So you want to learn how to build a website, blog, or forum huh? Well, I have some good news for you–I’m going to tell you all of the information you need. But before we get into all of the details, I would highly recommend you take a second to add this site to your favorites bar so you can easily come back to find all the information you need. It will likely take you weeks (or even a month or two) to create your project, so you will definitely want to come back and get the info you need. On this page I am going to give you a brief overview on the benefits of creating a website or blog. I am also going to tell you a little about my own journey as well as a webmaster/entrepreneur. Then we will get into the technical details.
I have experienced a lot of failures along the way, but I now successfully earn a full-time income from my websites. If you follow my lead, you stand a good chance of doing the same. You can learn the RIGHT way to do it the first time, and save time and grief in the process.
Page Contents: Jump to a Section Below, or Read the Entire Article
- How to Build a Website
- Planning to Build a Website
- Finding Niche Websites
- Create a Website Business Plan
- How to Register a Domain Name
- Best Software to Build a Website
- Best Website Hosting When Building a Blog
- Uploading a Website to Godaddy
- WordPress Setup Instructions
- Writing Articles for Websites
- Creating Hyperlinks on Your Website
- Using Websites to Make Money
- Marketing a New Website
- Website SEO Strategies
- Internal (On Site) Seo Tips
- External (Off-Site) Seo Tips
There are a lot of good reasons why you may want to create your own website or blog. Maybe you are a small business owner and you want to create a website to market your product. Perhaps you want to connect with your friends and family. Perhaps you enjoy writing, taking pictures, or creating videos and you want to share your talents with the world. Or, perhaps you read some slick eBook (or read some hype online) and you want to make money blogging.
Those are all valid reasons to start a website. We all have our reasons, and that is fine. However, I just wanted to let you know that I am going to assume you are building a website to make money. The good news is that all of this information still applies to you (even if you just want to create a blog for fun). This way, if you ever decide to turn your website into a profitable business plan, you will know exactly what to do. But as I said, you will get the complete plans to create a successful website. What you choose to do with it is up to you. If you want to read my own brief journey, then you can scroll to the end of the page (below the main tutorial links), and read about it.
My journey in websites started back in early 2007. I was 24 years old at the time, and I had absolutely no direction in my career. I had just decided that college wasn’t for me (just a semester shy of graduation), and I was horrified at the though of doing accounting work the rest of my life (which was my major). I knew there HAD to be something else I could do–but what?
The Beginnings of a Small-Time Entrepreneur
My entrepreneurial pursuit began with eBay. At the time, I had no business plan, no real money (just a credit card and solid credit history) but I did have experience selling my own stuff there. I had sold many things over the years that I no longer needed/wanted, and I was always amazed at how much money people would pay for these items. So this began my business journey. I started selling anything I could find. I visited local thrift shops, scanning the newspaper for rummage sales, and more.
Within a couple of weeks I got lucky–my local library was having a technology sale. They had laser printers, computers, and all sorts of merchandise. Luckily, very few people showed up to the sale. The man in charge asked what I was interested in buying. I told him I was buying for resale purposes. At this point, he said, “what if I make you an offer for all of this merchandise in one bulk transaction?” I said, “sure.” He quoted me a few hundred dollars. I immediately knew I could profit from the deal, and I accepted. That month I made $3,000 in pure profit, and a couple more thousand over the next 2 months. I wasn’t rich, but that was already a decent living.
But I quickly learned the retail business was tough. Finding profitable inventory like that was not something I could replicate consistently. I got lucky and found some more sources (mostly local thrift shops), and I was able to make money selling some guitars. But I knew I needed to find something else. This is where eBooks entered the picture.
I had read a lot of hype online about how you can make thousands selling eBooks. So I brainstormed a few things I knew how to do, and I wrote an eBook on it. I started selling this through eBay. It did well, and I quickly expanded by buying other eBooks with resale rights. At this point, I was selling retail items and eBooks.
But I had a problem with my eBooks: How could I set up a system so they can download them instantly? This is how I got into the website business. I needed a way to upload eBooks so people could download them. So I registered some domain I thought was catchy and over the next month or two, I created my first (terribly ugly) HTML website using Microsoft Frontpage software. I uploaded my eBook to my hosting account, and linked it up to eBay so people could download it right after buying it. I also decided to write a few “tips” on this site, and place Adsense in the code to earn revenue. At this point, I knew that this wasn’t going to make a lot of money, but being an entrepreneur, I wanted to maximize all of my revenue sources. After all, you can never have too much money can you?
Over the months I added more articles, and I slowly started earning a very pathetic average of $0.50 a day in ad revenue. Throughout this time, I actually found that I enjoyed writing content, and I was also intrigued at how websites worked. I wanted to find out more, so I spent a couple of hours each day reading all I could about it online. I also checked out a lot of books at the local library.
Around this same time, I was slowly realizing that my eBay business simply wasn’t going to work like I had hoped. It wasn’t scalable at all, and I could not find a way to make it that way (despite agonizing over it trying to create a plan daily). Plus, the constant customer questions, people trying to get free products from me, and a medical condition that I was developing (heat hives), was making my life terrible. Around this time, I decided I was going to focus less on retail, and more on websites. Don’t get me wrong, I was making money. But I didn’t want to be in a business that couldn’t expand and grow. I wanted to make unlimited earnings, and unfortunately, retail wasn’t doing it for me.
Even though I was learning a lot, I had no idea what I was doing with my websites, and my revenue was reflecting that. I became very discouraged some days. I would crank out article after article, and my traffic never seemed to increase. In fact, I remember walking to my mailbox one day, and on the way there, I found $0.75 on the ground. When I came back up, I checked my adsense earnings–and they were just $0.60 for that day so far. I thought to myself, “What a failure! I made more walking to the mailbox than I have for all this time writing articles!”
To make a long story short, over the next year or two I learned more and more. I soon realized that I had done just about EVERYTHING the exact WRONG way! In fact, once I discovered the secrets of success, I began applying them to my old websites–which was an exhaustive effort correcting my previous mistakes. I also created a few more blogs and sites, and they were much more successful from the beginning.
What About Now? Did I Ever Succeed?
Thankfully, my websites finally started building some serious traffic. I expanded my revenue sources, and maximized the profitability. I soon found that my business was growing, my earnings were growing, and I had a “real” business plan on my hands. Since then I have been blessed enough to earn a full time income with my websites, but I have also made thousands buying and selling domain names. This has given me a lifestyle I have always wanted, while giving me a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment in my career as an entrepreneur and writer.
That is what this website is really about. I want to share all of my successes and mistakes with you. I want to tell you the RIGHT way to create a site, and save you the headache and failure that most website owners out there experience.
Planning your website–In my experience, there are only 2 ways to build a website: The right way, and the wrong way. When I started, I knew very little about things like seo (search engine optimization), links, HTML codes, website structure, and so forth. So I did what most people do–I set out on my journey building a decent quality website, but doing it all wrong. The most important factor that will determine whether or not your website succeeds or fails, will be on how effectively you planned your project.
Again, let me stress this one more time so you don’t miss my point. Successful websites are built in the mind, not on the web. What you see on the web is simply the result of an enormous effort to turn an inward vision into an outward product. So if your website is not a success in your own mind, forget about it ever succeeding online. It simply won’t happen. There may have been a time back in 2000 when websites were scarce and success was relatively easy to find. But let me wake you up to some shocking statistics first.
According to some estimates, there are approximately 550,000,000,000 sites on the internet. Thousands more go live each day, and those numbers are only going to go up. So if you think for one second that starting a blog to talk about your day, or posting a couple of pictures is going to make you a success–you are dead wrong. In fact, the average blog does not make more than $80 per month. Very few websites or blogs are able to generate enough income to support the typical family. In addition, every day blogs and websites are abandoned or cancelled from lack of success.
I am not telling you those numbers to discourage you, but to show you that if you really want to succeed, you are going to have to plan and strategize a successful site. If you were about to build a house, I doubt you would just grab a few 2 X 4 boards and start randomly hammering them together. Instead, you are going to write blueprints, make a product list, buy the products, streamline subcontractors, develop a work plan, pour a foundation, locate land, and more. And if you want to build a website, you are going to have to use every single strategy I tell you about and build it strategically. Because if you don’t, you probably won’t succeed in your plans. And I want you to succeed. So let’s get started.
Niche Website Ideas: You have to develop a strategy for your website firmly in your mind before you begin. Part of that strategy should include deciding on a niche for your website. This is the key to really developing a successful site. Take out a sheet of paper, and write notes down as you do the research. Jot down traffic figures, ad rates, and more. Then fill in your own plans for each of the main sections I am about to cover.
Niche Website Ideas
Sit down and think of all the possible website niches you want to create. This will be the focus of your site. You will build all of your content about this topic. I would strongly recommend you choose a topic in a niche. In other words, don’t create a website to talk about your random interests. Instead, take one of your interests, and create a website ONLY about that. Your niche can be as broad as Electronics, but I would recommend you go even more specific than that. Instead of electronics, choose something like digital cameras. You could even take it a step further, and go with something like “SLR digital cameras.” Don’t be too broad or too specific.
You can create as many websites as you want (if you have multiple interests or niches), but try to keep each one in its own respective niche. This is important for several reasons. First, it is incredibly hard to hold an audience if you talk about random things. By focusing on a niche, you will attract people that share only those interests. These will often be return visitors. Second, you can market and link build for your site much more effectively.
Third, your affiliate products and advertising rates will be higher, as you will attract advertisers (and promote products specific to those niches only), which almost always convert better than a general site. So pick 1 topic and 1 topic only, and stick to it. If you have many things you want to write about, create many sites. It is as simple as that.
Also, choose a niche in which you are passionate or have experience. If you want to succeed, WRITE what you KNOW. And if you fill a site with mediocre content, you may succeed for a while, but eventually a better site will overtake you. So write great content (if your mission is a content website). Be the website you want to find when searching on Google.
In conclusion, think hard about your niche. Do the research, crunch the numbers, brainstorm a strategy, and really think about. Don’t make the same mistake I did.
Website Business Plan–If you plan to make money from your website, you should treat it like a business from day 1. This means making a business plan to estimate potential revenues, expenses, and more. This doesn’t have to be anything extravagant. You can scribble figures on a notepad. But planning this will help you get an idea of what expenses you will face, and the revenue sources you need to find. Be realistic. Don’t assume you will make a lot of money your first few months (unless you are investing heavily in marketing).
Building a successful website is a 1-3 year plan. It is not an overnight thing. Once you have done the necessary research and decided on a niche, you should create your battle plan.
Business Plans for Website Business
You want your business plan to state the following:
- A Mission Statement–This should state your main objectives. What do you want to accomplish? Do you want to create a content site and sell advertising and promote affiliate products? Do you want to create an eCommerce store? Decide that here and make your mission statement. An example would be: The objective is to create a content-rich site offering tips or help to people online. The site will be monetized with Google Adsense and Affiliate programs promoting X product. I plan to have a blog only (or a blog and website and forum), etc. Try to be as specific as possible with your vision.
- Expected Revenues–Calculate the revenues you may be able to acquire. For example, what is the ad rates for your niche? What about traffic? You can multiply estimated traffic by estimated ad rates per 1000 views (and consider the CTR) to estimate revenues. This will give you an idea of what your site could earn when optimized.
- Expected Expenses–Some of the fixed expenses you will face are things such as web hosting (typically no more than $10 for a shared hosting account), and a domain name (usually only $12 or so per year). Some variable costs are your marketing budget. You may even pay others to write content for you, help you design a custom site design, and so forth. These are optional, but you should decide about things like this when creating your business plan. My main expenses are marketing, domain names, and hosting. I do most of my own bookkeeping and write most all of my articles.
- Details of Operations–It can be very time consuming and difficult doing a website yourself. At some point, you will need help with something. You may want to write out all of the things you will face (accounting & taxes, marketing, writing content, managing the website code, backing up the site, etc.). Write out what you feel you can do yourself. For the other things, you can pay a company or individual to help you. Try to itemize every duty you will need to accomplish. If you have a spouse or partner working with you, you can delegate tasks.
That is about it. Your business plan can be as simple or as detailed as you want to make it. However, getting numbers and operational objectives down on paper can help tremendously. This way, you will have a focus and plan. Again, I always feel like having a solid plan in place will help you reach your objectives.
I sometimes create a “Grand business plan” and also a mini business plan for each website. I will sometimes develop a budget and marketing plan for each website, a content plan, and so forth. I try to visualize what each site can potentially be, and then I go to work to try and make that site match my visual image in my mind.
I also create a lot of ‘to do’ lists. I usually do this daily, and I have heard of a lot of entrepreneurs doing this. It helps tremendously. I jot down things like articles I want to write, bookkeeping, linking/seo, and more that I need to do for the day. You can use any method you need to keep things moving along, but lists and plans can be very helpful.
Okay, so now that you have your strategic business plan (website plans) in place, it is time to choose your domain name. The domain is crucial to your business plan. If you are creating a basic content website, then you MUST choose a domain with your niche’s keywords in it. I will expand on this later, but first let me give you a brief analogy.
What does Walmart do? When Walmart is planning on opening a store, what do you think they do? Do you think they throw a dart on a map and decide to put the store at that location? Not by a long shot! They first dig up data on the area. They strategically find out the income levels of the people in that community, the estimated population, competition, tax rates, and more statistics.
Next, they scan the area for a suitable building lot. They don’t just choose any lot. They find a lot in an area that is perfect. The area is usually easily accessible to customers. It may be located in an area near competition, or away from competition (depending on their strategy). They also sometimes set up traffic counters to measure the amount of drive-by traffic in a given location. They also have to actually buy the land, get approved for zoning laws, and much more.
They do all this work just finding the right spot of land, and the store hasn’t even been built. Why am I telling you this? The domain name is the “land” of the website. You want a domain name that contains your target keywords EXACTLY. And you should be putting almost as much effort into your domain as Walmart puts into buying land for new stores. In this website, my keywords are pretty obvious. The same is true for my Cholinergic urticaria site, and all my sites.
Once you have gathered all of the information in your planning phase, and you have chosen your niche and target keywords, it is time to go domain name shopping. Let me briefly say that you can always start a blog for free at blogger.com or wordpress.org without registering a domain. But if you are serious about success, don’t bother. You need your own domain name, and you need to have the keywords in it. Plus, it will be easier to sell your website later on if you have your own branded domain along with it.
Once you register a domain name, it is yours forever as long as you continue to renew it before the expiration date. Always make sure you renew your domains! Also, never ever get a copyrighted term in your domain. Don’t get a domain that has a phrase such as “CanonDigitalCameras.com.” The reason is that you are infringing this companies rights, and they may come after you legally. Stick to generic terms or phrases only. Trust me.
What Kind of Domain Is Best For a Blog or Website?
If you are starting an eCommerce site (selling products directly), then you probably want to strive for a .com or a .co domain extension. The only problem is, many of the best are taken, and really competitive keywords may push the value of some .com’s into the thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars. Sex.com sold for millions, and other domains have too. So if you want to look as professional as possible, you may have an upfront expense in acquiring the right domain.
Luckily, many domains won’t cost you this much. You can still find really good domains for the low hundreds or just a thousand or two. Sometimes, you even get lucky and can find a 2 or 3 keyword.com that isn’t registered. Also, the .co domains can typically be acquired for only a few hundred for an excellent domain, or even a few thousand for a top notch domain. So there are lots of opportunities to build your future brand.
But, that only applies to an eCommerce site. The domain extension is a little more important here, because you want to appear “commercial.” You don’t want to use a .me or .info if you want to be taken seriously and plan on competing with sites like Amazon.com or Bestbuy.com. With a content site, however, it doesn’t matter at all.
I use everything from .co’s, .com’s, .info’s, .net’s, and even .cc and .ws. It really makes no difference with a content site, because the majority of your traffic will come from search engines. And trust me, Google does not pay much attention to your domain extension at all. As long as your site is written in the proper language, and is seo’d by building good internal and external links, then you will be just fine. You can rank #1 for your site with a .co as you can for other extensions.
Are Dashes Good in a Domain?
Dashes are okay in a domain, but it is best if you can avoid them. Your website can still do just fine, but it does make it a pain to type in the dashes. If you have a choice, go without dashes. But if you have to do dashes, it is okay.
Try to have no more than about 2-3 keywords though. Google does get a bit suspicious if your domain looks something like–Free-porn-viagra-casino-gambling-make-money-sex.com–since those are the domains spammers tend to register.
Choosing the Keywords in a Domain: How Many Keywords Do You Need?
I would really only go with 2-3 keywords at the most whether you use dashes or not. Again, try to get a domain that exactly matches your site’s target keywords. The only exception, is if you are targeting a short phrase for your target keyword, and that phrase receives a high number of type-ins in search engines. I made that exception for this site, because “How to Make a Website” was my main target phrase and theme. So I allowed myself 5 keywords. Normally I would never do that, and I would only choose 2-3 at most.
As I said before, you want to have an exact target phrase or keyword that received high search traffic for your home page. The home page is always the one that gets the most links, and it is easiest to get it to rank highly in the search engines once you optimize and market the site.
Therefore, your domain should reflect your site’s main focus and target keyword. This keyword should receive respectable advertising clicks, traffic queries, and so forth. So if you want to start a site about digital cameras, look for something like “digitalcamera.co” or something to that effect. You get the idea.
Where is the Best Place to Buy Domain Names?
Without even thinking about it, the answer is Godaddy.com. I have used Godaddy for every single domain I have ever bought. They have low prices, good domain management tools, and most domainers and webmasters use them. You can get domains at other registrars, but Godaddy is my choice since the beginning.
Domain Name Availability: How to See If Your Domain is Available
Once you settle on a domain, I would go to Godaddy and do a manual search for it using their tool. If it is available for registration in one of the domain extensions, then add it to your shopping cart and checkout. I usually don’t buy all of the add-ons. You can optionally get things added like private registration. This allows your domain whois information to be private.
You can also choose how long you want to register the domain. Some speculate that by registering the domain for a longer period of time, it make it appear to search engines that your website is serious. I have registered domains for up to 10 years, and it is hard to say if it helped or not. There are so many factors Google and other search engines use, so it may be beneficial to go ahead and register it for a longer period of time if you can afford it. Also, you can generally save money by registering it longer anyway. But with some sites I have only registered 1 year in advance, and it still seemed to do well. But if you are going for the best, go ahead and do 10 years just in case. You can always extend the renewal date at any time by logging into your domain console and paying money for longer registration.
Follow the checkout instructions to buy the domain, and it will be added to your domain management console. Make sure to write down your user name and password you used to buy the domain with Godaddy, as you will need this to log into your account. I will get into technical details later on how to connect your domain to your hosting account. It is really simple, so don’t worry. For now, just buy the domain. Worry about the hosting and setting up of your site later.
Buying a Domain Name from a Seller
If you cannot find the domain you want at Godaddy, and they are all registered, you may be able to buy them from an owner. It may cost more, but if you are serious about your business, it is a worthwile asset and investment. Some good domains that are already registered may have backlinks already built up, and may even get direct type in traffic. Ask about those stats if you do buy the domain from a person.
If you go this route, I recommend going to a domain selling website such as sedo.com, and use their search tool to see if any domains are available with your target keywords. You can save money by buying one of the less desired extensions (like .ws). Sedo.com has it set up so you can make offers on domains at any time (and sometimes even use a “buy now” feature).
In addition, you could always use a whois lookup tool online to find out the owner’s contact information. You could then email them directly and ask if they are interested in selling and their price.
Conclusion on Domain Buying
To briefly summarize, do these things when buying a domain and you should be okay:
- Do the research mentioned in the planning phase.
- Decide on a niche you want to build a website or blog around.
- Search for Godaddy.com (or another domain registrar) to see if a domain is available. Any extension is fine for content sites (make sure they are worldwide though), and .com or .co is the preferred domain for eCommerce/retail based websites.
- Avoid dashes if possible.
- Keep the domain as short as possible (2-3 keywords ideally).
- Avoid Copyrighted terms in the domain.
- Consider spending a few hundred bucks on a domain if your target phrase is already taken. It will cost you upfront–but keep in mind that one day a time will come when you will either sell your website or pass it down to your kids. So you are investing in a business.
Website design software is a must have for your blog, website, or forum package. You will need to choose a software package before you purchase a hosting plan. You can buy a software package to either help you design a website from scratch, or to operate your website. For this, you can use a proprietary software application (such as Adobe Dreamweaver), or you can use many free programs available online. For the record, at this point I have used both. I currently use free (open source) software packages which I will discuss below.
I will attempt to cover the best, hippest, and amazing software available at this time. Before I begin, let me state that it is really important to have a master plan in place because you will want to select the best software for your specific plans. So are you going to build a blog? A content website? A web forum? An eCommerce retail site? Try to decide on that before proceeding to buy your hosting. Because once you build a site in one format, it can be tedious changing to a different one.
Let me start with the software that costs money:
Propriety (Paid) Web Design or Website Management Software
There are many different software packages geared towards specific web platforms. For example, some software is designed only to support a forum, while others are best used for blogs, etc. When I first started, I used Microsoft FrontPage 2003. The product wasn’t the best, and it was very frustrating designing and managing content. Also, Microsoft eventually scrapped it. So I haven’t included it in the list below. I will cover the very best (paid) software below:
- vBulletin is a very popular software application for creating web forums. It enables you to create a well-rounded forum, and it is relatively secure. It can cost up to about $199. It is, however, very good. A lot of very large forums online use this software program.
Website Design Software:
- Adobe Dreamweaver is probably the most well known and widely-used website design software. As you may know, Adobe is known for it very high quality suite of professional software. Almost everyone used the term “photoshopped,” which is one of Adobe’s photo editing software packages. They do make very high quality products. This software would probably be best for someone wanting more control to design very custom design projects. It would also be a must-have tool if you want to design websites for other people. It generally costs a few hundred dollars depending on the version you buy.
eCommerce/Retail Website Design Software
- Yahoo Stores-If you are going to sell products directly, Yahoo stores is a good solution. Even though there is a very good (free) eCommerce software package available (mentioned below), I feel that this is one area where it may be wise to use a proprietary system. Yahoo stores has been around for years, and they have a really safe and secure store package. What is also cool about Yahoo stores, is that they offer things like merchant accounts, and more. Also, you can use their own Pay-per-click advertising to drive traffic and visitors to your store. This is really a good package for anyone considering retail online. Prices start in the range of about $30 per month.
- Prostores–This is similar to the Yahoo stores program. The neat thing about this is that it offers integration with eBay if you also sell there. It also has different pricing tiers and starts at about $30. This one also has some neat tools you can use to build & manage a full online retail business.
- TypePad is a blog hosting package integrated with the TypePad blog software. They also offer domain names, and the monthly charge ranges from about $9-30. Some people prefer to do this instead of hosting the website themselves. Either way works, but I feel I have a lot more freedom to add applications, forum, and etc. by purchasing my own hosting plan. But a minority of bloggers do use this software, and I am sure they provide a good service.
Best (Free) Website, Blog, and Forum Design/Management Software
As I said above, I use only free software at this time. You can get incredibly amazing software that is free to use, and works just as well (in some cases better) than proprietary software. Here are the top web packages I would recommend you use:
Free Forum Software:
- Simple Machines Forum: This is great forum software designed by the great folks over at SMF.org. I have used it for the past couple of years.
- PhpBB: This is another open source free forum software that a lot of people use. This one has been around a little longer. I haven’t personally used it, but I have heard good things about it.
Free Website/Content Management Software
- Joopla!-This software allows you to create and manage websites and content very easily. These are great if you want to start websites only, and aren’t interested in blogs.
- Drupal-Again, this is similar to the Joomla software, and it allows you to create and manage websites and article content. I have not used either of these packages, however, they are very popular and widely used programs.
Free eCommerce/Retail Website Software
- Magento Commerce–Magento commerce is a powerful eCommerce open source software solution. This package is great for uploading and selling products. It includes many powerful tools to help you grow sales and manage orders. You can establish a catalog of merchandise, add reviews, manage shipping details, and more. This is really probably the best software if you are looking for a free eCommerce solution.
Free Blogging Software
- WordPress- WordPress is by far the best and most popular free blogging open source software platform. Not only does WordPress come with powerful tools to create a blog or website, but it also has thousands and thousands of useful plugins available for free as a download. I use wordpress almost exclusively for my websites and blogs. I use SMF forum software for my web forum communities. If you want a basic website, and also a blog, then I would recommend you use WordPress. What is also neat is that you can use different software within the same site if you have your own hosting. For example, on my cholinergic urticaria site, it is both a blog, website, and forum.
Conclusion: Best Software to Build a Website
There are many software design packages you can use to develop your own website, blog, forum, or eCommerce store. I would recommend you think about your goals and objectives. If your main goals is to start a website/blog, I would definitely use wordpress. If your objective is to create a forum, then check out SimpleMachinesForum.
On the other hand, if you want a fully operational eStore, check out Yahoo stores or Prostores to see if they have something you may want. Magento also offers a slick eCommerce solution.
Whichever you decide, take time to think hard about this. Once you create a site with one software package, it can sometimes be a big headache to switch over to another type (should you decide to switch later).
Website hosting will be your next priority after you have selected and registered a domain name, and selected the web hosting software you want to ouse. A web host is basically just an online server that allows you to upload and store your website live. This way, your website will be online 24/7, 365 days per year. Realistically, you may have moments of downtime, but overall, you site will but up 99.9% of the time.
What Type of Website Hosting/Servers Are Best?
Most hosting companies will offer you a few options. I will briefly outline these below:
- Free hosting–You can get a lot of free hosting for a simple blog or website. Try blogger.com. The only catch here is that you are bound by the free host’s terms and conditions, and they can ban your blog or shut down your website at their discretion. If you are serious about making money, forget about this idea. You can get hosting for really cheap.
- Shared hosting–This plan typically means there is one computer server with multiple websites on them. You share the space and resources with all of the other people on the server. You are typically limited in the amount of space you take up (in bandwidth, CPU usage, and the hard drive. This is the plan I would highly recommend you get when first starting out. They are dirt cheap. I pay around $7.99 right now per month to host all of my websites. I do plan on moving them into 2 different shared hosting accounts in the future (to prevent consuming too many resources on the server), but it just goes to show you that this plan is adaptable.
- Virtual Dedicated hosting–This is the next step up. In this scenario, you are also sharing a server, but this time with far fewer websites. In this setup, you are guaranteed a certain amount of Ram, CPU, and Disk space. This is a good next option if your websites really start drawing in a lot of traffic, but you are not yet ready for a dedicated or cloud hosting package. This is more expensive, and runs from about $29.99 at the low end on up to about $89.99 on the higher end (monthly).
- Dedicated Hosting Servers–In this scenario, you are actually renting your own computer server. The whole machine is yours and only your websites will be on it. This is the option most webmasters choose with sites that received in the tens of thousands of hits per day. The good thing about this is you have a little more flexibility in what software you can install and run on the server, and so forth. It is also probably a little more difficult to manage. When you buy a shared hosting account, the hosting provider typically does free backups, scanning for viruses/malware, and they make sure it is live 24/7. When you have a dedicated server, you are responsible for your own machine. You can pay extra to have them manage it for you, but this can get expensive. This ranges from about $89.99 on the low end, to about $300 per month on the higher end. But don’t worry–if you ever need a dedicated server, you will probably be making that much in ad revenue per day.
- Cloud/Grid Hosting–This option has been around for a few years, but has recently grown in popularity. Godaddy now runs their sharing hosting sites through a grid. Amazon.com and other companies also offer cloud/grid hosting. In this option, multiple servers are connected together and share the resources. Whenever there is a higher demand on the server, more resources are added to compensate. This is really the future of web hosting. This is easier, guarantees more uptime/performance, and simply makes sense. At this time, it is roughly the cost between a virtual dedicated and dedicated server for most companies. As I said, Godaddy now advertises that their shared hosting is ran through a grid (and that starts at just $7.99 or so).
Best Hosting Companies? Which Website Hosting Company is Better?
Again, I use Godaddy.com. It costs me $7.99 a month to host all of my websites, forums/blogs. You really can’t beat that. Plus, it makes it convenient since I have my domains registered there to quickly configure everything and get a site up and running.
Aside from Godaddy, Amazon offers a cloud hosting solution. Host Gator, BlueHost, and a few others are also often mentioned by bloggers and webmasters. However, Godaddy is my favorite based on price and convenience. I have used them for almost 4 years now, and things have gone fairly smoothly.
Any web host will work though, and shop around if you want. Just make sure to read the fine print and check the resources and options you have. Again, I just find it easier to have all of my domains/hosting in one convenient account. Godaddy also makes it easy to hook a domain up to one of your hosting plans. So i would personally recommend them–especially for new webmasters.
Linux Vs. Windows Hosting
When choosing a server, you can generally pick between a Windows server or Linux server. This is just the main software platform on which the server operates. This really depends on the site software you plan to use. If you are going to use WordPress, forums, etc.–I would probably recommend a Linux server (which is what I use). If you are going to use some older software like Windows Frontpage, you may need a Windows server for some features.
So again, once you select the software you want to use, you can buy your server type accordingly. I cover some of the most popular software you can use in this tutorial on another page, so check that out and decide on that before you buy a hosting plan.
Purchasing a Hosting Plan
Buying web hosting is just as easy as buying anything else online. With Godaddy, you simply select the hosting plan you want, add it to your shopping cart, and then checkout. As usual, Godaddy will offer you add-ons while checking out. I usually do not buy them. The only thing you may want to consider is buying your hosting several months in advance–and this is simply because they sometimes offer discounts for doing so. But you can do it monthly if you are on a tight budget.
Once you add your hosting and domain name to your shopping cart and checkout, then take a break. It will take a few moments for Godaddy to add the hosting account into your account. Once they have, you can begin configuring your website, domain, website/blog software, and more. I will cover all of this in complete detail in a later post.
Figuring out how to upload and create your website is the next task on your agenda once you have acquired your domain name, hosting package, and operating software. For this tutorial, I am going to assume you are wanting to create a basic content website and/or blog. So for this purpose, I will describe how to set up and optimize wordpress. Again, wordpress is the top software right now that is used for blogging and basic content websites, and it is totally free.
Also, let me briefly say that now that technology and software has advanced through the years, setting up your website is actually one of the easy parts. Building quality content and optimizing for search engines (and doing search engine marketing) is by far much harder and tedious.
If you are wanting to use something like Drupal or Joomla, this process will be very similar to this. If you are planning on using Yahoo stores, then I would recommend you simply sign up and use Yahoo for your hosting, domain, and the full package. It will probably be easier for you in the long run. This tutorial is mostly for those who are going to host their own websites on Godaddy and use some free software package like in WordPress. Okay, let’s get started.
Setting Up Your Hosting Account in Godaddy
Once you have purchased your domain and hosting plan, you may have to wait a few hours (or 1-2 days at most, but usually just a couple hours) until the hosting plan is ready for you to access. Once you are ready to configure your hosting and domain, you are all ready.
Log into your Godaddy account using your login name and password. Click on the “My Account” tab to view all of your products you have purchased via Godaddy. Now look under the “My Products” section and click on “hosting.” This will bring up your hosting account. Click the “Launch” or “Configure” button next to the hosting account on your screen.
On this page, you will be able to select the primary domain name for your hosting account. Select the domain you want to use from the drop down list. Once you do this, Godaddy will automatically configure the domain for you so that it points to your hosting server. There is usually no need for you to do anything further to configure your domain and hosting account to work together.
During this initial setup, you will also be asked to create an Admin username and password to access your FTP. FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is what you may need to use to upload and download large files, or to backup your account. You won’t use it very often, and I will discuss this more later. Make sure to write down the username and password for this (it will be different than your Godaddy account). If it doesn’t ask you for this during your initial configuration, then you can add or change this by logging into your hosting account and selecting “Add FTP User” page. On this page, you can add FTP user accounts or change your Admin password for your FTP account.
Let me briefly say that with most Godaddy hosting plans, you can have multiple websites on one plan. Right now I use the Deluxe hosting plan, and have several sites hosted on that one plan. Also, if you ever need to change the primary domain of your hosting account, you can do so by going to the main hosting account page, and clicking: Settings>Domain Management. On that page, simply click on your primary domain, and then click “Change Primary.” Then simply enter the domain you want to make your primary domain.
You are now finished configuring your domain and hosting. That wasn’t so bad was it? Now, you need up upload the software platform that you want to use. Again this will be covering how to install WordPress, but any other software package is basically very similar.
Uploading and Configuring WordPress on Godaddy
There is a manual way to configure and upload wordpress to Godaddy, but Godaddy does have an install app that makes this super easy and quick. I will cover this first, and touch on how to do this manually as well.
Configuring and Installing WordPress on Godaddy Automatically
Again, log into your Godaddy account and locate and launch your hosting plan. This will launch the home page of your hosting account admin page. On the right you should see a large collection of links that say “Install Apps.” Click that link, or locate the app you want to install. Godaddy has most of the popular software programs (like WordPress, Drupal, etc.).
Click on WordPress, and follow the instructions on the screen. It will ask you for a password and username for your database. Make sure to pick something secure and write it down in a secure place. Also, you will be asked the directory in which you want to install the wordpress installation. To have wordpress as the home page (Example.com), then this is considered installing it in the “root directory.” Just leave the directory field blank if you want to install it in the root. And yes, you should install it in the root so that when you type “Example.com” it brings up your site with wordpress running it.
Lastly, you will be asked for an Admin Name, Admin Password, Email and Blog Title for your WordPress installation. Enter that information, and then click “Finish.” Then, take a break, because it will take Godaddy anywhere from a few hours to a day (or two) to finish the installation. Once Godaddy is finished, you will be able to log into your wordpres account and start adding content and customizing your content.
Just to quickly recap: You will be creating a lot of passwords, so write them all down. You will need an Admin (FTP) account user name and password to access your FTP. You will need a Godaddy user name and password to log into Godaddy. You will need a username and password for your wordpress database. You will need a username and password for your wordpress account login. Shew, lots of passwords huh? Make them all different an write them all down.
After this you are done with the configuration completely. You can then type in the URL of your site, and login to your site. If the login button isn’t on the homepage, try typing in: YourDomain.com/wp-admin/ into the browswer bar. Then enter your username and password for wordpress and log in. You can then customize everything, start writing posts, and more.
In the next few tutorials, I will cover how to add content, optimize your site, and so forth. That is always much harder!
Configuring and Installing WordPress on Godaddy Manually
If you wan to install Godaddy manually (for whatever reason) then you will have to do all of the work yourself. To do this, wordpress has a great tutorial here on how to install it. I will briefly cover it below. Again, this section is ONLY for those who don’t want to automatically install (which is what I recommend for ease).
- Download the wordpress software from WordPress.org. Save it to your Desktop on your home computer.
- Log into Godaddy, open your hosting account, and click on the “Content” tab, and then the “File Manager” tab.
- Once you are in the file manager page, click on “Upload” in the options above the file list. Then locate the wordpress file on your computer, select it, and then click, “upload.”
- Unzip or “unarchive” the wordpress file if it is zipped. You may have to click the “wordpress” folder once you have uploaded and unzipped the file in your hosting account, to access the wordpress core files. If you don’t do this, then your website will be located in example.com/wordpress directory. You don’t want that, so you want to click on “wordpress” to access the files. Then, click the checkbox to select all of the files. Click “Copy” and then click in the root directory to copy the files into the root directory (this is where it originally said “wordpress.”) You can then delete the wordpress folder from the root directory once you have copied all of the core files.
- Next, click “Databases” and select “MySQL” at the top of the menu tabs on the file manager page. This will take you to a page where you can create a new database. Click on “create” or “add new” to create a database manually. Enter a name, username, and password. Write it down!
- Go back to the “Content>File Manager” page. Click on the wordpress file in the root directory named “wp-config-sample.php.” Select that file, and then click the “edit” button on the menu above the fiiles.
- Change the database name & password in the wp-config-sample.php file, and click save. Select the wp-config-sample file again, and click “rename.” Rename the file to only wp-config and click save. You may also have to enter your host name in the wp-config file (instead of it saying “local host” on the wp-config file). Change it from ‘localhost’ to the actual host name. You can find your hostname by clicking on the “Database” tab (where you created your database). Click the “edit” button, and it should say your hostname for your database. It is usually like this: hx0mysqlXX.secureserver.net. Copy that and put it in your wp-config file manually and then click save.
- Give Godaddy time to save and update all of that information. Then, after an hour or so, you should be able to log into your wordpress site. Go to your site by typing in the URL in your browser. It should bring up the wordpress installation page. Enter the password they give you and follow the instructions on the screen to install wordpress. If the page doesn’t show up, Godaddy may not have configured it yet. Give it some time. If it still doesn’t work, then try typing in: example.com/wp-admin/. Then follow the instructions.
- After all of that, you should have WordPress installed. Log in, add your email address, change the password to a password you want to use, and write down your email address under the “settings” area on wordpress.
That’s it! You now have wordpress installed. At this point, you can customize it, install themes, add posts and content, and more. You are on your way to having your own website live on the web! Congrats.
Uploading Other Sites on Godaddy Manually
Also, if you want to upload large amounts of data to your server plan (as opposed to installing wordpress or a simple software package), you will need to use an FTP client. You can use a lot of free ones (such as FileZilla). Simply download Filezilla, and then enter your FTP information into the software. Then locate your file/website on your local (home) computer. Click on it, and then you can click the “Upload” button on Filezilla to upload it to your hosting plan. Again, FTP is generally only needed to upload or download large amounts of data from your Godaddy account. You will also use this for backups.
Setting up wordpress is something you need to take time to do once you have completely configured and installed it on your server. You will also want to tweak a few things to make it seo friendly, but I will cover this in the SEO section of this online tutorial. Let’s get started with the basics.
WordPress Setup Instructions: What You Need To Do Before Blogging
Adjusting the WordPress Settings:
- Log into your wordpress site using your admin and password.
- Look at the left-hand menus. Look under the “Settings” tab, and expand it by clicking the tab. Adjust the following things under the settings section (described below).
- Adjust your general settings: Pick your site title. This is your main target keywords. This can have an impact on SEO, so make sure to enter your keywords correctly. Use the | key after your main keywords, to add more keywords. Also, add a keyword rich and content relevant tagline. Enter the URL for your site’s home page in the address bar. Enter an email address and adjust your settings, and then click “save.”
- Adjust your writing settings: The settings on this page aren’t as important, but adjust them to suit your preferences. Consider adding some ping services in the box at the bottom such as pingomatic, and other popular ping services. You can find the URL list for the latest ping services by googling it online.
- Adjust your reading settings: This is an important page to configure. You can set wordpress to either show your latests post on the front page, or to show a static page. This site uses a static page on the home page. I would highly recommend you create a static page, and add content and your main website links on it. In fact, your most important content should be a static page all linked on the home page. This is much better for SEO. Go to the homepage of this site to see what I have done. To do this, you need to first create 2 pages. One page will be your homepage, so create a title for it relevant to your homepage keywords. The other page will contain your latest posts, and I recommend you simply name it “blog.” You can create a page by finding the “pages” tab on the left-hand page and click “Add New.” After you have created the pages, you can come back to the “reading settings” page again and set the homepage/blog page. Then adjust the number of posts you want to show on the post page.
- Adjust your discussion settings: This page is totally your preference, so adjust how you want it. I would highly recommend you adjust your comments section to allow for moderation, or else you will be spammed into the ground. I personally rarely allow comments due to spam. Also, even when I do allow comments, I typically adjust the settings so they automatically close after a few days. Comments can be useful, but aren’t necessary to succeed at all, and they tend to attract hateful comments or people just looking for easy backlinks.
- Adjust your media settings: This page allows you to adjust your uploaded media settings. This includes pictures, video, etc. that you upload. You usually won’t need to adjust anything on this page. The only exception is you want to make sure your pictures will fit into your page content without disturbing the design. By default, the 150 X150 setting should fit nicely with most wordpress themes. You don’t need to edit anything on your uploads folder unless you want to name it something else.
- Adjust Privacy Settings: Obviously you want to allow people and search engines to find your site, so go ahead and make sure that option is selected.
- Adjust Permalinks: It is important to adjust your permalinks so that it benefits your search engine optimization. I would recommend you choose “Day and Name” option. This way, the keywords of your title will be saved in your URL, which is great for SEO.
Install Themes in WordPress
WordPress comes with a couple of themes in the core install. Both are fine, and you can customize them yourself over time by adding pictures, changing text color, etc. If you don’t like the original theme, you have 3 options: Find a free pre-made theme that you like, Tweak one of the themes yourself to get the design you want, or pay someone to custom-design your theme for you.
To install WordPress themes, just click on the “Appearance” tab on the left-side of the wordpress page, then select “Themes.” On this page, it will show the basic themes that wordpress came with. Select the one you want, and it will instantly change your design to that theme. You can also click the “Install Theme” tab, and search themes available on wordpress.org
Tweaking your own theme is also an option. You can edit the images used for the header, text, links, background, and more. Basically every color on the page can be changed by simply editing the stylesheet in your “Editor” section (located under the appearance tab). In the stylesheet, you can find each category listed.
So, for example, to change the font size of the wp-caption, just click where it says font-size: 11px, and change the number. We have HTML codes on this site you can use to change the color values for links. You can continue to cutomize this for each of the text colors, size, etc.
When you have your complete website theme/keywords in mind, then you can sit down and sketch out some categories that make sense. If you are going to have a site on dogs, you may want a category for different types of dogs you want to talk about. Or if you have a site about digital cameras, you may want to create categories arranged by model number, megapixel size, etc.
You can go ahead and create these categories to be used with regular blog posts, by clicking the “Posts” tab on the left-hand side, and then click “Categories.” Then you can add as many categories as you want. When you make your first post, you can select a category on the post page before you publish it.
WordPress has thousands and thousands of free plugins. Even so, you really only need a handful. Here are the ones I recommend:
- Google Analytics–This plugin allows you to configure and insert Google Analytics into your site. You will want to sign up for Google analytics (free), and use it with this plugin. After you download and activate it, you can quickly add your details to it.
- XML Sitemap Generator–This plugin creates an XML sitemap so search engines can use it to help them crawl and index your website.
- Askimet Spam–This comes with WordPress in the core. This helps prevent spam, but it certainly won’t catch all spam. This is for your comments. Activate this and consider using it.
- Robots Meta–This allows you to add special instructions to the code in your page for search engines. This is especially useful to all indexing (or no indexing), and following (or no following) of links on a page. I use this for my categories and tags, so that pagerank isn’t excessively passed to these. When this happens, you will rank really highly for just a single word or phrase, and the user will be taken to a page of all posts in that category/tag. Instead, it is much better to use the “no index,follow” tag on the category and tag pages to prevent this. This way, the search engines craw the links, but don’t actually index the category and tag pages. The result is that your individual articles will show in the search engines, as opposed to a single tag linking to many posts.
- There are optional plugins like SEO plugins, and so forth. This may be easier for you, but I manually edited my site’s code for search engine optimization. If you feel intimidated by that, then just search wordpress for the best SEO plugin (the one with highest ratings/downloads), and install it. Also, there is a “related posts” plugin that can be helpful in adding related posts to your blog. You may consider adding that one too (although I usually link topics manually).
These tweaks should have you all set to make your first pages/posts. You are now all set to have your very own website and blog.
When you are ready to start writing articles and content for your website or blog, you need to have a solid plan on how you want to achieve this. Don’t just start writing posts on random topics. Organize your content as if it were going to be a book. For a website to be a success, you should have a logical order of information/content. Your chapters should be in logical order, and you should cover topics that are relevant.
Organizing Content On Your Website
Aside from enabling you to create categories, WordPress doesn’t automatically arrange your articles the way you want in an SEO friendly way. To do this, you will have to add all of the content and site links manually (at least your main links). You will also need to choose beforehand how you want your articles to be arranged.
This consists of having your very “best of the best” main articles featured on your home page which (which will be a static page just like mine). These should be the main topics or articles you want to cover on your website or blog. So let’s assume you are going to create a website about how to lose weight. You may want to start with an introductory article first. Then, create all of the pages you want to write about, and then link them together in logical order on your site.
You should also have an idea about the overall size of your website. Do you want a basic 10 page website? Do you want a 30 page website? Do you plan on adding loads of content and make a thousand page website? You need to have this figured out before hand so you can strategically plan your website structure. Then, you can create your first page, and add your links accordingly.
Let’s assume your content is about Dog grooming. It may be organized like this:
Home Page body links to—>10-15 Main Category Pages which links to—->articles on the main category page which may link to —->Sub Articles. To give an example, assume your home page is about dogs. Your main pages/categories on the site are about dog grooming, dog tricks, dog food, etc. Let’s also assume you have a few articles under each main category ( ie, under the dog grooming category you have tips about selecting a groomer, grooming it yourself, etc.). Then you want your link structure to look like this (starting from the home page).
Dog Site links to —->Dog Grooming Category (and all main categories/topics), which links to—->All articles about Grooming.
If you do that, then this is what will likely happen:
- Your visitors will be able to easily find your content. This results is more pageviews and a lower bounce rate (the bounce rate is the rate of visitors that leave vs looking at additional pages).
- Your seo efforts will be easier. It is no secret that the home page of any website gets the most backlinks. All of these links bring pagerank with them, and will flow to your other articles or sub articles pages linked on your home page. Thus, the sub articles will generally do better in the search engine results page (serps).
What Your Home Page Should Look Like
Just make sure to have these things in mind for your home page:
- Does it include an introductory article on the home page? The article should explain the purpose of the site, the information you can find on it, and more. Also, make sure to have a few variations of your target keywords in your home page. This lets the search engines know your site is about X keywords.
- Does it include hyperlinks to your subpages? Keep in mind, you want to have no more than 100 hyperlinks on your home page (at this time Google doesn’t crawl more than a 100 or so per page). Plus, you can dilute your pagerank by giving it away to other pages on your site (some of which may not be important).
- Does the title of the page have your main keywords in it? Remember, you can set this in the “Settings” section under “General Settings.” Make sure to have your main phrase here.
Do those things, and you are already doing a great job with the SEO. I will give a whole lot more tips on SEO later, because SEO is crucial to the content website’s business model.
Publishing Your Pages
Now that you have the big picture in your mind of what your site should look like, and how you should arrange your articles, then you can start publishing them. WordPress allows you to publish either pages or posts. Either one will work fine. When you use posts, then you can select categories for your posts. If you create pages, you can’t do that.
But, what I do is this: I create a “blog” section on my website. Posts that aren’t very interesting (and mostly contain my personal opinions), get published as posts. I may or may not add the post link to my site’s main navigation (it just depends on how relevant/worthy the content is). However, it will be published under the /blog section of my site.
On the other hand, I take my pages with targeted/meaningful content, and I publish those as pages. I then manually go and build links to other pages and the home page. It is tedious work, but it is good for navigation and SEO purposes.
Content: Quality & Text Limit
Your content website is only as good as its content. If you have crappy content, you have a crappy website. I don’t care how pretty your theme is, it will be a crappy site. If you have good content, you have a good website–I don’t care how ugly your site is. It is as simple as that. Ideally, your site should look good and have good content. There are millions of crappy websites, so please create a decent one. Don’t litter the web! Save the megabytes (instead of saving the trees).
Seriously, if you want to succeed you will need good content. It can be breaking news. It can be inside information. It can be a useful tutorial. It can be a book. It can be a novel. It can be a how-to. It can be a video site (with text of the content in the video) or whatever. But just make it something useful. Ask yourself this question: Will this page do something for someone who reads it (educate them, help them, entertain them, etc.). If so, you should write it. If not, don’t waste your time, because people certainly won’t waste their time reading it.
How long should your articles be on a website? There is no exact number. I usually have a lot to say, so I like to use about 1000 on average. In general, you want to shoot for somewhere from about 400 words as a minimum, to about 2000 as a maximum. You can always make exceptions, but that is a good range in my opinion. If it is much shorter, it risks not having enough keywords to rank well.
If it is too long, then it makes finding information hard for the reader. You could also miss out on some SEO benefit, because rather than 1 long article, you may want to make 2 seo optimized articles. You can always break an article down into other pages.
Creating Hyperlinks: When you have created your articles, you will want to go back to the home page and link to your main articles together. Ideally, try not to have more than about 10-20 links or so on the home page within the article/body section. The reason is that the more links you have, the more your incoming pagerank will flow to those other pages. So if it is flowing to other pages, then your home page pagerank can be reduced more (and the subpages you are linking to will be increased).
So I usually like to cap off the main links within the content to about 10-15 max, since my home page will usually get much more traffic than my subarticles. I also have some main navigation links on the sidebar and header as well, so those are extra. But try to keep your link numbers on your home page as low as possible.
Creating a Hyperlink in WordPress
To create a hyperlink, you simply go to edit or make a post. Take your cursor, highlight the word, and then click the chain icon above your post in the main menu. A box will open in wordpress. Type in the URL, and any text you want it to display when someone hovers their cursor over it, and then click “insert.”
When you create hyperlinks, you want to make sure they are SEO optimized. How do you do that? Simple. First, you want to get your list of your main target keywords. It is also a good idea (if I haven’t mentioned it yet), to research keywords for your individual posts/pages as you write them. This can make a huge difference. It’s tedious, but it may help you build more traffic over time.
Creating SEO Links
So let’s say you are going to write a post about Blue Widgets. Go to the keyword tool on Google, and type in “Blue Widgets.” If you are deciding between writing about “Blue Widgets” and “Large Blue Widgets,” then type them both in. Then do a search (remember to hit the “Exact” button on the left sidebar after you search to refine the numbers).
Then, you should see the traffic numbers. So let’s say that “Blue Widget” gets typed in 2,000 times per month. “Large Blue Widget” only gets 800. Obviously, you want to optimize your site to get to the top for the keyword variation that receives the most traffic. So make sure when linking to that article from other pages of your site (or the home page), to write the words “Blue Widget.” Then, create a hyperlink out of those exact words and link to it.
Use good anchor texts for each article, and link to each main article (or main article category) on the home page like that. That not only tells your visitors what the link is about, but it helps tremendously with the SEO.
Making money with websites is a topic most webmasters or blog owners will want to address. When you run a serious website, you will have expenses. So even if you are not out to create a commercial website or blog, you may very well find yourself searching for ways to cover your cost. And if you are creating a website to generate revenue, then you will want to maximize those revenues.
You want to use as many methods of making money with your website as possible. These methods may not be appropriate for every website, and not all methods should be used on 1 single website (necessarily). But if you are serious about making money, you need to know all the ways to do it. So let’s get started.
Best Ways to Make Money With a Website or Blog
Making Money with PPC & Google Adsense
Google Adsense is by far the most widely used Ad program in the industry. It is the one I would absolutely recommend using (as you can tell). Just like other PPC ad programs, you simply insert the code, and you get a small slice of the revenue each time an ad is clicked. To get started with Adsense, you have to first have an established website or blog. Don’t apply until you at least have a few pages of quality content. Then, you can log into your Adsense account once you are approved.
Adsense is my favorite because it updates in almost real time, it pays monthly so long as you cross the $100 threshold, and it is really easy to implement and manage. It is also my highest earning method of monetization.
To make money with Adsense, you really need to experiment. Look at the Google Heat Map for the best locations that get the most clicks. You can also take note of my website, which is optimized and maximized specifically for earning Adsense revenue. You want your ads to blend into your site so it looks natural, yet be interesting enough to click on. To do this, experiment with colors. Avoid borders, as these rarely perform well.
Aside from Adsense, there are lots of different PPC ad programs out there, such as Chitika, Adbright, Yahoo, and more. These are all fine and work similarly, but I do prefer Adsense myself.
The secret to making money with Adsense is simple. Pick a niche related to products (or with high advertising fees). Use the Google Keyword Tool to research this like I mentioned before. SEO your site and build lots of traffic. Optimize your Adsense ads to match your theme/color scheme. Write a lot of content. Do those things, and Adsense will make you money.
Affiliate programs are also a great way to monetize your website. Affiliate programs work by tracking clicks from products you refer. When a person buys a product after clicking your link (either immediately, or later on), then you generally earn a commission. Some of the most popular affiliate programs are: Clickbank (for ebooks and digital products), Amazon.com (you can promote almost everything they sell), Commission Junction (they work with many companies such as Bestbuy and others), Share a Sale, The Google Affiliate Network, etc.
To work with these, you may need to have your website developed before you apply, as some programs may manually review your site before allowing you to join a program. Once approved, you can then look for products related to your website content. Most affiliate programs offer a special link you can insert into your post (make sure to enter a “no follow” tag on those links), allow you to create or install a widget, or post pictures or banners. Each affiliate program and/or product may have a different commission structure, and may track the link for a different time (ie, some may track for days while others may track for months). You can post affiliate links into your individual posts, and you can also post them as a banner in a sidebar or header file.
There is a secret to really succeeding with affiliate programs. Do you want to know those secrets? Here are my personal tips:
- Create niche websites–Affiliate products will convert into sales much better when you have a focused website. For example, if your site is only about digital cameras (as opposed to electronics in general), you will typically earn far more and have better conversion rates. So pick a theme/topic in a niche and stick with it as much as possible.
- Be honest–In the bible, the following proverb sums up how important your reputation is: “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold (Proverbs 22:1). Your name and reputation are everything. If you lie or promote products of very poor quality, expect that your visitor will never ever trust you again, and you will lose sales in the long run. If, however, you give an HONEST review of a product, or recommend products you know are great quality with high ratings/approval, then your opinion and recommendations will convert well. I personally only recommend products I use myself, or that I know to be of very excellent quality. I don’t care if a bad product offers me $1,000 commission per sale. My reputation is more important to me than a short gain.
- Promote Quality Products–If you promote products with terrible reviews, bad quality, or scam eBooks, then it will make you appear dishonest. Furthermore, these products probably won’t convert well for you. So don’t look at commission rates, only look at the quality of a product. Some of my most consistent affiliate sales are products I earn very little, yet I sell so many it makes it worth my while. Also, by promoting shady products, the customer is likely to return them later, in which case you will lose your commission.
- Create a few “pitch” Pages–You can write some articles that specifically discuss a certain product. For example, I sometimes create a page such as “Best Software for Websites,” that recommend multiple products. I try to discuss the pros and cons of each one. These pages sometimes convert well. In fact, I would try to think of 1-5 articles that you can write a huge amount of information about, and put these pages as one of your links on your home page, in the sidebar, or in your header.
- Write an Article First, Add Product Links Last— I have a personal rule that I always write any articles I want to write first, and I never add a link until AFTER I have written it. Why? Because, this way I am forced to write naturally, give honest information, and I can write an article of value to the reader. I feel that this helps me to avoid going off topic, overly promoting something, etc. So I would recommend you write a great article first, and then re-read it and look at areas where you could maybe add an affiliate link or two.
- Minimize Affiliate Product Links–Unless I create a page where I pitch XX number of products (which I only usually create a handful), then I only like to insert 1 or 2 affiliate links at the most. Many of my articles have no affiliate links in the text at all. Why? Because information is always my main priority, and making sales is always number 2. If you have several links in your article body, then your site begins to look and read a little too “pitchy.” It may turn off some readers. So minimize links, and on some pages have none at all.
- Create a Newsletter or Email List–In websites where you can easily tie in affiliate products with it, then I would highly recommend you begin building an email list when your traffic begins to build. Then, you can send out a newsletter and either promote products directly in it, or refer them to your website to a page where they can buy it (for example, an Amazon aStore). This can be a great way to convert affiliate products.
- Give a Free eBook–Some people have had wonderful success giving away free eBooks with affiliate links in them, or with links leading back to their own website where they have affiliate links pushing products. This can be a great strategy for not only increasing affiliate income, but also increasing traffic.
Selling Advertising Directly on Your Blog or Website
In addition to Adsense and Affiliate programs, you can sell advertising blocks to individuals directly. Again, you can generally use PPC, Affiliate Programs, and Direct Ads all together on one site, although you may only want to use 2 of the 3 (or just 1) in some cases.
Some websites do well with this method, and charge a premium for the ad space. It definitely has its ups and downs, and some sites (especially newer ones) may have difficulty in attracting advertisers willing to pay a rate comparable to (or better than) Adsense. But it may be a good way to add extra revenue streams to your site or blog.
Put a Donate Button On Your Website
Websites like Paypal.com allow you to create “buy now” buttons or “donate” buttons for your website. If this is the case, you may be able to earn a small amount of revenue from generous web visitors. I typically don’t like to add “donate” buttons, simply because I feel I have enough ways to make money already.
But this can be a good arrangement or alternative to sites that don’t want to deal with ad programs. A lot of religious organizations use this, and even some bloggers. I think most don’t receive a huge payout, but it can add an extra revenue stream nonetheless.
Paid or Sponsored Posts
Signing up for sponsored or paid posting programs is another way to do this. Payperpost.com, socialspark.com, and others allow bloggers to sign up for their program. They are then listed in their directory, and advertisers may pay for a review of their product/service. You post your review, and then get paid when the review is approved.
Some people earn a good extra revenue stream doing this. I tried to use socialspark.com, however, I was very disappointed with it and eventually scrapped it. It felt unnatural posting paid reviews, and I found a hard time finding high paying posts that would make it worth my while. Plus, I feel that if you do too many of these, your website begins to become less worthwhile to read to visitors.
Selling Your Own Product or Services
Blogging or creating a website to sell your own product or service is also a fantastic idea. Whether you are creating and selling an eBook, retail products, services, or other items–this can be a great way to earn a part-time or full-time living online. Many bloggers mainly blog to push their own service. For example, I have seen countless bloggers who blog and give tips about SEO, who also do SEO services themselves. This is a great way to build your brand, attract potential buyers, and share your knowledge/authority on a topic or with a product.
Conclusion: Anyone Can Make SOME Money with Websites
There are ample programs and methods to make money with websites and blogs. The ones I have listed above are some of the most popular methods. My best methods are Adsense & Affiliate programs. Although I will always keep experimenting and trying new ways and new website ideas. I would highly recommend you also experiment and see which one works best for your niche/website.
Marketing is a must in any business. I learned long ago that you could have the cure to cancer written on a web page, but unless you marketed your website, blog or foum, it would forever remain tucked away on page 99 of Google, never to be read online by anyone.
One of the key things that has helped me succeed in building and growing websites has been learning to market them effectively. Marketing was always my weak point in the beginning, and I have learned to be much more active over the years. You need to market your website, and if you don’t like, don’t have the time, or aren’t very good–then hire someone that can do it for you.
How to Market Your Website or Blog
Marketing your blog or website can be divided into 2 main areas: Online Marketing and Offline Marketing. Since websites are online, it makes sense to focus a great deal of attention to online marketing. However, you should not overlook the benefit of marketing offline as well. Especially if your website has a unique tool/function/benefit for a large audience. This article will primarily focus on Online Marketing, but you can learn about how to do offline website marketing in another article.
Internet Marketing Methods and Tips for Websites or Blogs
Here are each of the methods you could or should use to help promote your website, increase your traffic, increase your brand, and to increase your website rank.
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization)- SEO primarily deals with learning how search engines index and rank websites, and making sure your website is in a position so that it can receive a high rank. This can be broken into two areas: Internal (On-site) SEO, and External (off-site) seo. You need to read my entire section on SEO so you can get into the game as soon as possible. In those seo articles I just linked to, you will also find some general marketing tips. If you can only do one type of marketing, then make it SEO. Yes, it is that important. Especially if you run a content-based websites. SEO is the most important investment to make.
- Advertising–Running online Ad promotion can be a great way to increase your visitors and raise awareness of your blog or website. This will do nothing to help your seo efforts, but this is an important way to bring visitors to your site immediately. You can use PPC ad programs, such as Facebook ads, Google Adwords, and others to help drive traffic. You can also purchase banners or advertising directly on many websites as well. How much you want to use advertising depends on your website and goals. For content sites, I only rarely use this type of advertising. For sites in which I sell products, eBooks, and so forth, then I may use this much more.
- Email Marketing–Email marketing may seem like an out-dated method of marketing, but it can still be very effective when done correctly. To email market effective, you should start building your own list. Create an opt-in form using a service such as Aweber. Then, send out a newsletter every few weeks/months. This will drive traffic to your site if you write an interesting/informative newsletter. In addition, you can always partner with other people in your niche and pay to be included in their newsletter. These are ways you can use email marketing to help build your traffic/brand.
- Press Releases–Press releases can offer a huge boost (both to SEO and your traffic) if done correctly. First, you want to choose a press release service that has wide distribution. They will cost money, but it often pays off. Use something like PRWEB.com, Pr.com, newswire.com, and others. Next, you want to enter your website’s target keywords in an anchor text/live link. If you take the time to really write a clever or newsworthy release, you stand a chance of getting big media coverage. So try to make it as interesting, unique, or exciting as possible. Media coverage can get your site flooding with traffic.
- Social Media Marketing–Create a social network ID and network with people. Make sure to have your website on your profile/about page. This can help you in your marketing efforts tremendously. Use sites like Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, etc. Also, use social bookmarking sites like Digg, Reddit, etc. These are all great ways to not only help with SEO, but to spread awareness of your site.
- Write Reviews–You can always write reviews on sites like Amazon, Squidoo, and other sites. Make sure to include a URL back to your site in the review or your bio information. This can help get you some extra traffic.
- Viral Videos–If you can put together a really funny, unique, weird, scary, or whatever video, then you may be able to release that video on Youtube or in a press release. In the video, put your URL in the bottom of the footage, or at the beginning or end. This can drive a ton of traffic to your site within a few days. People love funny, weird, gross, or interesting videos.
If you follow all of the things I have written above (and especially pay attention to the online and offline SEO tips), then your website will start getting more and more visitors over time. The more time and effort you put into marketing, the greater your reward will be. Just remember to try to build up a good base of content before you start marketing, or else the people will likely never come back.
Wouldn’t the world be easier if SEO (search engine optimization) were automatic and easy? Let me describe for you the perfect world:
You come up with a great idea for a website or blog article. You labor away for hours to write each word, add each picture, and more. You take the time to proofread it, edit it, and so forth. Then, when all looks well, you hit the publish button. At that very moment, a dove descends from Heaven, and Google is filled with the Holy Spirit. Your blog post becomes a hit, and you get thousands of visits. Not only that, but your article is featured at the top of Google forever more (or at least until a better article comes along). You then live happily ever after as a webmaster, as nothing more is needed on your part. You just write articles, and the search engines will handle the rest.
Unfortunately, the above scenario is never going to happen these days. Writing your article will be the easy part, the seo is not so easy. You will have to be strategic, and hard working to get your articles and websites in the top of search engines. If you are writing on high-traffic keywords, it will be even more difficult. Luckily, I can save you a lot of grief. This is very frustrating, but it is the reality of life. You could have the cure to cancer, but if it isn’t seo’d, then it will never be found online. Because you and I both know that we rarely go past page 1 or 2 on Google when we search for a term.
Don’t make any mistake, it won’t be easy. It will take work, it may take a financial investment too. But at least you will be doing the RIGHT work to get the job done, and if you have been careful go gauge your competition and your market (keyword traffic analysis), then your efforts should provide a nice return..
There are 2 types of SEO that you want to master: Internal (on site) SEO, and External (off site) SEO. Internal SEO deals with factors within your website, such as internal links, domain name, keywords, titles, etc. External SEO deals with things outside of your website, such as number of backlinks, quality backlinks, anchor text, domain age, and so forth.
Since both of these are of great importance, I am going to break up the articles into 2 separate articles: Internal On Site SEO and External Off Site SEO. Read them both and abide by them, and your traffic and earnings should continue in a steady growth.
Internal On Site SEO is the easiest thing to do in SEO (in my opinion). Not only can you do all of these things yourself, but most of the things are simple and don’t require a lot of tedious work. With the right planning, you can do this the right way from the beginning and save yourself a lot of time. I will list every single On Site SEO strategy I have used and read about on this page below.
But first, just think about your website from someone else’s perspective: Google’s perspective. Google’s whole business plan is built around being the best search technology. In order for that to happen, they must do only one thing right: When you search for a term, they bring up the best website or article related to that query. Makes sense, right?
So Google is always trying to find all the ways possible to identify and index websites and web pages on the internet. They look at the content, keywords, and other factors for that website. This way, when someone runs a search query, their servers can quickly find pages with similar content, keywords, etc. and return that result. The ones most likely to match will be number 1, while others will be on lower pages.
Having said that, do the following below (and think of it as Google would think), and you should do well. Keep this tip in mind when SEO’ing your site: Write for readers, SEO for Robots. This way, your articles will make sense and be readable for people, but will be spot on for search engines as well.
Internal On Site SEO Factors
- Domain Name–As I mentioned before, you want your main keywords to be in your domain name. It should match the keywords and theme of your site. If your site is about dog breeds, your domain should be “dogbreeds.whatever”. This is common sense. If Google sees that your domain is dogbreeds.whatever, they will logically think your site will be valuable for people searching for dog breeds.
- Domain Registration Length–As I mentioned in a previous article, domain registration length does play a very very tiny part in you ranking. It is up to you whether or not your want to register it for 1 year, 5 years, or 10 years. But generally speaking, the longer the better. This shows you aren’t some fly-by-night website and plan on building something to last.
- URL Keywords–Make sure the keywords are in your URL for pages and posts. So, for example, if your post is about miniature poodle pictures, then the URL should be: dogbreeds.whatever/miniature-poodle-pictures/. Obviously this doesn’t apply for the home page (although you could always create a sub-domain with your keywords too, but this may not be worth the effort and may look spammy).
- Page Title–Your page or post title should have your main keywords as far to the left as possible. If you are going to add extra keywords to target, use the | key to separate them. Example: Dog Breeds | Best Breeds of Dogs | Dog Pictures. Again, from left to right, have most important to least important. Ideally, have the first keywords match the domain name exactly. In wordpress, the title should automatically be added to the URL, so make sure to research and type the title before just randomly typing it. Avoid “cute” or “catchy” titles, and if you feel you must use them, use them in the bod of the text rather than a heading or title.
- Meta Tags–Google doesn’t place as much importance on meta tags these days. However, I have found that it can be beneficial to target your main keywords in the Meta description for the home page only. You can write your main keywords and a catchy description. This may entice people to click on your site on the search results page as opposed to others. In wordpress, I create a special page for the home page, and edit the meta tags manually.
- H Tags–Use H1, H2, and H3 tags in the body of your article content, and make sure to have your keywords you want to rank for in them. H tags are for “headings,” and you should use headings anyway to make your content more readable. Use the H1 for your main topic, and then the H2 and H3 for subsequent topics covered. Don’t spam, and it should make sense to both the readers and search engines. To use the H tags in wordpress, highlight the phrase you want to identify and click the “Format” drop-down box above the post box when you make a post. Then select the “H” tag you want to use.
- First Paragraph–Try to write your first keyword in the first sentence (or at least the first paragraph) as much as possible. In fact, try to use it as the first word if you can. Sometimes I like to “bold” this phrase also to place emphasis on it.
- Keywords in Text–Include your main keywords throughout the text naturally. Some people try to actually calculate the percentage and get, 5-7% keyword density. I just write the article as I see fit, and forget about density. But make sure your main keyphrase is NATURALLY within the body a few times. Don’t over do it or else Google may think you are spamming. Just make it sound natural. In fact, I usually think of the heading first, write the article, and then go back and make sure the word is there (and add headings). This way, I don’t over-do it.
- Alternate Keyword Synonyms/Spellings–Throw an alternate keyword or synonym in every so often. Instead of using “SEO” in an article, spell out “Search engine optimization” a couple of times. Also, use a plural form if possible, etc. Again, don’t spam, but use different synonyms and even different spellings when possible.
- Article Length–I would recommend no shorter than 450, and no longer than about 2,000 words for most articles. If they are shorter, try to add more quality content. If they are longer than 2,000 words, consider breaking it into another article.
- Article Quality–Obviously every article you write should benefit a reader in some way. Write articles with meaning and intent. This will ensure your article contains a good mix of natural words, and also helps over time with attracting links.
- Duplicate Content–Never, ever, ever steal content, pictures, etc. and repost it on your blog. Always write 100% quality originial content. If you pay people to write content, make sure it is original and passes a copyscape test. If not, Google may just weed out your entire site as being irrelevant and a ‘me too’ website. By writing quality content, you will increase the value/perception of your site, and also get a lot of keyword referrals from Google naturally.
- Font Size–This isn’t as important, but most web pages go for between 10 and 14 font. I would stick in that range. Also, make your text readable and use a good font style. Text color isn’t a huge factor, but I would recommend black or very dark gray for most themes/design.
- Pictures & Text–Consider adding a small image on the home page, and any pages you want to optimize. Use your main keywords for the picture title and URL. Also, add an “ALT” text to the image. To do this, just click the image icon in wordpress, and add/upload your picture. Add the title and alt text as well. This can help get referrals from Google images, and helps with SEO too. It may not be practical to do this on all pages, but your home page is important.
- Adding Tags–Tags are kind of a tough topic. On one hand, they could help with your traffic and SEO by providing extra keywords on the page. On the other hand, you should minimize the number of tags, because you do not want to water-down your pagerank juice.
- Adding Categories–At this time, wordpress doesn’t allow categories for pages (in the core install), however, it does allow you to categorize posts. I would recommend you use categories you have created to help group posts together in a logical fashion for visitors.
- Use the noindex, follow code–Even though you may want to use tags and categories, you absolutely do not want these to rank in the serps. If you do get a lot of pagerank passing to the categories and tags themsevles, then what will happen is that you will rank really high for a tag only. When the tag is clicked in the search results page, the visitor will be brought to a page on your site with nothing but posts under that tag, making it difficult to find the content they are looking for specifically. This can be frustrating for your visitors. Instead, I use the Robots-Meta plugin by Joost De Valk. I also block pages in which I either don’t want indexed, or don’t want pagerank passed to. Use “No Index, Follow” to keep your page out of the search engine results, but to allow link juice to flow through to posts under it. Use “Index, No Follow,” to allow a page to be indexed, but no pagerank to pass on link on that page, etc. You get the idea. All of my categories and tags are “No index, follow.” This is a way you can “sculp” your pagerank.
- Link Structure–You want to have logical link order on your website.
- Link Quantity–Minimize the number of links on a page to less than 100 total if possible. Furthermore, try to be as sparing with links as possible. When linking internally, you can link as much as you want, but try not to have more than a few in the content of your article.
- Internal Links–Try to use internal links when and where appropriate to link together other pages on your site. It may be tedious going back and adding links to other pages, but it can help increase your ranking and pageviews. You can use related posts plugin if you want to help automate this when possible.
- External Links–Be VERY picky when giving links to external websites. If you are unsure about the safeness/quality of a website, use the “no follow” tag. This tag prevents your pagerank to pass to the website you are referencing. If it is a quality website or article, then go ahead and link to them using an appropriate anchor text relevant to the page/website in which you are linking. Just be sparing. You don’t want all of your pagerank to pass to thousands of other sites. You want to keep it flowing in your site. An example of the no follow tag in action is: <a ” rel=”nofollow” href=”http://www.example.com/example</a>
- Cross Linking–If you go on a rampage and create 100 blogs, then I wouldn’t link them all together. This is a surefire way to throw up a flag of spam to Google. Google has stated publicly that it is perfectly fine to interlink a small number of blogs. But don’t dare link too many, or do it in a spammy way. I would personally never link more than 7-10 together. Beyond that, I simply wouldn’t link them to my other sites. Google has never stated a magic number.
- Broken Links–If you do not correct broken links, then it could harm your website. Always check links to make sure they work. In addition, you can find some great broken link plugins for wordpress that allow you to check all links on your pages to check for funcationality. It is always a good idea to do this periodically.
- Website Age–You can’t control the time in which you start your website, but generally speaking, the longer your site is on the web (with a good track record), the more trusted it will become. You will also acquire more links naturally over time. So start your site and put up a page as soon as possible.
- Page Updating–If you create a website, and then leave it be for years without updating it at all, then it could have a negative impact on the serps. Also, Google is now showing pages with dates, and allowing a search feature based on the date it was written. For this reason, try to add new content regularly. It doesn’t matter how often (several times per day, once per week, once per month, etc.). But try to add more content regularly. In addition, update your home page AT LEAST every month or two.
- Valid Website Code— Obviously you want to make sure your website is functional and uses proper coding. If you use a software application such as wordpress, it should be great right out of the box. The only thing is, you want to make sure your websites load properly in the major browswers IF you change anything or add any scripts to your pages. If there are major problems, it could hurt your rank.
- Type of Website Code–Avoid using fancy pants flash introductions for your site. Use plain old text and text links. Sound boring? Then spice it up with a cool theme design. But don’t worry with fancy effects because search engines don’t see them at all.
- Malware–Anyone can get hacked, and sometimes hacks are brought on all users of a certain software application. You want to correct this as soon as possible, and monitor your websites REGULARLY. Otherwise, Google will completely de-list your site over time if it is giving away malware/viruses/spyware. To avoid this, always update your wordpress/software, and consider using a service or scanner to check your site regularly for known malware.
- Website Speed–Google has recently (2010) added a new feature to its algorithym to factor in website loading speed. If you have a very slow site, it could definitely impact your ranking. If you have a fast website, it certainly won’t hurt you, and could help if your competitors are slow. You can check your speed by googling “speed test.” Google Webmaster Tools (a free service) also allows you to see what speeds they have found on your site and it compares them to the average speeds. To speed up your site, consider either moving to a larger/faster server, or reducing image sizes, file sizes of pages, etc.
Whew, that covers all of the main things you should be concerned about with your website or blog internally (on site). If I think of more, I will try to update this list. Do these things, and you are on your way to good rankings.
Just remember, but natural, write good content. Include keywords in your post, but don’t over-do-it or else you risk getting penalties in ranking. Also, these factors alone WILL NOT get you to the top of Google. To do that, you have to combine these factors with the “Off Site External SEO” factors.
Internal SEO is the queen, and External SEO is the king. Put them together, and you have a kingdom my friend.
Off Site (external) SEO tips for a website or blog can be summed up in one word: Backlinks. Backlinks, or links pointing to your site, are one of the single most important off-site search engine optimization things you can do. In fact, if you have the most amazing content in the world, you will probably never get to the top of search engines without backlinks. Furthermore, you need to make sure you have the right kind of backlinks.
So this entire article will discuss how, where, and when to build links to your website. If you follow these practices, combine them with internal seo, and all other things I have told you so far, you stand a very HIGH chance of success.
Also, let me briefly say that this is my LEAST favorite part of being a webmaster, but it is a necessary part. If you don’t like doing this, then outsource it and pay a company to do link building/requests for you. Just make 100% certain this is a reputable company. How do you know a reputable company? They will use most of the tactics I will describe on this page. They will also probably cost a lot ($1,000-3000 per month).
Good luck. Here we go…
What Are Good Build Backlinks?
You only want backlinks from quality websites. What makes a quality website? Good content, good webmaster practices, and other factors. There are lots of things you can check–does the website have a good reputation? Is it selling spammy products or drugs? Does it have a good Pagerank (Google Pagerank tool can tell you). How long has the website been around? These are all questions you want to ask before ever giving a link or requesting a link.
You want links to come from “expert” websites, individual web pages that rank highly, pages that have similar content as yours (and similar keywords), and more. Also, you should get some links with the “no follow” tag (most blog comments have the no follow automatically added), but strive to get really good “do follow” links as well. Mix it up because this is how links are naturally given.
Never, buy links on a link broker site, or offer to buy links directly from a person. Google will bodyslam your site and drop a big GoogleNuke on it in the serps. Result? There goes your website’s chances at success. Instead, use only Google-approved tactics that do not manipulate pagerank. You want to increase your pagerank ethically by raising link awareness, not link spam.
When Should You Build Backlinks?
I would recommend you build at least 10-30 pages of unique, interesting, or helpful content before building links. The reason is simple: no one wants to link to a 1 page website. Also, if you try to add your site to directories, many will not allow your site to be included without a large amount of content. So even though it may take days, weeks, or even months, go ahead and build your content first.
Make it good, make it unique, and make it worthy to link to. Once you have done this, you can build links any and all the time. Just don’t do anything spammy. Don’t go from zero links to 1000 overnight, or it could trip Google’s spam alarm. Don’t get links from crappy directories or link farms.
Backlink Anchor Text
You want to use anchor texts that describe your content, include your target keywords, point to the home page, point to sub pages, and have variable anchor texts. Don’t go and get 1000 links, all with the same exact anchor text. This is obvious spam to Google. Instead, use different phrases. Many times, the webmaster may pick a phrase themselves when linking.
Also, make sure to try to get links for your sub-categories/sub-pages as well. Don’t get all links to your home page only.
How to Build Backlinks: The Ultimate backlink List
You want to use every tool at your disposal to build link awareness for your website. You want to do this ethically (aka whitehat). Otherwise, you are just setting yourself up for failure. Here are all the ways to build links ethically and strategically:
- Press Releases–Submit a press release using an online press release service. Use the option to insert an active (anchor text) hyperlink into the article. Otherwise, it won’t help your seo efforts. These are a great way to build a web presence, and let people know about your site. This option usually costs money, but it is worth it.
- Article Directories–Use only 2-5 article directories like Ezinearticles.com, ArticleAlley.com, etc. Submit articles to these sites and add your anchor text in them. Of course, make sure the article is related to your site, has the keywords in the title and body, and have good anchor text relevant to your site.
- General Directories–General directories with authority and lots of backlinks can help tremendously. The only quality directories left include: Yahoo Directory ($299.00 per year); Business.com ($299.99 year); Botw.org ($299.99 lifetime), Dmoz.org (Free, but you likely can never get in this one). This can pay big dividends if you have a domain with the exact keywords in it that you want to rank for on Google. Make sure to use the anchor text(s) you want to rank for, and offer a brief description. I use all of those for my big sites that can make good money, but I don’t pay for smaller sites. If you only do one of the above, do yahoo. Also, do your homework and make sure there is a good pagerank in the section you apply to be placed. Stay away from seo companies offering to list you in 5000 directories for XX dollars. These are scams and won’t help you a bit.
- Niche Directories–If you can find a niche website related to yours, or a directory for only your topic that looks to be of high quality, by all means, try to get listed. It helps to be listed in sites/directories related to your niche.
- Blog Comments–Blog comments can help in a small way with SEO when done correctly. It can also help you gain a friend or reader. Most blog comments have “no follow” tag on them, which will prevent passing of pagerank. However, it can still be beneficial to do this for link popularity and to vary anchor texts. Use ethical measures here. Always contribute to the conversation and try to add helpful comments. In terms of your name/anchor text, I usually see what everyone else does. Some bloggers get offended if you use an anchor text other than your name. Others don’t mind for you to use anchor text for your keywords. So I usually follow the other commenter’s lead.
- Forum Posting–Join a couple of forums in your niche, and respond to threads by giving quality content. Don’t just do it for backlinks only. If they allow a link in the post signature, or profile, then take advantange. Just don’t over-do-it here, and never ever spam. Webmasters/moderators can smell spam 100 miles away (trust me, I own a forum or two).
- Send Link Requests to Individual Bloggers/Webmasters–Send a polite email to a person and request a link directly. You want websites (or articles) that are related to your site’s topic/theme. Here is the key to doing this: Be personal, be nice, be informative, and compliment them on something you genuinely feel they do well. I generally look at their site and/or posts first, so I can make the email personal. I address them as “Dear XX, I just want to say that you have a great (website/article/content/design). I just started a website myself, and I was hoping you would consider adding a link to my site when you get the chance. My site’s purpose is to (add site’s purpose), and I am excited to offer information and help on this topic. Thanks for your consideration, and have a great day, (NAME). If I give them a link too, then I do it first and email them. I will write the same email, and let them know that I linked to their content and I would appreciate it, if they found something they thought was useful, to also link back. That’s it. No need to mass spam, or anything else. Be polite. Be personal. Compliment them genuinely. You will get a lot more links that way.
- Add Your Link to Social Media–If you use facebook/myspace/twitterYoutube, etc.–then add your link on your profile/bio page. You can use a tool like feedburner and “socialize” your RSS feed so that it posts automatically to twitter. Take advantage of these sites.
- Add Your Link to Web 2.0/Bookmarking Sites–Most sites such as Digg, Reddit, etc. allow you to add links to your own site. Google does pay attention to new trends and 2.0 links, so it will help to do this some as well.
- Add Links to Squidoo, HubPages, etc.–Sites that allow you to build unique content (similarly to article directories), are also a great way to build links. Write out in-depth pages and create a backlink on these pages back to your site. Don’t spam, and don’t write bad content if you want this to be effective.
- Guest Post–Many large bloggers or webmasters allow people to submit a “guest post.” Usually, it is understood that you will get a backlink in exchange for the article. Don’t write a crap article. Only write a unique/new article, and make it a good one. Not only will this help you with the backlink equity, but you can also gain new readers/traffic if you make it interesting.
- Google Places/Business Directories–If your website or business can be listed, add it to Google places, yahoo business, and other business places. You can not only get a backlink, but also extra traffic doing this.
- Hold a Contenst–If you hold a contest, drawing, or offer some reward, then you may get backlinks naturally. Just make sure to NEVER offer anyone compensation for linking (the linking should be a side-effect of the promotion).
- Make Something Viral/Controversial–If you make some hilarious video, have some earth shattering article, have a scathing review, get sued publicly, or pick on someone, then it may get some people talking, and they may link to your site. Just be ethical in your approach.
- Offer Free widgets or themes–Place your backlink in a widget (such as copyright notice) and allow people to use it for free. You may have to pay a company or designer to do this for you, but it could help a bit. Just don’t abuse this or use it to manipulate your rankings, or else it could backfire. In fact, for some things you may want to add a “no follow.”
- Hire an SEO company–I would recommend you do the internal SEO, Major directories, and press releases yourself. Beyond that, you could always hire a professional to build/request links on your behalf, and so forth. This is expensive, but it may be a worthwhile investment if you find link buildling tedious. Just avoid anyone doing unethical practices, shady link farms, or put too much effort on things that don’t have a big impact (mostly mass directories, mass article submissions, mass blog posts, etc.). These links are not given a lot of weight (or none at all) by Google. A good SEO company will cost thousands, but it is worth it if you can make your investment right back with a profit.
That is pretty much it. If you follow those things, you should start ranking in a few months. SEO is a long process. You can’t go to being number 1 overnight. But if you are patient, invest time and/or money, and build a quality website, then you can rank very well. Depending on your competition and talent, it could takes weeks, months, years, or NEVER to rank.