If you are completely new to website building, i.e. you know nothing about HTML, FTP and the like, this page will show you not only how to create a website - there are plenty of such resources on the Net, but how to create a successful website getting a lot of traffic from search engines, in the most time-and-money efficient way possible.
I've tried to go into as much detail as possible, to minimize the need for switching to other Web pages. Unfortunately, it's unrealistic to provide detailed information on how to build a website, promote it and earn money from it, within one page. You'll find quite a few links to other pages providing additional information and useful services. All links within this page are set up to open a new browser window, so that you can open several pages simultaneously and switch between them without losing the context.
The whole process is divided into four sections:
I've also added Advanced Options for those who want to know how to create a website with more traditional Web design tools.
If you're going to create a website not only for fun, take the time to think it through thoroughly. The real opportunities on this over-congested Internet lie in the niches. The only successful strategy for newcomers is to select a narrow niche and to fill it with useful content.
Some niches, such as "Internet marketing" or "Web hosting", are extremely competitive. Your goal is to find a subject that you really know and like, that would have some appeal for others and that is still not very competitive.
You can estimate the competitiveness of your niche by analyzing related keywords. Create your original list of keywords - write down all the words and phrases that you think are related to your concept and can be used by people when they search for your site. Don't limit yourself to single words. Statistical research has shown that most people search using multiple-word keywords composed of two, three, or even more words in order to get more targeted results.
There's a remarkable online tool that will help you find actual related keywords and measure their popularity on the Internet: Google Keyword Tool.
Type in your first keyword, and click on the "Search" button. The tool will display a list of keywords related to the word that you've typed in. Write down the keywords with the best profitability (with high "Monthly Searches" and low "Competition").
The exact number of competitors may be determined by searching for each phrase surrounded in quotation marks and finding out how many sites come up in the results. Have a quick look at the top 10 sites listed. You may get some great ideas for content and add new relevant words and phrases to your original list of keywords.
Repeat this process for each of the words from your original list writing down the best keywords along with their attributes. Your goal is to find not less than 10-20 good relevant keywords (keyword phrases). The more keywords you find and the better their profitability, the more promising your niche is.
Pick the most profitable keywords and plan pages of your site. Also select the main keyword for your home page. Each page should be optimized for one keyword. However, if you have managed to find some keywords with very low competitiveness, you can optimize a page for two or more keywords.
For example, if Google finds only 20-30 sites providing information about a particular keyword, there is a good chance that your page will be found if you include that keyword only once or twice into it. Otherwise, if you have 20000 competitors, you'll need to optimize all areas of the page for this keyword to get a high ranking.
Of course, the above process can take a lot of time. But if you want to get free traffic from search engines, this step is absolutely essential. It's the very thing that can make the difference between a successful website and one that fails to attract any visitors.
Now that you know what you want to accomplish, it's time to start building your website. Depending on how many pages you're going to create and how serious you are about building a profitable Web business, I offer you the three most time-and-money efficient options I've been able to locate.
They are online website builders which anyone can use to build professional looking websites and have them hosted instantly. No software to buy, no code to learn, all you need is to be a little Internet savvy and know how to click your mouse.
These tools are the current leaders in their fields and differ in their capabilities and prices...
If all you need is a 1-5 page mini site to establish an online presence, buy a domain name at 1&1 ($7.99/yr). Each domain comes with free Starter Website Builder - a convenient, easy-to-use tool that lets you create a 5-page website. The simple wizard guides you through the building process from start to publish, with easy-to-follow instructions and simple point-and-click prompts.
You can choose your template, customize it with fonts, colors, graphics, and then add your content using the built-in text editor. No technical expertise or knowledge of HTML code is necessary. Each domain also includes 1 personalized email address with 2 GB mailbox space.
You can see an example of a mini site created with this tool here: Free online website builder.2) Intuit Websites
This website builder is suitable for those who want to make a small business website very quickly, easily and inexpensively (it's free for the first 30 days and $4.99/month thereafter). You can have a website designed and built in minutes. There are over 2000 professionally designed templates organized into different categories, so finding a design suitable for your business is easy.
Website templates are fully functional sites with multiple pages, navigation, images, and even text you might easily use in your business site. If you are in a hurry, you can simply add your own business name and contact information, and your website will be online in moments. You can host your site under their domain or register a custom domain name, and get email addresses to match. Intuit's team of web experts can design a website and build it for you, if you don't have the time to do it yourself.
This is the most comprehensive and well established product among other tools for creating websites. You won't find any other website builder that can show results like this. It's most suitable for those who are serious about making money on the Internet and want to focus on building their business instead of managing their website.
Of course, Site Build It (SBI) is more costly than the previous options, but it takes care of ALL the technology and complexity of building and marketing a website (domain name, hosting, graphic design, search engine submission and optimization, traffic analysis, e-zine publishing, etc.) and allows you to jump straight to the money making side of your Web business. See the complete list of features for more information.
SBI is focused on minimizing your time and maximizing your results. For example, its Brainstorming and Researching tool reduces hours of that tedious manual work of finding profitable keywords to mere clicks. All you have to do is type in a keyword and this tool will give you dozens of profitable keywords - ones with high demand and low supply.
See Articles: Easy website building tool, if you need more information to decide whether SBI is right for you. Also, if you want to get real answers to any questions that you may have about SBI from an actual SBI user, via phone or email, visit SBI - Question.
In fact, if you choose SBI, you won't need this guide any more. SBI's Action Guide (a pdf file) will show you, step-by-step, how to create a website in the most efficient way.
In my opinion, the main advantage of SBI, which makes it unique among other website building tools, is that it actively struggles for traffic from the free search engines:
- SBI's Brainstorming tool helps you find highly profitable topics (i.e., topics that attract motivated, targeted traffic) for your site.
- Before you even build each page, as well as after each one is ranked, SBI tells you exactly what to do to rank higher at the search engines.
- WorldSubmitter submits pages to all the major search engines. And it does it without violating any of the search engines' protocols: it doesn't submit more than one page of a site to each engine in any 25 hour period and it doesn't submit the same page twice in a 30 day period.
- SpiderWatcher tracks the major search engines' spiders (crawlers). It knows what the spiders look like (the spider-tracking database is updated every 6 hours). If, within a certain number of days (varies from engine to engine), no crawler has visited, SpiderWatcher "alerts" WorldSubmitter to re-submit the site to the search engines that ignored the initial submission.
- ListChecker checks the engines periodically to make sure the site has made it into the index and after that keeps tabs on it to make sure it's still there. Should that page disappear from a search engine's index (these things do happen), ListChecker will tell WorldSubmitter to re-submit it.
So it's no wonder that SBIers quickly grab the top spots in search results and earn thousands of dollars per month from free traffic:
The rest of this guide is applicable for you only if you haven't chosen Site Build It as your website building service - SBI includes all the tools you will ever need, as well as an excellent guide on how to create a website using these tools.
Search Engine Optimization
To optimize a page for a specific keyword (keyword phrase), you should include it in the following strategic places...
- Title tag
The first and most important tag in search engine optimization. It should contain 5-10 words. The specific keyword should be used, preferably as the first word(s) of the title. The title appears as the link in search engine listings, so you need to make it attractive to humans as well.
- Meta Description tag
The second important tag. It is used by many search engines as a short description of the page, so don't repeat the Title in this tag, and make sure it's attractive, without being misleading. It should not exceed 150-200 characters. The specific keyword should be used at least once.
- The regular text of the page
Put not less than two hundred words on the page. Don't make the page too long. Use your keyword at the start, middle, and end of your content. Don't simply repeat it over and over. Use it more frequently in the opening two paragraphs, and also in the closing paragraph. The first sentence should contain the keyword. Headlines are more important than the regular body copy for both your human readers and for the search engines. Include your keywords in the heading tags, preferably as the first words of the heading.
- Incoming links
If possible, include your keyword in the text of incoming links (links to your page from other pages).
- Meta Keywords tag, Image ALT tags, Comment tags
These tags aren't very important - they hardly affects the rankings these days. However, just to be on the safe side, you can include your keyword in them. Meta Keywords tag can contain a list of keywords separated by a comma.
Don't know what Title, Description and Keywords tags mean? Here's the beginning of this page containing these tags...
<title>How to Create a Website (one-page guide for beginners)</title>
<meta name="description" content="Learn how to create a website, promote it and earn money from it, in the most efficient way possible.">
<meta name="keywords" content="how to create a website, one-page guide, website building">
For more information, see Building: Search Engine Optimization.
You need to get a domain name if you're serious about making your business successful. Having your own domain instead of an extension of someone else's, gives your site better credibility, recognition, and visibility with the search engines and directories.
Choosing a domain name is very important step in the entire process of building a website, and due to the recent "gold rush" for domain names, it can also be one of the most difficult. It may seem that nearly all "good" names have been registered. This doesn't mean, however, that there's nothing left, you just have to be a bit more creative.
Here are some tips for choosing a domain name...
- Keep the length between 5-20 characters if possible (the length can be up to 63 characters).
- Try to base it on one of your main keywords for higher relevancy. The engines will rank your site higher for your keyword if it's included in your domain name. You may use dashes if it helps readability. Generally, don't use dashes if your name has only two words in it.
- The generic Top Level Domain .com is by far the most marketable, and thus the most valuable domain.
The domain registration service is provided by domain registrars. These days there are thousands of them on the Web. One of the very popular (and cheap) of them is 1&1 Instant Domain. You can use it to find out whether or not "your" name has been registered...
Prepare to be disappointed. You'd be surprised at how many people share your idea.
Type in your domain name in the search box and click on the "Check" button.
This service not only checks your name, but also generates a lot of available
names based on yours. You can also register the available name(s) right there.
During registration, you'll be asked to enter your primary and secondary DNS servers. If you don't have a hosting provider yet, you can register a domain name, that will not be hosted anywhere. Later on, when you obtain the DNS information from your host, you'll log into your registrar and enter your host's primary and secondary DNS servers. Name server updates usually take somewhere between 24 and 72 hours to fully propagate throughout the Internet.
For more information, see Domain Registration.
Just putting a site on the Web doesn't guarantee anyone will visit it. It's time to submit it to the major search engines and directories which provide an important source of regular visitors to any website.
Here are some rules and tips that can help you submit your site to the major search engines (SEs)...
- Don't submit your site to hundreds or even thousands of engines. See Promotion: Collection of Free Search Engines for the list of major SEs that you should submit your site to.
- Don't trust the search engine submissions to automated programs and services. SEs don't like these services. Submit your site manually or use a submission service or software that completely mimics a common browser. See Tools: Free Website Submission for a safe, quick, and free submission tool.
- When you enter your URL, make sure you type in the whole address, including appropriate prefix (http://) and a trailing slash ("/") if the URL doesn't include a file name, for example, http://www.Domain.com/.
- Many SEs give a higher ranking to pages they find on their own versus pages that were specifically submitted to them. From this point of view, you should submit the home page and let search engines find the other pages from your site. However, you may submit internal pages to speed up the process or after making significant changes to them.
- Don't exceed the recommended limits of submissions. Otherwise, you may find that all your submissions are ignored. For example, SBI's WorldSubmitter (see above) doesn't submit more than one page of a site to each engine in any 25 hour period and doesn't submit the same page twice in a 30 day period.
It may take anywhere from 2 weeks to several months for your site to be listed in the search engines. To find out whether you are indexed or not, you can use a simple service on Tools: Advanced Web Search, which shows the number of pages a given search engine has in its index for your domain, or just search on a particular search engine using some very specific keyword (for example, the official name of your site) to come up in the first page of results.
Submitting to directories is somewhat of a different process. When you submit your site to a Web directory, your site is queued for review by a site editor. That means a human being actually visits your site and determines whether or not it should be included in their index. Each directory has its own criteria for evaluating sites. In fact, getting into directories is a combination of luck and quality. See Promotion: Directories for more information.
Submitting your site to search engines alone is not enough. You also need to work on building link popularity of your site. This factor has grown in importance in the last years. For example, Google is hesitant to list a site that doesn't have at least one link from other domain indicating that the site is worth listing in its index. In addition, if your link popularity isn't high enough, you'll never achieve top rankings on many keywords.
The best thing you can do is to submit your site to the major directories: Yahoo! and Open Directory. Links from them are the most "credentializing" links you can obtain, indicating to Google and other search engines that your site is worth listing. Unfortunately, getting listed in these directories is very difficult.
The simple solution is reciprocal link exchange. This is the most popular way of increasing link popularity: two webmasters simply agree to add a link to each other's site to their sites. A couple of well-researched link exchanges will generate the link popularity required for a Google listing.
Set up your own Links page on your site that will hold the link swaps you're going to arrange. Create the Title and Description for your site or copy them from your home page. Since the Title will appears as the link to your site, ensure that it contains your main keyword.
Go to Google and find a site that is ranked high for your main keyword. Most likely it has a Links page with dozens, even hundreds, of reciprocal links. Copy these links along with their descriptions to your Links page. Then, send a polite email to webmasters of these sites, introduce your site, tell them that you have already added a link to their sites from yours, and then ask them whether they would be kind enough to add a link to your site (include your Title and Description).
The response rate to these emails is low, especially if your site is new and doesn't get a lot of traffic. After a couple of weeks, remove the links to those sites which haven't responded and try to locate more sites with which to exchange links.
It's a good idea to submit all URLs that link to your site to search engines, just to be sure that they know about them. Additionally, it allows search engines to find your site on their own.
See Promotion: Website Link Popularity for more methods of increasing your link popularity.
4) Making Money
Maybe you've heard people say that you can get rich on the Internet. But it's not a get rich overnight business. Internet success takes time, effort and knowledge. There's no easy get rich quick method, so you need to spend the time for building income stream from your website.
These ways of making money on the Internet are the most appropriate for beginners...
They pay you a percentage of the sales you generate for them. You don't have to spend time and energy creating your own product. No dealing with customer service, fulfilling orders, and the like. And some of them pay 50% commission.
Join only a few affiliate programs whose products or services match the audience you attract to your site and concentrate on providing useful, information-rich content that will generate traffic and sales.
The links to the affiliate programs should be in context of something that you have written, rather than making them appear as if the main purpose of the site is to get people to click on them. This means that when visitors come to your site, they should feel that the site is primarily focused on providing information on that topic, and that the affiliate links are just a small aspect of your site.
Don't push your visitors to the click to your merchant's site, make them want to click. And they'll click-through with pleasure, arriving at your merchant's site with an open-to-buy mind. All humans like doing business with a company who has been recommended to them by a expert whose opinion they have come to respect.
To refine your writing skills and become an effective e-persuader, get Ken Evoy's ebook Make Your Content PREsell. It's "#1 must reading" for anyone who communicates on the Net, even if it's only via e-mail, and it's now free.
Finding affiliate programs
Finding online merchants with affiliate programs is easy. Just visit one of the most popular affiliate program directories. This site lists hundreds of merchants who will pay you to sell their products. It has even organized them all for you into categories...
There are also several affiliate networks that provide the tools, technology and services that online businesses need to register, track, report and pay affiliates. They provide merchants with affiliates, and vice-versa.
The most comprehensive and most promising affiliate network is Commission Junction. Join it for free, and you can join any of their thousands of associate programs. Commission Junction combines all of your earnings from any products, banners, and links you place on your sites into one monthly payment.
Here are the most important factors you should consider before joining affiliate programs...
- The Fit
Join only those programs that fit the audience of your site. A close match will always yield better performance.
- The Commission
A reasonable commission starts at 20%, and can go as high as 50%, but if the product is too expensive, no one will buy it. The best affiliate programs will also pay you a second tier commission, that's the commission you make on sales initiated not by you directly, but by someone you referred to the program.
- The Product Quality
Don't associate your business with low quality product or service. In addition, if the quality and usefulness of the product are low, few people will be interested, and the refund rate will be higher.
- Referral Duration
After you've referred a visitor to a site, how long does the site continue to "remember" you as the referrer of that visitor? Many associate programs won't remember you at all. This means that if the visitors you referred didn't buy directly on their first visit to the site, you'll never get commission, even if they went back to the site later that day to purchase the product.
Good affiliate programs should at least remember you for 60 days. It's usually done by setting a cookie on the visitor's computer when they arrive at your merchant's site. Beware of associate programs that don't mention anything about this cookie and its duration.
- Residual Commissions
The best programs will even pay you commissions for a prolonged period of time, after the original sale has been made. This is especially attractive for associate programs that sell services with regular fees. For example, if your referred customers make monthly fees, you'll earn the commission each month.
- The Payments
Make sure the payments are made often enough, preferably once a month, with reasonable minimum. Some affiliate programs will only pay you every 3 or 6 months.
Not many affiliate programs meet all the above requirements. But here are a few two-tier programs which offer highly recommended Internet marketing products and services, at cheap prices, high commissions for life and sites which are obviously designed to sell...
Ken Evoy's 5 Pillar Program
When you register, you're provided with great marketing tools and an excellent manual, telling you, step-by-step, how to create a successful affiliate website. Although it's the best manual on the market, you can have this one totally free - all you have to do is join this affiliate program.
No other company offers so much help to affiliates. Their Web pages are even not optimized for search engines because Ken doesn't want to compete with his affiliates in free traffic from search engines.
I recommend this program if your site is closely related to website development. They sell professional Web templates and complementary services. Besides simple affiliate links or banners, they offer HTML code to insert their dynamic interface into your pages under your own brand without any references to their site. (See my page Web Page Templates.)
This is a new, fast and easy way for small and medium sites to display relevant, text-based, un-obtrusive Google AdWords ads and receive a share of the pay-per-click payment. Because the ads are related to what your users are looking for on your site, the results can be much better than you'd earn from many affiliate programs.
AdSense is easy to join, it doesn't cost you anything, all you have to do is paste a few lines of code into your pages, and Google does the work of finding the best ads for them from 100,000 AdWords advertisers. You can check the relevance of the ads by looking at the text ads near the top-right of this page.
For now, AdSense is the best way to generate revenue from informational sites even if there are no obvious related affiliate programs. But you don't need to disregard affiliate programs. You can combine both ways and double your income.
How to get started
- Go to Google AdSense.
- Fill in the application form and confirm an email that Google will send you. If you own several sites, you need apply only once.
- Log in to your account using the email address and password that you submitted with your application, and agree to the AdSense Terms and Conditions.
- Paste the AdSense ad code into your Web pages. There are multiple ad layout choices: 728x90, 468x60, 125x125, 120x600, 160x600, 120x240, 300x250, 250x250, 336x280, and 180x150. In addition to text ads, you have an option of running contextually targeted image ads. The AdSense ad code is unique for your account and is not site/page-specific. You can place it on any page or site you own.
For more information on how to get the most out of AdSense and what to do if you're not accepted, see Ken Evoy's article Google AdSense & SBI!... The Perfect Marriage. Although it was written for SBI owners, it applies to everyone as well.
If all the above doesn't suit you, here are a few tools and resources for traditional offline website building that I use myself. They require more knowledge and work or cost more money, but instead give you more power and flexibility...
Adobe Dreamweaver (formerly Macromedia Dreamweaver)
This is the most powerful visual HTML editor for dynamic and static websites. It's rather expensive, but it enables nonspecialists to build rich dynamic pages that work across all the leading Web browsers.
Corel PhotoImpact (formerly Ulead PhotoImpact)
This Web graphics editor is the best balance between depth, ease of use and price. It offers features usually found only in programs costing 5-8 times as much.
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