How to Build a Website? Online Website Building For Dummies!

NOTE: While this article is a bit dated now, the core process and tools are still applicable. However, many more tools than the ones mentioned here are now available to build a website.

So, you want to learn how to build a website. Your own site where you can share what you want to share with the world. And you want to earn money from it in the long run.

Is that what you want?

Let’s assume yes, that is what you want. Now, the problem is how to proceed? You have a computer in front of you. You know what you want to write about. How does his website thingy get built? How do you post content? And how do you become a top notch blogger/webmaster with hundreds of visitors a day and some dollars in the pocket? 🙂

Well, that’s what we are going to discuss here today. We’re going to cut the crap and try to figure out how to build a website and make money from it.

Shall we start?

How to Build a Website – STEP I
A Plot of Land and a Nameplate 🙂

What does online website building involve?

Well, building a website is a bit like setting up a shop in the real world. If you were setting up a shop, what is the first thing you would require? You would require a plot of land. Land on the internet is called “web space”. So, to build a website, you require to buy “web space” first. This is the piece of land that you “own” on the internet. This space is supplied by companies called web hosting companies. How they get this space is a different question we don’t need to get into but the point is – you have to buy web space from web hosting companies (yahoo.com, godaddy.com, hostgator.com) to start your website.

The next thing you would require is a nameplate for your shop, isn’t it? In internet lingo – the name of your site is called the “domain name”. Google.com, yahoo.com, rediff.com, makemytrip.com, personal-development-is-fun.com etc. are all domain names. The text you enter in the address bar to visit a website is the domain name. Now once you have your space, you need to choose and register your domain name. Many websites help you do this – websites like yahoo.com, godaddy.com, hostgator.com etc. These websites help you host your website and also let you register a domain name.

On an average web space will cost you $60 a year and a domain name will cost you about $13 a year.

WordPress and Site Build It!

WordPress.com is a fascinating website that gives you free webspace and a free domain name! The only problem is that it has some set designs that you have to use for your website and the domain name it gives you is something like pingpong.wordpress.com (there’s .wordpress.com attached to the name). The advantage is – that without the hassle of buying anything, you can just go ahead and start building your site! Later, if you want your own domain name and a different design you can buy tools and features and make your changes.

Site Build It! is one of the best packages on the net to build a website. It provides a domain name (and also helps you choose the ideal one), web hosting, a site-builder and helps extensively with each and every point I will mention in this article. Basically, it is like a website building coach who sits next to you and guides you at every step. It costs $299 a year.

 

How to Build a Website – Special RecommendationSite Build It! – it’s like a mentor telling you exactly what to do and is especially helpful when you don’t know how to proceed. WordPress is good if you want to start a blog fast without investing money. I don’t recommend buying web space and a domain name right away if it’s your own website (not an established company’s) and budget is a constraint.

How to Build a Website STEP II: Adding Content

So there, you have got your space and you have got your domain name. What do you do next?

You start adding goods in the shop! Or you start adding content to the website. 🙂

There are many ways to do that.

One way to do that is to create your web page – in a software called Adobe Dreamweaver or Microsoft Frontpage. Both these software require some effort to master – so you will have to practice a bit before you can actually create your web page. They are however better than the system in the olden days when you had to type out HTML code to create a website. Adobe Dreamweaver costs $399.

Once you have created your web page on one of these software, you need to choose an option to “send your website to the server company” to upload what you have created on the internet. Your “server” is basically the computer that actually “hosts”or provides “space” for your website. This is the web hosting company’s server. The web hosting company will provide you more details related to their server when you buy web space from them.

Another way to add content is by using a “content management system”. This is a software that has an easy website builder where you simply have to enter text, upload pictures and click “add page” and the page gets added onto your site! You can clearly organize your web pages and even divide them into categories and levels. Joomla is the most popular content management system in the world (it’s free) and it has been used to create Harvard University’s and IHOP’s websites. However, Joomla is still a bit complicated in the sense that you will have to spend some days familiarizing yourself with how things work.

One of the easiest ways to add content is using WordPress.com. WordPress has an extremely simple – “learn in 15 minutes” site builder that anyone can use to create a web page in minutes. Here’s a screenshot of WordPress’ site builder – doesn’t it look familiar? [EDIT: this guide was written a long time ago, the builder may have changed.]

The only limitation is that the design of the web page will be like that of a blog and the free version has a limited number of fixed designs you can use.

Site Build It! – the complete website building package that coaches you – also has its own site builder that is just as easy as WordPress’. Site Build It! offers more flexibility with respect to the design and makes your website look like a “site” and not like a blog. I’ve used Site Build It’s site builder to build my own site.

How to Build a Website – Special RecommendationSite Build It! or WordPress if you are an individual with limited knowledge of HTML, CSS and all that stuff and want to quickly get your site on the internet. Site Build It! also provides content writing tips and ways to arrange your content properly on the site. Joomla is the next in line but you will have to invest quite a lot of time in designing your website as compared to WordPress or Site Build It’s tools.

 

So there, that’s how you add content to your site. 🙂 As you keep adding content, your website’s ready!

How to Build a Website STEP III
The Google Thing

So uptill now, we have bought some space, given our website a name and added content to it. Now what?

Come back to that shop example!

You have a shop, and you have put goods in the shop to sell. Everything’s ready. Now what do you do? You attract customers!

That’s what you do here too. You attract readers.

The difference between the world of the internet and the real world however, is that in the real world, its all about location. You setup shop in Champs-Élysées and you have crowds thronging your shop. On the internet, it’s all about being found on Google.

No matter what topic your website is about, you will get most of your visitors from Google.com. If you have a website about bungee jumping, you will most likely get people visiting your site when people type stuff like “I want to bungee” or “Places for bungee jumping” on Google.

So to attract customers (or readers), the first step to take is to submit your website to the major search engines. That’s like telling them – ‘hey we have this new shop here – you can send people here the next time they search about bungee jumping.’ (Here’s how to do that)

Apart from submitting your website to the engines, you also need to “establish yourself as a credible website” in front of Google and other search engines. Google is like this guy everyone trusts when he wants to find information. Everyone asks this Google guy – “where do I get bungee jumping information?” Or “which is the best hospital in town”? And Google says – go there and go here and you’ll get what you want. Why should Google send people only to you and not to other bungee jumping websites? It will if you establish your credibility with Google.

You establish your credibility with Google by doing two things:

1) Optimizing your keywords

2) Building links

Whoops! Didn’t I promise, we wouldn’t discuss too much technical jargon? What are those scary words above about then! 🙂

OK. Pause. Quick recap. You see, we were talking about getting people to our site. That’s called “building traffic to our site”. We were also talking about the fact that most people will find us ONLY on Google or other search engines. And then we were like – “so how to impress these search engines so that they send people to us?”

The first way to do that is by using special words in your content or articles that people are searching for the most on Google. Take bungee jumping again. Let’s say there are a lot of people searching on the internet about “how to bungee jump”. Then it makes sense to write an article whose heading is “how to bungee jump?” This article should also then include the word “how to bungee jump” many times to let Google know that the article is indeed about “how to bungee jump”. These words or phrases which have very high demand are called “keywords”.

You need to make sure that all your articles or posts have the best keywords repeated many times in them.

The best keywords are those keywords which are being searched by thousands of people on Google but which also currently don’t have many websites catering to them.

If you take the keyword “travel” for example, there are hundreds of websites if not thousands catering for that keyword even though the demand – the number of people searching for the keywords is also high. On the other hand if you take the keyword – “Haberdashers in Western Mauranipur” – there will hardly be any demand for this keyword. But the advantage is that there will also be hardly any websites about this keyword already present, so it will be quite easy to rank within the top 10 search results on Google for this keyword. The best keywords are therefore the keywords in the middle – keywords which have a high demand but a low supply.

If you use these keywords in your articles and content, you will have a good chance to rank well at Google.

How do you get these best keywords? Well, there are websites like Wordtracker.com which give you the exact analysis of how important or unimportant a keyword is. Google Adwords is a free tool which can help you find high demand keywords. However, it does not talk much about the supply of keywords.

So there, that was about the importance of choosing the right keywords.

Apart from using the right keywords, you can also build credibility with search engines by “building links”.

You see, Google is in the end sort of ‘a computer’ right? This computer (or its millions of computers) can find your website if it has the right keywords. But there will be many websites even with the right keywords. How will Google differentiate your website from other websites which have good keywords?

Google and other search engines take into account “the number of websites that link to your website”. The greater this number of links and the credibility of the website that links to your website, the more credible your own website is with Google.

So if you have that bungee jumping site – and many popular adventure sites or sports sites link to your bungee jumping website, then Google will think “Ah, OK, so many good websites are linking to this website, so this website must be a good one.” If you then have good keywords too, then Google will very happily rank you at the top !

You can thus improve credibility by “building links”. There are many genuine techniques to build links. For example, you can comment on other people’s blogs related to your website. When you do that, you are allowed to leave a link back to your website above your comment. Similarly, you can answer questions on AOL answers related to the topic of your website. When you do that, again, you get a link back to your website. You can write articles at Ezinearticles.com or Squidoo.com on a particular topic. [EDIT: This is no longer recommended.] When you do that, you get to link back to your website. There are some websites called “directories” which make a list of websites related to different topics. If you submit your websites to these directories, they will link back to your website. You can even exchange links with websites related to your site – you link to a great article on another site related to your site and a great article links to your site!

The point is – the more the websites linking to you – the greater your “Google credibility” and the greater the chance that you will feature in the top 10 results on Google.

WordPress does not provide any resources to help you gain credibility with Google – so you will have to put in all of this effort yourself if you’re using WordPress.

Site Build It! – since it is a website building coach, provides a superb keyword finding tool providing exact demand and supply values, helps in building links through its articles and also has a link-exchange program to connect people with websites on similar topics. It’s pretty cool.

How to Build a Website – Special RecommendationSite Build It! – because it not only tells you the best keywords and the best ways to build links, it also helps you actually choose keywords and build links through step-by-step articles. You also have access to Site Build It’s forums where you can ask questions related to link building or keyword choosing and receive prompt responses.

The next in line is Wordtracker.com. Wordtracker has excellent keyword choosing packages (paid) that help you choose high demand and low supply keywords. The basic plan starts from $449 a year.

 

NOTE: SEO and link-building has changed a lot after Google’s updates. Here’s a good article about the topic.

How to Build a Website STEP IV
Building a Regular Reader Base and Earning Money

Phew!

We have come a long way haven’t we. 😉 We’ve talked about web space, domain name registration, adding content, optimizing keywords and building links!(this is also called Search Engine Optimization)

What next in online website building? Aren’t we done with how to build a website yet? 🙂

Well, more or less that’s about it. Building links and adding keyword focused content pages is a continuous process. You keep doing it regularly and the credibility of your website keeps increasing. More and more of your web pages slowly start ranking in Google. And you start getting more and more visitors on your site!

It’s as if your shop has now established credibility in the market and is getting quite some visitors.

To further boost your shop’s sales, you could conduct a special event every week or every month – where you could provide free value to your customers. Similarly, to further help your visitors and increase your credibility, you can now start what is called a “newsletter” This newsletter is an email you can send to visitors to your site – telling them about the latest bungee jumping offers or facts about bungee jumping. Basically, it is an email they will frequently receive from you and establish a connection. 🙂

You can also add an “RSS aggregator” to your site. I know that’s a terribly complicated term – but all it simply means is that visitors to your website can easily receive updates to your website by email or by using special software called “RSS readers”.

Both WordPress and Site Build It! have build in tools to add an RSS aggregator to your site. Site Build It! has an extra tool to also add and manage newsletters.

And now that your website is receiving more and more visitors and has good credibility at Google – you can start with that yummy thing – monetization – money making.

All money making methods on the internet require one important thing: TRAFFIC. When people start visiting your website, generating money is not that difficult. Imagine – if 1 hundred thousand people visit your site every month, then even if you sell a t-shirt to those 1 hundred thousand people, at least 10-20 people will buy right?

A simple way of making money from your website is the Google Adsense program. You simply register here – and Google starts supplying you with adds that you can display on your website. When anyone clicks on these adds, you make money.

Another easy way of generating income from your website is “affiliate programs”. You basically sell other people’s books, guides, or products on your site and when any visitor to your site buys them, you earn a commission. Commission Junction, ClickBank and E-junkie are some sites that supply products to sell.

You can even write and sell your own e-book or DVD on your site! Or charge people for becoming a member of your site.

There are many, many money making opportunities basically, once you have the traffic.

Hummm. 🙂

Again, Site Build It! has a tool which helps decide what the best way to make money out of your website is. It also has detailed step by step instructions related to pursuing each money-making method for example “writing an e-book”.

How to Build a Website – Special RecommendationSite Build It! because it makes choosing the right money making model and implementing it very easy.

However having said that, you can also go ahead and choose how to make money from your site yourself. 🙂

 

If you read this entire ‘how to build website’ article in one stretch – really, hats off to you! We’ve basically discussed the crux of what all is involved in answering the question – how to build a website and make money from it. Of course we’ve not really gone into the exact – details of each thing we’ve discussed but I guess you’ve got the big picture.

If online website building sounds pretty confusing and weird still, don’t worry. 🙂 I mean that’s how it looked to me when I started this website – it just gets easier over time.

Now that the big picture is clear, you might go ahead and want to start your own website. But to do so you will need details – isn’t it? You will want to know how each point I’ve mentioned works in the real world! So, to make things easier, here’s a table that summarizes how to build a website and how to go about online website building!

Here we go…. 🙂

What to Do The Tools The Cost
Buying webspace and registering the domain name Godaddy.com, Yahoo.com, Hostgator.com About $73 a year (Godaddy.com)
WordPress.com Free if you include WordPress.com in your domain name, otherwise $12-$99 a year depending on features)
Site Build It! $299 a year. A bit expensive but Site Build It! also provides a superb set of tools that coach you like a friend and help you at every step of building a site.
Creating and uploading content Adobe Dreamweaver $399
Joomla or a similar content management system Free, but you will have to learn how to use Joomla – and that will take some days to master. Also, you will design your entire site yourself – so that will take some effort.
WordPress.com Free, once you have registered at WordPress.com. Uploading is very easy but there is a limited “blog like” design you are compelled to use (in the free version).
Site Build It! Free, once you have bought Site Build It! Uploading content is extremely easy and you can get a “website style” look without much effort.
Choosing keywords and building links Google Adwords Keyword Tool Free, but it only tells you how popular a keyword is, not how many websites already use it.
Wordtracker $449 a year – it provides excellent keywords and tells you what the demand for them is, and also what the supply is.
Site Build It! Free, once you have subscribed to the Site Build It! package ($299). The keyword tool is excellent and provides demand-supply values. It also helps you choose keywords and tells you exactly how to proceed and build links.
Building a regular keyword base and monetizing WordPress.com Free, it already has a built in feature to add RSS subscriptions. But you can’t send a newsletter that easily.
Site Build It! Free, once you have subscribed to the Site Build It! package. It already has a built in feature to add RSS subscriptions and send newsletters. It also has videos and articles that tell you exactly how to implement RSS, how to get regular visitors and how to monetize.

 


So well, there you go.

It’s time to get started…All the best. 🙂