How To Start A Business – The Ultimate Checklist

Starting your own business is the most time consuming, exciting, draining, rewarding, lonely, and social experience ever. You’re going to love your business. You’re going to absolutely hate it too. The thing is, you don’t really have a choice. You’re an entrepreneur. You feel it in your bones. You absolutely HAVE to make an impact on the world. So this is it, it’s time to start a new chapter in your life! It’s time to start a business.

1 – Find a business idea

There are a thousand different reasons to start a business:

  • You want to create a business because you feel something is missing
  • A business exists but it’s not been done correctly
  • You want to make a lot of money
  • You’re trying to scratch your own itch
  • Maybe you can see an opportunity in one market that has not been done in another
  • You want to be free
  • You’re looking for a side hustle to supplement your income…

The list is endless. And this leads to an even bigger list of possible business ideas.

If you haven’t quite defined your project just yet, no worries, simply jump over to our business idea guide to get some inspiration.

2 – Choose your business name

Finding a name for a business will keep entrepreneurs awake at night. The questions go round and round in your head. Is the name memorable enough? Does it address a large enough audience? I’m planning on growing fast, is the name international enough? Choosing a name for your business can be paralysing!

It’s also a great way to procrastinate and push back any real work that needs to be done to move your business forward 😉

You have 2 things to look at here: your company name and your product name.

Pick a company name fast

Your company name will typically be something like BusinessName Ltd. or XYZ Limited. It will be your registered business name with companies house and will be on all your legal documents. A business name does not have to have any marketing value. It does not have to be punchy. And you can change a business name very easily at any time during your business life for only £8.

2 things to check before you jump in with your registered business name:

Check if the company name is available:

UK company name availability checker

Check if the trademark is available:

UK trademark search

Your first product name

Your product name is different. This will be the brand known by your clients. And if you make the effort to get your product known, trusted, and ranked high on search engines, you do not want to suddenly go back to square one by changing the name.

The good thing is that one business can have several product names. So even though it’s important to get your product name right, it will not limit your development in the future.

Example:

Google is not a company name. It is one product of the company Alphabet inc.

Before choosing a name for your business, it’s probably a good idea to check if the domain name and social media accounts are available:

For domain name availability you can head to:

You can check if the social media accounts are available on:

NameChk

For business name and product name ideas:

Name generators

https://www.name-generator.org.uk/business/

https://namelix.com/

Brand names for sale:

BrandBucket

https://www.brandbucket.com/

3 – Register your business

Register your business with companies house and really start your business.

You have 3 options:

a) Follow the registration process on Gov.co.uk

https://www.gov.uk/set-up-limited-company

b) Use a business registration service

https://www.yourcompanyformations.co.uk/

https://www.theformationscompany.com/

https://www.mintformations.co.uk/

https://www.companiesmadesimple.com/

c) Use an accountant

4 – Open A Business Bank Account

Setting up a business bank account can be quite daunting. The bank manager will ask a lot of questions about your project even if you don’t need to borrow any money and it can feel overwhelming. And quite often you just don’t know the answers.

We opened our business bank account with Tide.co. It’s an online bank launched in 2015 that makes this whole process a lot easier. 

They offer a great app that will take you step by step to a fully working business bank account. It’s business banking as it should be. Tide also automatically connects to accounting software like Xero and QuickBooks.

5 – Make a website

If your business is not obviously related to the internet you may think that making a website should not be the 1st thing on your “start a business” todo list. However absolutely every business now has a digital element.

Searching the web before you buy has become key for any consumer. You need to have an online presence to get new clients, build a relationship with existing clients and make sure they come back again. Word of mouth and recommendations have gone digital.

And this is true whether you’re launching a restaurant or setting up pure online tech business.

If you were running a shoe shop, you’re probably not a builder or an professional interior designer, but I’m pretty sure that you know how to open the front door and put a shelf back up if it suddenly collapses

It’s the same with a website. Not only should you have a website, but you should know how to make your website and how to fix it.

In the past, building a website was difficult. You had to learn how to code, hire developers or work with an agency. Today, there are several tools available that will allow you to do absolutely everything yourself and without any coding knowledge.

Make a website with WordPress

We are very big fans of WordPress to build websites. There are other options available, but WordPress runs over 30% of all websites in the world, and it’s the cheapest way to create and maintain a strong online presence. It’s also a very transferable skill. Learning to make a website with WordPress will allow you to build any kind of website in the future. 

Learn to build a website by following our step by step guide: How to make a website?

Other ways of making a website

  • Use a website builder
  • Learn to code

Learn to code with StartupMag

Use an online platform: https://www.codecademy.com/

Find a coding bootcamp

  • Hire a developer

https://www.upwork.com/

  • Work with a web agency

https://business.yell.com/mobile-web-design/

6 – Make sure you’re reachable

Host Your Emails
  • G-Suite
  • Office 365
  • Cpanel Email

Set Up Your Social Media Accounts

Each social media account is a great opportunity to build a new shop front for your business. You do not have to be on all of them and you should definitely attack them one at a time. The scattered machine gun approach does not work with social media.

Whatever your business, your brand and name are important. Although jumping from one platform to the next is not recommended, it’s a good idea to open all the accounts with your name as soon as possible. Store the passwords somewhere safe and make your way back when you’re ready.

Facebook Page

Facebook has made strong progress with it’s user targeting. You can narrow down your client personas so much that it often converts better than Google Ads. For products, the Facebook marketplace will give you even more selling options and is becoming very popular. We now absolutely love advertising on this platform.

However before you start promoting your business, you’ll need to setup a facebook page.

How to set up a facebook page for your business

You’ll need 4 things:

  • Logo
  • Cover image
  • Description
  • Don’t forget to change your username

Instagram Account

Instagram is probably the quickest social media to get into for a business. More pictures, less words.

Linkedin Company Page

Linkedin has become overused by marketing people but it’s very underused by small businesses. It’s a great place to meet potential partners. And it’s often where VCs (and other investors) start when researching a new market, so it’s good to be there.

Twitter Account

Twitter is the last of the big 4. This social media is more interactive from the start where you are rapidly pushed towards following other tweeters. There is a lot of noise, but if you double down on your expertise you quickly gain followers for your business.

  • Snapchat
  • TikTok
Get a telephone number
  • Skype
  • Voipfone

7 – Create Content

Fix Your Logo
Create Text content
Get Stock images
Hire content creators

8 – Business Money

Business Bank Accounts
Insurance

What are you selling?

9 – Build Your Product

Plan it
Whiteboard it
Wireframe it
Design it
Code it

10 – Import Your Product

Sourcing suppliers

Sourcing a product from one market at a price (X), and then reselling it at a higher price (X+margin) in another market has been the basis of business for thousands of years.

Today, the web has bought markets closer together. And you do not need to travel to South East Asia anymore to find a factory that will build your product.

Alibaba is an online marketplace platform that links together buyers and wholesalers. You can browse through a catalogue of products and get in contact with agents or factories to buy in volume or create bespoke products.

Alibaba is the biggest wholesale marketplace at the moment, but there are alternatives including Naruvis an Indian equivalent. And like offline product sourcing, negotiating correctly will make or break your business

Shipping Costs

There are 2 parts to shipping:

– shipping/importing: getting the products to you, the business.

– shipping to customers: delivering your products to your final clients. This is a very costly part of the profit making equation.

As the cost of the raw materials goes down, the price of shipping can be more than the value of your actual product. So it’s key to get this part right.

Amazon FBA

You can skip the “shipping to customers” part by using a fulfilment center to send your products out to your clients. One of the most well known centers is Amazon FBA. In this case, your products will arrive in an Amazon FBA center fully packaged. As soon as an order is made, Amazon will use it’s massive infrastructure to automatically pick your product and send it out. 

By using a fulfilment center, you will only have to worry about sourcing and marketing your product. It’s a tool used by thousands of businesses.

There are however 3 downsides to using a fulfilment centre:

  • Extra cost: remember to crunch the numbers. There is a monthly minimum cost + a cost per order. It may not be for you with very low or very high volume. You’ll find more information here: https://services.amazon.co.uk/services/fulfilment-by-amazon/features-benefits.html
  • More organisation required: you’ll need to make sure your supplier is packing your products correctly. Each product will have to have barcode + further elements depending on the center.
  • Lack of quality control: you will not see your product before it’s sent out to your customer. It’s probably best to build a good relationship with your supplier before you go all in with FBA.

11 – Are You The Product?

Define your Offer
Sell Yourself

SELL

12 – Who Are Your Clients?

Busines Model Canvas
Value Proposition Canvas 
Customer Personas

13 – Get Ready For Your Clients

Landing Pages

Your website homepage should be good at directing generic users to different sections of your business. However, most users should not arrive on your homepage. 

Users generated by advertising such a Google Ads, SEO and PR should arrive on a landing page that has been setup and optimised for just for them.

The idea is that how you generate traffic pre-qualifies your visitors. By clicking on your ad, visitors are already giving you extra information about them. You will know what their intentions are. Analytics may even give you information about their gender or age. And keywords will give you a sense of how urgent this request is.

Creating landing pages for each of your traffic acquisition methods will help you generate more quality leads and get more sales. 

Click here to learn more about creating your perfect lead generating landing page.

Pixels and Analytics

If you’re looking to do any kind of optimisation with your online presence, you’ll need to track your visitors. Finding out where your traffic is coming from will allow you to make a direct link between source and conversion rates. And once you determine the most valuable traffic, you can put more effort into generating more of the same kind.

4 key tracking codes for your business:

Google Analytics

This free tool from Google will give you insights into how your clients experience your business.

  • Who is your audience: age, gender, location
  • Where are they coming from: Google, Facebook, PR, advertising, word of mouth
  • How are they interacting with your website: time on site, page/visitor, conversions, sales funnel

Add Google analytics to you website in 8 steps

Google Ads conversion code

Google Ads is the most powerful advertising platform in the world. You can show a product to buyers exactly when they want it. Not before, not after, exactly at the right time. But not all buyers search for products or services the same way, and you need to track that so you don’t waste money on random clicks. It is key that you set up your Google Ads conversion code as soon as possible. It’s even more important than Google Analytics as you are paying for each click.

Remarketing code

You very rarely sell to a client in 1 step.

A user wanting to buy a car, will 1st hear about a car brand on TV, visit a garage, talk to friends, start seeing their favourite car everywhere and then suddenly come across the perfect offer from the perfect salesperson and buy.

Remarketing allows you to build a similar sales funnel but this time 100% online. You can track users that have already visited your website and then remind them of your business with ads distributed throughout their web browsing.

You’ll need a minimum amount of traffic to be able to do real remarketing. Setting up your tags as early as possible is a great idea.

Facebook pixel

The Facebook pixel is very similar to the Google Ads conversion code. You need to track your visitors. You need to know what works and what doesn’t or you’re just throwing money out of the window. This is even more true with Facebook where ads are a lot more creative and reactions difficult to predict.

14 – Marketing: Go Get Your Clients

“If you build it, they will come” simply does not work!

If you don’t tell anybody about your business, nobody will know about it and nobody will buy from you. You have got to get your name out there! This is especially true with the growing number distractions online. 

There are lots of ways for your business to get seen. Some strategies are free and some have a price that you’ll have to include into your profit calculations. Even when a strategy is free, it will take time and your time is valuable, so in all cases you will have to start thinking about your client acquisition cost.

SEO

SEO is search engine optimisation. This is all about being found on Google (and Bing). On search engines you can paid listings (Google Ads) and free listings. SEO is optimising for free listings.

SEO has 2 parts: 

  • On-site SEO: working on your quality content, website structure and speed
  • Off-site SEO: making sure that other websites and web properties talk about you.

You’ll need to balance your time between content making and partner building. SEO can take time. However, the traffic is then free and often high quality.

Google Ads

Google Ads has been our favourite way of getting clients to a website since 2004. If working on SEO should get you into a free position on Google, Google Ads will get you or sure on the paid listing part of the search engine. 

With Google Ads, you will:

  • choose keywords related to your business
  • bid on these keywords
  • show you ad to users looking for these keywords
  • when a user clicks, he will be sent to your website or app
  • you only pay when a user clicks (PPC – pay per click)

The is one of the most powerful marketing platforms around. You’ll have full control and very strong tracking options. 

You’ll find our full guide to Google Ads here.

Facebook Ads

If Google Ads is about matching your ads to keywords showing strong buying intent, Facebook ads is more like magazine advertising where you will be showing ads to users that are interested in your products or services but may not yet be in buying mode.

It is also a PPC (pay per click) platform. You will only pay for each click towards your website. This time, clicks can be a lot cheaper than Google Ads, but you’ll need more of them to get a sale. Facebook Ads has made substantial progress in terms of user targeting. You’ll need to create buyer personas (decide who your clients are) before you start advertising. The setup is not as straightforward as Google Ads, but if you get it right, Facebook Ads can bring even more volume.

Also as Facebook is a lot more community based, you can also gain viral traction if users like and share your ads. Virality will bring a massive return on investment boost.

Instagram Ads
Bings Ads
Social Media
Growth Hacking

15 – Manage Clients

Stay on top of leads with a CRM

Top 14 CRMs – Full comparison

Nurture clients
Quote/Invoice clients
Accept payments

Top 9 Payment Solutions – Full comparison

Grow

16 – Build a team

Post job ads
  • Reed
  • Indeed
  • Work In Startups
On-board your team
  • Notion
  • Almanac
Manage projects together
  • Trello
  • Jira
  • Zoho Projects
  • Basecamp

17 – Sort out your admin

Find an accountant

Find legal advice

18 – Find Office Space

Co-Working Space
Private Office
Office Hunters

19 – Get Inspired

Books
Films/Documentaries
Podcasts

20 – Grow

Bootstrap your business
Raise funds
Sell your business

Google Ads – Get More Clients In 28 Crystal Clear Steps!

If you’re reading this, there is a good chance that you already know why Google Ads should be a key part of your marketing strategy.

You will be showing your ads to people looking for your product or service at the exact moment when they are looking for your product or service. It’s a not a free way to get clients, but it’s definitely the most direct and precise marketing approaches available to your business.

The following steps will take you from a complete Google Ads novice to being in the top 1% of all Google Advertisers out there.

Part 1 – Opening A Google Ads Account

 

Step 1 – Google Ads free ad credit

Let’s start with some free money. Google knows that once you understand and control Google Ads, you’ll come back to use the platform again and again. So it’s giving incentives to businesses to try it out. Google offers £75 pound in ad credit as soon as you spend £25. 

google ads coupon

You can get your Free Google Ads coupon here:

https://ads.google.com/intl/en_uk/lp/coupons/

If the offer is not available in your country or if you’ve used it already, you’ll have to head to the standard start page:

https://ads.google.com/home/

Click on start now, and you’re in!

Step 2 – Your main advertising goal

The next page will look like

Google Ads advertising goal

or

This is the page you’ll see if it’s the first time you enter your Google Ads account.

We know that by default Google will try and guide you with your account setup. It’s a good idea, but the setup assistant always asks way too many questions, without explaining how this will actually impact your advertising performance.

This 1st question is a great example:

What is your main advertising goal?

  • Calls
  • Visits to your physical location
  • Website sales or sign-ups

Option 1 – calls

If you have a service type business, you probably do want more calls. But do you want all types of calls? Do you want calls in the middle of the night? Are you okay with time wasters… as they could be good for your branding? Basically, are all calls equal to you?

Option 2 – visits to your physical location

If you have an offline shop, you probably do want more visits to your store, but are you ready to track these visitors ? How will you know if visitors coming from google actually buy in your store? And if somebody buys, how do you know if that customer comes from Google?

Option 3 – website sales or sign-ups

This 3rd option is for businesses with an online service or product. Now this should be the most obvious choice and yes, you will want more sales or signups, but does this mean that if you do get sales online that you can’t get calls or appointments? Does this mean that if you get signups to your newsletter that you won’t get online sales?

Whether you are a complete beginner or a Google Ads specialist, this 1st question from the assistant will definitely bring more questions than answers.

But Google knows this already and offers a nice little “Experienced with Google Ads” or “Switch to Expert Mode” link just below. If you are completely new to Google Ads, don’t worry, you won’t be soon so let’s go ahead and click on the link!

Step 3 – The premature Google ads new campaign screen

Google’s goal here is to get you to create your first advertising campaign as soon as possible. But this 1st page asks a lot of questions and your account is not 100% setup yet. It’s a better idea to finish opening your account and we’ll get back to this in a few pages.

Click on the link at the bottom of the page:

“Create an account without a campaign”

Step 4 – Confirm your business information

business information

3 questions to answer :

  • Billing country
  • Timezone
  • Currency

This should be fairly straight forward for most businesses. 

However, quick note for businesses with international markets: you will NOT be able to change your currency at a later stage. This is a quick list of problems and solutions:

 

######## Ignore if you are just targeting a local market for now 

Problems

  • Currency – If you’re bidding in Euros in a market where the currency is Euros but your bank account is in Pounds (GBP), you will be paying extra foreign exchange costs each time you pay Google.
  • Currency – If you are bidding in Pounds in a market where the currency is in Euros, your bidding strategy will be fixed in pounds, but it will be subject to exchange rate in Euros.
  • Timezone – If you are targeting a country in another timezone from your business location, your Google ads can be out of sync with your analytics and accounting.

 

Solution

  • Currency 1 – Stick to 1 account for each currency market you are targeting.
  • Currency 2 – Even if you bank account is in Pounds GBP, choose the currency of the market you are targeting. It’s quite easy to open a currency bank account, not so easy to transfer a Google Ads account.
  • Currency 3 – Setup a foreign currency bank account or use Revolut to take the sting out of foreign currency transfers. You can save up to 5% on each transaction.
  • Timezone – It will be difficult to sync everything but make sure that at least your Google analytics and Google calendar have the same timezone as your Google ads account.

##################################################

Click on submit

Step 5 – Congrats your Google Ads account is set up!

open google ads account

Click on Explore your account

Step 6 – Take a quick tour of Google Ads

This is your Google Ads dashboard. It’s completely empty at the moment, but you’ll learn to love and hate this page very soon 😉

google ads dashboard

Click on Campaigns in the left menu

google ads campaigns

This is where you’ll see the performance of each of your campaigns: clicks, costs and conversions.

Click on “new campaign” at the bottom of the page, or by clicking on the blue + button.

new google ads campaign

You’re back to creating a new campaign!

You’ll recognise this step from higher up in this article. We’re back again, but this time ready to create our very 1st Google Ads campaign!

Part 2 – Create your first Google Ads campaign

Your Google Ads account should now be open. If it isn’t please head back to the beginning of this article and follow our very simple screen by screen setup guide.

When you’re ready, Click on “Create A New campaign”

Step 7 – Select your campaign goal

new google ads campaign

You will have to choose a goal between the following options :

(1) – Sales

(2) – Leads

(3) – Website Traffic

(4) – Product and Brand consideration

(5) – Brand awareness and reach

(6) – App promotion

Google is really good at giving you confusing options to choose from. 

Once you have launched your first successful campaign you will have lots of time to go back to test different goal options. The purpose of this guide is to get you to that first successful campaign as fast as possible, so let’s start by narrowing down our options.

Website traffic (3), product and brand consideration (4), brand awareness and reach (5), app promotion (6)… these 4 options really all have one same goal: a lead or a sale. We could also argue that each lead is a step towards a sale, but let’s keep this simple for now: 

If you are selling a product directly online with an online payment > choose sale (1)

If not > choose lead (2)

A final note if you are still hesitating – these 2 options will give you exactly the same setup on the next page.

And that’s that!

 

Step 8 – Choose your campaign type

Now it’s becoming interesting! We’re going to dive into the different ad formats available on Google Ads.

>> select a campaign type

Search 

Display

Smart

Shopping

Video

Let’s dig in. What are these types?

Search

These ads will be shown on the original google.. the search engine that we all use regularly. You insert a keyword and google produces a selection of relevant results.

In these results you’ll find organic links (free listing), pictures, videos, local related content and of course paid results. Paid results is where your ad will appear if Google thinks it is an answer to a user’s problem.

Display

If you chose display, your ads will show as an image,text or video on websites and apps that are in the Google network. The Google network includes properties owned by Google such as Youtube but also any other website or app that has created a partnership with Google. And Google has millions of partners!

Display is a very powerful campaign type and you can generate a lot of cheap traffic. However, all of these partner sites can have completely different acquisition strategies and conversion rates. This can be difficult to manage in the early days of your Google Ads setup.

Smart

This campaign type is Google trying to help by taking control over your Google Ads account. This is not what we are trying to do here. We want you to understand what is going on, so you can make decisions yourself on how to grow your business with Google Ads. So let’s happily ignore this type for now.

Shopping

The shopping campaign type will show ads on google search and google shopping with the picture and price of your product. This isn’t really useful for lead based businesses but it’s good for ecommerce. You will have less control over what is shown to the user than with a Search campaign, but if you’re an ecommerce player, you should definitely put Shopping in your todo list in a step 2 of your marketing plan.

Video

The final campaign type is Video or in other words Youtube. With short and long form video ads, this is an awesome way to scale your business. It’s very powerful, offers lots of cheap clicks and is often underutilised. However the volume is so high that even cheap clicks can quickly get out of control. This is definitely for advanced Google Ads advertisers. 

So which campaign type should I choose?

These 5 options all work independently and you will learn how to build a complete advertising strategy with at least 2 of these campaigns. In the short term however, it is very important that you always start with Search!

Why Search First?

All of these campaign categories do seem useful. This is where we start thinking about your potential clients. A user will always be in 1 of these 2 states:

  • consuming content: reading an email, an article, watching a video, playing a game
  • searching for something 

Consuming content

When a user is consuming content, he is generally focused on what he is doing. An advertiser will have to distract the user from his current activity in order to start selling to him.

Think of this as advertising in a magazine. Your potential clients are flipping through the pages, looking at beautiful supercars, and on one of the pages you show an ad for your online Tyre shop. This could lead to a sale, but you could also be wasting your advertising budget showing an ad for tyres to a 15 year old supercar enthusiast that doesn’t own a car.

Searching for something

When a user is searching online, he is actively looking for something. And the easiest way to sell to that user is to show your product or service exactly at the moment when he is looking for it. It’s simple, a user is looking for car tyres, so you show him car tyres.

Let’s bring this back to Google Ads. 

If you have a shop selling car tyres.. then the easiest way to sell tyres it to show your ad in front of people looking for the keyword “car tyres”. 

If you are a plumber in Manchester… then the easiest way to find clients is to show your ad when people are looking for the keyword: “plumber in Manchester”.

It’s as simple as that.

Obviously, all of this needs to be setup and structured in the next steps, but guys this is it, this is the not so hidden secret of Google Ads: 

It will never ever be easier to sell your product or service to people who are actually looking for it! (Well… actually it does get even easier.. but that’s for later in this course)

You can go ahead and select “Search”

Step 9 – Select ways to reach Google Ads your goal

Website visits

Phone calls

Shop visits

App downloads

Lead form submissions

I’m not going to go into detail here. I would be repeating a lot of what was said above. This guide is specially targeted at businesses with websites so please select the option 1: “website visits” and then enter your website address.

Step 10 – Choose your campaign name

Campaign names can be as complicated as you’d like. There are quite a few naming conventions out there. At this stage, it is key to be able to analyse what’s going on in your Google Ads account in a few seconds. This means recognising in an instant which part of your business is generating the best quality traffic.

These 2 examples below would be a good place to start for most businesses.

If you sell shoes online, your campaign name could be:

Men – Shoes – Trainers

Women – Shoes – Stilettos

[Gender] –  [Product] – [Product Category]

If you’re a plumber in the north of England, your campaign name could be:

Plumber – Boiler – Manchester

Plumber – Broken WC – Liverpool

[Activity] – [Category] – [Location]

Just remember to keep it simple. In order to manipulate the data and make decisions to grow your business, you need to understand your campaign names in a heartbeat. Letters and codes are great, but make sure they are very obvious for you.

Step 11 – Choose your network

Just under the campaign name selection you’ll 2 networks to choose from. Here comes Google again asking if we want to promote our ads on google search and google display.

Google asking again? Are you starting to see a pattern here? Even if we did decide to use Display advertising from the get go, we would NEVER build a campaign with both types of networks at the same time. 

Google Ads is so powerful because you can control everything. But the control is only worthwhile if you can use it to make impactful decisions. And you need to be able to make decisions based on how users react to your ads. 

The idea is to tailor your user experience to your potential customers. A user that clicks on your ad when he is searching for your product or service and a user that came across your ad while looking for something else will NOT have the same requirements and reactions.

You’ll see over the next steps that structuring your account into how you think your user will react, is the most important part of growing your client base with Google.

Search Network

In the search Network you have Google search engine that we all know.  And then just below Google asks if you also want your ads to be included on the Google Search Network.

The Google Search Network are other partner websites that use the Google search functionalities. 

Unfortunately, Google does not provide a precise list of these websites and you can’t pick and choose them. And although you can segment your stats to seek out the proportion of clicks coming from search partners, it is quite an opaque situation which is not great for making marketing decisions. 

The few things we do know:

  • For those who already know about quality score, we have discovered that stats from partner search sites do not affect your account CTR (click through rate) and therefore the quality score of your campaign.
  • Generally your CTR and conversion rate will be lower than on Google search.

(Don’t worry we’ll clearly define CTR later in this course)

The Google search network still shows intent, which will have higher conversion rate than display advertising. And for branding campaigns the results are actually quite good as there is less competition.

If you have a limited budget however, I recommend that you spend everything you can on Google Search first. And you can always open to the Google search network later when you are ready to scale. I would definitely click on Google Search Partners before opening to the display network.

Display Network

This is going to be easy. Obviously, please uncheck display network. Now I am not saying that you should never advertise on the display network. As I’ve said before, it’s a very powerful and exciting acquisition channel, especially when telling your story through remarketing. It’s comparable to niche magazine advertising. People are interested in dogs, and you show these people an ad for dogs. However, trying to sell your product to people actually looking for your product will always be the easier option.

In any case, never ever mix network settings in the same campaign. Remember it’s all about expected user reactions. You’re trying to put together groups of users that should react in the same way.

Please ignore the “show more settings” just under Network selection for. We’ll be looking at that that later.

Step 12 – Locations (Targeting and Audience)

Businesses selling to a national audience should choose your country. If you’re selling to a local market you can apply towns, postcodes and distances.

Followers of this guide should immediately jump and say: “users in this area won’t have the same requirements and reactions of another! So we should split the campaigns accordingly!”

1st of all, thank you for following ;-), secondly you’re absolutely right. That will be our goal throughout this process. 

However, although we know for sure that people react differently depending on their device and at which stage they are in the buying process, geographical reactions is still a guessing game at this stage. So splitting campaigns now could be a complete waste of time and make decisions difficult to take if there is not enough data in certain locations.

If you really do have enough location based data in your business please feel free to set a target local audience. Just please please make sure this audience is big enough to have enough stats.

You sell a discrete link called Location options. This is very important to open.

Target

  • a) People in, and showing interest in, these locations (recommended)
  • b) People in these locations
  • c) People searching for these locations

Be very careful. Showing interest in a location is not the same as being in a location! If you are selling a plumbing service in Manchester, you want your clients to be IN Manchester. You do not want your clients to be in London but look regularly for news about Manchester (United…).

Now your clients could be on holiday in another part of the country and be looking for a service in their hometown. However in this case, their state of mind will already be different.

This is true for products and services. Make your life easier, target only people IN your location.

Select b): people in these locations 

And not a) the option recommended by Google.

Exclude

Select a) People in your excluded locations

Step 13 – Choose your language

google ads language

The next step in your campaign settings is choosing the language of your campaign.

 2 things to remember here:

 1) The language you will choose, is the language that has been selected in your user’s browser.

 So, if you are targeting a Spanish speaking population that live in the UK. And this population searches from an office environment or a public library. Then choosing the Spanish language will not mean that your ad will be shown to them.

 If you are targeting French speaking students that have just arrived in the UK. They are probably all searching on their French laptop, even when they search in English. In this case, remember to select English and French.

 2) Your ads need to be in the same language as the targeted user’s language.

 In other words, Google does not translate your ads for you if you select another language!

Please ignore “Audiences” for now. That’s for later.

Step 14 – Choose your budget (Budget and Bidding)

google ads budget

This is always opens a lot of questions for new account owners. How do you know which amount to choose?

 First it’s important to know what Google actually does with this information. If you put a budget of £50/day, Google will allow your campaign spending to go up to £100 (double) in one particular day but it will never go over the £50/day budget on average over a 30 day period.

You will never spend more than £1500/month, but you may spend £1000 over 10 days (10 x £100).

When you make an estimation for your budget, you need to make sure that you can cover a higher spend in the early stages of your campaigns.

There is not one right answer here. This depends on your global business budget, profit margins and impact on the number of clicks/leads on your sales team. 

You are in the learning phase. So it is key to put a maximum budget that you are comfortable with even if the results are not great at the beginning.

This sounds like basic finance investing advice: “do not invest what you are not prepared to lose”. But it is good advice. If you become stressed about spending money on Google Ads, it may paralyse you in your day job (constantly refreshing stats) and also force you to make rash decisions on your Google Ads account. And that is a key for disaster!!

Step 15 – Bidding (Budget and Bidding)

google ads bidding

What do you want to focus on ?

Default Google Ads bidding options

  • (1) Conversions
  • (2) Conversion value
  • (3) Clicks
  • (4) Impression share

Conversions

Google will “help” you by bidding more on keywords that will drive the most conversions

Conversion value

Google will “help” you by bidding more on the keywords that will drive the conversions with the most value

Clicks

Google will “help” you by bidding more on the keywords that will drive the most clicks

Impression share

Google will “help” you by bidding more on the keywords where you will get the most impressions vs your competition

Well thank you google for all this help ! 😉

Here is the issue.. Google is smart, maybe even smarter than you (definitely is smarter than me..!)… but there is no magic here. Google can not guess without knowing anything about your business or ads which keywords will drive the most conversions, clicks or impressions. It’s just impossible.

Teach Google about your business

What Google does is bid on keywords, learns from visitor reactions and only then does Google start optimising for clicks, impressions or conversions.

Google has to learn about your data before he can decide anything. 

Now, the person that knows the most about your business is you. You know your history, your margins and your vision for the business going forward.

What we need to do is feed your knowledge to Google with a structure that it can digest as fast as possible. Then Google will be able to help you generate more sales and leads.

You’ll notice a link at the bottom of these Bidding options:

“Or, select a bid strategy directly”

Create your own bidding strategy

  • Target CPA : target conversion cost
  • Target ROAS: target return on investment (target on return ad spend)
  • Maximise clicks: get as many clicks as possible
  • Maximise conversions: get as many conversions as possible
  • Target search page location: target a position on google search
  • Target outranking share: target a higher position than your competition
  • Enhanced CPC: keyword bid price + an extra bid if google thinks it’s a good idea
  • Target impression share: target a market share of impression (think vs competition)

Or… and finally:

Manual CPC

I’m sure you’ve guessed already. The best option at this stage is to select “Manual CPC”. 

We want to control what’s happening here. Learn about the market and all the reactions that our users could have. We are trying to create the best possible data structure to hand over to Google and we can only do that if we completely understand our market.

Choosing Manual CPC is for the top 1% of Google advertisers. But that is exactly what you will be by the end of these steps.

You’ll can also learn when to use automatic bidding in this article.

Go ahead and select Manual CPC and please ignore the “show more settings” for now

Step 16 – Ad Extensions

google ads extensions

On certain accounts you may see an extra message Get up to 15% higher clickthrough rate by showing additional information on your ads”. And it’s true, ad extensions will make your ad space bigger on search results, thus raising your click rates. 

  • Sitelinks
  • Callouts
  • Call extensions

This is a critical part of your campaign setup, it is one of the key ingredients to getting a real edge on your competition. We’ll get into this in detail when we talk about your ads so you can skip this section for now.

Click on “Save and Continue”

Part 3 – Setup your Google Ads Adgroups

google ads adgroups

Here, Google is trying to get you to create ads as soon as possible without really understanding how an account is structured. Let’s do a quick crash course in account structure. 

This is what a basic Google Ads account looks like:

Campaign 1

     Adgroup 1

               Keywords

               Ads

     Adgroup 2

               Keywords

               Ads

Campaign 2

     Adgroup 1

               Keywords

               Ads

     Adgroup 2

               Keywords

              Ads

If you’re selling products

– campaigns could be product categories

– adgroups could be sub product categories

Campaign: Table

Adgroup: Dining table

Keyword: large dining table, small dining table, 4 seater dining table etc.

If you’re selling services

– campaigns could be service categories

– adgroups could be sub service categories

Campaign: Plumber

Adgroup: Boiler problems

Keyword: boiler not working, plumber boiler, boiler emergency.

If you’re selling just 1 single product or service. Campaigns and Adgroups could be audience types.

Step 17 – Creating your first discovery adgroup

Let’s start by creating your “discovery” adgroup. Instead of guessing what your clients are looking for, we’re going to let real data help us build your account structure. And we do that by creating a discovery adgroup. 

This first adgroup will be your most generic category. 

For plumbers this will be for people looking for the keyword: plumber

For table shops this will be for buyers looking for the keyword: table

It will probably not be your best performing adgroup, but it will be the adgroup with the most data. And you’ll learn to use this data to spinoff new campaigns and adgroups.

Google asks a first question: 

Which adgroup type would you like: Standard or Dynamic

As usual, we need to keep control over our account, so we’ll choose “Standard”.

Default bid: 

The default bid is very difficult to guess at this stage, I’d recommend being conservative here starting at 20-30p/click and you can work up from there. 

Step 18 – Keywords

You can add keywords to adgroups in 4 formats

Broad match:  big table

Modified broad match: +big +table

Phrase match: “big table”

Exact match: [big table]

Broad match: big table

Your ad will be shown to people looking for the keyword “big table” and “table that is big” but it could also be shown for “large table” or “table for a big caravane”. You are giving google the right to guess synonyms and extra keywords it feels is relevant to the user’s search. With broad match, the order of the words do not matter.

Modified broad match: +big +table

Google will show your ad to people looking for keyword with the word [big] AND [table “” not found /]
. Both words with a + in front will need to be searched at the same time.

Big table and chairs : Yes

Large table: No

Phrase match: “big table”

Phrase keywords are all about word order. Your ad will be shown for “big table” and “very big table”. But your ads will not show for “table big”

Exact match: [big table]

Your ad will only show for the keyword [big table].

Step 19 – Add keywords to your discovery adgroup

As this is a discovery adgroup, you want to give enough space to Google to come up with new keyword ideas. But, if you give too much space you’ll have too much data to analyse and make decisions. 

To add some level of control, we will not use broad match. Only:

Modified broad

Phrase match

Exact match

In the keyword section of your adgroup setup, you can add your equivalent to:

+table

“table”

[table “” not found /]

Or 

+plumber

“plumber”

[plumber]

google ads keywords

Step 20 – Free Keyword Tools

For 1 keyword, adding 3 match types is is quick and easy. But for hundreds of keywords, this can be time consuming. Here are 2 cool and FREE tools to help you out:

Keyword Wrapper: https://www.adwordswrapper.com/aw.cgi

Simply enter your keywords in the 1st box and click on wrap. The app will produce a list of keywords already wrapped with different match types. 

Keyword Merger: https://www.toptal.com/marketing/mergewords

This is for keyword combinations. Try this:

1st box: table

2nd box: big, small, large

3rd box: for sale, buy, price, discount

Click on “Merge” and the tool will produce a full list of combinations. You’ll probably need to remove a few keywords in the list but this tool will speed up your keyword research.

Finish setting up your first adgroup

Once you’ve added your main keyword with modified broad, phrase and exact match you’ll see that on the right google recommends further keywords. You can ignore that for now. You can also ignore the daily estimates and the “new adgroup” button.

google ads estimates

It’s time to click on “save and continue”

Part 4 – Create your first Google Ad

Time to get creative! With extra headlines, description areas and display urls, Google is giving more and more space to advertisers.

Step 21 – Let’s decompose a typical ad

create a google ad

a) Final URL

b) Headline 1 (30 characters max)

c) Headline 2 (30 characters max)

d) Headline 3 (30 characters max)

e) Display Path (2 x 15 characters max)

f) Description 1 (90 characters max)

g) Description 2 (90 characters max)

h) Ad Url options

a) Final Url

This is the full url of your landing page. It’s where users will be sent once they click on your ad. Please test and double test this url. We can do all the optimisations and tactics, if your landing page is broken, it’s all pointless. You’ll be surprised how quick this can happen when you’re working with hundreds of Adgroups.

b+c+d) Headlines

Headlines are the most important parts of your ad. And Headline 1 is more important than 2, and 2 is more important than 3. 

Often Google does not show all three headlines at the same time. So each headline needs to reinforce each other but they also need to be quite independent. Do not cut an argument between 2 headlines.

e) Display Url

This is the url shown to the user. This is NOT your final url and it does not have to be a real working URL. The display url allows you to give a snapshot of your business structure. Your headlines and description are about marketing and pre-selling. Display urls will prepare users to what they are going to see next in a very structured tree fashion.

f) and g): Descriptions

Google will generally not show these 2 descriptions at the same time. So make them independent, and although everything counts, description 1 is more important than description 2.

h) Url options

This is where you’ll be adding parameters and extra tracking information. It’s quite advanced and won’t be useful for a while so you can ignore for now. 

Step 22 – The CTR, meet the magic number

Before we more forward, we should learn more about CTR.

Before you start writing your ads, let’s focus on what we’re trying to do. We want users to:

  1. search for a keyword
  2. see your ad
  3. click on your ad
  4. read your landing page
  5. Convert into a sale or a lead

The mix Keyword + Bid + Ad + Landing page is going to lead to a conversion. It is also how Google determines if you are offering relevant information for products and services to your users. 

Your ad plays a key role as it’s the link between the keyword and your landing page. Too optimistic and the user will click on your ad but not convert. If you ad is too pessimistic users will not click on your ad and nothing will happen apart from google raising your click prices.

If you bid on the keywords “table” and put the words “free table” in your ads. You will get a lot of clicks on your ads, but no conversions on your landing pages.

Creating an ad is a balancing act. However to start off you do need to get the user to click on your ads.

It’s time to introduce the CTR: Click Through Rate. 

The CTR is the % of clicks on your ad VS impressions of your ad: Clicks/Impressions. The higher your CTR, the more your ad is relevant to the keywords you are bidding on. 

It’s a key indicator for Google to decide if you’re doing a good job. It’s also a great benchmark for you to always try and create better ads.

Step 23 – What you cannot do to raise your Google Ads CTR

Your ads offer quite a lot of room to play with, but you cannot do anything. Here is the list of rules that you must follow in your ads. Please read this carefully. If you abuse these rules too often it can get your Google Ads account banned. And coming back from a ban is not easy. 

  • No all caps: Google does not like SHOUTING. But title case is good in your headlines. It’s even recommended 
  • No cursing: In general keep you language clean
  • No alcohol / gambling / porn / weapons / tobacco / smoking

You’ll find a full list of prohibited and restricted product categories here: https://support.google.com/adspolicy/answer/6008942?hl=en-GB

  • No exceeding character limit
  • No extra spaces between letters. Write in english.
  • Not too much punctuation and exclamation marks: you can have 1 exclamation in description but never in headlines
  • No vague call to actions (CTA) messages > you cannot ask visitors to just “click here”. 
  • No asterisks or symbols
  • Do not repeat words in your ad. You can add a keyword on headline 1 and in headline 2. But no: Table Table Table, Buy Our Tables.
  • No phone numbers: you can use “call only ads” or “call extensions”

In general be creative but stay polite and low key and you’ll be fine. Google will send you a friendly “disapproved ad” message if it’s not happy.

Step 24 – How to boost your Click Through Rate

Unfortunately, I cannot write the ads for you on this course. But you’ll find below a list of tactics that have proved to work great on improving CTRs in hundreds of sectors and thousands of ads we’ve been managing.

Headlines and descriptions

  1. Give you clients a solution. Don’t repeat their problem. This is about knowing your market. 

Example: If a user makes a Search for “Sell my car” -> Ad Headline: “We will buy your car”

  1. Use numbers but not exact numbers. 
  2. Include price, promotions, sales, exclusive offers, reviews as long as they are true
  3. Be careful with offers. Too cheap can seem too cheap.. Or fake!
  4. Don’t use unproven superlatives like “we are the best”. If it’s legitimate and verifiable then use them.
  5. Don’t talk about you, only about what you can do to help
  6. Appeal to Users’ Sense of Entitlement : Address your audience. Use the words You/Your : make it personal.

Example: we will protect your best interests (divorce lawyer).

  1. Try and create positive emotion: hopefulness, relief, and the feeling of being liked or admired by others
  2. Try and remove negative emotion: Avoid going to jail / Don’t lose your dog / Dog tags,it’s the law! 
  3. Remove objections: list common objections to your service and address those preemptively in your ad copy.
  4. Highlight what makes your company unique. Legitimacy. Social proof. How many items have you sold? How many people came to your event?
  5. Use a registered or trademark symbol in your ads. That is the only symbol allowed.
  6. Use offline sales tactics: scarcity, urgency, interest, motivation and triggers
  7. Most people make decisions based on headlines, so put your efforts in headlines.
  8. Use all the space but put the most important copy at the beginning
  9. Unique selling point: why are you different?
  10. Don’t forget your call to action (CTA): Start your call to action with a strong verb – something like “Get,” “Save,” “Build,” or “Join.”
  11. If you are offering a new service or product, focus on benefits
  12. If your product or service is already known like a vacuum cleaner, focus on features. You need to show how you are different.
  13. On mobile: if you have text/call/location then make sure you use these extensions.

Display URL

  1. Display URL: put main keyword + heavy call to action

It’s not just about ads

  1. Add at least 2 ads in each adgroup
  2. Don’t forget sitelinks
  3. Don’t forget your callouts
  4. Create 1 dedicated landing page for each ad
  5. Align ad copy with your landing page
  6. Make sure your landing page is appropriate and connected to you ad. Your landing page should be an extended version of your ad. Mess it up and you ad relevance will go down and cost per click will go up.
  7. If you can go local, go local!

Part 5  – Google Ads Billing

Step 25 – Billing information

This next page is to setup your billing. You’ll find all the usual payment options here.

google ads bidding

This is where you can add your promotional code for your introductory offer.

Nothing special, however once you are up and running with several regular payments under your belt, you will quickly get the option to open a 30 day credit account with Google. That’s always handy.

Step 26 – Congrats page (again)

This is the second time that Google has shown us a congrats page to us. But this time you should have your 1st campaign, adgroup, keywords and ad all setup. 

Important: Remember you campaign this is now live and active with your billing method in place. I’d recommend you pause your campaign now while you digest all of this new information.

Click on Explore Campaigns (blue button)

Step 27 – Pause your campaign (IMPORTANT)

In your dashboard click on:

Left Menu > Campaigns

Click on the green dot near your active campaign

Click on pause your campaign

google ads pause campaign

Now breath… 😉 Well done! It’s my turn to say congrats.

This was the hardest part of Google Ads. There is still more to learn but these are all the steps you need to know to setup a solid campaign.

Step 28 – The mega Google Ads recap

  • Show your products and services to users that are looking for them
  • Structure your account so you can decide what works best in a heartbeat
  • Make sure all the elements of your combo [keyword + ad + landing page] are all related
  • Don’t panic. Do not make any brutal changes. If you’re hesitating, simply pause your campaigns and read this guide again before you jump back in.

Make A Website (No Coding Required)

Whatever your business, you’re going to need a website. Even if it’s just to show your contact details. A website is one of the first steps into marketing your business and getting new clients.

In this step by step guide, you will go from having nothing to your very own fully dynamic website. Absolutely no coding knowledge is required. You will learn how to build a website from scratch for free.

And this isn’t just about making a 3 page static site. You’ll be able to edit your site, scale, add features, ad manage users and even start building websites for clients.

Step 1 – Choose where to build your website?

You have 3 options :

1 – use a paid website builder
2 – hire a professional developer or agency to do it for you.
3 – make your website with WordPress, and build websites for free, forever!

Why we prefer WordPress?

  • It’s free
  • 35% of all websites are built on WordPress. It’s the most used CMS in the world.
  • Tons of plugins for your to personalise your website to your business
  • Hundreds of themes to make your site look awesome
  • Thousands of developers are specialised in WordPress so you’ll find somebody to help. And you can pretty much build anything.
  • It’s very easy to build responsive and mobile friendly websites.

To sum up, WordPress is the no brainer option here.

Step 2 – Get a domain name and hosting

So WordPress will be awesome at managing your content. Now you need to get a domain name (the address of your website) and a hosting (to store the files of your website). Think of this as: the domain is your home address and your hosting is the land on which your home is build.

Hosting prices vary a lot. We have compared basic WordPress hosting options and have selected a hosting that provides a free domain name for the first 12 months.

Signup to https://www.ionos.co.uk/hosting/wordpress-hosting

How to choose a domain name? 

Option 1: a name to match your business name such as mybusinessname.com 

Option 2: find something catchy, if possible related to your business main keyword.

Unfortunately a lot of domain names are already taken, so you may need to get creative. But please don’t get blocked at this stage. The hosting provider we have chosen gives a free domain for 12 months. Please just pick any name quickly and move to the next step. 

>>>> Hosting Setup <<<<

 

Step 3 – Setup your website

Install wordpress

Step 4 – Design your website

WordPress works with themes. Over 4000 free themes are ready for you to user. 

If you want to go premium, you’ll find a good selection on ThemeForest for around £50.

Once you’ve found the theme that you like, simply hover over the theme screenshot and click on “install” and then “activate”.

For this example we will use the pre-installed theme Twenty Twenty. 

Important: don’t worry about installing and deleting themes until you find the right one. The content of all your pages and posts will stay the same.

 

Step 5 – Adding content to your website

The WordPress structure is based on Pages and Posts.

What is the difference between pages and posts? Not a lot..

Posts are ranked by date

Pages are static content that will stay true for a longer period.

How to use posts and pages?

  • Pages are great for about pages and contact pages
  • Posts are great for blog posts and news.

Add pages to your website

Adding Posts


Grouping your posts with Categories

Adding Pages And Posts to the menu

Step 6 – Basic Settings & Customisation

Menu > Settings > General

Title: Change the name of your website

Tag line: Change the tagline

Menu > Settings > Reading

Setup a static front page

Menu > Settings > Discussion

Disable comments

Menu > Settings > Permalinks

Modify your permalinks

Step 7 – Adding Plugins 

WordPress comes straight out of the box with a lot of cool tools. However you’ll be amazed with all the features that developers have been working on to make sure your website is just that little bit more special. The WordPress community is massive and most of these plugins are free.

It can be tempting to overload your website with hundreds of plugin addons. I’d recommend to go slow and make sure you get to grips with running a basic WordPress first. 

Our selection:

Yoast: being highly ranked on Google is key. Yoast is a great free plugin to help you work on your SEO.

GA Google analytics: make sure you’re tracking your visitors. We create a full add analytics to your website guide here

Elementor: this plugin has basically made anybody a webdesigner. You don’t even need a theme anymore. Simply create your own templates with it’s powerful drag and drop page builder.

ACF: Advanced custom fields. This plugin will allow you to create a database with dynamic content.

That’s it! There you have it. Your website is live!

34 Cool Tools To Run Your Business

Use tools and business software to help you manage and grow your startup. You do not need to do everything yourself. Developers have created really cool systems to automate the most boring tasks. This is a list of cool tools that should make you grow faster and save lots of precious time.

1) Manage your clients with a CRM

Who has contacted who? Which client is ready to buy? Which partner should we call back next year? CRM software will help you structure your sales process.

7 CRM software compared

2) Accept card payments online and in your store

No money, no business! Payment providers prices vary drastically. Get it wrong and you will loose thousands in commission every year.

Compare the fees of 8 payment providers

3) Do your accounting without paper

Accountants are humans. They make mistakes and they are also expensive. By using online accounting software your accounts will automatically be setup in the most efficient way for your annual return.

7 cloud based accounting software

4) Make your website with WordPress

By now you must all know our love for WordPress. It’s probably our favourite software in this business tools list. WordPress powers over 30% of all websites and is completely free. You do not need to know how to code and you can literally build any type website.

Step by step “build your website” guide

5) Manage your Amazon inventory

Get an alert when it’s time to order new products, find new trends, optimise your titles and boost sales with Amazon advertising.

Compare 10 Amazon software solutions

6) Is your business growing?

Tracking your visitors is a key indicator of business growth.

Learn how add Google analytics to your website for free

What Is The Best Coding Bootcamp?

“Can you become a professional coder in just 6 weeks?” That’s what people seem to be debating, but I really don’t think that’s what bootcamps are trying to do. You have an opportunity here to get a crash course in a skill that is probably going to be the most important for the next 10 years (at least!). As long as recent graduates aren’t too cocky upon exit and accept that this is just the beginning of their coding journey, what other industry will you find so much opportunity and such high paychecks vs experience? Just go for it!

NameFull-Time DurationPrice
General Assembly12 weeks£7650
Makers Tech
12 weeks
Nology
Le Wagon9 weeks£6500
Flat Iron School£12,500
Founders and CodesFree
React Graphql1 week£2000
We Got Coders6 weeks£4000