The biggest change in business over the last fifteen years is our ability (in most countries) to create and launch our own business without anyone’s permission. We have also been granted (via the Internet) the tools to reach our prospective buyers without anyone else’s help. If you WANT to do more business, the first step (after having something to offer others) is to create a home base on the web.
The Idea of a Home Base
I started blogging in 1998, when they called it journaling. I did it for a really simple reason: I wanted to have a voice that was heard beyond my few friends. I wanted to share my ideas with others. That’s it, nothing fancy.
In 2006, I came up with a strategy called “home base and outposts” to better explain how we might use the social platforms like Twitter and Facebook. The idea was that you build a home base (your primary website) where your most valuable contributions were, and you built and tended outposts (social media platforms) to interact with others and earn potential visitors to your home base. The idea’s still accurate, though lots of people have abandoned their home bases to simply create on other people’s territory like Facebook and Medium and LinkedIn. I want to explain/re-establish why a home base is important.
The business reasons for having a home base are as follows:
- Create a “store front” where people can learn about your offerings.
- Generate attention via the web from search traffic.
- Express yourself and earn potential customers.
This works for all and any business. You could run an airline or you could run a pet grooming service. You could be in the database administration team of a big company. It works the same. People need to know how you help them. They need to find you through search (it’s how we do it these days). They need to know a bit about who you are beyond the service.
What Does It Take to Create a Home Base
A home base is basically a website. You can make something super simple and fast with a site maker like Weebly. Not bad. It’s actually a way to get launched a few hours after you have the idea. You might also buy a domain to go with the site, but maybe note. It depends how developed the idea is.
I prefer something a bit more robust. WordPress runs on a vast number of all websites on the Internet. I love using Rainmaker because it allows me to have a LOT of tools at my fingertips. I can make an absolutely basic website with any platform, which is what you need for a home base. The reason I love Rainmaker is that it allows me all this, also:
- Sales/landing page creation
- High SEO blog software
- Merchant technology
- Membership site management
- Podcast technology (yep, you can start one!)
And a lot of other stuff.
What Goes On Your Home Base?
So you’ve picked a technology to make a website of some kind. Now what? What do you DO with it?
The goals are what I stated at the beginning:
- Create a site that helps others know that you serve them and HOW you serve them.
- Help people understand their challenges and how you solve them.
- Make it easy to reach you so they can take next steps.
The primary pages you create are simple:
Home Page – make your offer clear and obvious. Make how you serve people clear and obvious. Look at chrisbrogan.com and Owner.Media for examples. Have an actual NEXT STEP in mind for when they’ve read the home page. Maybe that’s “contact me” or “request a demo” or “choose your best solution.”
About Page – People want to know who they’re doing business with, and they also want to know whether you can help them. It’s SO important that you realize this isn’t the same as justifying why you’re worth it. People turn their about pages into dense experiences in defensiveness. If I want a problem solved, I don’t want to know about your 8th grade dance recital. I want to know that you’ll do what you say. If you’re lucky, people will be excited and want to contact you. Make that easy.
Product/Offering Page – Be clear on what you sell. I sell a handful of things and I’m fairly clear about them. I sell books, webinars, courses, professional speaking, and business advisory services. If you look at that, there’s a simple progression: free/inexpensive/value-added/customized. That way, people know what I sell, how it’s delivered, and can choose whatever fits their needs and level of commitment. End your offering page with next steps. Make sure people can contact you.
Contact Page – You might have guessed by now that I find this page important. People need to be able to reach you to ask questions, clarify anything they might not understand, and generally know that there are humans behind the website.
Content/Blog – If you’ve done the other four pages, then I’d strongly recommend creating content in the form of a blog. For your home base, this is the most punch for your money. You can create posts that explain better what you sell in different words. You can build in ways to reach you. You can make it easier to understand how to connect after the content.
And you can must add value. Your blog or podcast or newsletter isn’t worth anything if it’s just a bunch of junk collected up and shoveled together into a “post.”
The goal with content is to help people whether or not they buy what you sell. It’s a challenge, especially when you’re hungry. But let me give you a really quick analogy: You can eat the seeds or you can plant the seeds. If you eat them, you’re fed today. If you plant them, you’re going to eat a while longer. When you write good content, it’s planting seeds. When you sell, it’s eating seeds. You need to sell to eat. You need to plant seeds to eat for longer. Make your blog posts about planting and earn the right to sell and serve. Make your sales letters about eating. Make sense?
If you’re into all this, it’s fairly straightforward: pick a domain, pick a place to host a website ( Rainmaker has that built into its price, too), set it up to match the above information, and get out there and make business happen. Should you have a website? Yes. Hell yes. Should it match who you are? Absolutely!