Building an online platform – creating your brand

Nowadays, for almost whatever you are planning to become in life – an author, a musician, a filmmaker – or to do such as selling your wonderful handmade jewelry or your grandmother’s jam, you need an Internet presence.

Having an Internet presence is not something new; you’ve heard it many times. It used to be fairly simple: build a website and you should be good to go! Well, things have gotten a little more complex.

Indeed, having a website is not enough anymore you need to have a social media platform as well meaning you have to have a twitter account, a Facebook page, an Instagram account, a Google plus account etc. I must say that, at the beginning, I hated the idea. I saw it as an invasion of privacy. On top of it, it is so much work!! You go to a restaurant, you take a picture of your food and you instantaneously post it on twitter or Instagram. And except your close friends who cares of what you ate that day, well…it seems nowadays that a lot of people do care, millions of people. I am not saying that if you post a picture of your plate you will have many likes or hits but it is a possibility depending on who you are, the trends… For a while, I was very reluctant but I’ve changed my mind, yep! Only imbecile people do not change their mind – as it was claimed in a Danone commercial on TV when I was growing up in France (It was a commercial for a flan which was so delicious!!)

Yes, I’ve changed my mind and I decided to self-publish my first book. Therefore, the last six months -after listening to a lot of podcasts and reading self-publishing books on marketing 101- I gave up my reticence to social media and I am currently going a step even further. Indeed, I can confidently say that I am starting to embrace and enjoy social media tools! I am still very new at it though, so please forgive me if I am not as fast as I should be to post or update my blog or pages. I am learning it as I go. Hopefully, one day, I’ll become good at it as Joanna Penn, Tim Ferris or Shawn Manhaer! But I have a long way to go!

I will share with you here on this blog my tedious journey. Later on maybe next year, I’ll try to put my experience into a small free downloadable book for you to use. Register here and I will keep you inform when it is available.

Thus, let’s begin. To create a brand you need an online platform which means having a website and a social media presence.

At the moment, I will speak to you about my experience on creating a website. Back in 2008, for my film Trip to the Planetarium, I created a website using Dreamweaver doing simple html pages. I did the same thing when I created a website for my band, Skyebat. Creating a website is time consuming, so you need to be ready to give up some of your precious creative time for some technical one. The downside of making a website using html is that you need to create every little thing for your website and your site is being built locally on your computer (therefore, you depend on one computer). If I were to build a site using Dreamweaver again, I would probably put all of my local files on Dropbox, it would be easier to modify or access the files. However, whatever you chose to do to keep your local files on, you will still need to use a computer that has Dreamweaver software on it – which is not a perfect solution either.

A few weeks ago, I’ve decided to create a blog/website for my book series OhlalaLand stories. I wanted to make my life easier and decided to create a free blog. I thought it would be sufficient for what I wanted to do. But, I quickly discovered the limitations of getting a free service!

  • Limitations on the functionality and options for your site.
  • Limitations on how much you can customize the look of the site.

It was when I was tried to install the plugin -so I could insert signup forms on my blog- which took me two days of troubleshooting, that I realized that the only sensible thing for me to do was to abandon the world of free service and enter the professional one.

I went back into the idea of self-hosting my own site. Self-hosting means that you don’t use a free service such as WordPress to run your blog or website.

However, I came to enjoy using WordPress for its user-friendly dashboard and settings. Therefore, I decided to self-host using WordPress system so I would get the best of both worlds. Yes, I know, it is confusing: self-hosting a website using WordPress system.

WordPress is a software system. It is like if you were using Word from Microsoft. You can buy Word from different places and stores, it’s the same thing for WordPress system. I chose to go with because I get off my domain names from them. Plus, what I like about GoDaddy is their customer support. Yes! There’s nothing more important than a good customer service, especially when you are dealing with technical things and you are a novice. You can call GoDaddy customer services and someone will answer the phone in a few minutes. You can also schedule a call back, a feature that I find very convenient.

Yesterday, I got the $1/month Managed WordPress hosting plan deal. This is a special deal for the first year. After, I’ll have to pay $3.49/month ($41.88/year). Which is still better than if I had taken the premium update with WordPress for $99 per year.

I am glad I made this decision: self-hosting using WordPress software which will allow me to control everything on my site.

When I created the blog using the free WordPress I was not able to export the pages. Therefore, now that I have switched to self-hosting using WordPress software, I have to start eveyrthing from scratch. And, this is where I am today. I am beginning to create pages for the site, uploading content. I am also reading about great useful tools like WordPress SEO by Yoast.

What a long day, I’m very tired now. More later, bonne nuit…

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