This page contains a hodgepodge of website building resources. Some of it’s just notes for myself. But some of it could be useful. It also contains a lot of affiliate links.
The only reason a website exists is to solve a person’s problem.
Whether it’s to be informed, entertained or to make a purchase, people browse the internet for different reasons. When you are designing a website, ask yourself what problem you are solving. And ask this again on every single page.
Assuming you’ve already brainstormed an idea that have you have passion for, the first thing you need to do is get a domain.
Aim for a short dot com (.com) with no hyphens, three words or less in the name. Keywords are good since they instantly let visitors know what your site’s about. The business name is also nice to have in there.
You can purchase your domain anywhere on the internet and easily point it to where you’ll be hosting. Domain.com is a good registrar – only $9.99/year for a .com.
This website was hosted on GoDaddy. It was awfully slow (the response time – loading the site). After moving to Blue Host, it was better. Most websites use shared hosting. Really high traffic websites will often have more expensive, and quicker, dedicated hosting, or an in-between option called VPS hosting – virtual private server.
Blue Host and Host Gator are the two that I recommend. Both are owned by the same company, Endurance International Group. Blue Host also has great 24/7 support and probably so does Host Gator. Reliable hosting runs only $5-$7/month.
So there are lots of website editors and CMS’s (content management systems) to choose from. Why WordPress? It’s free, simple, SEO-friendly, and nearly 1/4 of new websites use it.
I have used site builders (Homestead), and while they are fine for building small 5-10 page websites, that’s about it. If you are planning a large site, or want to blog, go with WordPress. I installed both Joomla and Drupal (2 other popular CMS’s) to see what they were about. Drupal was like staring at an alien interface and I really never gave Joomla a chance.
Design The Site
Your website will change over time, so don’t over think it.
An awesome feature of WordPress is the ability to install themes. A content management system keeps the content (blog posts, comments, images, etc.) entirely separate from the website design. Therefore when you want to change your design, at any time you can get a new theme and apply it, and voila!
The best thing for anyone starting out is to buy a premium theme. The basic WordPress template is actually fairly nice and simple, but it’s very ordinary. There are no special features available that you’d get from installing a powerful framework, like Genesis. That’s what this site uses. Woo Themes is also very popular.
Once your theme is installed you can work on other aspects of the site’s design: navigation menus, maybe a logo, installing plug-ins (plug-ins are the easiest way to add functionality to your website).
Give people a reason to return to your website. Quality is way more important than quantity. Take your time with each post. Articles should take hours not minutes.
Do a lot of research and reading. Follow other blogs you like. Soak up all the internet knowledge you can. Get involved in your local community by commenting on similar blogs and social media.
A few things to keep in mind while writing a post:
- Keep paragraphs short and readable – your page should look easy to digest
- Add an image – something for the eyes so it’s not just text – a video works too
- Use headings to break up your sections – images work well
- Use font formatting where applicable – making text bold or italics can emphasize a point
- Be personable – talk about what you know and imagine your speaking to one person
- Write freely – put your thoughts down first and correct later
- Ask for comments/pose a question – get insight, stir conversation, and create new ideas
- Proofread your writing – everybody makes mistakes
Make Money Online
It’s never too early to earn money.
Once your site is up and running, and you have some valuable content, go ahead and monetize it. Don’t get carried away though, pick a program or two and take your time. You probably won’t make much money at first, but it’s good motivation.
All of these programs are ones that I have tried and some I’m currently using. Many of the links on this page are affiliates.
The following programs are open to both merchants (e-commerce sites looking to be promoted) and affiliates (websites looking to promote businesses). Affiliates apply to merchants and if accepted, they can display links and get a small portion of any sale made.
Shareasale – Find a sponsor for your web site. Get paid for your great content.
AvantLink – An Inc. 500 Comapny, with thousands of merchants listed.
LinkShare – Run by Rakuten, a leader in affiliate marketing.
Commission Junction – Another big affiliate program like AvantLink or Linkshare.
Amazon Associates – I shouldn’t even list this since Colorado residents can’t apply, but it’s still one of the best ways to earn residual income online.
Linkconnector – Affiliate program to Getting Images, IStockPhoto, Photos.com, Turbo Tax, and other big companies.
ClickBank – Program for tens of thousands of information products, like E-Books. Earn commission as high as 75%!
Pay Per Click:
PPC is one of the easiest ways to monetize a website. Webmasters add some code to their website, which displays advertising. The ads are populated automatically, with no need to look for merchants.
Google Adsense – This is probably the most popular way to earn money online. Google has the largest network of merchants and publishers, which creates highly targeted ads. It’s the highest paying PPC.
Chitika – Another contextual program like Adsense.
Media.net – Handles the Yahoo/Bing Network of advertisers. It’s a new, contextual program, that only displays text ads, as of now. There are no image ads.
Infolinks – These automatically underline certain keywords that can be linked to an advertiser.
Selling Ad Space:
Another way of displaying ads on your website is by selling ad space directly to companies. This can be tricky, and almost impossible for new websites. There are several ad networks that bring together advertisers and publishers.
Ads are generally sold by the number of impressions instead of by clicks (so how many times the ad is viewed).
BuySellAds – One of the biggest networks makes buying and selling ads easy.
Many pros make a lot of money, indirectly, from their mailing list. Built up over time a list becomes large, and you can use it to market to your customers. Install a basic mailing list plug-in, or get a powerful mailing list program like AWeber.
Try to get a list growing from the early stages. And don’t spam, you probably know what you like/dislike about mailing lists. Only send out valuable content. It’s ok not to sell anything.
If you take great pictures, another option is selling them as stock photography to one of several sites. This can be competitive and most sites have high standards.
iStockphoto – Well respected with high standards for the photos they accept.
Shutterstock – Another extremely popular program founded in 2003.
Start a membership site. Say you charge $5 a month, and have a 1,000 members, that’s a recurring $5,000/month. Naturally people cancel and so on… so keep your focus on creating valuable content.
Buy an existing website, at places like Flippa, and build your dream site out of it. Or add some value and flip it. Then repeat.
Create your own digital product. The most common way is by publishing an E-Book (MS Word can do this). They are generally informative, so write about what you know. Then sell your E-Book on your blog, through your mailing list, or have affiliates work for you, by listing it on ClickBank.
Do you have any tips, tricks or questions about building a blog? Please share them on our Google Plus page.
Words of Wisdom
1. If you come up with a new layout idea or anything that will require editing all your pages, never rush out to begin making the changes. Always apply the change on a few pages and sleep on it. A lot of the time you’ll decide it wasn’t that good…