It’s inspiring for me to guess that you have planned (or at least thinking) to launch your own business website. And if I’m right, a big congratulations for that! Probably you have chosen any of the online business ideas as well from my last post.
So, you are now wondering how to create the website that would provide you the platform to make money online. Relax, I’ll provide full guidance in the simplest non-geeky language.
Table Of Content
1. What Would I Learn After Reading This?
Websites can be of several types depending upon the requirement list and so do their development process. I need to make it clear first that I won’t describe those all.
I’ll provide you information on two types of websites:
- blogging site
- basic shopping website
2. Should I Rely on You?
I’m not a developer. I have learnt these from various online tutorial websites, some of my developer-friends and above all through hands on experiments. And it took almost six months for me to gain confidence on writing this website development tutorial for you.
While you also can visit those tutorial websites, the problem is mostly those are written either for novice developers or to promote particular online products and thus there is a good chance you won’t get actual guidance.
I know how frustrating it is to develop a website following those ‘tutorials’.
So, here in this post I’ll try to keep it as simple as possible – especially for those who are completely new in this task.
Still, if you face an issue at any step, never hesitate to poke me. Simply, leave a comment, and I’ll explain it exclusively for ‘you’ – if not immediately, may be a day later.
3. Do I Need Coding Knowledge?
No! As I said earlier, it’s exclusively for first timers and thus having basic knowledge of internet and desire to develop the website is enough for now. Later on when you’ll need to upgrade your website with further features to extend your business, you may need some advanced knowledge.
4. Is It Really A 10 Minute Task?
Yes it is! But, you may need little more time and the reasons could be slow internet/computer, decision making, searching images, creating content, so on. Believe it or not, if you start with those in hand, you can launch your website within 10 minutes.
5. What Do I Need to Start?
You don’t need anything special to start other than a computer with smooth internet connection and any of the popular browsers. Rest all the things are available online; you just need to search and use them.
6. Web Development Tutorial Video
Before you proceed, I would suggest to watch this video to get an overview of the system. It will help you visualise the process when you read the instructions.
7. Things That You Need to Know First
Well, there are unknown things that you will come across during the process and it is better you gather a brief about those, so it doesn’t interrupt your process.
1. Website Platform
It is the technology that we are going to use to develop the website. There are several popular technologies like WordPress, Magento, CakePHP and so on. But, WordPress is free, the simplest and most popular among them and thus I am going to describe it for you. What are the major advantages?
- It’s simple and low cost to develop a website
- Thousands of free themes and plugins are available
- Very fast, flexible, stable and SEO friendly
- Easier to maintain without coding knowledge
I am not focusing on the negative parts, as those won’t affect a startup. Still if you are interested to know, you can google it.
Domain is nothing but the address of a website – also known as URL. For example this website’s address is www.infohub.co.in. There are two parts here – 1. the domain name (also business name) that is infohub as per the example, and 2. the domain extension part, that is .co.in here. The combination of the domain name and extension must need to be unique.
You need to pay to book/register domain for your website and the amount may vary depending upon the probable demand of the domain. However, there are free domains as well out there.
Here are some important information on domain:
1) Free vs. Paid – Which is Better for Me and Why?
There are several websites like Wix, Weebly that provide you domain, hosting as well as do-it-yourself type website builder platform. But, remember, they actually provide you subdomain which means, you’ll get an address with their website-address as extension.
Didn’t get, right? Let me give an example. Say, you are building a website at www.example.com. So, if you choose ‘mydomain’ as your website name, your website address will be www.mydomain.example.com.
What’s wrong with this? First of all, it is too long to remember and looks unprofessional. Secondly, a good percentage of the SEO benefit would be shared with the main domain and so your effort would be wasted and it would become tougher to get in rank. Thirdly, they will show ads (mostly) on your website which would leave a bad impression on your visitors.
2) How Much Does It Cost to Register a Domain?
It can vary from as low as Rs.99 per month to several lakhs. You can check the price at various domain-booking websites by typing your domain name with preferred extension. If a particular name with your extension is not available or too costly, you have to try some else.
3) How to Choose The Right Domain Name?
Domain name is highly important – but for those who want to become a brand. For your startup, it’s not going to affect a lot. You always can change your domain name once it is established.
However, for those who aren’t happy with this suggestion, here are some guidance.
3.1. Keep it Short
Longer domain names are complex to pronounce, remember or type. So, a domain name with 8 to 10 characters is best. However, there are hundreds of examples where websites with longer domain names are enough popular.
3.2. Keep it Meaningful
You shouldn’t choose a website name that doesn’t make sense. For example, if you are going to sell handmade bags online, BagBazar, BagMart, CrazyBags would be better choice than something like CheckandBuy, YourStore or something like that and JohnSmith, JacknJill would be the worst. Why? Simply because, it makes better sense to your visitors. Though again, it’s up to you and no one is bothered about the name, if the site is really valuable.
4) Where to Book Domain?
There are hundreds of websites like GoDaddy, NextraOne, BigRock and so on. Simply compare the price and book. You can check for coupon codes online before you pay and if you are lucky, you can save some bucks.
3. Hosting Server
Now, you have to rent some space for your website where the files, folders and other data of your website would be stored. It’s known as hosting server. Depending upon the features the package price may vary. So, here are some of the important information that you need to know:
- Dedicated & Shared: Servers can be either dedicated or shared. While a dedicated server means the total server would be exclusively assigned for your website, a shared server is something where other websites also would be hosted. Naturally, the first type will cost more. So, I recommend you to rent shared server to start, though you must know that it somehow lacks security and speed.
- Space: This is the allotted storage space for your website. Generally, websites with video, music or lots of image need more storage space. In general, 1GB storage is enough for a blogging website, while for a shopping site, 5GB or more is preferable. However, you can opt for more space anytime by paying more.
- Monthly Visitor Limit: Mostly servers don’t allow unlimited number of visitors on low-rent packages. So, you need to consider that point while choosing your server package. Generally, I suggest ten thousand visitors per month on the beginning stage and upgrade it later if required.
- WordPress Installation: Not all servers are compatible to install WordPress. So, it needs to be configurable for WordPress. Generally they provide dedicated packages for WordPress.
Update & Backup: It’s an important feature that keeps your WordPress up-to-date and helps you to keep backup of the website and the database. In case of any hacking or mishandling issue, you can use these backups to restore your website to an earlier stage.
- Security & Performance: Though everyone claims to be the best in these cases, only few can prove that. So, you should choose from the top rated hosting providers like GoDaddy, NextraOne, BigRock etc. I don’t recommend choosing the ‘too cheap’ servers as they can badly impact on your website speed. Also, if you are planning for a shopping website, check if anyone is providing free or low cost SSL certificate (an advanced security feature) with the hosting. It’s important to provide high security to the visitors, make it trustworthy and get minor benefit on website ranking as well.
- Email: Generally, hosting servers provide free business email accounts with the package. Such business emails comes with your domain name as extension and looks like firstname.lastname@example.org. It is important to communicate with your visitors in a professional way. If the server package, doesn’t include it, you can book it separately.
8. Steps of Development
So, you have crossed half the way and now, it’s time to start the development work. Before that, let’s have a quick recap of what we have learnt (and probably completed) till now.
- Have booked domain name for the business
- Have booked the server to park the website
- Have booked the business email account (could be done later as well)
Once completed the above three steps, you would have login credentials of those which you can use to get access to c-panel (control panel). If you have purchased all three from same provider, it would be simpler to handle those.
2. WordPress Installation
Log into your server using the credentials and you’ll be landed on the dashboard. Here you need to install WordPress to setup your website. Every hosting service provider has their own interface and thus it’s not possible for me to provide the step-by-step guidance for this part.
Don’t worry! If you have chosen any of the top providers, you’ll get a very user-friendly interface with detailed guidance and probably one-click WordPress installation feature. But, if you can’t find any, you can always call the support team and they will do everything for you.
3. Choosing and Installing Theme
So, you are just one step away from seeing your website on the internet.
Regarding theme, (website design with some function) you have two options – hire a developer and create a custom design as per your dream or choose any from millions of off-the-shelf themes. Here also, you will get both paid and free themes.
1) Difference between Paid and Free Theme
As I think you aren’t ready to bear the cost a developer, I am explaining you the pros and cons of free and paid ready-to-use theme.
1.1. Free Themes
There are literally thousands of excellent themes for different types of industries and businesses which are free to use for lifetime. You will get most of the standard WordPress features and you don’t have to worry about their quality.
But, why would someone let others download and install it for free while it requires so much talent, effort and time? Well, they keep some premium features locked and those would be available to you only when you purchase the paid version. Don’t worry, the free part is enough for you and it isn’t going to hamper you startup.
But be careful! Don’t use any third-party theme which is not listed in WordPress website – they may not be reliable and might have shocking terms and conditions.
So, what are the cons of these free themes?
- You can’t make major change in the structure or code.
- You won’t get any warranty and thus if anything wrong happens, you have no-one to blame.
- Won’t get high-end traffic generating and conversion tools.
- No support from development tools.
1.2. Paid Themes
You can upgrade your free theme to premium (if there is an option) anytime, or can directly choose any of the paid themes. They are mostly superior in design and performance with lots of feature and you would get full support from their team in customising the website as per your requirement or fixing an issue.
The price of a theme may vary from few dollars to several hundred, depending upon the functionalities. Keep in mind that apparently two similar looking site may have huge difference in functionalities and so do their price. So, don’t choose a website just by checking the preview. Read their documentation in details to know about those.
4. Installing and Activating A Theme
So, you have shortlisted a couple of designs; checked their live preview a lot of times; but aren’t sure which one would be better, right? Don’t hesitate; install any of those. You can replace them at any point of time with least risk of data loss or any other issue. So, finalise any one and proceed.
Just click the install and activate button and you are done. Congratulations! You have successfully launched your business website!
Didn’t it appear as you saw in the preview of the demo? Is it looking like a basic WordPress website with no structure other than a text “hello world!”? Don’t be upset. You haven’t been fooled neither have done any mistake.
The installed theme doesn’t include any text or images of the showcased theme and thus no section is appearing. As you fill them up with proper content, gradually it will come into its shape.
5. Customising the Theme
So, how to put content (text, image, audio, video etc.) into your website? How to make it market-ready? Well, there are some steps still and you shouldn’t hurry in this part and it will depend upon how your strategy to earn money online.
Take your time, customise the website in a way that best suit your business, create compelling content, fix the on-page issues and then inform the world.
So, how to customise? Well, log into website’s control panel by typing www.example.com/wp-admin (replace example.com with your website’s name) on the browser. You’ll land on the dashboard of your website. Note, now onwards, you’ll seldom require to log into the server’s c-panel and more on this website’s c-panel.
On the left panel, you’ll get several options and we are going to use theme one after one to make your website ready for the world.
- Menu: Here you can add, edit or remove the items in your website’s menu bar. Whether it is a blog site or a shopping site, you should have some of the major pages/categories like Home, About, Products, Services, Contact etc. whichever is relevant to your business.
- Pages: Pages are something static type with textual or other type of content, which aren’t supposed to get revised/updated regularly. These pages are extensions of your main domain like in this website the About Us page URL is www.infohub.co.in/about.
- Categories: Apparently it looks like a page; however, it can showcase multiple individual content/post under a category. For exampe in this URL www.infohub.co.in/category/investment/ Investment is a category and there can be unlimited posts under this category. Whenever you create a post, you can select one or multiple categories for the post and that would be shown under all those categories.
- Post: A post can be a combination of text, image, audio and/or video and you can add a post through this section in the left panel. You can format the text using both formatting tools and HTML code.
Too many work? Probably. But, you don’t have to complete all these in a single day.
Rather, you should take time to create valuable, engaging and simple-to-grab content for the Pages first. Once you are done with the Pages, you can start writing blogs for the different categories. It’s a ongoing endless process where you need to keep posting new content regularly.
You may like to read: Best Investment Plans for Middle-Class People
6. How to Convert My WordPress into Shopping Site?
So, you want to sell products through your WordPress, right? And you have selected an ecommerce based theme for the same, right?
But, you must know that WordPress isn’t the right platform for ecommerce website development. It’s good for startups and I recommend people to upgrade it to Magento or other high-end platforms as your business grows to get advanced features and functions. For the time being, it’s fine.
There are plugins like WP e-commerce which can be used to get the basic and some advanced shopping site features. How to do that? Simply go to the left panel of your WordPress dashboard > Plugins > and then Add Plugin.
In the search box on the top right corner, type WP e-commerce and it will appear in the search result below.
Just click on the Install button and once installed click the Activate button. It should be added in the left panel immediately where you can customise it as per your requirement.
9. How to Improve My Infant WordPress Site?
Well, there are lots of things still you can do with your website to improve its look and feel, performance and security. Also, you need to work on SEO parameters to make the site more search engine friendly.
But, for the moment, you focus on the core things – that is enriching the website with useful content. Soon I’ll publish another post on how to improve your WordPress website to make huge money online.
10. How Do I Get Sales?
Now, this is the million dollar question! Even the giant shopping sites or reputed bloggers aren’t happy with their sales.
Don’t worry! You aren’t trapped, neither I have wasted your time. Internet is an endless ocean where you always can find millions of potential customers and generating Rs.20,000 to Rs.50,000 profit per months is never a big deal.
While you can go for a thorough search engine optimisation process or choose ad campaigns, I suggest people to utilise social media platform first. It’s free and highly effective and you can track the progress live.
Once you successfully achieve a minimum sales target, I’ll tell you how to multiply it through simple optimisation process.
Eager to know how you can generate sales through social media? Don’t hurry. I’ll post a detailed guide on that soon. Till then do some experiment with your brand new website and prepare it to for a bigger battle.
I promise to help you take your website to the next level and that too without paying a penny to the professionals!
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