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7 Steps to a Successful Website
So you want a successful website for your business. Do you employ somebody to design one for you, or do you do it yourself? Here I explain how you can build a successful website for your business, and do it in around 7 hours!
Follow the steps below and you too will be able to build a successful website for your business, cause or idea.
Step 1: Come up with an interesting idea
There are many web sites out there aren’t there? How do you develop a web site that will stand out from the rest? You come up with an idea that will grab people’s attention and hold it for a good length of time.
You now have to put that idea into reality. Plan it out on paper first, how you want it to be structured and how you would like it to work.
Step 2: Develop the Idea
The next step is to take your idea and run with it – much like Richard Branson does. He did not get Virgin Gallactic off the ground by letting obstacles get in his way! See obstacles as opportunities to improve your product, and use them to your advantage or overcome them so that they disintegrate into the ether.
When I first started developing business ideas, I had not got a clue how to put them into practice or how to publicise them via websites on the internet. There are, however, many free web design sites out there, they offer everything you need for free, and therefore are ideal for a start up business.
Once you start moving with an idea, you will find that the momentum is always forwards. It’s a very positive experience and a very positive exercise. The last thing to remember is that the maintenance and demand from a website will keep you very busy and once you start it will run with you and much like a dog – once its running it won’t want to stop!
Step 3: Publish Your Website
Now you need to design your site. There are many pages on the net advertising free web space, and as long as you don’t want anything special on your site these are excellent packages and give you sufficient space to run a very successful website at no cost at all. We use a free package which offers everything you need in order to run a very professional web site and then some, along with visitor statistics that are both fascinating and addictive – you can literally watch your site grow right in front of your eyes!!
The basic free package starts with pages and applications already on it, which you can rename and then add to at a later date. These pages can be hidden from view until you add content when they can be unveiled with ceremony. I suggest you start with just a home page and about you page – this gives visitors the opportunity to see what the site is about and meet the person(s) behind it. You should also have a “News” area (or blog) which keeps your potential customers informed about your business developments.
There are also guest book, calendar and members applications along with a web store facility. Whether or not you use these is down to the service or product which you are offering. The photo application is excellent and allows your users to see what you can do.
Okay, you’ve signed up to a free website host what do you do? The first thing you will be asked will be to name your site. You are about to name your web site, exciting isn’t it? With my first site, I came up with a name that I liked and did no research on how popular it was as a search, and therefore how easy it would be for others to find. Lesson number one was learned! I will tell you how to make this choice more wisely in Step 4.
Now you have your web site, you can start to investigate it. I am not going to explain how to use every item on the site, as it is self explanatory and very easy to navigate round and to use. I will however, furnish you with tips on what to do to give your website impact and make it something that people will want to return to.
First thing you do is choose your sites layout – background, title, slogan. Make it eye catching and suitable to your idea, make the title memorable and the slogan too. Make sure you put some info on the “About Us” page (you can edit the titles to suit you, so this can be changed to About Me if you wish), so that your visitors will know who you are. Also put your phone number in the title of your site – this ensures that visitors constantly see your number – unless your site is not something that you are selling and more of a personal site.
You can now submit your site for inclusion in all of the search engines. This process takes seconds to execute but weeks to produce fruit!! Our first 3 listings were on Google, then AOL, then Bing and we appeared on the first page of all 3!!!!! That made us smile and proud. You can submit to Bing, Google and Yahoo via most free website programs. If you have money to spend then you can start using Google AdWords and PPC advertising. I have promised, however, to show you how to do all of this with Zero to little outlay, so just hit the buttons to submit to each of these search engines.
Three search engines though is not enough. You need more. To submit your web address to more, visit a free submission engine where for free, they will submit your address to around 40 different search engines. If you want more than this, then it will cost you and although only a small charge, I have found the free package to be sufficient. Some of these search engines will then send you an email asking you to confirm your submission – ensure that you confirm them all, or your web address will not be posted on the search engines concerned.
Your website is now not only published, but available on the world wide web for all to see.
Step 4: Marketing Your Site
I wasn’t sure whether to put this bit in here or towards the end, but as you need to market the site now, in order to get visitors, I have decided to put it here, in the middle of the 7 steps!! You will need to refer back to this Step later on in this article.
So how do we make people come to our site? Can we just sit back and wait for the search engines to do the job for us? Nope! Do we just wait for people to find us? Nope! Leaving it until that happens would be too painful – you want visitors now, so that you can watch your stats shoot up on your Site Stats page.
Well the first thing you do is email everybody on your mailing list, and send everybody in your cell phone a text message, informing them of your new venture. All you need to do is detail the web address and ask them to have a look and let their friends know about it too. Traffic will start to come in within the hour, I guarantee you! But this, I’m afraid is insufficient. I am now going to tell you exactly how to bring the traffic into your site in chunks!
There are 2 very successful social networks used by millions of people on line every day. They are Facebook and Twitter. So how do we market our site on these networks – after all we do not have millions of friends?
The answer lies in viral marketing – but strategically!! Viral marketing is described by Martin Zwilling as “a deliberate marketing action, designed to grow attention at a compound rate, without further stimulus, by word-of-mouth. It usually implies an opportunity to win big, like a lottery, or experience something sensational, like an incredible video or free product.”
My strategy was to offer people the opportunity for FREE advice from the articles available on my web site. It was free for them to view and free to become a member and therefore it was free. The word FREE makes people stop and look, because it involves them getting something for nothing, and lets face it we all love it when that happens!!
So how do we do it? The first thing to do is introduce it on your Facebook news feed. Facebook has a great utility, that when you put your web address into the text box on Facebook, it creates a link to your website below your text and allows you to choose an image from your website to promote the link. The best images are the ones that are colourful and loud and relevant to the site content. They make people sit up and look!! Make sure you include the web address, a brief summary of content, followed by a comment requesting that everybody that reads the comment shares it with their friends and so on. This will now go out on your Facebook feed, and everyone on line at the time will see it – you therefore need to time this correctly, choose a time when you have a lot of friends on line who are all “awake” (a green dot by their name). This will guarantee you maximum exposure.
Give it a couple of days, and traffic will begin flowing into your site in bundles! You will also get friend requests from people who have seen your posts visited your site and liked it. Accept them – these are your future “traffickers”. They will now see your newsfeeds and share them with their friends etc etc. Do you see how this works? It spreads across the whole network like a virus and draws people to your site.
Twitter is a whole lot easier. Join Twitter – try and use the same name as you have for your web site. Next thing you need to do is get followers. This happens in a bizarre way on Twitter. You put out a tweet, which is circulated and people interested decide to follow you. Some people on Twitter have an auto follow, and they “latch” onto you – they are normally people promoting a product – and they will be seen as people you are following and in turn they will become your followers. These are your Twitter “traffickers” and they will bring followers your way. Once you have followers, your regular tweets will be seen by them and their followers – again your message will be spreading throughout the network. Your followers count will start to rise. Your Tweets however are limited to around 120 characters so they must be short but catchy – as Marty Zwilling calls it “buzz worthy” – they must make people excited about what they will see!!!
The administration involved in putting out all of these tweets and newsfeeds, is hard work as I’ve already said, but it is so totally worth it. Your Clicky count will now be up even higher! There will be bad days where you get just a fraction of the visitors you are used to, but the trend will be a great one.
Step 5: Buying A Domain Name
You’ve just set up a web site, you’ve given it a name, and you’ve marketed it to everyone you can think of, targeting an audience you believe will be interested in what you have on offer. Why on earth would you want to do all of that hard work again??
Okay well remember earlier when “Lesson one was learned”? We had chosen a name for ours that would take a very long time to get to page one on the search engines, so we had to have a domain name that would not get lost in the masses of search engine results. So we gave ourselves a “real” domain name. The free website builders do not do this and therefore you end up with a name that is also advertising another business!
Domain names are not expensive. You can pick up a dot com address for about £20 for 2 years and a dot co dot uk for around £7.
How do you choose a good domain name? Google AdWords has a tool you can use called the Keyword Tool – very easy to use, you put in key words and it tells you how popular that search is. Say you wanted to call your site “demoncars.co.uk”. You put the words “demon” “cars” into the tool and it produces a whole host of results. How popular that is as a search query, and also a whole list of keywords which you can use for your site’s keywords, and help them get even further up the search results.
On the results for popularity you are looking for a green bar about half full. That means your name is a good one – it wont get lost in millions of results, but the search is well used and popular enough to give you good exposure and more than likely land you on page 1 of the search results. To make your keyword list, click on the Add button in blue at the side of each phrase, these get added as a list on the right hand sign of your screen. Once you are finished adding, you can download a copy of the list in text format for free. Do it and save it as it will be very useful to you.
The act of getting a “real” domain name alone increased our visitors by 30% within a day!
Keywords are important. You list these in you domain name registration and free website programs. These are the words the search engines will use to find and list your site. Make sure you chooses words that will relate to the likely words people will use to find your service or product, for example “accountant london” or “book keeping ealing” also use the county that you live in. Just imagine what you might put into a search engine to find your product and use those words. You can use 200-300 characters.
Step 6: Pointing Your New Address to Your Website
Once you have purchased your domain name, it is simple to point your new web address to your free website address, and your new address is immediately live. You now have to go back to step 3 and resubmit your web address through Dream Submit, and then step 4 – as you post exciting news about your site, announce the new address in a grand manner! People will be impressed by your success! Do not worry the old address will still work as well, but now you have an address that is easier to remember.
The easier method, would of course seem to be to carry out this step and step 5 at the same time as you carry out step 3. But this method worked for me, and I did tell you I would show you my way, and this was my way – and I have successful web sites.
Step 7: Affiliate
We have a web site, now let’s make it pay us!! As we watch our visitor count grow, lets watch our bank balance grow too.
Don’t expect millions to come streaming into your account every day, life just doesn’t work that way. If we think along the lines of John Bird (the guy who founded The Big Issue) who stated in his book “How To Change Your Life in 7 Steps”: “Start small and aim big, then bit by bit you will get there”, then we wont be disappointed.
Before you get pounds you get pence and before you get pence you get….nothing. For a good while.
So, what is an affiliate? Lots of companies who sell things over the internet run affiliate programs. You put a link onto your site to their products and site, and they pay you a percentage of what a person buys. Amazon do one, which earns you 5% of order value for instance. So if you get a few on your site, then you stand more chance of earning some serious cash! Word of warning though: don’t fill your site up with them, because you want to be a millionaire – this will make your site look cluttered and the site content will be lost. Choose affiliates with a long cookie life, and a product your visitors will want.
Affiliate programs only bring in bits of money but by choosing the right ones and encouraging users to use them you can earn some decent money. All affiliate providers set a limit you have to earn in commission before they pay out, but once you reach that limit you get a payment direct into your account. So, where, how, what???
There are 2 ways – some companies run their own affiliate programmes (sometimes called associate programmes) other companies use providers to do this for them. Both are good schemes, but the provider way is better because there are many other affiliate programmes you can access without even trying, and you can change them whenever you like.
So which one do you choose? You choose the ones that best fit to the content of your site. For instance, if you are a car enthusiast starting a site about cars, then you could team up with comparison web sites or insurance web sites – anyone who has anything to do with cars, and would therefore be of interest to your users. They click, they buy, you get cash!
All affiliate programs are free. DO NOT pay for them. There are other ways to help your site make money – such as PPC (pay per click) advertising, but be warned, steer clear until your site is seeing thousands of daily users or they will not pay. PPC pays you every time somebody clicks on the link on your page, when you go through the set up process, its simple and easy – you give your bank detail at the end of the process, so that they can pay you. The following month when you look at your bank statement, however, they have taken a £45 monthly standing order charge from your bank. Be warned, and be careful.
That’s It! You should now be sitting on what will turn out to be a very successful web site, for you and for your users. And if its a business site, then you will have a site that shows people what you do, how they can get in touch with you, and shows how fantastic your product is or professional your service is. Good luck, and when you are rich, look me up and let me know.
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