K.I.S.S: Start with social media (website comes later)

Today (yesterday) at the Live Your Legend Helsinki meetup, I had a brief chat with someone who wanted to launch a website for their new business. I gave some general advice on using WordPress, what components your site should have and so on.

But my real advice to anyone who wants to build an online presence for a business or personal branding: start with social media. Unless you have a very specific reason and you know how to set up websites, don’t start by building a website! It’s 2017, not 1997, there’s no need to start from scratch. Social media is free, easy to use and the audience is already there. Once you gain followers and traction, you will have a clearer vision on what you actually need from a website (and an audience to share it with!). Your primary job should be concentrating on your business and promoting it, not spending hours figuring out technical problems.

Besides, it’s not like you wouldn’t create social media accounts for your business anyways. So why not start there?

PS. If you absolutely want to start with a website, start on WordPress.com. It’s easy to use, free for basic use, you can later export your website to another server and you learn how to use the most popular website and blogging platform on earth.

Logout & test

This is a lesson I’ve had to learn the hard way, more than once. Whenever you are working on your blog or social media channel, you’re logged in to the service you are using. Make sure you test your content either by logging out or using something like “Incognito” mode on Chrome or “Private browsing” on Firefox.

Why?  Sometimes logged in users (especially admin-level) see different content than those who aren’t logged in. There might be content that appears to be published, but in reality it’s set as private and is only visible to admins. For example, on YouTube, if you click the “Videos” feed on your channel, you will see ever single video you’ve ever uploaded, regardless of their visibility status. You might have set some videos as “private” or “unlisted” and forgotten about it, then wonder why you aren’t getting any hits.

This doesn’t just apply to social media or WordPress, same advice goes for developing websites and applications. Developers and designers almost always require/use admin-level privileges when creating something new. It’s really easy to forget to test as a regular user, especially when in a rush.