For me, the path to internet marketing success wasn’t an intentional one.
My job experience started in graphic design and television production. I was working on creating logos for pilot TV shows and transcribing and logging footage for public access television. All while wrapping up my 7th year of college.
I graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Interactive Multimedia from Columbia College in 2007 and was left with exactly zero job skills. Once I realized I was completely unqualified for work in web design (essentially what I got my degree in) I decided to teach myself everything.
I got myself access to some probably pirated copies of Dreamweaver and Photoshop and signed up for a $20 subscription to Lynda.com. From there I followed their tutorials on creating simple websites and kept at it until I had a basic level understanding of how the web works.
It sounds dumb now, but I had absolutely no clue how to buy a domain name, how to make a website, or how to get it to show up on the internet. For most people reading this I’m guessing you’ve also gone through this learning process or are really wishing I’d expand on that last sentence.
How To Buy A Domain Name
Being a few years into my career I have a hard time believing I was ever this naive, but I talk to people all the time who are just as clueless as I was. Purchasing a domain name is the exact same as purchasing anything else online. I’m sure you recognize the name GoDaddy.com. Just go there. Type in your desired name. If it’s not taken they’ll give you a few simple steps to buy it and poof, you own it. It’ll just stay stored in your account settings until you’re ready to host a website on it.
How To Host a Website
In addition to buying your domain you’ll also need to host it. This just means you need to pay for a place to keep your website files that will push them to the internet. You can also do this through GoDaddy, though I suggest MediaTemple.net
instead. Buy the cheapest hosting option and follow their directions to get it up and running. If you have questions send them my way.
Making A Website
For those unable or unwilling to learn how to code html and css there are much easier ways to put a website together. MediaTemple offers a quick WordPress set up that loads a prebuilt website with a user-friendly content management system that you can use the same as you would Microsoft Word or other software.
Additionally I decided to teach myself how websites were structured, how to create directories and how to access files via ftp.
How Websites Are Structured
Websites are essentially just a collection of folders and files which in a lot of ways are set up exactly as you already arrange your media or documents on your computer. The main folder contains a file named default.html or index.html which hosts the homepage and that file connects the rest of the site together (in most cases).
How To Create Directories
If you’re building a site from scratch it’s super simple to create additional pages. Just create another file in the main folder, contact.html for instance. This will give you website.com/contact.html where you can talk about how to get in touch. If you want to create something more advanced like website.com/blog/firstpost.html just drop a folder in the main folder called “blog” and inside that folder have a page called “firstpost.html”. Simple as that.
How To FTP
You might be asking yourself what the heck does FTP mean. It doesn’t really matter (…file transfer protocol if you really have to know). It’s just a way of accessing and transferring your files from your computer to a server that will put your website on the internet. I use Dreamweaver and/or Fetch for Mac to get the job done.
Nowadays it’s not nearly as important to learn these things out of the gate, but for anyone spending time doing this for a living eventually you’ll need to understand these things.
Back To The Beginning
Anyway, I naively decided to start my own design business at this point with no plan to acquire customers or even that much experience designing. Luckily I got a couple fortuitous gigs that helped me to fake it until I made it.
This eventually led to enough experience to get a part-time email production job working a few hours a night helping a writer put his thoughts on the radio business into a template and sending it out to an email list.
After that I found a job as a web designer for a group of ecommerce websites servicing the massage and chiropractic industry. I got some more experience with email and web templates there, but in the process I launched a couple of my own websites on a whim and that’s where it all began!
Next : My First Dollar