Tuesday, 9 April 2013

KOP: Creating Your Home Base Part 1 - Planning

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After much preamble, we are finally getting to the meaty bit. In the next two posts I’m going to take you through planning and then starting your own home base webpage.

This is the ‘you’ webpage at the centre of your little empire. You want everything pointing towards this. 

It is the Rome of your world.
 
For me, this webpage is www.thebuffygroup.com

Purpose of your home base:
Imagine a friendly conversation between you and a possible literary agent you just happen to bump into while waiting in line for coffee.

‘So, where can I find out more about you and your work?’ They ask as the cashier is waiting for them to give their order.
 
‘Um, well I have a blog, at (blah blah), and I post some articles for (name two or three places), and I’ve created a webpage for one of my series. Also, there is my twitter and my Facebook, you can like me there. Oh, and don’t forget LinkedIn, yeah, and my YouTube channel…’ 

Even the cashier is staring as you ramble.
 
Instead, pulling out a single business card you just say ‘Check out www.thebuffygroup.com, it has everything you need to know.’ You then seductively flick your hair as you walk off with your hot chocolate with extra cream on top.
 
Cool, huh?
 
The home base is one place which lists absolutely everything you are doing. It, in itself, will probably not generate much traffic. Unless people are searching in Google for your name, it probably won’t come up. However, your other sites, such as your writing blog and your blog on rabbit breeding, will point there. People that love what you do with bunny hair care will click through and see that you also have a blog on flower arranging and think ‘wow, that’s something else I’m interested in!’ and then go through to that.
 
So you can think of it as your own Grand Central station. Hopefully with the same sense of style.

The Key Elements of Your Home Base:
 
Your home base should feel personal and professional at the same time. People are there to find out more about you, rather than a particular topic, but that doesn’t mean they want to hear about how you changed dirty diapers all morning.
 
1.    It should be the epitome of your personal branding. You should definitely have a logo, a colour scheme, and an overall feel.
 
2.    It should point to every connected project you have going on.
 
3.    Try to make sure it has something not elsewhere available. For example, you might have parts of your ‘story’ on all your other webpages and blogs, but only here do you give the full version. I've just added a video clip with a personal thank you for visiting the site, so people can get a better feel for Buffy.
 
4.    Have as many ways as possible for people to connect to you. Facebook, newsletter sign up, anything to make the individual feel they are connecting to you personally, not just for information.

5.    Give something back. Other websites and blogs will be giving information, but the personal home base doesn’t have that, so it needs to give something that people will appreciate. I’ve put up first chapters for free download of all my books. I’m also going to offer exclusives on all my other projects to people who are signed up on the newsletter here. There will be benefits to following the Buffy Group as a whole, rather than just one project. (hint hint!)

So, those are some of the ideas for what you need on your home base webpage. Sit down now and plan out the number of pages you are going to need, what you are going to have on each page, and details like how many sidebars and menus are you going to need to fit everything in. Plan this now, as it will be helpful later.

In the next post we’ll get into the technical details of actually starting a webpage. Yah!
 

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