Setting Up Your Website
Don’t let the thought of setting up your website put you off. It really is very easy and there are lots of helpful videos available on YouTube that will show you how to do everything. Before we get into the detail let’s cover the subject of free websites.
If you are on a budget it can be very tempting to create a free website using services such as WordPress.com or Blogger.com. There are others too. Some people do get started this way but I wouldn’t recommend it.
There are two main reasons why free websites are not a good idea:
You can spend a lot of time adding new content to your free website only to find that for some reason it has been taken down by Blogger or WordPress. How devastating would that be? This happens quite a lot so you have been warned.
A free website has written “cheap” all over it!”. If you can’t be bothered to invest a few bucks in your own domain name and web hosting why should anybody buy something that you sell or recommend?
OK some visitors to your website might not know that it is free,but a lot of people will know. These days Internet users are very savvy, so it is not worth losing potential customers because they think you are cheap.
And do you really want to take the risk of your website disappearing without a trace? This does happen and you could have spent weeks or months adding content only to find that it has all gone. This reason alone should put you off using free websites!
A website builder is as it sounds; an apparatus that allows you to craft your very own site. This platform or software is typically engineered to have a user-friendly interface, with plenty of drag and drop functionality and preset styles and website templates to choose from. They allow you to build a website from scratch by using prebuilt structures. Some website builders use artificial intelligence (AI) to help building your website.
This can be done in two ways: online or offline.
An online website builder is a platform that you access through your web browser. Instead of downloading the builder’s software, it’s hosted on the cloud, which you can access anywhere there’s internet.
An offline website builder requires the user to download software and host the files locally on their computer.It’sa a general rule of thumb that offline website builders take a little bit more tevchnical knowledge and experience, as the files will have to be uploaded onto a webhoting plartform once the buildout is finished.
To put it in perspective, many renowned web developers use website builders, like WordPress, to put together websites. These tools are not reserved simply for novice users within the web development space. Of course, if the website is going to need extensive coding with complex functionality and advanced security, then a standard website builder might not be the recommended option.
But website builders are the perfect option for most small businesses and fresh enterprises. Here are some of the main reasons people use website builders:
• Creates a website in a snap
• Less room for error
• They don’t require technical knowhow
• Low Maintenance
•24/7 Technical Support (offered by website builder companies).
A website builder is a tool that allows both novices and pros alike to create a professionally designed website. With pre-coded templates, user-friendliness, image editors, analytical tools, SEO tools, and more, it’s never been easier for someone with zero technical knowhow to build their own block of real estate on the internet.
At Namecheap.com you can buy your domain, set up your web hosting service. As websitebuilder we recommend Wix.com. their powerful integrated website builder makes building a quality website much easier. Better yet, they’re available to answer any questions you may have.
Get started today on building your online presence!
Finding The Right Domain Name
You need to register a domain name for your website. A domain name is your unique address on the Internet. Google.com is a domain name. You need to find a domain name that suits your chosenniche. Some people will register their own name as a domain name such as sarathomas.com which is OK but if you have a common name this could be difficult.
I would always recommend that you chose a .com domain name. It is by far the most popular and Google really likes .com domains. This is really important as it will help you to rank your website pages high in Google search.
Let’s assume that you have chosen the “parenting” niche. It would be great to register a domain name that is relevant to this. So how do you find a great domain name? Well you can use a domain registrar such as godaddy.com or namecheap.com to search for a great name. Well, GoDaddy, as the global markat leader, is expensive, compared to other providers.There are lots of other domainregistrars , such as Bluehost, Hostgator, and Coolhandle, to name just a few I’m personally dealing with.
I did a search in godaddy.com and found that parentingsage.com was available at the time of writing this article. Sage means “wise” and will give the impression that you are an expert in parenting (which of course you are!). You can look for other examples too.
If you can’t find the name you want available as a .com then go for a .net or .org. You could also use a country specific domain extension such as .co.uk for the United Kingdom or .com.au for Australia. The .com, .net and .org domain extensions are perceived as global so these are the best choice.
Once you have found a good name then register it immediately so that nobody else can take it. It will cost you around $10 a year to register a .com domain name. With namecheap.com you will also get free privacy for a year which means that people will not be able to easily find your personal details. To have your personal details as domain owner protected I would anytime recommend, even if it costs a few bucks!
After purchasing your domain name you will need to point it to your web servers. This is nowhere near as complicated as it sounds. In order to have web servers you will need to purchase a web hosting package.
Web Hosting Packages
You will need a web hosting services to make your website visible on the Internet. Just as there are many domain registrars there are many web hosting companies out there as well. They will vary in price and what they can offer you. Here are some important things to look out for with a web host:
• The monthly cost
• The location of the web servers (e.g. USA, UK, Europe, Asia etc)
• How many domain names can you host?
• How much disk space will you get?
• How much bandwidth (Internet traffic) will you get?
• Does the web host have WordPress one click install software?
OK let’s take a look at each one of these:
The cost – web hosting can start from $1 a month and rise to hundreds a month. We suggest that you choose a web host that will offer all the things in the above list for around $10 - $15 a month
Web server location – if you believe that the majority of your audience will be in the United States for example then it is best to choose a web host with servers there. Your website will load faster for your potential customers which is an important factor in internet marketing..
How many domain names? – if your web host will only allow you to add one domain name to your hosting then if you want to create another website you will have to purchase another web hosting package. Look for web hosts that offer several or even unlimited domain names.
Disk space – when you create a website you will add a number of files to your web hosting servers. A lot of web hosts these days offer unlimited disk space so look out for this.
Bandwidth – some web hosts will limit the amount of bandwidth that you can use each month. So look for web hosts that offer unlimited bandwidth.
One click installation of WordPress – this is very important. A lot of web hosts will have a feature where you can install the free WordPress blogging platform on your domain name with one click of your mouse. You need this as you are going to use the WordPress blogging platform to create your website (this is different to a free website at WordPress.com).
I recommend hostgator.com and bluehost.com for your web hosting. They have been around for years and are used to dealing with internet marketers. They have different packages available that offer unlimited domains, one click install of WordPress, unmetered or unlimited bandwidth and disk space and USA servers for around $10 a month.
There are lots of other good web hosts available that can provide you with a similar deal. Search for web host comparisons in Google to learn more. Always go for a web host that has the one click WordPress install feature.
When you sign up for your web hosting they will send you an email with the complete details of your account. I recommend that you safe that email somewhere for future reference. Don’t worry if this doesn’t make any sense to you at all! Just look in the email for your “DNS servers”.
Your web host will normally provide you with 2 DNS server addresses. You need to copy these as you will point your domain name to these servers from your domain registrar.
How to change pointing of DNS Servers (Namecheap)
To begin with, you need to login into your Namecheap account.
I recommend to set up your Namecheap account with two-step login process for added security. The first level security is your username and password and as second security layer Namecheap will send a one-time numerical passcode to your mobile phone. Key in that numerical code and that’s it, you’relogged in.
Under Account (top right corner) click on Domain List from the drop-down menu
The appearing domain list looks like this:
Find the domain name you want to change and click on “manage’ to th eright of the domain .name. Let’s assume we want to change the DNS server input for dakarparis.com.
Click on “Manage” , then the “managepage”of dakarparis.com opens
Change the DNS servers accordingly and save the changes made. That’s it, it’s as simple as that!
Pointing your Domain Name to your Webservers
OK this sounds really technical but the process is very easy. Once you have the details for your web hosting account copy the two DNS server addresses. These are usually in the formatns1.hotname.com and ns2.hostname.com. Here is a good video that explains everything:
You will need to log in to your domain registrar (e.g. godaddy .com) and then find the settings for your domain name. You will need to change the current DNS addresses to the ones you copied from your hosting account. Just save the changes and you are done.
Usually this will work pretty instantly but sometimes it can take a bit of time for the changes to take effect. The next task is to add your domain name to your web hosting account. You will need to log in to your web hosting account and use cPanel to do this. Usually, the login to the cPanel is in that email from your webhost6 I told you to safe. That’s a major reason why, the cPanel login details.
Once you have the cPanel screen in front of you find the icon to “add a domain”. Click on this and enter your domain name (e.g. parentingsage.com) and add a password and then click the “Add Domain” button. That’s it! Now you can install your WordPress website.
Installing your WordPress website
Important Note: If you want to create an online store then please see the next section as you might want to use another platform other than WordPress.
Stay logged in to your web hosting and return to the cPanel home page. You should see an icon for WordPress installation or one click software installation. If you are in doubt then ask your web host for help.
Click on this icon and then start your WordPress installation. You will need to select your domain name from the drop down menu. Give your website a name (you can change this later) and add a username and password (sometimes this is automatic and you will receive this information after the installation is complete).
Then click on the “Install” button. A few seconds later your WordPress website will be installed and ready for you to use. The good thing about these one click install services is that they will automatically update your website when a new version of WordPress comes out. This is great stuff!
Because it is so easy to setup and use! You don’t require any technical knowledge to install or use a WordPress website. Once WordPress is installed on your domain name you just need to log in to your website and you can change the appearance, add enhancements with “plugins” and start adding content with posts and pages.
All WordPress websites have themes. This is how your website looks and feels. There are thousands of free themes available for WordPress and you can invest in a premium theme for a few dollars if you want to go down that route. You can change your theme any time you want.
Plugins are bits of code that you can add to your WordPress website to enhance it. There are plugins for all sorts of functionality such as contact forms, SEO (search engine optimization), website analytics and a lot more. Just do a Google search for “most popular WordPress plugins” and decide which ones you need to install.
Here is a great video about someo f the best free WordPress plugins:
YouTube really is a great resource for information on setting up your WordPress website. There are tons of great videos on how to do everything. You will be a master of WordPress in no time at all after watching some of these videos!
Adding content to your WordPress website is really easy. Just add a new post, write your content (or paste it in from a word processing document), add images and / or videos and when you are happy with how it looks just “publish”. Your content will be instantly available on the Internet.
If you want to open an online store selling your products then you can still use WordPress and install an online store plugin. WooCommerce is a good example. There are other platforms that you can use other than WordPress for your online store. A good option is FreeWebStore.com.
There are paid platforms that you can use for your online store as well that will provide morefeatures. The most commonly used platform is Shopify.com and they have a number of different plans available (also see my article Digital Maeketing Online Business Models).
If you are going to sell your own products and services then you need a way for people to pay you – that’s the whole point, isn’t it? Today there are many payment processors you can choose from to collect payments for you. They will accept major credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express and some debit cards too.
Payment processors make their money by taking a percentage of the sale price. So if you have a product that sells for $27 then the payment processor will take maybe $2 for processing the payment for you. You need to know what their commission rates are so that you can factor this in to your pricing.
One of the most popular and best payment processors is PayPal.com. A lot of people already have PayPal accounts for buying things from ebay.com. If not it doesn’t matter because they don’t have to have an account to purchase what you are selling. They can use a major credit card for the purchase. You can sign up for a PayPal account for free but you will need to verify your account to start using it for selling products and services. Thisis very easy to do. There are other payment processors such as 2checkout.com and Stripe and more.
Website traffic is the visitors that see what you have to offer. When you have your own website you will want to drive as much targeted traffic to your web pages as you can. There are free ways to do this and paid ways. Here is something very important for you to remember:
No Website Traffic = No Online Income
You have to get visitors to make money online. Nothing else matters. Once you have your website set up then you need to look at ways to do this and work on this regularly. The more visitors or website traffic you can generate the more money you are likely to make.
You may have seen people advertising services to send you tens of thousands of visitors for a few dollars. This is broad traffic. If you are marketing a product or service that will appeal to a wide range of people – e.g. weight loss, then you may find a very small percentage will be interested to learn more. The majority of the visitors will not be interested at all.
What about getting visitors to your website that are actually interested in what you have to offer? Do you think that some of these visitors might convert? Yes they will! If you have a website that is in the parenting niche and teaches people how be good parents then you need to find visitors that are interested in doing this. This is targeted traffic. You may be thinking that this is very difficult to find but it really isn’t. There are two ways to get targeted visitors – these are free traffic methods and paid traffic methods. Both can bring you visitors that are interested in your website.
Search Engines and Social Media
Two of the best places to get traffic from are search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo etc) and social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter. The traffic from search engines is very targeted as the visitors are searching for what you are offering. Traffic can be less targeted on social media but it is a lot better than broad traffic.
Free Traffic Methods
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is where you optimize your website’s pages so that the search engines can fully understand what your content is about. You need to include “keywords” in your content that visitors to search engines will use to find your website.
A keyword is a term that a person will enter into a search engine such as Google. These keywords can be one word to several words long. Some examples are:
• Parenting skills
• Make money online
• How to recover data from my hard drive
• Hostgator review
A good SEO campaign always starts with comprehensive keyword research. You want to find as many keyword terms as you can to include in your web pages. You can find many keyword terms by using the Google Keyword Planner.
You need to optimize your web pages. You need to pay careful attention to the title of the page, the description and the keywords used in the body text. It is important not to overdo it here. Just make sure that there is at least one instance of the keywords on thepage that you want to rank for.
Once your pages are optimized, then you will need some high quality backlinks to your site. This is not a course on SEO, so the best advice is to try and get links from related websites that have good authority. Alternatively, you can outsource your SEO backlinking.
Here is an SEO bonus for you. It is a lot easier and faster to rank a YouTube video
on Google for your keywords than it is to rank your own website. You can make a video about your business or offer and then upload it to YouTube and optimize it for your keywords.
There is very likely to be a forum associated with your chosen niche that you can use to get the word out about your offer. The easiest way to find these forums is to use Google and search for “your niche forums” where “your niche” is what you are involved in such as “parenting”.
You want to find forums that are active and have a lot of members. A forum that looks like a ghost town is no good for this. The other thing that you need to check is that the forum will allow “signatures” with external links.
People that are interested in what you are offering in your signature will click on your link and be taken to a page on your website. Some forums are now making small charges for signature links, but if there are a lot of members and it is active it can certainly be worth it.
The strategy that I recommend you adopt is to be active on the forums that you have joined and make posts. You can start off by answering questions that people have asked. To show that you know your subject you can start your own thread in the forum and give some valuable information to the forum members. By applying this strategy you build authority and trust in your niche,
Both are key elements to drive online sales.
Social media is a great way to get your message across to people. The traffic can be targeted as often people will search within Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Reddit for what they are looking for. You will need to create accounts with the social media sites and then be prepared to create a good profile and make lots of posts. Social media is not magic. It is no good just creating a Facebook page and then expecting thousands of visitors to find it. The same goes with all of the other social media sites.
Starting a group for your niche is a very good way to show your authority and get free traffic to your website. Once you have created the group you can post about it to people who will have an interest and you can build a large following with this. You can find these people by becoming a member of
related groups and then announcing the start of your group.
You can derive a lot of benefit from joining groups that are already established on social media platforms. If you market to businesses then LinkedIn is a good option.
Your ability to answer questions in the niche and provide good advice to people will quickly establish your reputation as an expert. This will make even more people want to ask you questions and receive your advice, and it will encourage people to want to know more about you by checking out your website.
There is no question that Facebook groups and groups on other social media platforms can bring you a lot of additional traffic for free. The groups are free to join and only require an investment of your time and your expertise to achieve the results that you want.
Continuing on with the “expert status” theme, having your own blog that you post to regularly is another great way to generate free traffic. All of the best experts in their field have their own blog where they build up a following and interact with their readers.
Your WordPress blog has a comments facility which can be a goldmine for you. You want to encourage your readers to leave comments and you must respond to these quickly. This will create a bond and your readers will trust you a lot more and be more willing to buy whatr you are offering.
Social sharing buttons must be enabled on your blog so that your readers can post your content to their Facebook accounts etc. This will give you even more coverage as their friends will all see your posts.
Once you have built up a good readership base for your blog . it will be easier to introduce your products to them or recommend other people’s products. You will be able to drive free traffic straight to your sales pages and email opt-in pages. Blogs can be really addictive and if you post interesting and informative content then your readers will be hungry for more.
Many people overlook the power of a well written and distributed online press release. A good press release can help build the value of your brand and it can have SEO benefits as well as you will be receiving backlinks from some very good quality websites.
A press release needs to be written in a journalistic tone and cannot be an advertisement or this will be rejected immediately by the networks. You need to look for a “newsworthy” element and then focus on that side of things. When you are writing your press releases you want to use facts as much as possible.
“The money is in the list!” This is not a course about building an email list and marketing to your subscribers, but as a free traffic method it is one of the best around. How much does it cost to send an email to your subscribers? You are almost guaranteed traffic to your pages through email marketing.
Successful email marketing is all about getting people to like and trust you so don’t approach it as a way just to send offers to people. Add value with the emails that yousend. Once you have built up this trust then when you do make an offer you will find that a large number of your subscribers will check out what you have to offer.
Videos are a great way to obtain page one Google rankings but they are also a good way to get free traffic to your website. A lot of people do not like the idea of creating videos as they are either camera shy or think that the process is too complex. But there are easy solutions to both of these problems.
You can outsource the creation of your video. For online businesses a show and tell video is a good idea. You can demonstrate that your product or service is effective by creating a video about it.
Don’t stop at one video and YouTube. Make as many videos as you can and upload them to YouTube, Daily Motion and other video sharing sites. Make sure that you properly optimize (keywords) the titles and descriptions of your videos so that they will rank well in YouTube and possibly Google.
Paid Traffic Methods
Of the number of paid traffic methods available, the following ones are the most effective ones:
Pay Per Click
Search marketing, or as it’s often called Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising, is a very good method to get targeted traffic to your website very quickly. With PPC you will pay a preset amount to the search engine (e.g. Google for their Google Adwords program) every time a visitor clicks through your ad and arrives at your website.
You need to have an organized list of keywords and then you will bid for PPC amounts. Costs per click can be as low as a penny and be as high as tens or even hundreds of dollars. It all depends on what niche you are in.
Being the first ad displayed on page one is not as important as your ad being appealing to visitors. Often ads in the second or third position have performed better than those at the top. The key to PPC success is testing and knowing your numbers. You need to know how many clicks are required on average to make a sale.
Control of expenditure is very important. If the keyword term gets a lot of searches then your advertising costs can quickly mount up. You can pause your ad campaigns at any time to prevent this.
A good alternative to using Google Adwords or the other search engine PPC ads is to use Facebook Ads. Although search engine traffic is the most targeted, you can get targeted traffic from Facebook. You can use Facebook Ads to get likes for your Facebook page or you can promote individual posts.
Of all of the social media ad services, Facebook is likely to produce the best results for you. You can easily define your target market demographics such as age, gender, location, interests, income and so on. You can also specify specific professions such as dentists, chiropractors and so on.
As with PPC ads, it is easy to test with Facebook Ads and you will generally find that the costs per click are lower. It is not unusual to pay between 10 to 15 cents per click. You can achieve lower costs than this, if your ad campaign is a success. Like PPC, you need to measure your returns. Pause campaigns that are not working.