A friend asked me for advice on setting up a website and creating his personal brand. I went through the basics with him. Domain name, web hosting, etc. His first retort was, "Har? Have to pay ah. Got free one or not?" And that, my dear friends, is possibly the worst type of mindset one can have when you're in business mode. Now, it's not to say that you have to spend excessively, but you should spend on the things that you need. Some products and services you acquire, which you may have to pay recurring fees for, are worth having and will help you save time, grow your business and worth.
What you're doing by paying for a certain services is investing in you and your future. If you're not willing to invest in yourself, then you're running a hobby, not a business. No one will take your business seriously if you don't take your business seriously. Now, I'm not asking you to jump into the deep end of the ocean and splurge a million dollars. You do need to spend a little to kickstart your personal brand. And as you grow your business, then you can start looking to acquire other services. For now, here are 4 necessary items you need to look at:
1. A Decent Logo
This is your brand identity. This is what people will remember. They may forget how you look like, but they will remember your logo. You can get free logos around the internet. There are tons of free apps that will generate generic logos for you. The problem is, they are generic. And someone else out there likely will have a logo that is similar to yours. And generic logos are forgettable cos they are meh at best.
Your logo is the first thing your potential clients will see, and they will likely stick around to know more about you if your logo is memorable. A good logo tells potential clients what sort of business you are and conveys the intended message. A generic logo says nothing about your business, but will tell potential customers a lot about you.
Take a step above everyone else. Hire a graphics designer to help you design a logo. A decent logo can cost between $50 - $150. A good logo can cost between $150 - $500. A professional logo can cost up to a few thousand dollars. A decent logo will be more than suffice.
2. A Domain Name
A domain name is like your title deed in the interwebs. Once anyone types your domain name, they get transported to your online home. Good, catchy, relevant domain names tend to be more successful as people can easily remember them. They give you credibility and presence in a crowded space. Plus it makes it very easy for your clients to share it with their friends. Furthermore, having your own domain name shows the world that you are taking your business seriously.
Depending on the uniqueness of the name and top domain (.com, .sg, etc), a domain name can cost between $15 to a few hundred dollars annually.
3. A Web Host
A domain name is the address. A web host is the home. Your domain name is permanent as long as you pay for it. Your web host can change, depending on your needs. Your web host will host your website and can provide you an email server as well, depending on your needs. As written previously "8 Reasons Why You Should Own A Website", your own website is yours. It's not rented ground. You can say, show, write whatever you want and no one can censor you.
Web hosting can cost from $5 to $50 a month depending on your needs. Do research the various companies that host and ensure they are reliable and have good speed. Two web hosting services that I use are Exabytes which is a Singapore web hosting company, and also Weblium which I use for leonardkoh.sg. Both offer very different services at very affordable prices depending on your needs.