Build a Website
Being able to build a website paves the way for MANY business and project opportunities. Many ways to earn money online rely on you being able to build and maintain a website, and some entrepreneurial ventures are just made cheaper and easier by having that skill.
Fortunately the tools and information available now make it quite easy to find a starting point. Whilst technically anyone could learn how to build a site, I recommend that you have at least an intermediate level of skill with using computers. Otherwise it can quickly become a confusing information overload.
Knowing how to build a website is a very useful skill to have. Companies charge a lot of money to make them for you, because they take time to build and put together. If you pay someone to do it for you and ever need to update your website, you’ll most likely have to pay more because you still wouldn’t have learned how to do it yourself.
As a business that needs a one-off website, it may be more economical to pay for the service of hiring somebody – but if you ever intend to make a website to profit from, then it is worth taking a few weeks to learn how to put them together.
So what can you do with web site’s that you’ve made?
- Use it to promote your business!
- Sell them (www.flippa.com)
- Earn from them (monetise them with affiliate links, AdSense, and sponsored content)
- Build them for other people
So Where Should You Start?
This article is going to focus on building websites through WordPress. WordPress is a brilliant starting point as a beginner and you get very good value for money by “self-hosting”. WordPress is also a good option for those that want to attempt to build a website, but not sure if they’ll have the time or patience to follow through – It is much easier and cheaper to have someone takeover and build a WordPress site for your business than other more complex types of websites would be.
This is because WordPress make it easy for you to use free and premium “plug-ins”. Things like ‘What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get’ drag and drop page builders, plug-ins that allow you to have Facebook comments on your pages, commerce (sell your own products on your site), SEO plug-ins and thousands of others.
There’s even plug-ins to lock certain parts of your site to members only!
There’s a lot of customisation options with the amount of “themes” available, both free and premium. You pick your theme based on what you’d like to do with your website. Whether you’d like a minimalistic type of site with just contact information and pricing then you would pick a theme that best reflects that.
Some themes are more expensive, don’t be put off though. You’ll find those themes are pricier for a reason. Simply put, they do more. If you want more than just a minimalistic website, such as a site to sell your own products through, then a pricier theme isn’t a bad idea.
You’ll also find that with a lot of the top WordPress themes include licenses to premium versions of plug-ins. The cheaper themes that mention plug-ins are usually just including the free version of a plug-in, so watch out for that. If in doubt, read through the reviews of the theme you’re interested in.
Don’t think that just because it’s one of the best selling themes that it will only let you make your website look like everybody else’s website! All of the top themes have so many customisation options that you needn’t worry about that.
Ways to Monetize a Website?
(In order of difficulty in my opinion)
You can sign up to Affiliate networks, such as Amazon, and post a special link to a product and when someone buys something through your link, you get credited with a commission.
There are endless affiliate opportunities. A common example of this is where you might see a blog comparing two different blenders, offering links to both. This is intended to catch the consumers who already know they want a blender but need to decide which blender they want. Do they want the one that has all the extra attachments or do they want the one that’s a bit cheaper? It doesn’t matter because if they make their mind up on that persons review and click through, the reviewer gets a commission whichever one the customer picked. (Some affiliate links will even attribute all products bought for 30 days by the clicker to the referring affiliate).
You can run e-commerce through WordPress sites, most people use the WooCommerce plug-in for simplicity. This will allow you to set up a store and process sales for any product. This can be used for Drop Shipping, selling Private Label products, your own stock, etc. WooCommerce is one of the most used plug-ins on WordPress, so be sure to check it out and see if it is a good fit for your website.
Click here to read more about e-commerce, including selling wholesale products and Amazon FBA (Fulfilment by Amazon).
Sell Advertising Space to Other Businesses
You could rent out space on your website for banners or advertisements of other businesses that your users may be interested in that won’t harm you. That means they shouldn’t be a direct competitor of you or be harmful to your brand in anyway.
For example, if you were a Carpet Fitter, then you could sell advertising space to a local furniture store, but you wouldn’t sell it a laminate flooring company, because even though they’re not another carpet fitter, they’re an alternative to your product. It may help the group of people looking to have laminate in some rooms and carpet in others, but you risk losing sales of those who are looking to carpet but could be swayed to laminate by an advertisement.
Keep your audience in mind at all times to find advertisers that would benefit them the most, and compliments your business in the best way possible.
The more quality traffic you have, the more you can charge. Which means you need to know how your website is performing and be able to communicate this for potential buyers.
Ideally, you would talk about unique hits per day/month, bounce rate, and how long people stay on your site. All of this can be found from using Google Analytics, and there’s tons of advice about the traffic aspect of selling advertising space on this article from SmashingMagazine, a website I personally read to help me figure out all the annoying technical bits of navigating my own business over the years.
Display adverts through AdSense
You can display banners through Google’s advertising network and earn money for clicks and impressions that come from your website. The content must be excellent and newbies will struggle to get approved but this can be a great way to monetise if you already have some traffic.
Make sure you’re eligible, for more information click here to go to Google Adsense.
Sell your OWN Digital product
Build your own piece of software, digital product or training guide. For the more advanced entrepreneur. You can also sell your own training through sites like Udemy for a good price without needing a website of your own. Digital products are fantastic to sell because you never run out of stock, and you can sell infinite copies. There’s no repeat production costs, no postage costs, once you’ve made it, you can sell it over and over again.
You could even add a subscription model to charge monthly or annually if you wanted to. It’s surprisingly easy to do without much technical know-how. The product needs to be top notch and well marketed of course, but getting a product “out there” can be easier than you might think.
What Goes Into Building A Website?
Here are 5 key and basic steps to creating a website. There are many small tasks and bits to do in between, but this is a general basis of what to expect.
These also make great topics to research further to cover as many bases as possible.
Step 1: Research and Planning
There are loads of small but very important steps to take between thinking about building a website and being able to show the world the finished product. The first step is the most important. Even if you plan to delegate the task to a consultant, it’s a good idea to know what YOU want out of a website and then plan from there.
First, decide it’s purpose. Is it to process sales for your business or just provide contact information? Deciding how much you need from the website will dictate the number of resources that you dedicate to it – Be that time or money.
Knowing what you need before moving forward is essential. There’s a massive difference in time and money for a site with one or two pages of information, a site with a shop, and a site filled with original videos and articles.
There’s no point paying a high amount for a website that does way more than you need it to do. Just as it’s little use to produce a website that doesn’t come close to meeting your needs – a problem commonly encountered by cutting costs.
Keywords (VERY important), competition, what theme you’ll get, how will you monetise it? (see below for more on ways to do that), how you’ll get traffic (Facebook ads? SEO?), what plug-ins will you use? how would you host your website? How much is it going to cost to set up and maintain for say, 6 months?
If anything in the above paragraph confused you, then take note to research those topics before moving forward as that is essentially your marketing mix as far as a website goes (product, price, place, promotion).
You’ll also want to have a fairly organized plan of how you’ll build your site. What pages and content you’ll have, how they’ll link back to each other, and most importantly, you need to set some goals for your website so you have actual milestones to work towards or it can become very difficult to wrap it all up tidily.
Step 2: Building Your Website
Building it is a long process of making pages and writing content. It’s always best to get your content written first – especially if you’re writing it all by yourself. Writing lots of articles can take weeks to months. The later you sign up to a hosting subscription the more money you will save. You can hold off on signing up until you’re ready to start uploading the content and experimenting with how to use WordPress.
Your content should be well-researched and SEO optimised so that it reaches its viewers. Then you have to make sure that it looks good. Making sure that the colours and fonts do clash – and that it looks good and works well on every device. A WordPress theme that is optimised for mobile is often called a “Responsive theme”. Google have a great feature for checking fonts that work well together, and you can use Google Fonts (which are all free) on all WordPress websites.
Google Font Checker
Step 3: Website Upkeep
Updating articles, adding products and new lines/services, keeping your theme and plugins updated. Out of date plug-ins can cause things to stop working and generally cause an unnecessary headache. Additionally, Google tends to favour websites that add fresh content on a regular basis.
Adding a blog to your site can solve this issue, but this means creating more new content on a regular basis. Albeit it won’t be as much as when you initially set it up but you should expect to write 300-500 new words a week to stay competitive. Try and write timeless posts, such as guides and how-to’s for your products or services if it fits with your area of business. Don’t force it if it doesn’t, but look around at your competition, or other websites that your customers are likely to use.
Step 4: Marketing
Without any marketing it can be very hard to get a website to take off properly. SEO will take a while for Google to pick you up and give you a good position.
Facebook PPC (pay-per-click) and attempting to get your content shared will be your best options whilst starting out. People will share your content if it is genuinely helpful and is worth being shared. Think about what you read on the internet and what makes you share the things you do. Look at what other people are sharing on Facebook.
You’ll want to make sure to use e-mail marketing to make the most of your traffic from the beginning. Setting up on Social Media is also important for building your brand and establishing a web presence.
Step 5: Security
Knowing a little about security is essential! Even if you have someone else build your website, I would recommend that you know how to make a back-up of your own website at least. You can make a back-up from your hosting account that you can download onto your computer. This will allow you to re-upload that version of the website should you ever move to a different host or need to restore your site to a previous version.
The Most Important Thing To Remember…
These methods will only work when you have traffic. Content is king. Remember this and build your audience by being what your audience needs. Don’t shove adds in their faces when you haven’t won their trust or approval. Your Website is a business but it’s not always the right time to sell to your audience.
In todays competitive online world, readers and consumers have plenty of sources to spend their time reading, so give them a good reason to spend some time on your website. People will share your content if it is genuinely helpful! There are no shortcuts or magic tricks for this.
Getting them to come back is also important too of course! Click here for information about adding e-mail marketing to your business.