics is a little technical and not the most user friendly, but you can hire someone with good S CEO experience to help you decipher the staff and do the split testing. In fact, there are now even there is now even a Google Analytics certification program for those that really want to learn about the program and offer that service to clients. That's how robust the program is. And a good part for you, like I said previously, is that it is free for those of you that are paranoid about Google, knowing everything about us and for good reason. There are other options as well. There is a WordPress plug in that I like called jetpack stats that will give you some basic statistical information about your Web traffic. Once you log in to your WordPress dashboard, it will look like this. There are also even other services that can basically record screenshots of user sessions and show you where your site visitors are clicking. Where they are coming from etcetera. They can give you heat maps to see where people are clicking scroll maps to see how far they scroll down your site, where they abandon your site, etcetera. Let's say many people are clicking on an image, but it's not a link. They can help you troubleshoot issues like that. Those other two programs that may be worth it for your business are crazy egg dot com or smart look dot com, but you need a lot of traffic to make those worthwhile. So to summarize this lesson, get Google analytics installed. You can to stay for the stats later, but it's good to get started, get them started and then get jetpack. Plug in for WordPress for simple statistics and then as you get bigger. If online sales are an important part of your business, then you can go for crazy egg dot com or smart look dot com or even other services that are similar. Okay, let's stop it right there, and I will see you in the next lesson. 5. Social Media: Okay, Welcome back. Today we will talk a little bit about social media. So once you get your business name and domain name, you should try to secure the main social media profiles as well. A good site you can use to see what is available is www dot Noem dot com, and this will allow you to see if the user names are available on all the main platforms. But I would focus on the big ones like Facebook Link, then Twitter, Pinterest and instagram, and there could be others that might be good for your particular business. Go after them as well. However, you can spend eight hours a day on the social profiles, and it seems like you are quote unquote working on your business. But the distractions can keep you from earning revenue. Don't get sucked into everyone's personal drama on Facebook or Instagram. It could be a huge time suck. Nowadays I see a lot of drama queens and drama kings venting about their life, Democrats arguing with Republicans, Republicans arguing with democrats. Needless to say, it is very nauseated, and I think it will get worse for the next major election. By the way, was Facebook ever designed to replace the teenage girl's diary? Some of the stuff I see on there makes me shake my head. Definitely t m I or too much information. And by the way, there is no law that says you need tohave social media profiles. I know a lot of people, especially in the handyman type businesses that don't use social media at all in my market right now. There is a huge demand for electrician's plumbers, painters, handy men, A C repair guys. Some don't have social media profiles or websites at all. They're just too busy working, making money. Some have social media profile set up, and that's it. It's more of a placeholder. But regardless for me, I would focus on one platform that you like and spend about half an hour a day on it, That's it. And then perhaps incorporate other platforms. If you have success with one set up certain times of the day when you will focus on social media, perhaps it is 8 30 in the morning to 9 a.m. Pick whatever works for your schedule and be very protective of your time. You may need to be an excuse the term and they hold about your time. That's okay. You're fans will forgive you. Your business exists to solve a problem in the marketplace, and your business won't survive without earning revenue. Having a 1,000,000 followers won't matter if you're not making a profit. As your business grows, some of these tasks can be outsourced. Or you can have your own staff or V a virtual assistant. Do some of these functions. There are some programs, like Hoot Suite, where you can integrate a few social media platforms in tow. One dashboard that can save you some time. They have different plans that can work for you, depending on the size of your business and its needs. It can help you post across a few social media platforms at the same time. There are some other software applications that can do this as well, such as buffer and sprout social. You can check those out as well. There are even plug ins that are available on WordPress. If that is what you used to build your website that can post your block post the multiple social media platforms. The one important thing to remember about social media is you want a post information that will be useful to your customers. If you are always promoting you, you, you and you, they will quickly grow tired of your messages. It has to be about them and solving their problems. Many experts recommend an 80 20 ratio. The idea is to provide valuable information type posts 80% of the time, and the other 20% can be coupons or post that promote your business. So we will stop right there. Those are my thoughts on social media and we'll pick this up more in the next lesson. Thank you.