Starting a new website is often the groundwork for a business venture. In the beginning it is in a primal state. You really want it to be a Castle from the get-go but in reality it is the opening to a cave in a cliff face. So how do you build your online business into a Virtual Castle?
How do we evolve from the cave to dwellings covered in Mammoth hides, from grass huts to stone houses and then to the grandeur of a virtual Castle? It all takes time and content.
Laying the Foundation
Archaeologists have often noted that on the sites of ruined castles there is evidence of previous dwellings prior to the foundations being laid for the castle. And even the initial build of the castle evolved further into its final glory before it fell into ruin for whatever reason.
Websites are similar. The means of building them has changed from decade to decade. This site is built on the WordPress platform with Themify Ultra which is a drag and drop builder. It creates a modern looking site and the builder itself is evolving all the time making the process easier for the developer. So the foundations of LivingHorizontally rely heavily on WordPress and Themify to bring my virtual ideas to life. To create the magic in the browser.
When you’re making concrete to pour a foundation it has four ingredients – cement, sand, gravel and water. The four elements I rely on when building LivingHorizontally are WordPress, Themify, my hosting and domain provider – Wealthy Affiliate, and the content I create to build out the site.
I got the inspiration for my domain name from some work colleagues who said that if I was anymore laid back I’d be horizontal. I thought that was a great launching pad for an affiliate marketing business that could set me on the path to running a business from a hammock. Hence, the image on my HomePage.
I’m glad I added that link. I noticed that the image from the top of my Home page had disappeared. Oops. Crisis averted and some changes made in real time to fix the problem and possibly make the user experience (UX) better. That’s what happens when you delete some duplicate images from your media library. All good now .
The Corner Stone and the Pillars
Once we have the foundation in place, we begin the build. The first stone set into the foundations was called the cornerstone. On top of the first cornerstone a pillar would be set and the building of the castle is begun. It is no mistake that there is in RankMath a checkbox for Pillar Content and in Yoast a checkbox that you can tick that says Cornerstone Content.
So what is Cornerstone or Pillar content? Given the building metaphor it is content that is needed to provide strength to the niche you are writing about. If you think about your niche – what are the concepts that are absolutely no-brainers when people are considering your offer. That if they didn’t know these things their interest would wane and potential as a customer would fade away.
Let’s think about a cornerstone. After the foundation is laid what is the single most important idea you want your readers or viewers to know? If it is a hobby, if it is a problem or complaint that you’re solving, what is paramount to the solution. This will be the cornerstone content to your website. It will be something without which the endeavour is doomed to fail. It maybe a piece of equipment a person needs or a discipline to master before headway towards the goal can be made.
Once we have that cornerstone in place, there will be other concepts that are next in importance these become the pillars. The pillars will carry the roof of the castle. And what do roofs do but provide shelter and keep out the rain. So pillar content acts as a magnet for the search engines to seek out what is imperative to a niche.
Why is this so important that two of the leading providers of SEO tools Yoast and RankMath include check boxes as part of their make up? If you optimize your content for the search engines you will be going a long way toward building authority as an expert in your field whether that be a hobby or business. When you can rank on the first page of a search engine for a keyword there is more likelihood of you selling your product or service.
Once those pillars have gone up the walls can be started. Stone by stone, brick by brick. Each stone or brick is a piece of content. The more content there is the more authority you will have at least in the view of the search engines. When starting out on this path there can be times when you may feel like a fraud and often that is just insecurity.
If you have an enduring hobby or passion, if you’ve solved a problem or complaint then you’ve done the hard yards you may not yet know how to put that into words and on a website and then to monetize that, but all those skills can be learned with the right training and the right mentorship and coaching.
Each piece of content is not only building your virtual castle it is also adding to the knowledge of your readers or viewers if you’re creating in YouTube
Towers and Turrets
Castles were generally built on the tops of hills. If one had the high ground, one had the advantage. Towers and turrets gave the castle keepers to opportunity to watch more of the surrounding countryside for possible threats and to keep their people safe. As I thought about this I thought of social media and how the use of social media enables us to cast our vision further and enables the scaling of the business to gather a larger audience.
Most small business training suggests that you may have to work in the business in the beginning to get it going and running smoothly. To create systems and processes that work for the efficient running. However, if you don’t allow space to work on your business you’re not doing you or your enterprise any favours. Viewing the empire, small though it may be, from a height gives perspective. Instead of being focused on the routine you give yourself time to expand your vision across all aspects of the business and tweaking it when necessary.
Looking after the People
Castles were sanctuaries for the people that lived outside the walls. If there were wars against neighbouring communities and the stronghold was going to be attacked the people would take shelter inside the castle walls safe from the threat.
What you’re providing by being an authority in your niche and the content you’re putting up on your site is a sense of safety and trust. People know they can trust what you’re saying. They can depend on the stronghold of information you’re giving them. They can rely on you.
When this happens, they’re more likely to share what they’ve learned through social channels or word of mouth. As J.R.R. Tolkien said, “Not all who wander are lost”. Those who have your site or content shared with them and it resonates are liable to wander into your castle. This has the potential of increasing the amount of business that is coming your way.
The greater the trust your audience has the more the kingdom grows. This will enable you to further scale your business. At this point you really need to be working on the business rather than in the business. Chances are you’ve collected a team of allies around you that are loyal to the cause or kingdom. A team you can trust to look after the day to day tasks while you are overseeing the kingdom.
Sharing the Love
“Small things done with great love will change the world” ~ Mother Teresa
Wanting to share something you love and care about is what drew you to this business.
Let each brick or stone you set into your building be done with love.
In this enterprise you’re not only changing your world but you’re also offering this sense of care to those who enter your castle.