Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Is 2011 Your Start Up Year?

If you are looking to start a business or are merely interested in creating a family tree website, an effective online presence will help you to reach your audience. Having your own site will take your profile to the next level. Over the next few months iVillage.co.uk will feature extracts from Paula Wynne's bestselling book Create A Successful Website, starting with Research And Planning before covering topics such as Branding, Navigation, Free Websites, Hosted Sites, Bespoke Websites, Sticky Content, Ecommerce, Revenue and, finally, Go Live.

Essential prep

Before you run around like a headless chicken trying to find the best website, you need to think about planning, researching and brainstorming your idea first.

As you plan your shiny new website, you will understand the need to explore every avenue of your online business so that you are fully prepared. The work you do now will be reinforced along the way, saving you time and money.

Naming your site

By now you'll have an idea for your website; it could have been stewing away in your brain for many years or it may have only popped in for a visit recently and something made you pounce on it.

Before we go into planning your site, one of the first things to consider is the name. Many entrepreneurs have realised the viral effect naming can have on a business. When you go through the process of brainstorming a name, you will come up with all sorts of concoctions. Watch out for the next article, on branding and naming your site.


A cool tool to brainstorm is mind mapping. Buzan's iMindMap brainy piece of software hosts a range of features designed to make you more productive and creative in the way you think.

It's like a giant Octopus with colourful tentacles, images and icons that allow you to add notes and links to a range of files.

When brainstorming chapters for my book, I drew up an iMindMap to generate new ideas quickly and effectively and to store them in an organised way. This screenshot illustrates how it can help you to plan and record spontaneous bursts of inspiration, as well as to explore promotions for your future website.Of course, you can also do this just as easily with pen and paper. Write everything down that comes to mind, even if it seems bizarre and unworthy. Then go back later to refine and rework all the ideas to see if any need the boot or if there are a few nuggets worth exploring.

Score goals

If you haven't already done so, you will need to set goals and objectives. This way you can establish the exact aim of the site or your potential business. You may have grand plans to sell this brilliant idea of yours for a cash bomb with an exit strategy after a number of years. You might want to manage a small and cosy family business over a long period. Maybe you need to run your online business while working a day job or alongside another business.

Whatever it is you want to do, you need to aspire to something in order to achieve it. Recognition of your aspirations and actually visualising it, will lead to achievement and result in success.


It is really important to find your niche and now is the time to research it.

For example, you may be a photographer, so what's niche about that? Well, maybe you specialise in underwater photography or newly born babies. If you're a commercial photographer your niche may be shooting scenes such as factory equipment, food or rock concerts.

My Partner and I set up a niche job board that is dedicated to flexible jobs working from home, as well as home business opportunities.

Take a peek at www.remoteemployment.com to see how we found a niche that appealed to a specific audience.

Above all, you should only 'niche' it up if you love your chosen web concept and you know a lot about it. Don't settle with a topic you're unsure about just because you think it will make money or be a runaway success. Do what you love the most, where your passion will ride waves and your energy will be unstoppable.

Testing the market

Research is vital for any project, especially for an online business. There is a multitude of sites out there so you need to know exactly what you are getting into before you rush ahead, spending money on a fancy website, only to find there are several hundred already doing the same thing. Flip through Create A Successful Website to find a quick exam on how to test the market and you'll find a list of research examples.


Today's topics and tasks are the foundations of your new website. Prepping up and setting objectives at this stage will pay off later on.

Paula Wynne is an award-winning entrepreneur, speaker and author of Create A Successful Website
Thanks to iVillage

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