This post is also available in: Deutsch (German)
In my last blog post I told you about the idea that has taken root in the minds of many professionals during COVID-19 – to work as a self-employed entrepreneur.
The most important step has been taken – you have made the decision to become self-employed and thus taken the first step in that direction.
And with it, you have also entered a terrain that may be new and unfamiliar.
Topics that you were not even remotely exposed to before now become central and you are constantly striving to push your project forward.
Basically, my recommendation is that you use a physical notebook or (even better) an appropriate digital application. Everything that may be important and relevant to you at some point – tasks, thoughts or difficult situations you have been confronted with – goes into it.
There are different ways to monitor the progress of a project. E.g. in Evernote, which I have already written about in a previous article. While it is primarily designed to keep your notes, to start a small business with it can be quite an option.
The professional solution is a project management tool. ClickUp, Asana or Monday.com – these tools offer the full spectrum to support you with your project.
Personally, I use ClickUp and maybe you will read why it is so interesting for me.
But as is often the case, software does not have to be the solution to all your problems. You may be confronted with a complex application that you have to get used to first and you spend more time in it than necessary.
Managing the tasks and building a tool, no matter how fancy, won’t let you move a step forward in your project.
I have summarised for you all the links to my previous posts at the end of this article.
Well, here you are – on field 1. And many fields, traps and challenges still stand between you and your first paying customer.
A company website is the central element of your strategy and shows what you are like and what a great added value you can be for others.
We are in the middle of digitalisation. Already, many people spend an enormous amount of time on the internet looking for services and, ideally, finding you.
A large number of businesses build their entire construct on internet advertising and online trading.
In order to publish your internet presence in the form of a website, you need a domain.
This represents the name and address of your website, e.g. familyworkbalance.net.
Connected to this are also the usable e-mail addresses that you can generate from the domain, e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org.
A domain is comparable to your home address. If people know them, it’s clearly how they can get in touch with you.
In order to be able to show your visitor, and preferably a future customer, everything that belongs to your home, you need a foundation, the respective floors and the interior design. You provide this via your website.
In the webspace, that is the area where your website is stored and permanently available on the internet for enquiries, is provided by a hosting partner.
How to find a good hosting partner
This depends on the one hand of course on the financial means, the location of the server (and thus decisive for the applicable data protection guidelines) and the availability, as well as performance of the server and the hardware included.
For me, in addition to the location of the server in Switzerland, the support of the provider was particularly important.
Since I was an absolute novice in certain areas (and still don’t consider myself an expert today) or don’t want to familiarise myself with more complex topics so quickly, my choice fell on the Swiss Novatrend.
I was immediately struck by the very good feedback from customers, who praised the support in particular – I also had the same experience.
Novatrend is very good when it comes to answering its customers’ open questions – no matter how stupid they are (like the one I asked).
Data protection is also a relevant issue for me and therefore very important. Although I don’t earn any money with my articles, I want to give my readers the feeling that any data that is sent to me meets a certain security standard and that I don’t treat this information lightly.
Novatrend also offers an SSL certificate, which is included in the price free of charge. SSL describes an encryption method that ensures that data traffic between two systems, e.g. between your website and a user, remains private.
How a good hosting partner can support you
First and foremost, they can ensure that your website is reliably accessible, offers stable performance and good support.
Most of the time, it is only when problems arise that you realise how good your decision was.
I originally set up my first website with a website builder provided by Novatrend. That’s a very good start and for many it’s already perfectly adequate. But you will have guessed it – for me, who likes to deal with tools and software, a “closed” system is too boring in the long run.
Like millions of other users, I wanted to use WordPress. Novatrend transferred my already written articles from my old domain to the newly purchased familyworkbalance.net in no time – free of charge!
Similarly, choosing the right hosting partner depends on the functionality of the website, your own goals and your target audience.
If you only run (this is not meant to be disparaging) a locally active small business, then you need less power than if you have to maintain an online shop with several thousand orders per day.
To rank as high as possible in an internet search query, the fast loading time of your website is important. We will devote ourselves to this part, which is called SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), in an upcoming article.
International hosting partners
It is certainly worth looking for a good provider for your web hosting in another country.
Namecheap is a very interesting service that allows you to choose the location of the server yourself.
With an amount of under $60 a year, you are already in a position to present your idea to the world.
Where to go next
Once you’ve found a hosting partner you trust, found a domain for your business and bought a web hosting package to go with it, you’ve already laid the foundation.
Almost every hosting partner, e.g. also Wix, Joomla etc., offer so-called website builders with which you can quickly and easily create and publish a website. This construction kit is part of your web hosting package. You also need a package for installing WordPress, so that you can do all the corresponding e-mails, SSL certificates or even the analysis of your website visitors.
A website builder is, as I can report from my own experience, not a bad option for the beginning.However, the offer and range of functions of such construction kits is limited.
Therefore, rely on the market leader WordPress.
WordPress is a so-called CMS, a content management system.
It is therefore rather a platform that specialises in efficiently managing and quickly publishing your articles, content and blog posts.
The big advantage here is that you have almost unlimited options when it comes to designing your website. In addition to website templates (WordPress themes), many third-party providers offer very helpful tools (plug-ins available) that you can quickly and easily activate in your environment.
But more about that in the next post – How to use WordPress.