Launching your business isn’t that hard. The key to get moving in the early days is to simplify things and focus your efforts and resources where you’ll get the most bang for the buck. Save your cycles for later.
The 3 key pieces you need to get started are a website, reliable hosting, and a decent tool to capture and send emails. Get these three things right and you’ve got a win under your belt in less than a week and for under $300.
Build a WordPress Site
Chances are high if you’re just launching your business that WordPress is going to work just fine for you. Your first launch should be your MVP, and there isn’t anything better than WordPress for this.
For your site’s design, you can go to Elegant Themes and purchase the Divi theme for $90 for a yearly license, or $250 for a lifetime license. The license is like software and buys you support and updates as they’re released.
If you’re building in the commerce space, then you should just go to Shopify and build your store if you want people to take your site seriously.
WordPress and Shopify have become the industry standards and clear leaders, so don’t waste your time digging through every other option unless you’ve got a specific technical requirement that neither of these two platforms can handle – which would be rare.
How to Choose a Hosting Provider
If you go with a WordPress site, you’re going to need to purchase hosting. If you’re on Shopify, your hosting is included so you won’t have to worry about this.
Choosing a host can be daunting if you’re not technical. However, don’t worry about it, you really don’t need to know what you’re doing – just what you’re getting into.
With hosting, you have quite a few options. Th safest bet is to go with a dedicated server that only your website sits on from a large, reputable company to ensure speed, stability and security. But that can be expensive with most dedicated servers starting well over $100 per month.
Small hosting companies often disappear without warning or reason, and you want to stay away from the web developer that is selling hosting to his clients – that’s a recipe for future failure.
For first timers, bloggers and the very simple business website, I recommend a company called SiteGround, which offers several low-priced plans for new and small websites. You can get started for as low as $4 per month and they have excellent support when you run into problems.
If you’re more serious, have a more complex site, or know you’re going to be growing your traffic and really need to depend on your hosting provider, I recommend Liquid Web, who I personally use to keep this site up and running.
If you’re running a WordPress site, I’d just go with their managed WordPress service and call it good. They will manage all of your backups, updates, and security so that you don’t have to.
Building Your First Email List and Newsletter
Building your email list should be one of your primary focus areas as you launch your new business or blog. You should be thinking about collecting emails from day one, or if possible, even earlier!
I recommend you start with MailChimp. They have a free version that is perfect for getting you launched and building your list. The interface is clean and easy to use and you’ll be hard pressed to find a feature you really need that they don’t provide as you’re growing.
As you grow and get more sophisticated, you may find yourself outgrowing MailChimp, though not always. If you find yourself wanting more, then check out these other two email platforms that are good for startups and growing businesses.