Whether you want to start a website for fun or to make money, you’ll first have to learn how to make a website. Making a website is not difficult at all. In fact you can have a website running in less than 10 minutes. Since the online industry is growing rapidly and everyone wants to have a website, we’ve been getting a lot of questions when it comes to building a website. So to make things easier for everyone, we’ve decided to write up this article on how to make a website, a complete guide.
1) Registering a Domain
On First stage, you’ll have to decide on a domain name. If you’re in business, the ideal domain name would be your company’s name with the .com extension (Commercial). There are hundreds of domain extensions, but the most common ones are .com, .net & .org.
We would personally suggest going for a .com, if it’s taken, we would suggest either trying to find a different domain name or register the .net extension. For non-profits/organizations, we would suggest .org. If you’re a business in a country outside the US, you should consider going with your country’s domain extension like for UK, you can choose (.uk) or (.org.uk).
There are different tools online that can help you come up with a name. We personally use these following tools:
a) BustaName – Great tool to see whether a domain is available. They also have a “Word Combiner” which combines the word (with your settings) and tries to come up with available domains.
Link – http://www.bustaname.com/
b) Thesaurus – Shows you alternative words that have the same & similar meaning. We often use this when naming our services & businesses. It’s great to use when writing for your website too.
Link – http://www.thesaurus.com/
c) DomainsBot – An easy to use, easy to integrate solution to offer your customer an effictive and affordable domain bot service. You can even use their Domain Suggestion API for new gTLDs.
Link – http://www.domainsbot.com/
A Domain name should not be long, it should be easy to remember & brandable. After deciding for the name, you’ll have to register it. Depending on the domain extension, the price range for a .com is usually $7-$10 per year
Here’s a list of domain registrars & their pricing, you can use to register your domain.
Things to Consider when Choosing a Domain Name
– Brandable – Make it sound professional.
– Catchy – It should stick in the person’s head. It should be easy to remember.
– Easy to Type – Avoid using words that are complicated to type.
– Short – The shorter the better. It will be more catchy, easier to remember & type.
2) Choosing a Web Host
A web-host is simply a place where the files of your website are stored, giving everyone who has access to internet to access your website. This step is simple, yet very important. Different web-hosts offer different features, however usually the regular plans work. It’s important to choose a proper web-host the your site loads fast, and there are no interruptions such as your website going down.
In most cases, a regular web-host plan is enough. There are free web-hosts out there but we would highly discourage the use of those. They are slow, fill up your site with ads and many other things you don’t want to deal with.
Here’s a list of the top web-hosts we recommend.
After signing-up for a web-host, you will be given nameservers. Then you have to head back to your domain registrar and add the nameservers to your domain. In other words, this is basically linking your domain name with your web-host.
3) Deciding on a Platform
This step involves deciding on which platform you want to use. If you are building a forum, we would highly suggest vBulletin (paid) or SMF (Free). In most cases, whether you are building a website, blog, magazine or anything else, the three platforms below do the job.
As you can see, over 50% of the websites use WordPress. WordPress is absolutely free, and it is what we would recommend for almost anything. They even also offer forum plugins/templates if you’re going to build a forum. WordPress is incredibly well-coded, and very easy to use. You don’t need to have any prior experience to understand how to use it.
Almost all web-hosts have “Fantastico” which is a feature making the installation of such platforms hassle-free. With Fantastico, you can have your WordPress blog up within a minute, you’ll just have to fill in some basic info (blog title, email etc) and you’re set. We would encourage you to use WordPress over Drupal & Joomla. Nonetheless, you should look at different platforms and see which fits you more.
4) Choosing a Theme
Things to Consider When Choosing a Theme
- Lightweight – Go for themes that are simple, and not overloaded with features. Your site should load fast (Use Pingdom to test theme speed)
- Responsive – This is a must today. The theme should be well optimized for all browsers, mobile phones & tablets.
- User Experience – It should be easy for a visitor to navigate through the theme.
- Features – Does the theme have all the features you want (ie sliders, columns etc).
- Customizability – It should be hassle-free for you to customize.
- Rarity – If the theme looks like every other website, we’d suggest finding a different theme.
Within the WordPress admin platform, you can search for free themes. However if you want more features, we would recommend heading over to ThemeForest.com (PAID) , it is a theme marketplace for multiple platforms and there are thousands of options. Usually WordPress themes with a lot of great features, responsiveness & all the requirements go for $30-$60.
5) WordPress Plugins
Plugins improve your WordPress blog and bring more features. There are both, free and paid plugins. Paid are usually the ones with very specific features. Unless you need those features, you’re fine with free plugins. Below are the must-have plugins.
- WordPress SEO by Yoast – This plugin will optimize your website to make it more search engine friendly.
- WordPress Super Cache – Great for speed. Your site won’t have to load heavy php scripts again.
- BackWPup – Essential. It’s always good to have a backup for your website. You can schedule backups with this plugin
- WordFence – Protects your site from viruses & malware.
- Gravity Forms/Contact Form 7 – Decide on one. They are both great plugins to add a “Contact” page to your website. Gravity Forms offers other types of forms too.
- Disqus – This is a great third party commenting system.
- Redirection – If the user stumbles upon a page on your website that doesn’t exist, it will tell them to go back to your site instead of showing a dead page.
- Broken Link Checker – Checks your blog for broken links.
- WP-Optimize – Cleans your database with a touch of a button.
- Google Analytics – You have to see track how many visitors come to your site, from which country, from what referral and etc.
- Shareaholic – Social networks are a great & easy way to drive traffic to your website.
- WP All in one Security – For security of your website.
These are the basic plugins. Depending on your business, you may need a gallery, or some other feature. You can Google it and you will find a lot of different plugins.
6) Content is King
You will start hearing the phrase “Content is King” often in the online world. And it really is true. Having high quality content not only engages your audience with your website, but it also helps tremendously with getting ranked well on search engines such as Google, Yahoo & Bing.
Take a look at the most successful websites & blogs online, they have superb quality content that people love reading. As you populate your website with content not only will you get more readers, but you will establish yourself as an expert in your industry. Your content should be informative, engaging and easy to read. Don’t use fillers to make the content longer, it just won’t work.
- Make your headlines engaging so people will want to open it.
- Write as many quality posts as possible. The more you have the more visitors you should be having. Make it engaging so it is shared in social media platforms by your audience.
- Make your content appealing by using relevant appealing images. This will also improve traffic through social media sites because the display image will be relevant.
- If you want to build a reputation for your name, add a photo of you & bio so and display it below every post, or on the side of your blog.
7) Marketing Your Website Online
Great, so now you have a great looking website built, with lots of great content. You’re missing one thing, traffic. In the online world, we refer visitors as “Traffic“. The goal is to have as much high quality traffic as possible. The more quality traffic, the more money/clients you make. Depending on your website, there are different ways you can market your website. Below are some great, very easy basic ways to start driving traffic to your website.
a) Social Media – One of our favorites, easy & effective. Get on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus and all other major social media platforms. Share your blog posts, engage with your target audience, even advertise through those platforms if you have the budget for it .Build an audience, a fan-base who will follow you wherever you go.
b) Trendy Topics – Write up blog posts about topics that are currently trending, people are more likely to read them.
c) Paid Advertising – Websites like Facebook & Google offer paid advertising. Read up a lot of guides on them and then test them out. You can also use BuySellAds.com to buy banner space on websites, make sure you have a good banner that people will click on. Or manually find niche-related websites and contact the owners regarding advertising.
d) Reddit, Stumbleupon & Digg – Easy way to get instant traffic. Share your new blog posts up there. Although the traffic may not be as quality, it still converts.
f) Guest Blogging – Contact other blogs and offer them to write a blog post for their blog, in exchange for a link to your website.
g) LinkedIn – Connect with people in your industry & post your new posts up there.
h) Email Lists – Have people signup for your email list and then whenever you release a new post, you can email them all. Probably your most quality source of traffic.
i) Comment on Other Blogs – Comment on other blog posts related to your industry. Don’t spam, and make the comment useful. If you spam, it will ruin your reputation.
j) Engage With Your Audience – If they leave a comment, reply to their comment. If they email, reply to their email. Take care of them, and they will take care of you.
k) Get on Youtube – Another very effective way to build a reputation as an expert in your industry. Talk about a problem many people have to have more views, put your face out there.
l) Interview Influencers – Interview other influencers in your industry, whether it’s through video or text, and put it up on your blog. They will also promote that blog post.
m) Forums – Engage in forums in your industry. Put a link/banner in your signature. Be informative and help others, and you will get traffic.
n) Email Signature – You most likely email with other people in your industry. Add your blog in your signature, they’re most probably going to click on it.
o) Cross-Promotion – Engage with other influencers in your industry and cross promote one another, whether it’s through email subscribers, social media or websites.
p) Infographics – This will most likely be paid unless you design them yourself. Have high-quality informative infographics made related to your industry, and share them. A very effective method.
8) Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
This one tends to be more difficult than others .But once you do it properly, you can have a lot of traffic coming to your site and increasing an audience-base fairly quickly afterwards. Organic traffic is one of the best sources of traffic you can get. SEO requires time & patience, depending on what you’re after. Search Engine Optimization is the process of optimizing your website to make it more search-engine friendly and then building links so you can rank better.
There are 2 parts to SEO. The first part is on-page SEO. This is the process of making your site & content search-engine friendly .Meaning writing quality lengthy blog posts, internal & external linking (linking to other parts of your blog, and even to other websites), proper keywords in your title & content, and much more.
The second part is off-page SEO. This part is building quality backlinks to your website. There are a lot of different ways you can get backlinks, these include guest posts, forum profiles, blog comments, directory submission, links from other blogs and much more. I cannot express how important it is for you to read a lot about SEO. Building bad backlinks can kill your website from search engines, and that’s the last thing you want.
9) Monetizing Your Website
Depending on your industry, there are multiple ways to start monetizing your website. You should consider testing out different ways and see which brings you most money. we’d suggest spy on your competitors and other similar industries, and see what they are doing then improve.
a) Membership Programs – Offer better-valued content to your audience by offering a paid membership. If your free content is of great value, they will gladly sign-up for your paid membership.
b) Your Own Product – Great way to make big bucks. Launch your own product, whether digital or physical.
c) Being an Affiliate – Promote other products/services for a commission. Depending on your industry, you can sign up for a CPA Network, Clickbank, Amazon & many others and start promoting.
d) Google Adsense – You get paid for each time someone clicks on your ad.
e) Selling Banner Space – If you have a blog with quite some traffic, you can always make extra money by selling your banner space.
10) Conversation Rate Optimization (CRO)
We absolutely love and enjoy doing optimizing websites for better conversion rates. The results are quick, so you know you’re doing well. If you’re blogging, it’s still important, but this is primarily focused on landing pages for businesses/services. Test, test and keep testing.
You can always optimize it better for more conversions. Experts charge a large amount of money to optimize your landing page, because it can bring a lot more sales especially if your landing page isn’t good. You’ll need to do A/B split testing on things such as what title headline to use, where to place your call-to-action(CTA) buttons and much more. There are useful tools out there that can tell you where you need to put more focus on.
a) Google Analytics – a must have for tracking where your visitors come from, the amount of time they spend on your site, the bounce rate and many other cool features.
b) KISSmetrics – Owned by Neil Patel, a CRO expert. KISSmetrics offers a lot of great features such as funnel reports, A/B split testing, revenue reports with channels & the ability to see how behavior changes over time.
c) HotJar – An incredible product. Offers heatmaps, recordings, funnels, forms, polls & more. I’m in love with this one. Gives you an in-depth analysis of the behavior of your audience on your site.
d) KingSumo – Headlines are extremely important. It’s the first thing a person usually reads on your site, so you better try testing different headlines. KingSumo offers exactly that.
e) Optimzely – Great product for A/B split testing. Owned by two former Google product managers.
f) Qualaroo – Custom insights, asking your customer why they decided not to buy, and any other question you want.
g) LivePerson/Zopim – Both are live support chats. Great way to communicate with your potential clients and showing your bad ass customer support.
For any kind of help/query/service, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org