Website Building Tips
So... you've made the brave decision to get into this internet craze and create your own online business and make enough money to retire early.
Or maybe you're already retired and facing a bleak future on Social Security.
Or a student wondering how you're going to afford your college tuition without going into crippling debt.
One thing all of these scenarios discover sooner or later is that it isn't as easy as they thought it would be. Hey, that's OK. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it, right?
There are a few things you have to get right. I have a book that might help. It's called The 4 Things You Must Know (to make money while you sleep). It's totally free and you can get it at Internet Marketing FAST.
But one of the first "techo" things you'll run into is the necessity to build a website.
Is it difficult to build a website? Not really.
Is it difficult to build a GOOD website. Ahh... Yes it is.
So that's what this article is all about. Tips for building a website. This assumes that you already know what your website is going to be all about (your niche) and you're looking for guidance on how to actually build the site. Here it is:
- Use WordPress as your website creation platform.
- Use a reliable, fast, ad-free web host to host your website.
- Install a good-looking, fast-loading, feature-rich theme.
- Install a drag and drop page and post editor.
- Get a reliable autoresponder to collect your visitors' contact details.
- Create a Lead Generation offer (AKA opt-in/giveaway/bribe) and connect to your autoresponder.
- Create your legal pages and link to them from your Footer menu.
- Create your Home, Blog, About and Contact pages and link to them from your Header menu.
- Create Landing Pages for your affiliate links.
- Publish Blog Posts pointing to your landing pages.
If you'd like to learn about an easy way to get started, check out How to Start an Online Business for Free here.
1. Use WordPress as your website creation platform.
From its start in 2003 as a blogging platform, WordPress has developed into the most popular base on the internet on which to build a website.
In fact, some 42% of all websites on the entire internet use WordPress as their content management system.
The reasons are simple.
Compared to other website development tools, WordPress is (relatively) easy and straightforward to use. And there is a lot of documentation to educate you on how to use it.
There are also a huge number of plugins for WordPress. Plugins are additional features that have been created by third-parties to extend WordPress's functionality. They are one of the reasons behind WordPress's success and popularity. Some are free, some are paid and many are free, with an optional paid upgrade for additional features.
Don't, however, fall into the trap of thinking it's trivial. I've seen plenty of people become totally lost trying to build out their WordPress website and eventually give up and I've seen others who managed to build something that looked seriously awful and had zero chance of becoming the storefront for a successful online business.
Your best chance of avoiding these pitfalls is to follow the remaining 9 tips in this article.
2. Use a reliable, fast, ad-free web host to host your website.
Do you understand what a web host is?
Your website consists of a large number of files that need to be stored on a network of large, fast, powerful computers connected to the internet. Those computers are owned and managed by a company. They are your web host.
As well as hosting your website, your web host will run software that you can use to create and maintain your website.
You will have a username and password that allows you to log in to your website and create pages, blog posts and menus, along with uploading files and using many other facilities.
I trust you can see that selecting a reliable, fast, ad-free web host is vital to your business success.
Here's the first rule: Don't use a free host.
Even installing one will bombard you with ads and even if you manage to build a website, it will be slow, unreliable and quite possibly bombard your visitors with ads as well. It's just not something that you want your business reliant on. As in most things, you get what you pay for.
I use two web hosts. I have 10 websites hosted on one and 15 more hosted on the other. I am more than happy to recommend both and explain the differences here.
Wealthy Affiliate is primarily a learning platform that teaches you how to do affiliate marketing, but they will also host your websites at no extra cost. Their training is easy to follow and comprehensive. I believe that there's nothing better on the internet. You can join for free and upgrade to Premium when you are ready to take it to the next level. Premium membership costs you just $19 for the first month and then $49 per month for as long as you remain a Premium member.
I have a special offer going at the moment where if you click on this link Free Website Build and enter your details, I will build your initial website for you if and when you decide to go Premium after joining Wealthy Affiliate for free.
SiteGround is a dedicated webhost that is most suitable for those not looking for training, just a fast, reliable web host with awesome support. In other words, someone who already knows how to build a website for an online business and just needs someone to host it. Click on this link SiteGround for current pricing. SiteGround has a number of plans, but I would recommend GrowBig. It's only slightly more expensive that StartUp and allows you to host unlimited websites.
3. Install a good-looking, fast-loading, feature-rich theme
All WordPress websites display their information through a Theme, which governs the look and feel of the site when it's shown to a visitor. This makes the choice of a Theme very important.
I'm going to recommend two themes here, one being part of an entire suite of themes and plugins and the other a stand-alone theme.
The first is Thrive Theme Builder, which is part of the Thrive Suite. If you install the Thrive Suite, this will also take care of the technicalities of Items 4, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 below.
Thrive Theme Builder allows you to build a theme by following a Wizard that gives you full control over how your pages, posts and menus appear. And it only takes a moment to make a global change that ripples across your whole website instantly. Here are just some of my websites that use Thrive Theme Builder.
This one that you're in now Super Affiliate Challenge
You can see that all of these sites have a different look and feel, yet all were built using the Thrive Theme Builder.
Thrive Theme Builder is just one part. With the Thrive Suite, you get an ecosystem of conversion focused tools that all work seamlessly together to help you start and grow your online business. This costs $299 for a full year's access to all of the tools, including updates, that you can use on up to 10 websites.
Click here Thrive Suite to find out more.
But if all you want is a Theme, one of the most popular is Generate Press. I can't really vouch for it, because I use Thrive Theme Builder, but I've heard lots of good things about Generate Press. It's available as a free version, but I've also heard that you must upgrade to the paid version if you're serious about your website. This costs $59 for a year or $249 for lifetime access.
4. Install a drag and drop page and post editor
Your website needs an editor that you use for anything you want to build on the site, including pages, posts and menus.
WordPress provides two editors, the original Classic Editor, which was replaced by the Block Editor.
Both can be difficult and clunky and I don't use them. I use Thrive Architect, the visual drag and drop editor that is part of the Thrive Suite.
People who have struggled to achieve something with the WordPress block editor weep with pleasure when I show them how easy it is with Thrive Architect.
Have you noticed how the text flows around the images in this blog post?
It's just a matter of dragging the image element in Thrive Architect, dropping it where I want it to appear in the post, setting its properties such as size, then dragging the text element under it and setting its properties to float around the image. Couldn't be simpler!
There are 47 elements that you can drag and drop into a page of post, including simple ones like columns, tables, image galleries, texts and buttons to more complex ones such as contact forms, lead generation forms for collecting your visitor's name and email address and storing them in your autoresponder's database, custom menus, videos and custom HTML.
There are also 67 different pre-formatted content blocks that you can use to add more interest to a post or page with almost no effort.
Along with multiple integrations with other site data, such as user profile, login & registration, quizzes and testimonials to make interaction with your users really shine.
And remember, this is just one of the tools you get with the Thrive Suite.
5. Get a reliable autoresponder to collect your visitors' contact details
You MUST have an autoresponder and at least one lead generation page connected to it in order to have a serious business.
This is because one of the few assets that an online business owns is its email list. The list includes both prospects and customers and is the major source of your future income.
Autoresponders are provided by 3rd party suppliers and engender a monthly cost, though most have an introductory free period or even one that remains free for under a certain number of members.
Here are some of the most popular ones:
AWeber, along with GetResponse, is one of the oldest autoresponders running. It still remains popular but some would regard its interface as starting to show its age.
GetResponse, along with AWeber, is one of the oldest autoresponders running. It still remains popular with its proponents claiming that its interface is superior to AWeber's.
A bit of a messy interface but free up to a certain number of users, so popular with start-ups on a tight budget.
Active Campaign is the autoresponder I use and recommend. Its deliverability is the best available and I can easily build the sort of targeted emails that I need for my businesses. I also find its interface much clearer and easier to use than others.
For a more detailed look at some of the autoresponders, please see The Best Autoresponders to Use.
6. Create a Lead Generation offer (AKA opt-in/giveaway/bribe) and connect to your autoresponder
Connecting to your autoresponder is dead easy if you have the Thrive Suite.
You obtain a number called an API (Application Program Interface) which you get directly from your autoresponder and paste it into your Thrive Dashboard. That's it. Your website and your autoresponder are now connected.
To create a Lead Generation offer, you drag the Lead Gen element in Thrive Architect and drop it into your page or post where you want it to appear, choosing from one of the designs provided. The in the form's Properties, select the list you want to send the visitor's details to and what you want to happen next. Typically, they'll be sent an email with a link to download the promised gift. This is easy to set up and runs automatically once you've done so.
7. Create your legal pages and link to them from your Footer menu.
Or you can use a plugin.
I use one called WP Legal Eagle. Unfortunately, it appears to be no longer available, but if you go to Plugins >> Add New and do a search for "legal pages", you will find some to choose from.
When I did this, my attention was drawn to three on the first page that had 5-star ratings with 1,00,000+, 300,000+ and 20,000+ active installations, so any of these would probably be OK.
The way these generally work is that you enter information about your site once and then you can use the plugin to generate legal pages personalized with the site information you entered.
These are created as regular pages so you can use the WordPress menu options to add them to your Footer menu. This is particularly easy if you have built your site with Thrive Theme Builder from the Thrive Suite.
8. Create your Home, Blog, About and Contact pages and link to them from your Header menu.
There are some essential pages that your website must have before you can get to the fun part of writing blog posts and promoting affiliate products. These will appear on your header menu.
While it's possible to use your blog roll as your home page, it's not something I recommend. I believe that it's better for your long-term business to use a static page that promotes your brand and builds trust in it. You will, of course, have a Blog page that shows your ever expanding blog roll, and both of these will appear in your header menu.
The Thrive Theme Builder makes it easy to create such a structure, with separate templates for the active home page, the blog roll, individual blog posts and individual pages, as well as many others and the ability to create your own.
Then you have an About page to describe either your brand or yourself and why people should trust you (enough to buy from you) and a Contact page containing a form (a drag and drop element in Thrive Architect) that a visitor can fill in and get an email response from you.
To see these elements in practice, go to Super Affiliate Challenge and check out the Header Menu:
- The Home page, which contains a video to watch and a Lead Generation giveaway.
- The Blog page, which shows a summary of posted blogs. Click on any one to see the full blog post.
- Drop Down menus showing Products, Courses and Free Stuff.
- The About Me page, containing a sign-up form.
- The Contact Me page, containing a contact form, sent to my email address when someone fills it out.
All of these pages were created using templates built in to Thrive Theme builder and could be changed at any time for an immediate update.
For a contrast, check out Dog Master Training, where the home page contains two Lead Generation Giveaways and Cycling Fitness Guide, whose home page shows a photograph slider and a product of the week with a countdown timer.
These were all created by the combination of Thrive Theme Builder and Thrive Architect.
All, at the risk of repeating myself, available as part of the Thrive Suite.
9. Create Landing Pages for your affiliate links.
As an affiliate marketer, your vendor will provide you with affiliate links to include in your website. When your visitor clicks on one of these, they will be taken to the vendor's site and if they make a purchase, you are credited with the affiliate commission.
Most affiliate marketers include these links directly in their blog posts, but that's not the best way to use them
You need to create Landing Pages.
What is a Landing Page?
A landing page is a page devoted to promoting one thing. It could be your free lead generation, an affiliate link to one specific product or something else.
But it's goal is to get the visitor to click on the link, so its focus is just that. If it's an affiliate link, its text and images will be devoted to pre-selling the product.
Often, it will be set up with no other distractions and so will not include menus which could distract your visitor into going somewhere else. In other words, your visitor has one simple, clear choice. Click on the link or leave. Your goal is to make the landing page so attractive that clicking on the link is the preferred alternative.
It's called a landing page because you will publish blog posts and/or create ads for the specific product that point directly to the landing page, rather than to your website's home page.
Thrive Architect has a large number of Landing Page Templates that you can import and then personalize to suit your needs.
If you're thinking of using your new website to become an affiliate marketer, you've probably got lots of questions. Fortunately, I've got lots of answers at Affiliate Marketing: Your Questions Answered.
10. Publish Blog Posts pointing to your landing pages.
Once you've created your landing page(s), you need visitors to... well, land on them.
The paid way to do this is via ads, such as Facebook Ads or Google Ads, but the free way is to write blog posts that contain links to the landing page and get them ranked on the search engines such as Google and Bing. This requires keyword research.
You pick a sub-category (or a pain point) for the product you're promoting, find relevant keywords with high traffic and low competition and build a blog post around it, leading up to a solution, which is the link to your landing page.
This also overcomes the issue that autoresponders can assign lower importance to blog posts containing affiliate links. In this case, your blog posts don't contain an affiliate link. They contain an internal link to your landing page.
The best training you can get on using blog posts to advance your online business is available from Wealthy Affiliate.
If you follow my recommendations from this article, you will have the most awesome toolbox available to create and advance your online business. They're not free, but realistically you shouldn't expect to create a successful business without some investment.
And the cost is trivial compared to starting a bricks and mortar business. You'd have to invest hundreds and thousands of dollars to start a café or buy an existing one, for instance.
So here's your recommended toolbox:
and remember, if and when you upgrade from the free Wealthy Affiliate membership to Premium or Premium Plus, I will create your first website for you.
So what are you waiting for?
Thanks for this educating article on how one can easily build a functional website. Honestly, I wish I had knowledge of these simple tips before now. I’d have started my own website since then and would have achieved a lot by now. Well it’s never to late for me to start something using these tips.
You’re welcome, Nelson. The important thing is to make a start and then follow these ten guidelines to ensure that your website is effective.
This article has been so helpful for me right now. I’m busy building out my site and really have focused on writing as much content as I can weekly. Do you have any suggestions on which AI program to use for content creation? I will find that useful when I start building more sites as I wont have the time to right for all. The auto responders you listed I bookmarked as that is my next step in my site process. Also thanks for talking about landing page I was a bit confused about it but now I see its a better way to promote the affiliate.
Keep helping us digital entrepreneurs!
Thank you, Janine and I’m very glad that you found the article useful. I’m sorry that I can’t recommend any AI software for content writing. I intensely dislike using software of any kind for writing, including spinners. However, I am about to write a new article on a formula for writing blog posts and will update this comment when it’s done. I hope you find it useful.
This is a very interesting and educational article. I enjoyed the read. I also understand the term landing page much better. Generate Press is my theme for now, however the Thrive Theme Builder looks promising. I might check it out in the future.
I think my next step is to get autoresponder, but I need the traffic first. Do you have any tips?
Thank you, Lolita and I’m pleased that you found the article both interesting and educational. Landing pages are a great concept to get your head around. As soon as I get a new affiliate product, I build a landing page for it, containing the affiliate link. Quite aside from anything else, this saves me from having to retrieve the affiliate link every time I want to promote the product. There’s just the one destination and it’s a page on my website, so easy to find… also easy to keep improving over time, with just the one place to add more compelling reasons for the purchase. You can check my landing page for Wealthy Affiliate if you like.
You should install an autoresponder ahead of getting traffic, so that you are ready to start building your list. MailChimp is free to start and you can always migrate your list to a more sophisticated autoresponder such as ActiveCampaign later. MailChimp has a reputation of not liking affiliate links in the emails they send, but if you link to your landing pages, that’s not an issue.
I am a super fan of WordPress. It’s so simple to use and covers everything. What I found helpful are the plugins. Some plugins allow me to get analytics for my website as I love to know what part of the world people is reading my content.
After reading this post I will be signing up to Mailchimp to elevate my business further.
This was a great post with a lot of helpful points for new and existing website builders.
I’m glad that you found it useful, Michael. When I started building websites back in the day, most people were coding them direct using html, a lengthy and error-prone task. Then along came html editors like Dreamweaver, which made the whole process much faster. But WordPress totally changed the game with its underlying structure, simplified interface, on-going updates and pretty much error free. And then they opened up to plugins, which allow you to do pretty much everything you might want to. I’m a huge fan of the Thrive Suite, which gives me a Theme Builder to build exactly what I want in terms of structure and Thrive Architect, simply the best drag and drop editor available for WordPress. Best of luck with MailChimp. I prefer ActiveCampaign, but must admit I still have a free MailChimp account.