Okay, so it was around 12:05 am on January 1st, 2012 and I was coming up with my resolutions for the new year. On that list I wrote something like this, “Build a website.” It was the first time I had ever put anything like that on my list of resolutions, but I knew that in order to get to where I eventually want to be I needed to learn how to design and build a good website-that would be the first step.
I know that a blog is not really a full-blown website, and starting my own blog does not fulfill that resolution I made (although I have been meaning to start blogging also). This blog’s purpose, at least for now, is to chronicle the process I am going through to create my first website. I say “my first website” because that little resolution I made is only part of a larger “new-decade resolution” I made before. My first website will be a stepping stone.
Right now I am enrolled in an online business class through Brigham Young University-Idaho. The curriculum of this class is basically to start an online business, create a website for the business that can process customer payments, and then drive traffic to that website using pay-per-click campaigns and search engine optimization. I enrolled in the class because I knew that I would learn many of the first things I need to know in starting online businesses, building websites, and then making those websites generate a profit.
There is an excel file on my computer where I have a list of different ideas for my first website. That excel file has been around since before my online business class started. Some ideas are better than others, some ideas require much more work than others do, and some of the ideas are just plain silly. My plan is to choose from that list an idea that fits well as a first online business, or first website. I have done a lot of thinking, but still have not chosen one idea specifically (maybe the idea isn’t on my list yet).
The first full week of the online class has just concluded. I am taking the course work seriously-not because it is pretty much the last classes I will take before graduating, but because I am actually anxious to learn the material. I do have to admit, however, that I missed turning in two assignments already (I drove home to visit my parents for a couple of days and the assignments just slipped my mind until the day after they were due). I still need to make up those two missed assignments.
I first learned about Google AdWords and SEO in an online marketing class that I took for Brother Lundin a while back (I mean a class about online marketing, not a class you take online about marketing). I have had Brother Lundin for a couple of marketing classes that I have taken throughout my college career. I think that the two of us became friends easily because Brother Lundin worked his way through college the same way I have-by doing summer sales, or door-to-door sales. Brother Lundin was the one who told me about this class where students start a business, learn to build a website, and drive traffic to that website. I visited him later in his office to learn more about it and if I were still on BYU-Idaho’s campus I would probably be taking the class from him in person. But, I do believe that having to take this class online will help me to study everything more carefully and really teach myself the information more thoroughly than if I were sitting in a classroom with other students.
Sometimes we don’t take the initiative to teach ourselves something unless we put ourselves in an environment where we have to learn it. I remember thinking to myself back when we were using AdWords that I was only scratching the surface and that there was much more that I needed to do. Now that I am in a position where I have visible deadlines to learning this stuff and where a good grade depends on it, I know I will be more productive than if I had just continued dreaming about one day starting a profitable online business-like I have been doing ever since I took online marketing.
This last week I read about a dozen different online business models and how they generate revenue differently (http://digitalenterprise.org/models/models.html). I also read a great article about brainstorming different business ideas (http://bizthoughts.mikelee.org/brainstorming-business-ideas.html). But what I found the most interesting was the practice I got this week on using Google’s Keyword Tool-it brought back memories of all the AdWord projects I did a couple of years ago. It was a good video (although it might be a few years old). Part one is just under ten minutes long and you can watch it here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-i7REBo83o).
It was a good week and I’m excited for next week’s assignments, although I am going to be extremely busy with work and travel. Oh, and I still need to make up the two assignments I missed!