How start Website and How Website is created
A website doesn’t just happen, it needs careful planning and content for each page. Make sure to get together everything you need before getting started, it will save a lot of back and forth later. This blog explains all 100 steps that describe the how start website and how the website is created in 2018
Hire a Web Developer and What To Ask A Web Designer
To help you employ the right designer for you, here are the questions you should ask potential suitors:
Can I see examples of your previous work?
Check these websites out and make sure the person did actually create them. You can even take the time to contact a couple of the website owners to ask if they would recommend using this person or company.
When can you start work on my website?
If the designer is booked up in advance, it can be a good sign that they’re in demand, but you don’t want to wait forever.
What timescale can you finish my website in?
This will often depend on how cooperative you can be in assisting with things that come up along the way, but as a rough guide, I usually quote an average of 4-8 weeks for most sites or 2-4 months for sites with more complexity or greater number of pages. This allows a couple of weeks for gathering all the requirements, deciding on the look & feel and planning out the layout, content, and functionality.
The remaining time is then used to work on creating the website and collaborating with the business owner to firm up the final solution. In the end, I allow a week for the business owner to test the website and come back with anything that they would like changing before we officially launch it.
Obviously, all web designers will work to their own timescales and with their own methodology but as long as you are aware of their process and understand the extent of the involvement you will both have at each stage, the details can be worked out between you.
What experience in marketing do you have?
If they say they’re just a web designer and if you’re also not experienced in writing good copy, you might want to look for someone else. I can’t stress highly enough how important the marketing side of website design is—if you don’t get this part right, your website could be a major flop no matter how pretty it looks.
What A Web Designer Should Ask You
Any decent web designer will want to find out as many details about your website project and your business as possible. Ideally, they will start from a similar place you did when you were defining your business and goals, and that is finding out about who your clients are, what makes them tick, why they will visit your website and what the goals and desired outcomes are.
In short, if your web designer is to give you the quality of website you hope they will, they’ll need lots of information from you. If they don’t ask for any, it’s most definitely not a good indicator for the future.
Here are some of the questions you should be asked by anyone who has your best interests at heart:
Who are your ideal clients?
What does your website aim to solve for your visitors? What are your visitors coming to your website for?
What are the short, medium and long-term goals of your business and your website?
Do you, as a business owner, have time to answer questions and review progress on an ongoing basis?
What timescale do you need me to get the job done in and do you have an absolute deadline?
What access do you require once the website is complete? i.e. will I be handing you the virtual keys or would you like me to maintain it for you?
If you’re happy your designer has gathered information pertaining to all the above questions, if you’re confident that the web designer’s previous work is of a standard you aspire to, and if the costings suit your budget, you may have found your perfect web designer, congratulations!
Choosing An Appropriate Name
Your domain name will identify your brand, company, product or service for years to come so it’s important to choose wisely. For those who wish to use their personal name or company name as their website domain, the decision may just be as easy as checking if anyone else has already registered that name, and if not, you’re in luck and your domain name is an easy pick.
If your website is to represent a product or service, this is when you have more creative license over the name you choose. But this can also be when it becomes more tricky as there are so many possibilities available to you.
One approach to finding the perfect domain name is to first brainstorm a list of keywords related to your niche. Then you can try combinations of any 2, 3 or 4 of these keywords to come up with some catchy and memorable possibilities. Using keywords that are likely to be typed into the search engines may also help your website be found easier, so this is worth considering when choosing a name.
Here are a few points to note when coming up with a shortlist of potential winners:
Shorter domain names are usually better. Think ahead to when you’re announcing your website name to the world—the shorter and more catchy it is, the easier it will roll off the tongue. Try to keep domain names to 2, 3 or at most 4 words.
Try not to use hyphens in your domain name
Write out the domain name in lowercase letters
Try not to use numbers within a domain name.
Try to avoid words that also sound like numbers or letters
For example for and 4, you and u, eye and i—the less chance for misinterpretation, the better. For example, would an eyewear company choose eyeglasses, i4glasses or eye4glasses? None of these would be perfect if they wanted to avoid customer confusion. Try to use words with positive ramifications rather than negative, as people are often swayed by the prospect of benefit or gain rather than disappointment or loss.
Say the domain name out loud
Hear it, imagine it, since how you would feel saying it to someone who doesn’t yet know your business. Does it sound right? Does it feel right in your gut? If not, don’t take the chance with it as you may regret it later.
Make your domain future proof
When you register a domain name, you’ll likely be asked if you want to add on Domain Privacy. For me, this is a no-brainer to say yes to, because it means that your contact details are protected from the public, and this means hidden from the spammers.
If you turn down domain privacy, you’ll probably find your inbox stuffed full with uninvited web design and SEO offers the very next day. You’ll soon tire of all these annoying emails so get yourself the domain privacy as soon as you register your domain, then your inbox can rest easy.
If you’ve never set up a website before, you may not be familiar with hosting but it’s actually a very simple concept.
If you think of your website as a party, you’re always going to need somewhere to throw that party—that’s at your host’s venue. Your host might live just down the road, in the next town or could even be on the other side of the world, but either way, he’s there to serve your guests, make sure your party runs smoothly and look after your day and night.
Your actual web host is simply a set of computers, connected to the internet, where you can store all the files and data for your website. The host leaves their servers permanently switched on, making your website available at any time of day to anyone who visits.
Hosting Packages And Costs
When you go to sign up for web hosting for your website, you will usually be offered different levels of service. This can vary from host to host but in general, there will be a basic package where you can put your website on a shared server and have access to all the basic services you would need for a single website.
As you move up through the packages, you will see shared hosting replaced with dedicated hosting, meaning that you don't share your website’s server with anyone else who is also renting space from the host. Shared servers can slow your website down but when you first start out I would recommend you start with the shared hosting. Then if you encounter problems or grow beyond this server’s means, you can always upgrade to more appropriate hosting for your needs.
Where To Get Hosting
There are hundreds of web hosting companies to choose from but you probably don’t know most of them when you start out. You may have heard of the popular ones such as Hostgator or GoDaddy but as with any purchase, it’s advisable to check out reviews by people who have used these companies before.
These big corporations that are most famed for their cheap domain name registrations are not always the best choice for hosting too, so do your research and find one with a good reputation before you invest. I’ve also used Bluehost for domains and hosting. Bluehost is a United States based company with a good reputation, who I have found provide good customer service and are a popular choice for many of my stateside friends.
If you have several websites that require a more dedicated service for higher traffic demands, LiquidWeb is the go-to company for many. They are more expensive but if you’re an internet marketer who has many fingers in lots of internet pies, they may be worth looking into. I haven’t used this company so I am only reporting the positive experiences of some of my worldwide colleagues who swear by it.
I’m talking about WordPress; the most popular website framework in existence today, with a quarter of all websites worldwide being based on it. WordPress was originally a place to “press words”—a blogging platform essentially—but it has now grown into the easiest and most widely used framework for website developers and business owners to get to grips with. Using WordPress, you can finally create a masterpiece of your own in record time, without the need for complicated coding.
So let’s have a closer look at WordPress, which flavor you should choose and what it can do for you, your website and your business.
I'm No Web Designer!
Let me start by saying that you don’t need to know any code to design your own website in WordPress. Your site’s code is hidden from view to make it less susceptible to human error, and 99% of the time you won’t ever need to access it.
WordPress is one of a number of available Content Management Systems (CMS), which make the process of designing content for a website both easier for the end user and also better organized behind the scenes. There are other popular CMS frameworks, including Joomla! (yes, with the exclamation included) and Drupal, but WordPress is touted as being the easiest to implement and understand for those new to websites or having no knowledge of coding.
The benefit of using any CMS is that it provides a way to update content using a simple user-interface, often likened to the ease of using Microsoft Word to create a document. A CMS also allows you to apply site-wide updates that apply to all content instantly. Perfect for any business owner venturing into the online world for the first time in other words.
This all means that WordPress is an extremely user-friendly framework. It’s a place where you can quickly get comfortable and where you are not overwhelmed by too much tech. There may be a few learning challenges to overcome, but with a quick overview of the user interface, you can be up and running fairly quickly.
Did you know that there are two different options when it comes to setting up a WordPress blog or website?
The first is found at WordPress.com: Create a Free Website or Blog. Here, you don’t need to buy a domain or hosting and you can have a free blog set up in 5 minutes. However, there are a few drawbacks of using this flavor of WordPress. For starters, your URL will be in the less-than-friendly format www.mywebsite.wordpress.com, which is a bit of a mouthful and tells the world that you’re maybe not as serious about your website as you could be.
The other downside of WordPress.com websites is that you can’t upload specialist themes or use plugins on your website, which could be a deal breaker if you want a custom look or to add extra functionality.
There are advantages of having a WordPress.com: Create a Free Website or Blog website though—it’s free to use, you don’t need to worry about hosting, security or updates, and there are still hundreds of themes available for you to use. If you’re just starting out and aren’t sure if having a website is for you, WordPress.com: Create a Free Website or Blog is the perfect place to get a feel for the user interface and see how you progress.
Most serious website owners use Blog Tool, Publishing Platform, and CMS to build their sites with. This is a free-to-use, open-source community project, with hundreds of developers worldwide contributing to its source code. Blog Tool, Publishing Platform, and CMS has evolved from a blogging platform into a full CMS and the possibilities provided by the thousands of plugins are astounding.
The good thing about Blog Tool, Publishing Platform, and CMS is that you install it on your own domain and hosting, leaving you in full control and able to tailor it exactly how you see fit. But as you can imagine, with this responsibility also comes challenges, but that’s why you’re here—to overcome the gaps in knowledge and understanding that being dropped in at the deep end can bring.
Blog Tool, Publishing Platform, and CMS are free to use, but you will need to bear the costs of a domain and hosting. With these being relatively cheap, it’s a no-brainer.
There are also thousands of WordPress plugins to choose from, and these little gems can do anything from enabling you to sell digital downloads to adding email opt-in forms to your website, and almost anything else you can imagine.
Behind The Scenes
You might not care what goes on in the background when you create a WordPress website but in case you are curious, here’s the deal in brief. WordPress has two elements to it:
A database to hold all the data for your website, including blog post and page content. A folder structure to hold the WordPress installation files, your uploaded media files and also your themes and plugins. These two go hand-in-hand and one can’t work without the other. WordPress communicates between the files and the database, providing a very organized and efficient working structure.
If you ever connect to your site’s files using a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) client, you’ll be able to see those file types listed above. All other content is stored in your website’s database, hidden from view, and is retrieved only when someone lands on one of your pages.
My advice would be to never tinker with your website files via FTP unless you fully understand what you’re doing. You should definitely not experiment with any database changes unless you consider yourself a pro—and even then you should always make a backup first.
One Click Installer
When you choose a hosting company for your website, it’s advisable to pick one that offers the One-Click Installer for WordPress. It literally does what it says on the tin—you click once and hey presto, within a few minutes your website is installed and online, ready for you to get to work on.
If you don’t have the One-Click Installer available, you will just have to go through a couple of extra steps in order to get your website up and running—your host provider should be able to provide full instructions on how to do this.
If you’re new to WordPress website design, the term "theme" may not be familiar. So what is it?
I like to think of a theme as a set of styles and behaviors. Just like a themed party where everyone knows what type of outfit they should come in and how to act to compliment their look, a theme can be thought of as the glue that makes the party (your website) a cohesive success.
When considering new themes for my websites, I always think in terms of what they can do for my content. I assess the possibilities the theme offers, based on a combination of the following three properties:
All three must score highly for me to consider a theme for a development. Overall style pertains to the way the website will look with the theme installed. The most popular styles are:
Blog/Multi-purpose—the most common website theme type, traditionally used for blogging or general websites that don’t need anything over and above the standard pages and posts.
Magazine—used for websites that churn out lots of content regularly. Sites such as BuzzFeed and bbc.co.uk use magazine style as they want their visitors to have plenty of choices when they visit the home page. Magazine style sites often use guest writers to enable them to put more content up more often.
One page—commonly used for product launches and also for individuals to present their CV on. It literally is a website with one page, usually split into distinct sections as you scroll down. This style can also be used as a landing or sales letter page.
Portfolio—great for photographers or artists to show off images of their work.
Specifically designed with selling in mind. Can usually be used for physical or digital products. With thousands of WordPress themes available and many of them being free of charge, there is never a shortage of choice. So how do you make that decision? By also looking at the layout and functionality.
When I’m considering a new theme I like to look at the demo website, if one is available. I'll preview all the menu styles, design options and layouts of the pages, the font and color options, the possibilities for buttons and boxes, how images are displayed, whether it has specialist functionality such as pricing tables or accordion text boxes and so on.
I try to imagine all the types of content that I’ll be creating and visualize how it would look with the given fonts, image shapes, and page layouts. If I think the content will suit the theme, it goes into the possibles pile. Or actually into my virtual pile of bookmarked themes, of which there are now many.
There’s one property that can kill a theme’s viability for me and that’s lack of responsiveness. That is to say that if a website made from that theme doesn’t rearrange itself nicely when I view it on my mobile, I won’t even consider using it. I usually test this quickly by narrowing my browser window to its smallest setting and see how the website looks.
Then I’ll double check on my mobile. With over 60% of all traffic coming from mobile devices, or even more, if you’re only driving traffic from apps such as Instagram, it’s not even worth considering a theme that isn’t responsive.
Having said that, there are plugins available that can turn any website from non- responsive to responsive, but I haven’t yet needed to use them so I can’t comment on their effectiveness. If you already have a website you like but it’s just not responsive, the premium plugin WPtouch or the free Jetpack plugin’s mobile theme option might be options for you to try.
If you can’t find a free theme that does what you need within your WordPress dashboard, or if you want a top-notch website with quality design and extra functionality, it could be time to buy a premium theme. Most can be purchased for between £30 to £60 ($45 to $90), which is not too pricey when you consider the potential for your website to make way more than that back.
Some of my favourite places to find premium WordPress themes are:
Out of the above list, Elegant Themes and ThemeForest are my go-to theme sites. Elegant Themes offers 87 gorgeous themes for one low price, the most flexible of all being Divi and Extra. With these two, not only do they come with lots of pre-defined layout templates to choose from, but if used in conjunction with the Divi Builder, you can design any layout you can dream up.
Elegant Themes also offer their own set of WordPress plugins for just an extra $20, so you can cover your email opt-in, social share, mobile friendliness, and shortcode needs too. Elegant Themes are constantly adding new features to their themes and plugins, which means they’re probably going to be around for the long haul.
WordPress Themes & Website Templates from ThemeForest is part of the Envato Marketplace, where anyone can sell their digital creations. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of WordPress themes available at ThemeForest and the good news is, they all have a working demo of the theme in action.
It can take some time to find ones you like, but this up-front research will enable you hunt out a theme that does everything you want, looks good and is also fast and responsive. Prices average around $45-$60 per theme, which usually includes lifetime updates.
With ThemeForest, it’s always a good idea to check the user reviews and look at the support questions for the theme—make sure the developer is answering questions promptly and doesn’t have too many bug reports. Once you’ve found a theme you can’t live without, simply purchase it, download the theme’s ZIP file then upload it to your website to get started using it.
Plugins provide functionality for your website, over and above the standard theme features. They can be thought of as optional extras, a bit like when you buy a basic model car then choose add-ons, such as the incorporated sat nav or the alloy wheels.
As with themes, there are thousands of free plugins available in the WordPress admin area, many of which are rated highly and offer excellent functionality. There are also many premium plugins, developed by individuals around the world, costing anything from under £10 ($15) to a few hundred.
The good news is that most of the plugins I use and recommend are free and can be installed with 2 clicks. WordPress makes it very easy to add functionality so even if you have a theme that lacks certain features, you can often add them later.
Whenever I install WordPress, there are a few plugins I always put onto my website immediately. Why? Because they are absolutely essential if you want to secure your website, make it run faster, get you found in the search engines and more. One of them also gives me cheaper advertising, which is a good reason to not forget to install it.
In the bonus downloads area, you’ll find a handy guide to all the plugins I consider to be must-haves, that I install on almost every website. For each, there’s a description of what they do and how you will benefit from using them.
The 10 Essential Ingredients Every Website Needs
Know your audience.
The most important activity before you do anything is to hone down who you are designing your website for. Get your customer clear in your mind.
Write down as many personality and lifestyle traits about your ideal customer as you can. Here are some things to think about:
Is this person male/female or could they be either? What age range?
Married/single? Do they work?
What job do they do? How hard do they work? Do they have kids, pets? What are their hobbies?
Are they outgoing or reserved? Where do they like to shop?
Are they extravagant or frugal? What do they value in life?
What lifestyle do they dream of?
What are their goals in life? What are they afraid of?
What keeps them up at night worrying?
What problems do they have in the areas of life, work, family, time, money?
What problems do they have that your business could provide a solution for?
Anything else that defines this person’s life, desires or struggles?
Customer first, you second.
Remember that your website is for your customers to use and enjoy, so make it work for them.
What can you do for me?
Do you have what I’m looking for? Do I like the look of what I’m seeing?
Do I like the sound of what I’m reading?
If your website doesn’t answer these questions in the first few seconds, the chances are you’ll turn off your visitor, possibly for good. Lost at sea with no compass, looking for the exit to the lifeboats is not the way your customers should feel. In all the above points, you can see that they’re all focused on what you can do for your customer, not the other way around. Keep this in mind constantly as you decide what’s in and what’s out on your website.
Identify your strategy
Get those big goals clearly defined and the mini steps for how to get there. Do you have a strategy? What’s your ultimate goal for a visitor to your website? And what are the baby steps that you want to take them through in order to get there?
Your strategy must be at the forefront of your mind when creating your website. Without one, you might as well be peeing in the wind. In fact, that might be more productive.
To execute your strategy well, you need to first think of the end goal—what is the ultimate outcome or action that you want a visitor to take? I assume that you know the answer to this—whether it’s to buy products from you, sign up for your coaching program, join your online course or whatever else you have in mind. But you must define that end goal. Setting up a website without it will feel a hell of a lot harder as you won’t know what you need to have in place and you’ll probably waste time on things that won’t bring you closer to where you want to be.
1. Get a visitor to the website
2. Visitor signs up for free download
3. Visitor downloads a free item
4.The visitor receives a series of emails containing interesting and relevant information
5.The visitor is offered a low priced product(s)
6.A visitor buys a product(s)
7. Customer continues to receive emails to build value and trust
8.The customer is offered the high-end coaching program
Get the right tools for the job. Tools, functionality, ways to help you execute your strategy—know what they are and get them in place.
Stay safe. Put a good security and backup solution in place to protect you from those tricky hackers.
Draw people in. First impressions count and no one likes to look at an amateurish website. Make it appeal to your target audience members by using words and design elements that appeal to those exact people.
If your stats show that mobile users are visiting your website, you need to make sure your website is responsive so as not to annoy the pants off them. Making your website look good and function well on mobile devices should be at or very near to the top of your list of website requirements. You only have to walk down the street and observe how many people are nose-to-the-ground, with their eyes on their mobile phone screen instead of on the path ahead.
On average, around 60% of website traffic comes from mobiles and tablets, so it’s not worth annoying over half of your visitors with a poorly executed design unless you’re ok with the same amount of potential profits going down the pan too.
When a website is truly responsive, the elements on the page, such as images and buttons, should automatically rearrange and readjust to fit smaller screen sizes and you should not have to zoom in to be able to comfortably read the text. Once your website is able to be viewed easily on all types of devices, your potential audience satisfaction goes back up to 100%. And who wouldn’t want that?
Stick to the point and only include information relevant to your audience and niche.
Realise that not all sites benefit from being beautified with pretty pictures, swirly fonts or over-the-top design elements. Often it’s the simplest designs using a single highlight color and showcasing a few select areas of interest that are the most intriguing and visitor-worthy.
There is no one-size-fits-all definition of appealing, and that’s why you need to again refer to your target demographic, and design your website with their tastes in mind, instead of your own.
Decide How To Give Your website Great Kerb Appeal Look at your description of your ideal client and put yourself in their shoes. Imagine coming to your website for the first time and think about what you would want to see. Write down answers to all of the following questions:
1. What colors does this person resonate with?
2.What specific language, words, and terminology do they use when talking about their struggles or desires?
3. What type of imagery appeals to them?
4. Do they like plain or fancy? Subtle or bold? Warm or cold?
5. What type of brain stimulation most appeals? Visual, mental, auditory?
SEO—healthy, not stealthy. Make sure you get your SEO right and use keywords that have a good chance of getting you found on Google.
Write often. The more relevant content you can add to your website, the more reasons there are for people to visit.
How To Avoid Looking Like An Amateur
Let’s face it, we all start off as amateurs. In fact, an amateur could be defined as someone who does not get paid for their hobby or pursuit. Professionals, however, are the people we all look up to, aspire to be like and envy, because they are masters of their trade and usually earn a tidy sum for doing so.
So what sets you apart from the professionals when you start out creating your website? Experience is the first trait, knowledge is quite possibly another. Ideally, there would be a way to fast track your way to the higher end of the scale in both of these areas, and that’s what this blog is intended to go some way towards.
Below are the solutions to some of the most common mistakes those new to web design often make. Taking action on these points will quickly enable you to graduate to beyond the amateur stage, so take note and take action.
Define your purpose up front
You can’t design your perfect website unless you understand the purpose of having it. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Imagine you’ve never visited your website before but arrive on it for the first time. Answer the following questions to help you get clear on what should feature prominently on your website.
What are some of the main reasons a client would visit your website?
What types of content would interest your client or provide solutions for their needs?
Identify anything on your website that doesn’t fit with any of the above and either moves it to somewhere less prominent or loses it completely.
Figure out who your customer is, quickly
If you skip this part, you won’t know who you’re designing your website for and that could be costly in the long run.
If you apply the same unfocused approach to marketing your website, all you’ll do is spend a fortune on advertising to the wrong crowd and probably end up with just a handful of less-than-ideal website visitors. But if you can tune in to who your customers are, where they hang out, what their problems are and how you can solve them, you’ll attract more of the people you want to work with or provide solutions for. Knowing your target audience demographic is imperative.
It’s not all about you. Keep your website focused on your clients’ needs— it’s not your pet project.
Provide clear signposts. People need to be told what to do, otherwise, it’s human nature to do nothing.
Have a look at your web pages and see if you're providing an easy transition through your content. Make sure you have the following in place:
A menu structure at the top of the page that has all your most popular options visible and available with a single click.
Clear calls to action at the end of sections, pages, and posts to take the reader to where you want them to go next.
A subscriber opt-in box underneath blog posts to encourage sign up for your mailing list (with opt-in bribe if possible).
Hyperlinks within your articles for quick links to other pages on your website.
Call to action buttons wherever you want to ask your visitor to take
action—make them bright and obvious.
Graphics that draw the eye towards content you want the reader to notice, such as your sign-up form or special offers.
Talk up the benefits
Mention the features for sure, but make sure your sales pitch is all about what your product can do for your customer.
List the features of one of your key products or services. Now go back through your feature list and next to each, list a benefit you know your customer would gain from each feature.
Visit your website and reword the description for this product to also reflect the benefits to your customer, as well as telling them about the features. Use bullet points where appropriate, for easy reading.
Go through all your product pages and make sure you are talking more about benefits than features, rewording each item description if necessary.
Lock the exits
Or at least ask your visitor to give you their email address in exchange for something useful before they leave. This is your key to a more profitable future via relationship building.
Make sure your website loads quickly by saving images at the appropriate size and allowing caching.
Remove any unused plugins.
Keep your image sizes the smallest they can be by uploading them at the size they’re intended to be used at and use an image optimizer plugin. I'll talk more about the specifics of image sizes in the next section.
Install a caching plugin on your website, to help speed up access for returning visitors. This will enable image-heavy pages to load faster, as the visitor will already have a copy of those images on their device, saved on their previous visit. You can use a website speed tester to find out if your website is sluggish, such as the one at http://tools.pingdom.com/fpt/
If your pages are shown to be slow to load, take a look at the ideas above for improving the situation. Implement one idea at a time then retest to see if you’ve cracked it.
Don’t give up
Once you have your fabulous website up and running, keep it updated with new content and tell people about it often. A great way to make sure you don’t forget about your website after you create it is to use a publishing schedule. You can simply print out a month-to-a-page calendar, such as the one I created for you in the bonus package, and fill in the title of the content you will create on the days you intend doing so.
Other than being able to see how a whole month’s content will play out, the other advantage of using a content planner is that you are more likely to stick to it if you treat each entry as an appointment with yourself.
Ways To Make Your Website Better Looking
It’s said that you only have around seven seconds to make a good first impression. With a website, I’d put that down to around three. In this digital age, your website has to get its worthiness across quicker than ever.
How good your website looks is not just about what colors or fonts you use, it goes much deeper than that. Many of the notions of what makes a website attractive are not easily quantified in words and can also be subjective. But let’s take a slightly more formulaic approach, looking at all the features of a website and how they can best be used to give an overall look and feel that gratifies and makes a great first impression.
Use a premium web template or theme
Such items are very keenly priced and can transform your website from distinctly average to very- definitely-professional within a few clicks.
There are many advantages to buying a premium theme. For a start, they're more likely to have been written with the latest coding standards in mind and be kept up-to-date often. This is important as it guards against potential incompatibility problems when updating the core WordPress functionality.
With a free theme that comes with little or no support, when things start to go wrong, you may have no choice but to swap themes, which is always a pain in the neck as you will inevitably have to redesign some pages and set up your new look and feel options as a minimum.
If your premium theme developer is reputable and keeps their code up to date, you're less likely to have this type of issue later on because the updates will integrate into your current design seamlessly.
Keep your pages tidy and free from lesser quality items, to keep your visitor focused on what you want them to see.
How many times have you gone to a website and just not been able to find what you’re looking for? One of the problems some website owners suffer from is a type of hoarding, where they’ll just throw everything they can think of onto the home page, in the hope that their visit will somehow find what they need.
Sometimes that chance will not come around because frankly, your visitor will get bored or frustrated before they get to that nugget of information they were looking for. This only means one thing—the exit crosshairs.
Choose a suitable color scheme
Sticking to a pre-defined color palette will not only make everything feel more consistent, but it will enable your visitor to recognize your content more easily. Sticking to a consistent set of fonts and colors as your base for all content
Carefully choosing images, words and design elements to provoke interest and curiosity
Having the right components in the appropriate and expected places
Stick to 2 or 3 fonts
Choosing one font for your body text and another for your headings is about as complicated as you need to make it. Use them throughout and you’ll give your visitor a better experience. https://www.google.com/fonts
I like to use this tool to find a suitable font for my website headings and with that in mind, you can type in one of your typical blog post headings in the field at the top and see how all the different styles look using that text. This makes it much easier to visualize it as if it were on your website, as shown in the next picture:
Choose Quality Images
The great thing about using captivating images on your website is that it will open up even more avenues where you can showcase your work. On image- sharing sites such as Pinterest or Tumblr, a great image could be seen and shared hundreds or even thousands of times, each share potentially leading someone back to your website.
The images you choose should be a reflection of the message you’re trying to convey. They should also be relatable—if your audience immediately feels an affinity towards them and understands the story you’re trying to convey with the image, you'll know you chose well.
If you can make your graphics visually enticing, you could quickly multiply the traffic to your website with a few strategic shares on image-heavy social sites. When creating graphics for your website, ask yourself:
Does the image help me get my message or point across?
If not, change or remove it.
Does the image fit with my overall style?
Consistency and cohesion are key to your overall visual effect, and images play a huge part. Many sites use colored overlays or a particular style of lettering on top of their images, but whatever you do, keep the style going throughout.
Does the image shape match those already in use on my website?
If you are displaying a portfolio of featured blog posts that include a thumbnail picture, it’s a good idea to make sure the featured images you upload have the same height and width ratio each time. If you stray from this, your blogroll can look a little disjointed or out of line, which can detract from the consistency of your website.
What Size Should Images Be?
There are two meanings to the term image size. The first refers to the width and height dimensions and the second, the file size. Both are important.
You want the images you use on your website to have the smallest file size possible, for the height and width you are using, so they don’t slow down your page's loading speed. To reduce file size, you can save an image at the same width and height, but at a lower resolution, or you can reduce the width and height dimensions and keep the higher resolution. Web images should be at least 72 dots per inch (dpi), but no higher than 300.
The width and height are often referred to by the number of pixels (px). Here are some guidelines you can use for the dimensions of images, for various uses:
Image Type Suggested Width
Thumbnail 200-300 px
Sidebar Image 300-400 px
Blog Post Image 600-900 px
Full Width Image 1800-2000 px
The sizes in the table above largely depend on the layout of your website pages. If you have a sidebar then you will have less space in the main body of the page, so your images can be slightly smaller.
The first option is to save the image as small as you can, without losing quality, before upload. This can be done in a photo editing program such as Adobe Elements, Photoshop or Lightroom, using the “Save for web” option and selecting a lower value of image quality in the output settings. You can also use free image editing programs such as RIOT, Gimp or pixlr to do the same job.
The second option is to use a WordPress plugin such as Imagify or WP Smush to optimize your images as you upload them. With this type of plugin, you can be sure your website will not suffer from performance issues due to image file sizes but your images will still display in high quality.
Where To Find Good Quality Free Photos
I have a few favorite places I regularly curate photos for my websites from.
Here are a few to get you started:
All the above sites offer completely free photos and usually include the right to modify and use the image as you see fit without even crediting its origins. But make sure to check the licensing for any free photos you use.
Another place to find images is by using Google search, but you must be careful with this method as most images that come up in the search engines can not be used freely elsewhere. Even if a photo does not state its copyright, it is implied by law, so using photos found on Google is likely to get you into the legal hot water if you are found out.
If you’re creating blog posts or social media status graphics, I don’t believe you need to pay for exclusive images to get your point across.
If you’re working on a larger project such as an original eBook or an advertisement for your new product, you’ll probably want to upgrade your graphics and go a little more exclusive. If you’re not someone who can create their own unique images, this is when premium stock photos are a godsend.
The quality and variety of photos, graphics and even video that you can purchase from stock photo agencies are incredible. I’ve never failed to find just the right image that I was looking for on stock photo sites such as iStockphoto.com or shutterstock.com. Prices currently work out at around £8 ($12) per photo, or more if you go for one of their high-end options.
Design For Non-Designers
Canva is a fantastic online design tool, found at canva.com. Within Canva you can design your own professional-looking graphics for anything, including Facebook ads, infographics, posters, presentations, and even multi-page eBooks.
They have a huge range of templates to choose as a starting point and if you don’t have your own photos to use within your chosen layout, they’ll even provide stock photos for $1 each. Here are some of the design templates you could start working within Canva:
With this fabulous array of designs and styles, you never again need to use the excuse, "I'm just not creative". Canva has done the hard work for you, all you have to do is put your words and pictures into the pre-designed templates and you have a fabulous-looking image or PDF you can download and use in your content right away.
Infographics are also in vogue right now because people seem to love statistics—that's facts and figures— presented in picture form. If you can present complex information in a simplistic manner, more people will look at it and also understand it. Infographics appeal to the masses because of their eye-catching draw. Don’t worry if you don’t own any graphics programs for your computer, the online tool, PiktoChart, can make your statistics look impressive in no time.
At piktochart.com you can create graphics and poster-style images that work perfectly with your data. Start with one of their templates and add your own words, icons, and pictures to make it into something quite unique. Shown below are some of the free starter layouts that PiktoChart provides. You’d be proud to create something like this wouldn’t you?
Try it out, it’s good fun and people will be genuinely impressed with your efforts. And of course, they’ll want to share, which again means more traffic to your website. With the number of free images and tools available, you’ve no excuse for having crappy photos or graphics on your website, or anywhere else for that matter.
Increase Your Earning Potential By Writing Better Copy
Write well but don’t obsess. Get fresh content out there and don’t be anal over every last detail, people will forgive the odd typo. The exception is if it’s a formal piece—get that wrong at your peril.
Spend time crafting your headlines as these can draw people in or turn them off in an instant.
To create some attractive headlines for your content, first, make a list of all the questions your ideal customer has. Next, make a list of all the pain points they feel about their current situation. Lastly, write out any positive outcomes and benefits they may feel if they could overcome those problems.
To create your headline, pick out one of the items on your list of questions or one of the pain points and pair it with one of the beneficial outcomes your ideal customer can expect to gain. You’ve got yourself the beginnings of a headline that will entice your readers to want to read more. It will also have a greater chance of being found in the search engines if you research the types of questions people are actually searching for.
Use Google's keyword planner tool to research the popular search terms for your niche and choose terms that have low or medium competition and a good monthly search volume.
Practice writing headlines that address a question or pain plus the desired outcome and start using these as your blog post titles.
Does it pass the “So what?” test? If your content doesn’t deliver an obvious benefit to the reader, rewrite it until it does.
Create with your audience in mind, always. People are me-centric—they only want to know how you can help them, so make sure to deliver.
Write in context. Know the style of publication you’re writing for and deliver what’s expected.
Split content at natural break points. Use of paragraphs helps your reader to make distinctions and put pauses in the right place.
Add personality in buckets. Help your audience warm to you by writing in conversational style.
Attention, Value, Benefits, Offer. Keep this cycle of messages going and you’ll be on track for a winning campaign.
There’s a reason good copywriters command large fees—they’re worth every penny. If you can master even a fraction of what those who get paid thousands know, you could see a significant increase in your response rate and therefore your earning potential.
Share, Share, Share Again
So you created some great content, you published it on your website. Now what? Your main aim should be to get people to see it, read it, enjoy it, share it and hopefully take action. You did remember to put a call to action at the end, didn’t you?
Let’s get your content out there and being seen. First of all, copy the URL link of your latest web page or blog post and share it on all your social networks and inside niche groups that you feel the content would be helpful too. Also, share it on professional networks such as LinkedIn and Google+ if the content is appropriate—not everything is suitable.
Using a URL shortening service such as that provided for free at bitly.com also enables you to track where visitors landing on your page came from, which is always good to know. By examining your traffic statistics, you may notice traffic arriving at your website from certain places you shared content but maybe not from others, so you can step up your marketing on the more successful platforms to keep your momentum going.
If you use great images as part of your content, you can also Pin these images onto one of your Pinterest boards. People often browse Pinterest when they are looking for inspiration for upcoming purchases, which gives you all the more reason to make the most of its potential. Here are a few facts that might convince you to try Pinterest if you haven’t already:
85% of all Pinterest users are female 87% of Pinterest users say they have purchased something they discovered while Pinning. The average order value of sales coming from Pinterest is $50, which is higher than any other major social platform.
With stats like that, Pinterest can’t be ignored and has to be worth trying if you are strong with your visuals and can include a good headline, description, and call to action within the image. Images can of course also be shared on all the social media platforms but are especially suited to places such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.
If you like to create video content, make a short teaser clip and share it on Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and any other platforms you have a presence. Use appropriate hashtags with each post for an extra boost of organic traffic. Provide a link from the clip to your website, giving a reason or incentive as to why someone should bother clicking through.
Of course, the main place you want to put video content is YouTube. Even if you haven’t made a film in the traditional sense, you can record slideshows of the main points from your blog posts using screen capture software. or just get on camera and talk through the post. Focus on the benefits to the viewer and put a strong call to action near the end of the video and you should see more traffic to your website, especially if you make full use of relevant keywords and tags within your YouTube settings.
Finally, don’t forget to embed your YouTube videos onto your website, this will get you extra brownie points for rankings with the search engines and will also bump up your video view stats on YouTube itself, giving you more chance of being discovered over there too
To initiate the visitor capture process, you need to install Facebook's Pixel code on your website. Once in place, this will place a marker against every visitor to your website and is what will allow you to later advertise to those same people with a Facebook Ad campaign.
The pixel—a small piece of code obtained directly from your Facebook page's Audiences page—needs to be placed into the header code of your website. You can obtain this from the following URL (make sure you're logged into Facebook first):
One of my favorite tools is HootSuite, which allows you to schedule posts to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram ahead of time. If you have 3 or less social accounts to post to, it’s free to use.
At the time of writing, Instagram doesn’t allow automated posting but what HootSuite will do is send you a reminder when your Instagram post is due to go out, and it will place the photo into Instagram and the text into your paste buffer, so that with another couple of taps you can have your latest Instagram published.
Another tool I’ve had great success with is PostPlanner. This one goes a step extra by allowing you to pre-plan your own content but also to find other people's posts in your chosen niche that have had great engagement.
Create your best click-worthy headlines.
If you’re paying for ads or clicks, you want to make sure to catch your prospective customer’s eye. You can do this by using direct shout-outs to them, for example, “Football Dads! Teach Your Son To Play Like Ronaldo Today”. This example headline also uses the basic headline formula of promising a beneficial outcome, and that’s what their son could become as nifty as a legendary player.
Speak in the language your audience uses.
If you’re really going to get a good click-through rate from your ads, you need to put yourself in your target customer’s shoes and speak how they speak. If you’ve picked up any phrases that come up over and over when you talk to people about their frustrations or problems around your niche area, use these in your ad description. By using the same language, your audience will identify with you and be more likely to click.
Use colorful pictures.
Images are often what makes or breaks an advertisement. In split tests, where the same ad is created with the same target audience but using different images, there will usually be a clear winner.
Analyse And Adjust
However you get your content out there, it’s always important to track where the resulting traffic comes from, so that you know which platform brought you the best visitor numbers. You’ll be able to do this more easily if you have a Google Analytics tracking code installed on your website. If you haven’t got round to getting this done yet, do it today, it’s not too tricky and could prove insightful.
By analyzing your visitor stats and their sources, you will get an understanding of which platforms are reacting best to your content and which format or topic is getting more traffic
What is SEO? It stands for Search Engine Optimisation and good SEO represents a set of easily implemented guidelines you can apply to each page and blog post on your website, to boost your rankings in the search engines.
Within a WordPress website, one of the most highly recommended plugins that will help you achieve good SEO on your content is the Yoast SEO plugin. Here is a quick summary of some of the ways you can improve the SEO of your pages:
Use a title of at most 70 characters, because anything after that won’t show up in the search engine title preview. Use your title again in the first and last paragraph of your blog post of the page and put it inside an H1 or H2 tag somewhere on the page (that's a first or second level heading if you're not familiar with tags such as these). Set the focus keyword to be part of the title of the page.
Add a meta description
This is the short paragraph that will show below your post title in the search engines. It should provide an overview of your post and include a call to action to encourage clicking, which in turn tells Google your post is highly relevant and gives it a boost in the rankings.
Use your focus keyword 3 or 4 more times throughout your post, but make it read naturally—Google is not stupid and will penalize you if you vomit the keyword anywhere and everywhere.
Name your images the same as your post title before you upload them. Use an Alt tag on your images, which also contains the focus keyword. Use short paragraphs and don’t use a long word when you can use a shorter one — ease of reading is key.
Write at least 3000 words on each page or post. Include hyperlinks to other articles on your website and/or links to articles on other websites within your post.
If you follow at least 50% of those suggestions for improving your SEO score, you should gain a few ranking positions quite easily. It’s worth going back over old posts and seeing how you can make these small improvements, the bonus is getting your content in front of even more people.
Use A Good URL Structure
The Permalinks setting in WordPress determines the format of your blog post URLs, and this really does matter, so listen up. You may have just done a double take on the previous paragraph. Perma what?
When you install WordPress, the default format of the URL given to each blog post is pretty useless, looking something like this:
Plan And Execute
If you want to produce one blog post per week, add an idea for each week's post to your planner. If you want to write an email series or a lead magnet, split the overall content into sub-headings and place these in different day's content boxes. Just keep doing this until you have ideas for a whole month or more.
Now when it comes to writing this content, you can either do it all in one day then take the rest of the week off, or maybe plan to create for an hour, three or four times a week until it's done. Use your time wisely to enable you to get your content out but not be chained to the computer all day.
Make A Content Creation And Sharing Plan
How much time should you spend on content creation? This is not an easy one to answer as it usually depends on the answer to the other question—how much time do you have available? Or more precisely, how much time are you willing to devote to content creation?
If you have a blog and are driving traffic to your articles, one post per week is usually manageable, maybe two or three if you have more time on your hands or if you want to build your business quicker. Other, more time-consuming content such as a whole new email series or an eBook will take you longer to create but the rewards from it could be far greater.
So if you’re short on time or can’t make time for more than one good piece of content per week, always choose the one that is going to bring you the best returns.
It may be that you need a set of blog posts written before you can send out your email series that refers to these posts, so you can’t do one without the other. Only you will know what you can manage and what should be higher on your priority list.
Track Your Results
Once you've spent time getting your content out into the world, you need to figure out if what you're doing is working. Making use of the free Google Analytics visitor tracker will help you do this.
By connecting your website up with this service, you will be able to get insights into where your visitors live, which pages on your website they landed on, which page they went to next and how long they spent browsing your website. All this is critical to know if you want any chance of plotting and planning your success.
Once you know which your best sources of visitor referrals are and what people visiting your website are looking at the most, you can create further similar content and distribute it to the channels you know are proving fruitful.
To set up your website visitor tracking using Google Analytics, go here: https://analytics.google.com/analytics/web
Under the Admin option, you should register a new account for your website. You'll then need to place the Google Analytics tracking code you're given onto your website. This is easiest done by installing the Google Analytics WordPress plugin, found in the plugin directory on your WordPress dashboard.
Let Other People Sing Your Praises
There’s nothing better than a recommendation from someone who has already enjoyed the experience of working with you or buying from you. Setting up a dedicated page of testimonies or adding one or two here and there on your website really speaks volumes. I mean, if other people are saying how great you are, you must have something going for you, right?
Testimonies can come from you asking for a few sentences on how your product or service helped someone and what they enjoyed the most about the experience, or they can be simple screenshots from social media or text messages.
Create An About Page That Sells
Why do you think people come to your About page? Is it to learn how many kittens you have or what fancy degree you earned? No. The real reason they visit is to check out if you’re worth getting more deeply involved with. They’ve come to see what you can offer, whether you and your business are congruent with their values and needs. They’re not there to learn your life story. Well, not to start with anyway.
So let’s rethink how you can use your About page and let’s focus it more on what you can do for your potential customer who has come to see if you’re a good fit.
User Case Studies
When talking about a client and their successes, describe the reason this person or business came to you in the first place so that readers can relate if they’re in a similar situation, show the results they got with your product— graphs and charts are perfect to help understanding—and maybe include a couple of paragraphs from the person to explain the types of success your solution helped bring about. And that’s it.
Sharing your expert knowledge and helping people find solutions to their problems is a beautiful way to sell yourself, without selling at all. Simply demonstrating your abilities can raise your expert status through the roof, especially if you genuinely help people along the way. This can be done with blog posts, video tutorials, audio in the form of podcasts or mp3 downloads, eBooks, courses—the list goes on.
If you can demonstrate your solutions using video, you might also like to turn your teachings into a course. There are some fantastic platforms you can use to sell or even give away courses from, such as Udemy.com or Teachable.com. These sites make it very easy to throw a course together in no time and allow new students to discover your lessons.
Sharing is caring, and caring enables relationship-building, which brings trust and authority. So start creating content that demonstrates your area of expertise and doesn’t forget to share.
Creating Lead Magnets
If you’re now racking your brain wondering how on earth you’re going to create something good enough to give away on your website, don’t worry, you don’t need
Use big, bold headings for each blog or section title in your eBook. Choose different fonts for the headings and the main body text and keep them consistent throughout.
Make sure your fonts are readable Test your content on a computer, tablet, and mobile to be sure.
Put a solid, dark border around the edge of all the pages, to draw the eye into the center of the page and to your main content.
Don’t go mad with colors unless you know what you’re doing. Hot pink might be your favorite color today, but think of those poor people trying to read your document and having hot pink borders etched indelibly onto their eyeballs! Calm, neutral tones work well, blues and greens are easy on the eyes, but it’s good to add the occasional flash of color to highlight points as needed.
Use images to enhance your words, but only add them at appropriate places, where they complement the text. Don’t just add images for the sake of making it pretty, you’ll detract from the text if you go overboard just to fill up space. Your readers are not daft, they will smell a filler a mile off.
List building should be considered a mandatory part of building your online business. Without leads coming in on a regular basis, you don’t have many ways to market directly to people who are interested in what you have to offer.
Creating a lead magnet is the easiest way to initiate the trade of email address for useful content so this should be put into place if you don’t currently have one.
Use pop-up opt-in forms to gather targeted subscribers using your lead magnet as a trade. The more people on your list, the better your sales figures have the potential to be.
Regular email marketing is the intentional act of turning those people who may be interested in your products or services into loyal customers. Keep your longer-term goal in mind each time you use email marketing to get in touch with your subscribers and remember to deliver value as often as possible.
Write how you speak The quickest way to get to know someone, without being face-to-face, is by writing in your spoken voice. Use the same language you would use in real life, rant if you normally like to rant, swear if you need to! Just be yourself and your personality will fly off the page, helping the readers who are destined to stay on your list keep receiving, and those who don’t suit your ideas to get off your list completely.
Be regular and intentional. Create your content and send it out on a regular schedule, whether that’s daily, weekly or even monthly. Keep in mind why you are sending out each email and make it count.
Automate lead magnet delivery and the first few emails in your sequence by using an autoresponder service. It will save you time and you can make money while you sleep. Epic.
One of the most popular free autoresponders is MailChimp. It’s cost-free to send regular newsletters to up to 2000 subscribers, so this gives you plenty of time to start building your list, practicing your email marketing techniques and start making sales. If you want to use the autoresponder features and send out a series of pre-written automated messages, there’s a small fee each month but it’s totally worth it.
Two other popular autoresponders at the lower end of the cost scale are GetResponse and Aweber. These, as well as MailChimp, are usually the most easily integrated with the popular opt-in services, so I would recommend starting with one of these.
For a free backup solution, I’d recommend a WordPress plugin called BackWPup. This is very easy to set up and will automatically take backups of your whole site—files and database—on a regular basis. If your website content is changing daily, I’d recommend a daily backup, or less frequently if you’re more of an occasional blogger.
Backups from BackWPup can be stored in various locations, including Dropbox, Google Drive or on your website’s server. I wouldn’t recommend using the latter because if your site’s server goes down, you won’t be able to retrieve that backup file to restore your website with.
I tend to use Dropbox for my backups, as it’s a place that’s always accessible and once the backup schedule is set, I can forget about it. If anything goes wrong with the backup process, you’ll receive an email letting you know. If this happens, you can go in and try a manual backup to figure out if there’s a problem or if it was a temporary glitch.
Secure your WordPress login Create a new admin username that no one can guess and remove the original admin user.
Keep passwords secure Use strong passwords, containing letters, numbers and special characters and keep them nice and long.
Backups and security are not optional Unless you want to risk losing your website. Deploy both and set to work on autopilot.
Update WordPress and plugins regularly Often, these are the places security loopholes are found, so stay safe and stay up to date. Don’t forget to backup first, just in case.
Another couple of plugins you can use to take a backup of a complete website or transfer it to another host or domain are Duplicator and WPClone. Both work extremely well and are as good as manual backup options, should your main backup solution fail.
Sell Your Own Creations
If you want to start selling digital downloads on your website, there are a number of WordPress plugins that will help you do that very easily. One of the most highly regarded is Easy Digital Downloads, which is free to use and offers all the basic shopping cart and payment functionality to get you started.
Two of the other most popular services for selling goods online are WooCommerce and Shopify. They each have their own merits but both make the process of selling goods online fairly pain-free, which is great news for creative types who don’t care to get too technical.
Use Affiliate Offers
Affiliate programs often supply banner graphics you can use on your website, so all you have to do is paste a simple piece of code into an area on your sidebar or into a blog post, and you’re all set to start referring and earning.
Popular places to find affiliate offers in the information or software niche are clickbank.com and jvzoo.com, but if you type into Google search “your-niche affiliate”, replacing your-niche with your area of interest, you will usually find other referral programs to look in to.
Invite Google To Advertise In Your Space
This may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you have space in your blog’s header or sidebar that you don’t mind giving up, you could potentially make a few extra notes by installing a Google AdSense or other similar advertising banner. http://google.com/adsense
Sell Advertising Space
By selling space on your blog for other people’s advertisements, you could earn a tidy sum on the side. However, you will only attract advertisers to pay you to use space on your blog if you can prove your website is getting a certain volume of traffic first. With that said, offering advertising space may not be for those just setting up a website but it could be worth considering if you’re well- established and attracting a higher number of visitors each month.
Not having ventured into this form of advertising myself, I can’t give advice on the best places to attract advertisers, but I believe web owners usually set up some sort of media kit to show off their audience statistics and marketability. It’d probably be helpful to contact influencers in your niche with a short email to introduce yourself and direct them to the opportunities on your website. The more traffic you can get to your website, the higher the fees you will be able to command.
Review And Recommend Products
Contacting companies directly is one way to obtain products to review and you may find they will send you items free of charge in return for a full review on your website, but again this may depend on your level of influence.
If you often mention products in your regular blog posts, such as if you’re a food blogger and you talk about the best kitchen gadgets or specialist ingredients, you could monetize your blog with affiliate links for those products.
Amazon Affiliates is one such program. By simply sharing a coded hyperlink that takes your reader straight to the product on Amazon, you could start earning commissions from one of the world’s most popular online stores. The commissions from Amazon aren’t huge, ranging from around 1 to 10%.