razor and blade from hackersDomain Benefits is not my first blog, I actually started blogging to go along with a fashion domain that I purchased. I wanted to write about things in my shop and stuff that pertained to fashion in general. Over time I learned about what works and what doesn’t, sold out the items in my web store, and made a few bucks from advertising on the blog.

Below are 10 tips for building a great website or blog, and I will be sharing more helpful tips as time goes on. Starting a blog can especially seem difficult if you are new, but once you get the hang of it you’ll be hooked!

1. Choose the right domain name and research trademarks. The first questions you should ask yourself before starting a new website of blog are…

  • Is this a domain name that fits the business or message I am trying to convey?
  • Is this name easy to remember?
  • Are people searching for this term? (You can answer this question by using Google Adwords Keyword Tool as a start.)
  • Is this a trademarked name? The first thing you should do is search Google to see if the name is taken. This sounds obvious but you would be surprised at how many people don’t do a simple search. For example, if your want to use the name “Prada Shoes” but see that “Prada” is already in use and they sell shoes, it’s probably best to choose a different name for your new shoe business. Next, use the Trademark Search System at the U.S. Patent and Trademark office to see if the name you desire is already trademarked.

2. Visit other people’s blogs in your industry and say hello! Don’t just leave a lame comment or link to your site, take the time to see what other people are saying and then give your honest input. Be friendly and don’t worry about negative comments. There are always going to be people who are jerky no matter how nice you may be.

3. Once you have your new domain name, visit social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter and lock down your unique domain name on those sites. I can’t stress enough how important this is if you are trying to build a brand. At this point in time it is essential that the name you use on your social networking sites correlates with your own website or blog name. This is not just smart from a branding prospective but it will keep your competitors or people with malicious intent from stealing your name and climbing up in search results. In fact, lock down Gmails, Yahoo Mail, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram…..anything you can come up with (within reason). And don’t stress out about getting a million “friends” or “followers”, that will happen organically over time…..unless of course you’re a hacker and can write script to get those “likes” (*wink*).

4. The design of your site or blog should be creative yet simple. Make it easy for people to navigate and use font that is easy on the eyes. Also keep in mind that sites that use Adobe Flash heavily may look cool but are not optimal for search engines and can sometimes take forever to load.

Find several sites that you like and check out the color scheme, font, layout etc. and get inspiration. Think about what you are trying to covey through your site, blog or brand. Are you a factual news site, a niche blog about race cars, or maybe a vintage clothing e-commerce store?  Who is your audience? Will people who like race cars dig a pink site with girlie font? Probably not. Do your homework. Research your readers and potential customers.

5. When adding content to your site keep in mind that most people have a short attention span. Make your content news worthy, funny, controversial, helpful or all of the above. Most people are searching the internet because they want answers to their problems or questions. If you write quality content and can add something of value to a person’s life, they will be more likely to visit your site again and possibly link back to you.

6. Don’t do Google any favors by adding AdSense to your site. It’s not worth the tiny amount of money and you don’t want to send your visitors elsewhere. I read a great example by the Castello brothers once… “Adsense is the equivalent of opening a store on Madison Avenue and guiding customers from the front door straight out the back door as they hand you a quarter along the way.” Well said!

7. Learn about SEO (search engine optimization). This can sound like a daunting task but if you want your site to rank well with the search engines, it’s good to at least have a general knowledge of this subject. Check out my resources page for sites to visit about SEO.

8. Don’t just copy other people’s blog posts…BE ORIGINAL! Its fine to be inspired by another blogger, but it’s just jerky to copy their posts word for word. If you do reference someone else’s content, give them a nice reciprocal link or at least mention who they are. In some instances Google will penalize a site that has duplicate content.

Injecting your own personality and giving a fresh take on things will be interesting to people who frequent other blogs in your industry or niche and they will be more likely to leave a comment.

9. Monetize your site. There is nothing wrong with making a few bucks for the time you spend designing your site and providing quality content on a regular basis, it is expected. Many bloggers do this by adding affiliate links (see the Resources page for a definition) to their blog or selling ad space directly to other bloggers or businesses. My advice on this is don’t overdo it. Nobody likes a site packed with distracting ads, pop-ups or posts with tons of links that obviously only promote garbage.

10. Be patient! It takes time to build a site and attract a following. Learn as much as you can about your business or the subject you are writing about. Don’t be afraid to ask advice from others that have success. You will find that some people may be rude but others will actually take the time to help you and answer your questions, as long as they are valid.

If you find that designing a site is just too hard or learning about SEO is freaking you out, hire a reputable person or company to help you if you have the means. This can free up your time to do what you’re really good at rather than fighting with stuff that aggravates you.

*Bonus Point  –  Lighten up, have fun and give yourself a break. If working on your new site starts to make you angry or frustrated it’s time to take 5. Have a healthy snack. Hug someone, hug your dog. Go read a book…anything to calm yourself and shift your focus. You will find that if you walk away from your computer for 20-30 minutes, ideas will just start to flow into your head like magic and you will be back to you productive self in no time!

Till next time,
Cara Mia

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