Adopt An Internet Mindset
It’s a whole new world out there. In order to speed your progress and success, learn to “Think Internet”. Here are 10 guidelines to get you started:
It’s a big world. It’s a small world.
The internet opens up the whole world. The possibilities are endless. Think BIG! You can communicate across the globe to more than 2.7 billion internet users. Think small. Your messages will still be read by individuals one at a time. Make them personal and clear.
It changes quickly.
Breakthroughs and improvements in technology create constant change. Unless that’s your only focus, it’s hard to keep up completely. Think ahead as much as you can when you create your site so you’re not quickly out-of-date. Choose tools that are likely to remain relevant and useful regardless of change. (For instance, I’m recommending WordPress, because, with more than 66 million users, I believe it will continue to evolve and incorporate improvements over time.) But don’t sweat the details too much. You probably won’t always need the latest and greatest.
We’re all learning.
Because of constant change and improvements, we’re always in learning mode. Be patient with yourself. As you learn and gain experience, each step will become easier. Resources such as this site and user forums can provide a good start. You’ll learn a lot by just experimenting.
Write for three different “readers”.
On the internet, you need to create your content keeping three different perspectives in mind. Write for 1) People, 2) Screens, and 3) Search Engines. As with any other type of writing, you need to write for your human reader. Your writing needs to be clear and interesting. It needs to be well organized. Use “white space” to make it easy on the eye. You also need to keep in mind how your content will look on the computer or other screen. (As more people are now viewing web content on tablets and mobile devices, for instance, I am recommending use of “responsive” themes that adjust content to the user’s screen size.) Keep the most important content near the top of the page so the reader doesn’t have to scroll down to view it. Be sure it loads quickly. Lastly, if you want to be “found”, you need to write for search engines, by incorporating “Keywords” that potential visitors would be using when searching for information.
Information itself is of little value, because there is so much of it. The value is in what you do with it—how do you interpret it? How do you make it useful and interesting?
Target your content.
Who do you want to visit your site? What action do you want them to take? The more specifically you can define your audience, the easier it will be for them to find you. The clearer your purpose when you develop your content, the more likely you will accomplish your intended results. With more than 634 million websites on the internet, you need to aim your content, descriptions and keywords as precisely as possible.
Give free stuff in order to get paid later.
Many services are free on the internet. For instance, you can set up a free e-mail account. You can hold a free conference call and record it. You can create a free website. Many services have a free version, along with a paid version with additional features. Likewise, many internet sites provide free information, reports and other goodies to build traffic and interest. Some do this to interest potential customers by giving them a taste of the benefits of a paid product or service, while others aim to make money from advertising placed on the site.
Build a list. Build a community.
Internet marketers have a saying: “The money is in the list”. Start building a list right away, even if you don’t have anything to sell right now. Your e-mail recipients must have given their permission to receive e-mail from you by “opting in” to your list. If appropriate, incorporate social media tools into your site to add to your community. For instance, add “share” buttons and incorporate plug-ins that will update your Facebook page and Twitter feeds automatically when you add to your blog.
Protect yourself from hackers by choosing a web host with good security and using strong passwords on your hosting and content sites. Protect your site from spam with anti-spam tools, such as Akismet. Set up a system to back up your content regularly so you can restore it easily if needed.
You can’t hide.
On the internet, it’s a small world. Dealing with people you will never see or meet in person requires a leap of faith. But nothing stays hidden for long. You develop a reputation online for the value you provide. Social media makes it possible to “spread the word”, either about the good or bad, easily and quickly. Your reputation will follow you. So be aware and take care to do the right thing and build a reputation that will lead to long-term success.