Your Home Base On The Web

Your Home Base On The Web

Continuing the series from Lanzarote based social media expert Mike Cliffe-Jones. We’re going on a journey aimed at giving you a template to use to set up a strong web presence which will make you much more interesting to potential sponsors and will put you back in control of your own on-line brand

So we’ve covered why you need to be on social media, and it’s now time to look at what you actually need.

You absolutely must have your own website! You cannot rely on free platforms like Facebook, Twitter or Google + because they own all the content you post to them, and they can close down your account with them without notice and delete all the data you’ve uploaded. This has already happened in several high profile cases.

With your own website, you retain ownership and copyright to all the content you put on there. Think of it as your own piece of real estate on the internet – you control what goes on there. The other platforms are important, but as we’ll see in future posts, they are there to drive traffic to your own site – your “Home base” on the world wide web.

Your Domain

Having a website requires a domain – the web address. As a sports personality the best possible domain for you is www.yourname.com – a .com is always the best choice, with .net as a second option. In general, country top level domains like .es or .co.uk are not as good for an international audience.

If you can buy www.yourname.com do so now! You can check domain availability and buy your domain at any number of websites – I use www.idotz..net Buying the domain is inexpensive – you’ll pay under €10 a year for it.

But what if you can’t get your name? Check first to see who owns it – you can do that here – http://www.whois.sc/ and have a look to see if there is a website on there. If there is, you’ll struggle, if not you can contact the current owner and make them an offer. If you can’t buy www.yourname.com then you’ll need to compromise in some way. Maybe you can add the word “Triathlete” to your name, or use a nickname?

One point worth mentioning here is that you should buy the domain yourself and make sure you are recorded as the owner. Don’t allow a web company to buy it for you – they will control it, and not you.

Whatever you decide upon, once you own the domain name, you are ready to move to the next step. You need to create website on a server, and then point your domain name to it.

Your Website

Your website has to serve a number of functions – it’s a place where you tell the world about your existing sponsors, it’s somewhere potential sponsors can find out more about you, where fans can learn about you, and where journalists can get data for their articles.

Specify software that will make it easy for you to update it yourself. It’s a pain (and expensive) to have to call the “web guy” every time you want to make a change. I’d recommend using WordPress or Drupal – both have a “back end” where you can easily change things and add new content.

Your website should have as a minimum:

  • A “blog” section where you can easily write updates
  • A gallery for photos of you and one for videos
  • Your race history and stats
  • A sponsor’s section where you can showcase the brands that support you
  • A contact page
  • Links to your social media profiles and pages

Remember, this is your place on the web – everything important should go on it. For example, when you enter a race for the first time, the temptation is to write a quick post on Facebook telling everyone about the race, why you’re doing it and what you are hoping to achieve. But that kind of information should go on your website, and then write a post on Facebook incorporating the link to your post with something like “News – I’ve entered Challenge Weymouth – read all about why and what I hope to achieve <here>”

What you’re doing there is building your own website’s credibility in search, storing the data for yourself for the future, and showing people that your website is the place to go for anything about you.

Now you’ve followed these key steps, I’ll follow up with which social media platforms you should be using and how to get the best from them without spending your whole life online! So stay tuned!

This post was written by Mike Cliffe-Jones, find out more on his profile page

Mike Cliffe-Jones runs Camel Media Group in Lanzarote – a web publishing company with several titles, including Tri Lanzarote