Your website is the most important asset of your online business. It is what automates the entire process of customer relations, sales and payments, and it’s the foundation of any online business.
Now you probably think that creating a website is really complicated and you need professionals for that…
But creating a professional website is in fact really simple, and Content Management Systems (CMS) like WordPress and Joomla has literally taken all the technicalities out of the game, opening for anyone to easily start your own website and make money, even on a tight budget.
1. Choosing Your Domain Name
The first step in the process is to register your domain. This will represent your company and your brand, so think this through before you settle. It’s adviced to choose a domain name that’s representative to your niche and your company, so that it’s easy for your audience to connect your domain name to your brand. Also try to avoid anything that might be perceived as “shady” or in any way hurt your brand trust and credibility.
When you’re creating your domain you have 2 options:
1. You can create a free domain as an extension of another with a service like Siterubix.
2. You can purchase an independent domain using a service like Namecheap.
A free domain is a good way to get started, to test out your skills and ideas, and to get familiar with the WordPress platform, but eventually, every brand will feel the need of upgrading to an independent domain name.
Click one of the boxes below to set up your prefered domain:
2. Selecting Your Web Host
Web hosting is the next step of creating your website. Web hosting is what connects your content to the internet, and it’s much like a spot that you rent to place your business in.
There are many hosting services on the market, but I personally prefer the one that’s included at the Wealthy Affiliate University (See full review here). It’s completely free and really straight forward to use. It also provides all the necessary features as well as great customer support, extensive training guides and courses, and you’re connected to internet and search engines from the moment your site is created.
WA also market their hosting as “the fastest website builder in the world“ which probably aren’t far from the truth, seeing as you can create a customized website in less than a minute (see video proof below). For a more comprehensive walkthrough of the WA website builder, click here.
3. Your Content Management System (CMS)
Last but not least, you will need a system to control your website content, and for that you need a content management system like WordPress.
(Note: the WA website builder automatically sets up WordPress for you)
WordPress is the #1 most popular CMS platform in the world, and the easiest way to manage your website content. WordPress is basically a website builder that has prefixed all the advanced coding of programming a website and captured it all into a clean and well-organized user interface. This makes WordPress ideal for even the least experienced. All you must do is setup your domain, choose a design theme, and you’re ready to go!
Here are 5 great benefits of using WordPress:
1. Set up your website with just a few simple mouse-clicks
2. No HTML or advanced coding experience needed
3. Thousands of themes and templates to choose from
4. An ocean of simple and fancy plugins for extra functionality
5. Super easy to get help and support if there’s anything you need
With these 3 assets in place, there’s nothing stopping us from creating a great website, but there’s still a lot more to it before you’ll be able to see any significant results.
Let’s take a look at how to design your website to make it appealing and attract customers, how to get your website noticed in the overcrowded internet, and how to actually monetize your website and achieve what we all want, to be your own boss and earn a passive income online.
4. Designing Your Website
Having a plain website up and open to the public is one thing, but now you want to make it appealing, informative, content-rich, and user-friendly for your audience, to catch their interest and leave them with a good impression of your brand.
Did you know that most users will judge your company’s credibility based on it’s website design?
We can process visual stimulation 60.000 times faster than plain text only, and it actually takes less than 0.05 seconds for someone to form an opinion about your site.
Your website’s visual appeal have a great impact on how people perceive your brand, which again impacts conversions, sales, profits, the whole package. Therefore it’s highly important that you optimize your design to fit the needs of your audience. Here are some of the most important factors to take into account:
Make it easy to navigate around your site and make sure to let your audience know where to find what they are looking for and where to go next. Adding menus, categories, tags, “most popular” and “related content” functions, internal and external links, and a search function will all help boost your site’s usability, improve your bounce rate, and help to keep visitors engaged on your site.
People access your site from various platforms and devices and you need to make sure that your site is displayed decently on every single one of them. Switching to a responsive design is highly adviced as it will automatically adjust to fit different screen resolutions, sizes and devices.
It’s important to remember that you want users to actually read what you have to say, therefore you should never let anything compromise the readability of your content. Stick to a standard font type and size, split text into paragraphs, avoid large walls of text, utilize bold text, bullet lists, headings and colors to organize topics and highlight relevant information, although within reason. Overusage can do more harm than good.
People today are impatient, and 40% will actually abandon a webpage if it takes more than three seconds to load. Webpage speed have a major influence on user-experience, so much that Google have even added it to their SEO algorithms. Here’s a list of actions you can use to improve your website speed.
With a brilliant looking website in place, it’s time to bring in the visitors, but how exactly do you get your website noticed in the overcrowded internet with more than 1,2 billion different websites?
5. Getting Your Website Noticed
There are many techniques you can use to get your website noticed, and the most efficient will probably be a variety of them all. Your main goal at first will be to get your site listed by the major search engines.
Here is what to do:
Produce Quality Content
Producing high quality content is an absolute must to attract and engage visitors to your website. There’s no way around it. If your content isn’t worth reading, people won’t bother reading it, no matter how fabulous your site looks. If your content is interesting, helpful and awesome, people will like it, share it with their friends, sign up for your newsletter and come back later for more. Quality content is the key to a successful website.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
In the world of internet marketing, it won’t take long until you come across the term SEO. This is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization and basically means adjusting major and minor details in your webpages (on-page and off-page) to fit optimally to the ranking factors of the major search engines.
SEO are the holy grail of web traffic and absolutely vital for a website to be successful today. Climbing search engine rankings is a continuously ongoing process and will take some time before giving results, but not only is this traffic highly efficient, it’s also completely free. For more, see my Beginner’s guide to SEO
Submit to directories
There are plenty of online directories that will let you submit your site to their archives and possibly harness som attention of it. It’s free and only take a couple of minutes. Even though the direct traffic might not be very impressive, it’s a good way to get noticed and get some publicity for your brand new website, and it’s good for SEO purposes as well as you get a valuable backlink to your site from a respected source. Here’s a list of 100 Free High PR Directory Submission Sites you can use.
Banner advertisement and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns can be a good way to boost your results and “sneak up” in front of your competitors, if you have some money to spend. It can be expensive if used incorrectly, so approach it carefully to avoid flushing money down the drain. Google Adwords, BingAds, Yahoo! ads, Facebook ads and Advertising.com are the most popular paid ad services on the market.
While this list is certainly not comprehensive, these are some of the most fundamental ways to get your website noticed and attract visitors to your site. If you want to learn more, see: 50 Ways to Get Your Site Noticed Online.
6. Making Money
Now here’s the part you’ve been waiting for, right?
After lots of hard work to build your website, produce quality content, make your pages look amazing, and harvesting traffic, I’m sure you’re eager to finally get some payment for your efforts.
If you’re getting traffic to your website, there are many ways to make money online. The efficiency of each technique might vary depending on your content and niche so it’s important to try out different strategies to find which is a better fit for your business.
Here are some ways you can monetize your website:
Banner advertisement: Run ads on your site and get paid whenever someone click on it.
Open an e-commerce store: You can open an e-store and sell products to the whole world.
Sell your services: If you have any partical skills or expertise that others might need, sell it online.
Workshops and webinars: Share knowledge with an online presentation and charge people for attending.
Affiliate Marketing: Promote affiliate offers and get paid when someone click your link and buy it.
Again, these are just some of the ways to monetize your website. For a more comprehensive list, see my Guide to Online Business Monetization. Once you have a flow of web traffic at your site you can experiment with different monetization techniques to find which one are better suited for your company and brand.
So now you know the A-Z of how to start your own website, design it to make it look amazing, get your message out there and noticed in the crowd, and to turn your traffic into profit. Do you have any questions about this article? Perhaps you’d like to add something, or have experience that might be helpful to others?
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments, and if you liked this article, please share it with your friends.