Leverage Your Experience To Build Another Income Stream In Retirement
Having just retired from a professional career you may want to continue working on a part time basis. Perhaps you’ll be doing some consultancy?
This could be partly for the continuity of working with people and/or for financial reasons. Let’s face it, the pension may have to last another forty or fifty years. Another income stream may come in handy.
A Fast Track to an Online Presence
Therefore you need some sort of online presence – a web site – for your consultancy business. Your web site will describe your services, have a resumÃ© of your career experience, and include standard pages such as terms and conditions, a privacy statement and a contact form. But as your business grows, you’ll need to add client testimonials and case studies.
What’s the fastest and most cost effective way to achieve your website? You may think about outsourcing to a web designer offshore. However this creates a lot of overhead on communication and the potential for misunderstanding. Offshoring is a great way of making savings but it usually takes a few attempts plus the building of a relationship before you reap real benefits.
However, there is a low cost alternative without offshoring and that is to use blogging software such as WordPress.
WordPress has a built-in content management system which makes it easy for you to create and publish both pages and posts (articles).
We recommend using the WordPress theme called Thesis which gives you huge flexibility over the layout of the site as well as a number of great features which help to get your site noticed in the search engines.
This is how you could structure the site:
Example Site Map for a Semi Retired Professional
- On all pages – have a header section containing your logo, a menu with links to pages: Services, Experience, Case Studies and Testimonials; and a footer section with links to Contact Us page, Privacy Statement page and Terms and Conditions page
- Home Page – excepts from recent posts, a search utility, and various other links to articles on your site
- Services Page – description of the consultancy services you offer
- Experience Page – resume of your career, experience and skills
- Contact Us Page – form where people can submit questions that get sent to you as email
- Privacy Statement Page – your policy on any data you collect through the site
- Terms and Conditions Page – your terms of business
- Testimonials Page – excepts of all the posts (articles) that you have categorized as testimonials
- Case Studies Page – excepts of all the posts (articles) that you have categorized as case studies
That sounds quite a lot of work so I recommend you get help to get started. This is how it could break down:
Step 1 : Initial Preparation Â for the site owner
- Write down the goal of your web site – it is good to be explicit about what you want the web site to deliver
- Write a short paragraph describing the services you wish to offer and why a client should choose you
- Provide a resumÃ© with your experience
- Provide your contact details
- Give your web developer the name of three web sites where you like the look, the colours and styling of the site
- Choose a domain name
- Commission the design of a logo for your business
With the last two tasks your WordPress Developer should be able to help with these if required.
Step 2: Initial Site Setup by your web developer
- Install WordPress
- Set up the domain and name servers
- Set up the blog with the various pages: services and experience
- Incorporate your logo and style the site according to your preferences
- Add a contact form, privacy and terms and condition pages
- Perform keyword research to establish what terms the site should aim to rank well for in the search engines (e.g. independent building surveys south west England)
- Check out Pay Per Click rates on those keyword phrases
Step 3: Site Review with your web developer
- review the look, colours and styling of the site
- review the content
- practise adding one of two case studies to the site – these are just blog posts with a few embedded pictures
- agree the set of keyword phrases you want to rank for in the search engines and a budget for a pay per click campaign
- agree what goals you want to track on the web site – this could be completing a contact form, subscribing to your blog, or downloading a brochure. [The goal could be to pick up the phone and call you but unfortunately this is not possible to track unless you ask them at the end of the call how they found your name.]
Step 4: Putting your web site live
- Adding final touches to the look of the site
- Proof reading the site for errors and omissions
- Verifying the site with Google Webmaster Tools
- Building a sitemap and registering it with Google
- Setting up goals in Google Analytics
- Creating a Pay Per Click campaign to drive some traffic to your site
Benefits of Using WordPress
This approach of using a WordPress blog has three main benefits over the ‘traditional’ approach of hiring a web developer to build you a custom web site: that is, more features, a faster time to market and lower cost.
WordPress Has Lots Of Great Features Out Of The Box
With WordPress, you have what is known as a content management system, this means you can update the site simply and safely yourself, with having to involve your web developer.
Also with WordPress, there are over a thousand plugins that can a multitude of rich features to your site. I would recommended adding somewhere between ten and twenty plugins that cover various functions such as spam protection, database backups, traffic statistics collection, contact forms, article categorization, RSS feed syndication, simple shopping carts, etc. Any relatively simple feature you might want to add to your site is available, and most of them are free of charge, however it might be best to engage some technical expertise if you want it done in hours rather than working through it yourself. That is not to say you can’t set up WordPress plugins yourself, it is really not that difficult, it is just quicker to pay someone else with experience to do it.
WordPress Gets Your To Market More Quickly
With WordPress you can set up a rich, unique site in one to two weeks, and have the site appear in the search engine rankings. This compares very favourably with the traditional approach where a typical time to market is one to two months.
WordPress Gets Your To Market At Low Cost
WordPress is free and hence, if you have time to learn some basic technical skills, you can build the site yourself the site will cost nothing other than your time. I do not recommend this approach. I believe it is more cost effective to get your site to market sooner and hence start making money and therefore enlisting the help of an experience WordPress developer is a real benefit.
Even with professional help then the implementation costs with WordPress will tend to be $500 to $2000 depending on the level of customization whereas the traditional development approach of an equivalent feature rich site would cost $2000 to $10000
Surely I can’t do everything with WordPress?
True, but WordPress gives you a great start to your business at low cost.
If you want to add very sophisticated features later on then you can extend your web site beyond the blog: with forums, a membership site, a more sophisticated shop, interactive services, whatever you need, but the WordPress blog can remain an integral part of your site, allowing you publish content easily and drive quality traffic to the site.
For most new ventures it makes sense to get the basics right first and prove you have a viable business before investing further in your online presence.
For many small businesses, a well constructed WordPress blog with regularly updated quality content is all you need.