A Step by Step Guide on How to Create your Own Site
Many of us would love to have our own website or blog for various purposes. Some of us may want a personal blog where we can just talk about our lives while others may prefer a monetized site to earn additional or even full-time income. But whatever reason, we fail to bring about this blog due to our lack of knowledge on how to make websites. We fear that making our own site will be nothing more than a time-wasted effort. Part of this fear is because we believe a lot of technical know-how especially on HTML is a must to create a website. This may have been true before but the internet has changed drastically. Today, anybody can create a blog even without using HTML.
1. The Quest for a Topic
Before you go into the actual process of creating a website or blog, it is imperative for you to figure out what your site will be about. This may sound simple at first (I want to make a site about cars!!!) but you will have to research your topics carefully. If you're looking to make money off of your site, then researching your topic is a must. Why would you need to research? The answer is simple: to get traffic. Traffic is simply the number of visitors to your site. If you get higher traffic, then your site will be more popular, will rank higher in the search engines, and if your site is monetized, this can translate into more earnings.
a. Understanding Keywords
What are keywords you might ask? A keyword is what a person may type into a search engine. For example, a young high school graduate may go on Google to search for his dream college. Once in Google, he might type the word “college” into the search box. In that scenario, “college” is a keyword. Of course, “college” is a very broad keyword and the student may find out that he may have to narrow down his search. The student after all, is looking for a college to apply in; he doesn't need definitions of college from Wikipedia or Merriam-Webster. So instead of “college”, he might type “cheap colleges in Arizona.” That would effectively narrow his search to only include colleges in Arizona. He can then visit the websites of each college and make a comparison to see which college would suit him more. “Cheap colleges in Arizona” is what is called a keyword phrase or a long tail keyword. The root keyword in that phrase is “college.” It would be a better idea to build a site or blog around a long tail keyword rather than a root keyword since you will have less competition.
Understanding keywords is important because it can help you create a site with high traffic. If you know what people are typing into the search engine boxes, you will be able to modify your site to attract more visitors. But how will you know what people type into Google or Yahoo?
b. Welcome to the Google Adwords Keyword Tool!
There are many sites and programs you can use to help target keywords. One of the most used (and it's free!) is the Google Adwords Keyword Tool (GAKT) or Google Adwords for short. Just type that phrase into Google and click on the first site in the list. Once there, look for the phrase “Find Keywords.” Under it, there will be a box where you can type any keyword. Let's use college for example. When you type college into the box and click the search button, you will see a new box come out showing the keyword you typed (college), its competition (low) and its global monthly searches (151,000,000) and local monthly searches (83,100,000). (Take not that the numbers you see may be different than what is written here as the monthly searches change over time.) Below that, you will see ideas for long tail keywords.
The global monthly searches shows how many people all over the world type the word college on a monthly basis. The local monthly searches show how many people in your country (the default is USA) type the word college per month. The competition is divided into three: low, medium or high. If the competition in low, that means there are fewer websites out there with that keyword. That means less competition for you! If the competition is high, then there are a lot of sites out there with that keyword. Medium means somewhere in between. You can now experiment around with various keywords whether root keywords or long tail keywords to help decide what your site will be all about.
Asides from Google Adwords, there are other good keyword research programs such as Market Samurai or Keyword Sniper Pro 2.0 but these programs may cost you money.
2. Creating your Site
Now that you have figured out what keywords your site will be based on, it's time to get actually create a site!
a. Create a Domain Name
The first step will be to register a domain name. A domain name is simply the name of your site. FullTraffic.net is a domain name and so is Google.com. Preferably, your domain name will have to be about your site. So if you really want that site on cars, you can try:
or whatever name you can come up with. Once you figure out your domain name, you can now register it with a domain registrar. There are many registrars to choose from such as godaddy.com or domainname.com or namecheap.com. Some hosting sites will create a domain name for you if you don't have one, this will be explained later. Look up their prices first (it is going to cost you around $10-$15 a year, depending on the site) and see if your domain name is already taken. If it is, then create another one. Usually domain names last a year before you will have to renew it.
b. Find a Host for your Site.
Setting up a domain name is not enough, you will need a host for your site too. A host is a server that stores documents and applications. Think of your webpages as documents and the hosting server as a drawer where you keep all your documents. There are many hosting websites to choose from. A few of them include:
There are many, many more hosting services than these so take the time to view each site to check out their prices and packages. As mentioned above, some hosting sites will allow you to create a domain name with them. Choose your hosting site wisely. While the price of their services should be an issue (this could range anywhere from $3-$10 per month though most offer discounts if you buy a six-month or one-year package.), don't forget to take the quality of their services into consideration. It is advisable to search the web for reviews of the hosting websites so you can see what other customers have to say about their services.
A word of caution: do NOT use free hosting sites if you are after making money online. These services will either place ads all over your site from which they will earn money but not you, or they will own your domain name. For example: Iamverycute.tumblr.com. In this example, Tumblr owns your domain name, not you. While you could still make money out of these free hosting sites, your ability to do so would be extremely limited.
c. Choosing a Web Content Management System (WCMS)
What on earth is that? Well, as mentioned in the beginning (scroll back up if you want), knowledge in HTML is not a must for you to create your own site. Most sites nowadays use WCMS to create their sites. A WCMS is a software tool that helps someone who has absolutely no knowledge in HTML create a site or personal blog. Wordpress is arguably the most common WCMS used around. It's free to download and easy to use. To download wordpress, you will have to go to wordpress.org NOT wordpress.com. Wordpress.com is a free hosting site as mentioned above. If your register there, you will have a website like Iamverycute.wordpress.com which is not what you are after if you want to make money.
Besides wordpress, there are other WCMS that are rising in popularity. These include Drupal, Dreamweaver and Joomla. Some WCMS have advantages over others so pick yours carefully. Again, research comes into play here. There are many tutorials all over the internet which can teach you how to use navigate these WCMS. One of the first things you may want to do once you have your WCMS is to choose a theme for your site. You can choose different themes for the different webpages in your site. Basically, a theme is how your website will be designed, how it will be arranged, how it will look. Choose themes that you feel will make your customers comfortable when they visit your site.
d. Writing Content
Now that your website is up and running, you will have to write the content of your site. Write your content in Wordpress or whatever WCMS you chose and upload the files to your site. In some cases, your content can simply be articles that you upload onto your site. But you could upload graphics and videos into your site too. When you write articles, be sure to include good keywords to increase traffic. Make sure that the content of your site is informative and easy to navigate.
One good technique to keep customers coming back is to make your site look appealing to your customers. If a customer would visit your website and there's nothing in it but boring texts, do you think he will come back? No. So spice up your website with pictures and videos. Include subheadings and change the font style from time to time. Keywords and informative content is not enough; these days, your site will have to be visually appealing to succeed.
3. Time to Advertise your Site!
Everything is now in place: you have chosen your keywords, you have your domain name, a hosting server, you have chosen your WCMS, you have written a number of articles, and you have even tweaked your site to look really, really good. So that means you can sit back and watch the traffic come in, right? WRONG!
The job is not yet over, you will still have to promote your site over the net. There are many ways to promote your site.
a. Backlinks from Other Sites or Blogs
The most common way to promote your site is to have backlinks from other sites with a similar topic to yours. A backlink is an incoming link from another site. For example, you made a site called carinsuranceteens.org and there's this other site called lookcheapcars.com. Both are about cars and car insurance. If lookcheapcars.com has a link going to your site (carinsuranceteens.org), then that's a backlink. If someone visits lookcheapcars.com and clicks on that link, he will be directed to your site. What a great way to increase traffic!
But how do you get backlinks? Obviously, you cannot just put a link on that site going to yours since you don't own it. You will have to ask permission from the site owner of lookcheapcars.com. Send him an email asking him to take a tour around your site (be professional!), and if he likes what he see, he may then place a link on his site going to yours. As much as possible, ask for backlinks from sites that are of the same nature as yours. (In this instance, cars and car insurance.)
b. Social Media
How the internet has changed! Just a ten years back, we didn't have Facebook, Myspace, YouTube or Twitter. Create accounts in these social media to increase and get as many fans or followers as possible. These sites are free to join so hop right in!
4. Let the Money Roll in!
One reason many people make a site is to earn money. If you just wanted a personal blog, then you may skip this part. How can you earn money through your site?
a. Affiliate Programs
The most common way is through affiliate programs such as ClickBank, Amazon, or Commission Junction. Visit these sites to see how to use their affiliate programs. What basically happens, is you put ads on your site and when someone clicks these ads, they will be directed to another site where a certain product is sold. If they buy the product, you will get a commission on the sale of that product. In other words, you promote other peoples' products. Choose products that are related to your site.
b. Membership sites
Perhaps you may want to create a membership site. A membership site is a site where visitors will have to become members in order to use all of the site's facilities. Think of online forums for instance. Some membership sites are free but others charge their visitors either a one-time or a monthly fee to be members in their site.
c. E-commerce sites
An e-commerce site is an online business. If you have a brick-and-mortar store, you can create a site for your store where people can buy your products online.