This page has the steps to take you from concept to website. As well as the basic nuts and bolts of building a website, it has the extra steps you need to get targeted web traffic.
These steps are the ones that make the difference.
Do it right and you'll get traffic that will put money in your pocket for years. Just one well thought out, well researched, well built website can boost your off-line business, or replace your day job.
It does take time to do it properly. If you haven't built a website before there is a learning curve involved, and it usually takes months to get worthwhile traffic. You need persistence, but it's worth it.
So here are the steps from concept to website.
If you're building a website for your off-line business, you'll already know what your site will be about.
If you're building a website to make money from home, you've got some thinking to do. Ideally you'll want a to find niche that you're knowledgeable and enthusiastic about, that there are enough people looking for, and that there is a good opportunity to make money from.
The next two steps will help you refine your concept.
This step is absolutely essential. If you don't do keyword research you'll miss out on a lot of targeted traffic.
Keyword research will tell you what words or phrases are searched on most often, and how much competition there is for those words from other sites. Ideally, you'll be looking for keywords with high search numbers, and low competition.
For example, “increase website traffic” is searched on 322 times a day across all the search engines, and there are 507,000 sites competing for that keyword. “Increased website traffic” is searched on 315 times a day, and has a competition of 47,000. How would you know without research?
Keyword research will help you plan your site and plan what your pages are about.
Armed with the results of your keyword research, you can plan your site. That is, you can decide what topics you'll be covering, right down to what individual pages will be about, and where they fit in the structure of the site.
For this site I had a basic site map (like a table of contents) worked out before I wrote the first word.
You'll also need to plan how to make money from your website at this point to make sure you can monetize the site, before you put a lot of time into building it.
To make money from a website you could be promoting your own product or service, or some-one else's.
I personally only recommend top quality products that my visitors will be interested in, and that are value for money. It's not worth recommending or selling anything less.
Don't be scared to dump your website concept and start again if it's obvious that the numbers don't stack up and you'll have trouble making money. Of course you're writing about your passion and you don't care about money, go for it!
If you want to choose the best domain name do it after you've done your keyword research and planned your site. You can often come up with a much more effective name that will let surfers know what your site is about and that will also give you a leg up in the search engine rankings.
I've found that it can be hard to find an ideal name that isn't already being used, so you'll probably have to try lots of variations.
Then of course, you'll have to register the new domain name.
Designing your website is probably the most fun. Work out a look and feel for your site, one that's appropriate for your target market. Work out a navigation system such as the simple left-hand navbar I'm using. And work out a layout for the site. A simple hierarchal system with your pages in three levels works best. You'll need site building software. Nvu is a good free wysiwyg (what you see is what you get) web authoring program.
The simplest way to get a professional look and feel is to use a template designed by a professional.That's what I've done with this site. However, I do have a complete template tutorial on this site.
If you want top rankings don't take shortcuts here. Your visitors are looking for useful, original, quality information, not a sales site.
Write the content yourself, after all, you're the expert. Give your visitors the info they're looking for. How do you know what they want to know? From your own experience, and from your keyword research! Lots of pages packed with good information will give you lots of chances to rank highly in the search engines, and will give you a much better chance of turning interested visitors into sales.
You should have a template at this stage, whether you've made a template yourself or bought one. Plug in your content, and a suitable title, description and short list of keywords. Add images if you want, and link to other pages.
There is a lot to building web pages, and the way you do it will have an effect on search engine rankings and traffic.
You'll need to find a host for your website. They can cost as little as a few dollars a month, but cost isn't the only concern. You need good reliability, and good customer service in case there ever is a problem.
You'll need to upload your webpages to the website host as you build them. You'll need an ftp program, and there are a number of good free ones you can download and use.
Your work still isn't finished. After you've uploaded pages you'll have to submit your site to the main search engines. You can also submit an xml site map to some of the most important search engines such as Google. This will help keep your site indexed and updated in these search engines.
Directories are like search engines in that they list websites, however every website is checked by a human editor before they are listed. You won't get much direct traffic from them, but the search engines consider a link from a directory as a plus for you, and they'll give your site a higher ranking.
Now your website is up and running, you need to keep an eye on such things as the number of unique visitors you get, the number of page views for your most popular pages, keywords used to find your site, plus other info.
Good web hosts will give you web stats.
Marketing people will tell you that a prospective customer has to see your message seven times before they buy. Chances are people will only visit your web site once. Having a newsletter will let you keep in touch and give you a lot higher chance of making a sale. (The newsletter should still be giving good content though, not just be a sales letter). A basic newsletter could just be a monthly update of what's new on your web site.
Okay, that's a very quick, very basic overview
of going from concept to
website. It's loads of
fun. It's great to share your expertise and help other people out, and
it's very exciting when the leads or sales start to come in.
There is a lot to do though and you can end up spending a lot of money on all the necessaries. I use Solo Build It! because it has everything I need in one package, and because it takes care of the tedious time consuming technical stuff for me.