Where do your prospective learners go to get details about you and your business? Where can they find strong evidence of the value you offer? Where will they return over time to find new offerings and continue their relationship with you?
For most of us, the answer is – or should be – our main Website, or home base Website, as I refer to it in Leading the Learning Revolution.
Yes, it may be desirable to have a dedicated platform for managing and delivering your online courses, but most of these platforms don’t really have the flexibility to serve as the focal point of your online presence. And you definitely need a strong, evolving online presence if you are going to be a successful learning entrepreneur over the long haul.
This topic has been top of mind for me lately because one of the projects I’ve undertake is to refresh and revamp my various Web sites. (Yes, I actually have multiple sites that serve as “home bases” for different lines of business.)
Here are 3 key aspects of how I manage my Web sites.
First, I stick with WordPress. Time-tested, used by millions, plenty of these and plug-ins, huge numbers of freelancers who can help you with every aspect of it – it’s just hard to see why to use anything else these days.
Second, I use WordPress themes – i.e., the part that control most of how your site looks for visitors – that I know will not slow the site down (Google cares about this more and more) and that I know are search engine friendly. I put particular emphasis on this second point. While there are all sorts of pretty themes out there, many of them are programmed in ways that can hurt search engine optimization (SEO). For piece of mind, I stick with StudioPress themes. They are fast, SEO-friendly, and they can be tweaked to do pretty much whatever you want.
Finally, I take hosting seriously. Yes, you can go for the GoDaddy or BlueHost cheap hosting, but I have used both – and others – and found them highly questionable in terms of performance, reliability, usability, support, and other factors. As it happens, the StudioPress folks have just introduced StudioPress Sites, which provides for highly optimized WordPress hosting at an affordable price ($24 per month). If you don’t have great hosting currently, definitely check it out.
For the time being, though, I am sticking with the WPEngine, a high performance WordPress host I started using a few years ago and now use for all my sites. The provide outstanding support and rock solid performance. While a bit pricier for a single site, I can run as many sites as I want under a single WP Engine account.
Bottom line, it’s worth taking stock n what you are doing with your home base – regardless of whatever course delivery platform you are using or considering – and taking some steps to up you game.