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Build a Website – The First Steps
I have clearly demonstrated that you can actually build a WordPress website within minutes, but building a successful blog is another story. When you first make that decision to build a website, you must realize that it might be a long journey, depending on what you know.
My first try at building a successful website (or blog) took me a lot longer as I was learning how to do everything at the same time. After I had the technical stuff out of the way, then came the hard part, making conversions to turn the WordPress website into a real business. However before we get to that stage, it is best to thoroughly worked through the first steps to building a website, in order to understand the rest of the process.
Many Webmasters often wonder why their blog does not make money and believe me; I used to be in the same situation, so you are not alone.
Everything starts with an idea and usually it has something to do with passion. This is the best idea to start with. It could be a passion for the subject that you want to make a blog about, a passion about succeeding, or maybe even making money for your family. It does not matter what the passion nears as long as some exists. You need to be happy when you get out of bed every day, be happy with what you are doing and success will follow.
My passion was for computers and so I started a website about that. I did not go out and buy computers.com because it was not available and I needed to dig down and grab a smaller niche. I bought the domain name computerhowto.info because that’s what the site was going to be about, but the .info’s were cheap at the time. I did not realize that I would have a better chance with a .com.
Anyway about a year later I bought Tips4pc.com and moved all the content into there. It was never a smooth road for Tips4pc. My idea never changed, I just made some minor adjustments to my up-and-coming website.
Business or Pleasure
Let’s get something straight right from the start! Do you want to build a successful blog for business or pleasure?
If you are looking for business then be prepared to put in some long hours to build up a real business. Nothing just magically happens and it is all up to you as to what results you get. If you have knowledge about something then you should use it and test it out as soon as possible. Building a business does not mean you sit back and take things casually.
If you browse through some of my articles on this website you will notice that I am all about business. I love every business because I love a challenge.
Can you believe that I thought my ComputerHowTo website would be a hobby? Even though I bought real hosting for it, somewhere in the back of my mind was telling me hobby. The problem was I already had a few real life businesses and never dreamed of giving them up (but I did give them up).
Research can be good and bad. It can be good if you find out that the niche that you want to explore comes up with great numbers. But research can also be bad if you find out that the topic that you are passionate about is not worth pursuing. This is the harsh reality and sometimes you might need to change your first idea to suit the research results that you come up with.
Of course we all want to go into a market that other people are interested in. This is the main key to everything.
Instead of rehashing the whole research process, I will send you to my SEO page where I have listed some very relevant articles about.
So you have a fantastic idea, and after researching it, you found out that it is a great path to take. This is the time to commit yourself to this idea and ask yourself a few questions before you do.
- Will I build a website on this topic and later become bored with my idea?
- Will I run out of ideas to post on my WordPress blog?
- Are there other people interested in this topic?
Okay so you’ve done your research and found a keyword that is getting a good number of searches (or real people) looking for it every month. Now you can take the first plunge and buy a domain name for your new blog. You can do this first or simply buy it trough your web hosting when you buy that.
This sounds kind of drastic, but can you believe that the name for your blog is only going to cost about $10 a year. In Australia, in the real business world, a business name costs around $120 a year to register.
The next plunge is to buy hosting. Yes there are free blogs available, however this is not recommended if you are building a successful blog into a real business. If you are building a real business you must be in control of everything and not rely on free hosting.
Again let’s weigh up the cost of this plunge. Hosting one website on the Internet can cost you as little as $2.95 a month. Hosting as many websites as you want on the Internet can cost you under $10 a month. This is absolutely crazy when you consider how much it costs to lease out a business premises.
Of course when your blog becomes seriously successful you would need to upgrade this hosting to either VPS hosting (Virtual Private server) or a dedicated server. After 5 years of blogging and making money, I finally had to upgrade to a dedicated server. Now I pay around $200 a month but this is the price for success. I am not whinging.
I always look back and wonder what would have happened if I did not take the plunge and invest this pathetic amount of money into my potential business. Where would I be now?
People worry about choosing the right webhosting company and I don’t blame them because there are hundreds, if not thousands, of hosting companies fighting for your business. The unfortunate thing is that when they get your business they do not care to follow through with their promises.
This is why I recommend Hostgator web hosting as this company has followed through for me, and I have noticed that many of the top bloggers now use Hostgator. Even John Chow had a run in with Bluehost and switched to Hostgator.
Make sure you check out my free WordPress installation page that gives you the chance to have me as a backup if your install goes wrong (it won’t though, I think you are really smart ).
Web building software
To build a website you will need Web building software. Of course you will not need Web building software if you are an amazing Web designer, but this article is about a normal non-technical person building a website. Therefore most of you obviously know that I will recommend WordPress non-stop!
WordPress is the best content management system (CMS) and I have developed an entire website building tutorial around WordPress. Lets face it, I love it! Why wouldn’t I though? I can build a website in minutes, install a WordPress theme, and basically have the whole website up and running and possibly making money within one day. (disclaimer:depends if I can send traffic there A.S.A.P)
Some Webmasters will tell you that the learning comes before these first few steps I have mentioned above, however I strongly disagree. I actually jumped in and took the plunge and did my learning along the way. This meant that I had a blog to use to take action with the knowledge that I had just gathered. This is the best learning tool of all.
I worry about people that are learning before they take the plunge, as it is very hard to ever stop learning and feel that you know everything about blogging. Sometimes people do not see the cut-off point and the right time to take the plunge, therefore I say take the plunge first.
If you are wondering where to find all the knowledge you need to build a successful blog, then look no further than my WordPress website basics section. After going through this, you can move on through to my other sections to help you build successful WordPress websites like I do.
Developing a Marketing Plan
In the website world there is no such thing as building your business on a high traffic main street like you can in the real world. You cannot just buy web hosting that will automatically have traffic going past your door. Marketing your business will be a major part of your success. You need to take marketing action to go out and get your customers to your website.
This is exactly why I have written so many articles about marketing that I could not even count. In fact I think my whole life revolves around marketing. Here is a sample that you probably should not miss!
Post promotion – generate traffic for each post.
Social sharing – add social media buttons to your website.
Website traffic – 20 often forgotten traffic tips.
Building links – Link building is a big part of Off page SEO.
Think about what your marketing plan is and how you are going to generate traffic for your website. I started out article marketing and I still do this now. I cannot believe how everything is still the same. Of course we have social media now and this is a big plus for all.
I remember when I got my first digg and had no idea what it was! LOL
Anyway you will develop your own marketing plan and it may change depending on what you like to do. There are probably 1000 ways to promote your website or blog but you have to make the choice of which ones that you will use.
Below is a example website plan that includes some promotion ideas. This is the kind of plan you should have for each website you build but just remember that they get a lot bigger than this. You can click on the image to enlarge.
Building a Solid WordPress Website
I know what it’s like to half build a website, but the ones that I have spent time laying the right foundations to, are the most successful I have. This is why I have my WordPress website checklist.
I relate my work to building a house. I might only lay one or two bricks a day for my house, but look at what I have now? I have about five finished houses (5 top websites) and many more that I am still laying bricks for. This is all because I purchased Hostgator hosting that day and laid down my $4.95 a month. It just sounds too crazy to believe.
Making Yourself Look Professional
When you build a website using WordPress, it is not difficult to make yourself look professional. There are so many tutorials on how to build a WordPress website from scratch, that you shouldn’t have any problems in finding out how to do things for yourself.
One of the best ways to make your new website look professional is to buy a premium WordPress theme. If you have a tiny bit of css or html knowledge I would clearly recommend the Thesis WordPress theme. However if you are technically challenged, I would recommend the Elegant themes package. I talk about WordPress themes all the time as they are very important to to the success of your WordPress website.
Another way to look professional is to install the right WordPress plug-ins that will perform amazing functions for you. You do not need to know how to code or do anything fancy to get your blog to look like it has been made by professional. This is the beauty of WordPress. I have mentioned most of the WordPress plugins I use on my WordPress website resources page.
Ask yourself why you want to start building a successful blog and make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. You will need to recall this reason in your downtimes to keep you going and moving forward. Yes there are times when you will fail, and sometimes more than the successes, but in the end you will get what you want (that’s if you really want it).