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Learn How to Build a Website with This Easy to Follow Step-by-Step Guide
Learning how to build a website is part art and part science. I don’t mean to imply there are unknowns that you will have to deal with. All I am saying is that there are no two snow flakes alike. Meaning, your website will be different from anyone else’s website because of your individual creativity and artistic style of design.
What does not change, however, is the basic process of making a website. Whether your goal is to create a simple, personal website for yourself or a large ecommerce site for your business, this step by step section will teach you how to build a website and guide you through the painless and enjoyable process of creating an online presence.
The three basic steps to creating a website
1. Define website purposeEveryone wants a website today for all kinds of reasons. Defining your website purpose will determine many things, such as the tools you need, as you progress in the process of making a website. Thus, it is very important to have a plan for your website.
I am not saying that you should draw a line in stone and do not deviate from it. We all know that the only things we can count on these days are death and taxes (and in some countries not even that). You may very well need to modify your plans along the way.
However, what I’m saying is that you should have a clear picture in your mind of the direction you want to take your website in terms of its appearance, functionality and scaleability (how much you want to expand it by adding various functionalities) at least at the onset. Not having a proper plan in place will impede on your progress in the short run and will pose more severe problems in the future once you have invested your time and effort into the project.
So here is what you do. Write down the answers to the following questions and hang on to them as you begin your project. Keep the answers to these questions in mind as you are choosing your domain name, hosting provider and developing your web-pages. I want your answers to become your reference sheet each time you work on your website. This will keep you on the right track and ensure that you are working toward your ultimate goal.
2. Website domain registration & website hostingDomain Name
Your domain name (www.yoursite.com) is your identity online. It is how people will remember your website. The simpler and shorter your domain name the easier it will be to remember. As the web is getting saturated by the day, more and more domain names are being claimed by site owners.
This is ok, because if your goal is just to put up a simple personal website without any financial objectives, you can make your domain name anything you want (as long as it is not taken). If your purpose is commercializing and monetizing your idea online, your domain name will make little difference if you do your search engine optimization and marketing the right way.
Don’t get me wrong. A good domain name is very important. But you can only work with what is available. More than 60% of website traffic is generated from search engine referrals and your position on these engines will determine your success for the most part (at least initially). I discuss Search Engine Optimization (“SEO”) & Search Engine Marketing (“SEM”) in more detail in other sections.
If your content is good and once people get to know your website, they will begin to bookmark it so that they can visit it next time. If you analyze the statistics of your website you will begin to notice that the longer your site has been on the Internet, the bigger the percentage of direct visits (visitors who either type in your URL directly or have your site bookmarked) will be. I highly recommend Google Analytics for this purpose. It is excellent and best of all 100% free!
Read more about domain names here.
A host is exactly what it sounds like – a service provider that allows you to park your website on their server so that it can be found and viewed on the Internet. You can build a website but you cannot make it visible online without a hosting server. You can either buy your own server, which can get pretty expensive, or pay a nominal fee to a host provider that will house your website files on their servers that provide the platform to make your website visible and allow you to add to and update your website at anytime.
Once you have decided on which host provider to go with, they will provide you with instructions to upload your website’s pages to their server. Uploading is done through File Transfer Protocol (“FTP”) utility software. FTP is a technical way in which computers communicate and share information. This is the most common and easiest way to upload and publish your website online.
Many host providers include a file upload option which is readily accessible in the control panel through which you manage your website. In instances where this option is not available, you will need an independent FTP program. I recommend FileZilla. It works very well and it is 100% free to download. There are other options that cost between $20-70 but I don’t think they are necessary when you can get one for free.
Read more about hosting providers here.
3. Website design & good quality contentWebsite design
Depending on the service provider you select for your website’s hosting, you may be provided with website building tools that will save you the extra step of looking for an external website building program. If you are left on your own to create your web pages, there are a few ways you can go about this.
You can take the time to learn HTML programming and program a website from scratch (something I do not recommend initially), or you can purchase a website creation program for a small cost, use one of the free programs available on the Internet, or purchase a basic program and then manually add to it and modify it with HTML patches and scripts overtime as your website develops. Whichever method you choose, content is king when measuring success online.
Read more about web design here.
Just like the mantra in real estate goes location location location. The mantra for websites goes content content content. A big part of learning how to build a website is content management. Your website won’t go too far without much quality content that is valuable to your visitors.
Whether you are providing a product at a price advantage or expert information on a particular subject matter, the way you organize and present your information will make the difference between your success and failure. Engage your visitor through valuable information and compel them to take action in the end. This is the simple formula to success online once you have the visitor inside your door steps.
The bus stops here for many people. If your goal is to create a personal recreational website that just a few friends, family and colleagues can access then you don’t need to go any further. I see this a lot with families attempting to create their family tree and post it online for the rest to see, or a couple put up a wedding site leading up to the wedding where friends and family can wish them and sign up for gift registries. I also see these sites used for academic purposes where a professor might post class material and homework assignments.
It is apparent that the goal for these websites is not to become the next Google and generate millions in revenues. These are special purpose websites created for specific tasks and thus the next two steps do not apply to these. The next two steps apply to you if you are serious about making money online. And why not? What good is it putting in all that time and effort building all that traffic and popularity when you have no monetization intentions for your website?
The question I will ask you here is how serious are you about the monetary success of your website? If your answer is strong and compelling to you, continue to read this guide and follow the next 2 steps to prepare you for your website’s success. I have created detailed individual sections dedicated to the 2 steps to provide you with as much information as possible and send you on your way to making a lot of money online from your hard work.
Life After Development - The additional two steps
In this section I discuss the steps you need to take after you have launched your website to become successful in achieving the objectives you had set for it. Most people think that by simply putting up a website they will get the traffic and exposure they need to get them noticed. What they don’t realize is that this is far from true. It is a fact that most websites created fail because they get so lost in cyberspace that no one ever notices them. Continue reading and avoid becoming just another website out there . . .
4. Optimizing & marketing your websiteSearch Engine Optimization (“SEO”)
SEO is arguably the most powerful technique you can employ to get your site noticed, indexed by search engines and ranked higher in search engine search results. It is powerful because it will help you gain organic credibility. Organic means natural – non paid exposure. You will be recognized for your credentials and rewarded by search engines by placing your site higher in searches when people are looking for your products and services.
SEO includes submitting your website to search engines to tell them there is a new sheriff in town. SEO also involves populating your web content with the appropriate key words, descriptions, title tags and meta tags so that the search engine spiders can find it amidst the millions of sites in cyberspace right now. Continue reading and learn more about SEO.
Search Engine Marketing (“SEM”)
SEM is SEO done outside your website. What I mean is that SEM does not require anything to be done directly to the actual website. It has to do with external marketing efforts to advertise and promote your website.
Few examples are printing and distributing business cards and flyers with your URL on it(web address), advertising your site in magazines or placing certain banner adds on other similar but non-competing websites. Pay per click advertising is also a component of SEM. Continue reading and learn more about the creative world of SEM.
5. Ways to make money onlineNow that you have learned how to build a website, it is time to discuss making money online. Do you want to make money online but have no tangible product to sell? No worries. For those of you who have or will be creating ecommerce websites (online stores that sell a tangible product) the information above is very much relevant for you. For those that do not have a tangible product, don’t worry…in fact if you ask me I think you are in a better position. Continue reading and find out why.
There is no shortage of information online on how to build a website. In fact there is way too much and it is presented in a complicated manner. I have cut out all the fat for you and have boiled it down to a simple three step process. Depending on your website purpose you may decide to follow through the two additional steps that discuss marketing strategy for websites. I hope this information was helpful to you.
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