Planning to start your own website? It is not going to be easy, particularly if you want to make some money from it. However, what I can tell you is that laying the initial foundation for your website is going to be simple. In fact, every website, no matter how popular it becomes will go through the four steps that I am going to detail on this page. Read this information carefully. If you get off on the right foot, then your chances of building a successful website will shoot up.
Hosting & Domain Name
There are two things you will need to do at the start. You need website hosting and a domain name. If you have no idea what these are, don’t fret! It can be roughly summed up as the following:
- Hosting: this is the location where your website is ‘stored’ online (it needs to be stored online, or people will not be able to access it). Some people like to think of their hosting as a mini computer disk drive stored online. That is, essentially, what it is.
- Domain name: this is what people type into the address bar at the top of their internet browser to get to your website. For example: if you typed google.com, you would be taken to Google.
I am not going to go into depth on how to choose a hosting provider here. There are plenty of them to choose from, and it is very much a personal choice. You will need to think about things such as the amount of storage space you get, the amount of bandwidth (essentially, how much traffic your site can host on a monthly basis). You will also need to think about some of the smaller features such as the number of databases you have (this is important for getting your site set up).
Regarding your domain name, choose something that is both memorable and brandable. You should be able to obtain a domain name from your hosting provider, so not much issue here!
Once you have your hosting, you have a blank slate that you can start to put together your website on.
The next step is getting some software installed on your website. You can’t just upload a ton of files without linking them all together. You need a way to manage your website and make everything simple for you. For this, we can’t look beyond WordPress.
WordPress did start out as a blogging platform, but it is so much more than that now. It is a complete Content Management System (CMS). Sure, you can still build a blog using WordPress, but you can do a lot more than that within seconds. Online, you will find several (mostly free) plugins that you can use to install on your WordPress installation. Also, there are hundreds of great themes, premium and free. This will allow you to build anything from a simple business website to an eCommerce store, to even a social media platform. It is quite brilliant.
The reason I am suggesting that you use WordPress here is down to the fact that it is dreadfully simple to use. Even if you have no experience building a website, and I am going to assume that since you are reading this, you are new to the whole game, you should still be able to build up a decent site with no more than a few clicks. You will also find plenty of information online which will tell you how to run your website and solve problems if you get stuck. Honestly, WordPress is so amazing for building a website, many of the top websites you find online actually use it as a backbone for their systems.
Ok. You have your website online. You have your software installed. This is not enough. What next? Well, you now need to start packing your website with content.
You must remember that the main reason people head online is to absorb content. It does not matter what type of website you run, content is always going to be the main draw. That could be an informational article, or it could be a review, or even the information on a product you are selling. It does not matter. You need content.
Good content tends to get ranked a bit better in the search engines (more on that in a short while). Good content also encourages people to stick around on your website. If you head online, you will no doubt see millions of websites which have terrible content. We can guarantee you that these are not going to make money.
So, how can you make good content?
I am not going to give a complete guide here. There is so much to write. However, I can give you a few tips and tricks which can improve your content production:
- Be original! Don’t just copy other articles online. Always give something your own, unique spin.
- Content is not just about text. It is also about pictures and videos. Make sure you include them.
- Make your content interesting. When you are putting together a piece of content, think about why people would bother to read it. For example; when I put together this article, I thought people would want to read this because they want to know how to get their website up and running. If you can’t think of a target market for your content, then it probably does not have one. You will be wasting your time.
- Make sure that your content is written well! It needs to be written exceedingly well. This means that you should proofread it numerous times. The best way in which you can do this is with software such as Grammarly. This software allows you to check for grammatical errors in your content ‘on the fly’. Grammarly is going to be so much better than the shoddy systems built into Microsoft Word and whatever else you are using. With the Premium plan, it can also be integrated into MS Office, along with the excellent plagiarism checking option.
Now you only need to get people on your website. Now, I can’t cover absolutely everything you need to do when it comes to marketing here. I could easily write a whole book on that. So, once again, I am going to give you a few tips and tricks on some of the most ‘effective’ marketing methods:
- Search engine optimization: this should be the main focus of any website. You need a way in which you can get found in the search engines as this is how most of your traffic will be finding you. If you can’t be found in the searches, your website is going to fail.
- Social media marketing: a viable method for most websites out there. You may struggle a bit if you are running a B2B website unless you find the right social media website, but if you market yourself properly on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the like, you will notice a substantial amount of traffic heading to your website.
- Paid advertising: the best way to get your website off the ground at the start will be by investing in paid advertising. Research ‘Pay per Click’ advertising. This is going to be incredibly affordable!
Remember, this is only a quick introduction on how to get your website off the ground. You will need to do a lot more than finding a decent hosting provider, writing decent content and carrying out some marketing but, I promise you, if you put the effort in, you already have the tools needed to be successful.