I have finally decided to write this “How to Build a Website for Dummies” tutorial in response to people that I come in contact with who would like to have a website or blog. Either it is for their private use; to expand their brick and mortar business by taking it online; or earn some money online by sharing a skill they are passionate about. But sadly they are stuck.
Stuck because they don’t know how to begin; or because they have seen how much it costs to hire the services of a professional web designer.
The reality is that one does not need to hire the services of a professional. Nowadays it is very easy, and often free, to create your own website. Yes, and even very quick.
Would you believe me if I told you that you can create a good professionally looking website in 30 seconds flat? Maybe not, so let me prove it to you …
Click on the button below to watch it being done live …
Okay? Happy with that? Then let’s get on with our tutorial …
How to build a website for dummies
First of all, let me get one thing straight: This training is for everyone wanting to create their website or blog themselves, so that they have the freedom to change things around without having to pay for the very expensive fees of a professional. So, dummy or not this is for you!
But, one more quick thing … This tutorial is quite long, so I suggest that bookmark this site now as I doubt that you will be able to get everything in in one go. You might have to come back to it over a period of several days; so that you don’t to lose it, right?
And you can also subscribe to my FREE Internet Marketing course; which contains everything that need to know about marketing for your business. A free gift that is worth gold!
Just click on the banner below and sit back …
Great, so let’s get on with our tutorial as we have quite a bit to cover.
As we know, the first channel of information for customers today is the web. This is true in all trades, whether to be known by individuals or companies.
But how to go about it?
This article will answer all your questions and give you the solutions to understand how to create a website.
Before you even ask how to create a website, you must be aware that if your website is not designed to be visible on Google it will not be useful for your business. I will show you the keys to success to set up an effective digital communication and create a professional website.
Why do I have to create a website?
Website creation is only a means to a commercial approach that aims to make a company or a small business owner known all over the world.
A professional website has the ability to influence how your market and prospects view your business. First impressions count, so your website must meet the following objectives:
- establish credibility,
- create trust,
- engage visitors,
- generate leads,
- support your customers,
- facilitate sales.
Many corporate bosses or marketing executives are just putting online a website with too little thought or strategy on how this website will impact lead generation, customer acquisition, brand awareness of the brand.
Creating a website is useless without a goal and a clear strategy that helps you increase business contacts, sales, everything that helps you grow your business.
Your website is visible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, making it a valuable marketing asset. Better yet, when you have created a professional website, it costs almost nothing. It is therefore essential to create a website but it is equally essential to create this website with clear objectives.
Here are the top five reasons why you need to have a website:
1 – To establish a web presence
For businesses that have a physical location, a website allows, at very little cost, to make themselves known to prospects in areas away from their store.
If you provide a service, establishing an online presence is the most effective way to provide legitimacy while providing your target with a reference point that can be accessed at any time.
For entrepreneurs and start-ups, the website allows to test the viability of the project and can, in many cases, allow to realize a MVP (Minimum Viable Product) of your product to validate the reaction of your target and thus optimize your marketing .
Are you not convinced of the usefulness of a website to establish a presence on the web?
Some small businesses, and even large companies, make the choice to create a Facebook page and nothing more. They lose sight of the three limitations inherent in social networks:
- A message posted on Facebook has a lifespan limited to a few hours. In this interval, if it is not read, it is lost in the mass of contents published during this time and never again anybody will be able to access it. A web page published today, because it is accessible by search engines, will still be visible in 6 months, 1 year or even more.
- A Facebook page is a very standardized communication space that makes it difficult to argue. A professional website creates trust and gives your prospects confidence to take the next step: to make a purchase decision. Without an online presence on the internet, your business reduces its chances of giving this much needed business confidence.
- It is still impossible today to use social networks to sell or make appointments. To start in online sales, it is not useful to develop a complicated e-commerce website with an expensive website creation software such as Prestashop, that will in any case really belong to you. A simple page can in many cases be more than enough.
Today, an Internet presence is an essential part of business development. This is also true for any size businesses.
2 – To provide information
For example, you are selling a product or provide a service. Your prospects and your customers inevitably ask a lot of questions about your offer or even want a demonstration.
A professional website is a surprisingly effective tool to meet those expectations …
- The visualization of your offers; the detailed presentation of their features will reassure your visitors about the quality of your products,
- The creation of a blog allows you to give quality information and to answer in a precise way to the questions of your target. Better yet with your blog, Internet users will discover your company because your articles respond to concerns that worry them. Satisfied by the quality of your blog articles, they will naturally seek to know what your company does,
- A FAQ will bring your prospects closer to the act of purchase when reassuring them while dealing with any objections,
- The presentation of case study will allow a prospect to discover how your customers have purchased your product or service,
- The creation of a web page “Who are we” will reassure your visitors about the seriousness of your approach.
There are many examples that show that information is the basis of creating a pro website.
In many cases, obtaining this information facilitates the qualification of serious prospects and brings them closer to the sale. A user visits the product features web page of your business. He is certainly not there by chance. So it is time to suggest a live chat that triggers after a few seconds.
3 – To make your business visible to as many people as possible
There is simply no other form of marketing as effective as a website when it comes to making your business known. A well-built small business site will be as visible as the website of a large company giving it all its chances.
A small entrepreneur can launch his showcase site before even launching his business and take advantage of this channel to create a file of prospects and work a beginning of notoriety.
That’s exactly what I did a couple of years ago. I created this website knowing nothing about coding, seo, etc. … NOTHING! From the first day, I have benefited from visits from prospects convinced that I was a very large company.
This website (that you are reading right now) is now earning me over $5,000 a month, and growing!
After this website, I have created another one … then another two, which are both earning me commissions on the sales of Amazon products that I am reviewing.
You most likely have been tempted to become involved in some offers to promote various services such as hotel bookings; air travels; holiday packages, etc. It all sounds great as you are given a turnkey business with a free state of the art website. All you have to do is the promote it. Looks great, but you don’t own the website. It is not your business, and they have already given the exact same kit same to thousands and thousands of other reps.
The competition is therefore rather fierce, and you have zero chance of having your website ranked by Google as there are thousands of identical sites that were submitted before yours.
What can you do then? …
So, what you have to do is to spend a lot of money to promote it in order to have the least chance to make a sale. Not a profitable situation.
So again, you have to have your own website to be able to do whatever you want to do with it. To sell what you want to who you want. It must be unique so that the search engines can rank it at least in the first ten, and with time and practice, at the top, number one spot! It is not that difficult at all, once you know how …
With a well-built website you can fight against the big boys, no problem.
If you chose to go for the travel / holidays market, you can easily compete against such portals as Booking.com or Trip Advisor and be the captain of your own ship.
In the same way a site showcase of photographer will allow you to present your own work without having to pay a commission to any large companies.
It is the power of web marketing that is based on owning your website that is built with the right strategy and the right methodology to take advantage of countless opportunities.
4 – To generate leads
A website has a huge capacity to help you generate leads for your business, there is a particular process that must be followed. We call it the Sales Process. If you do not know how this works, I suggest that you subscribe to my free Internet Marketing training by clicking on the banner below …
Briefly, this is how it works …
First you communicate with you prospect to find out what may be his / her target, then adjust their argument, set up some offers, communicate with these prospects to convince them, then, turn them into customers.
Your website is a highly effective operational marketing tool. Whatever your job, your website will allow you to define your commercial indicators:
- Know the audience of a site: many tools allow you to know your number of visitors, their origin, your Google ranking.
- Get contacts and know your rate of leads / visits. A form, a newsletter module, a live chat will allow you to capture prospects emails that you can then use.
- Measure your conversion rate: prospects into customers.
This complete mastery of your sales process allows you to easily define your recruitment cost and then define your marketing and sales budgets.
How to do that?
It’s very simple: You know you have a conversion rate from visitors to X% leads and prospects to Y% customers. According to the investment made to recruit a visitor, you can define your recruitment cost.
What’s great about the internet and digital communication is that it costs nothing or almost nothing and therefore allows very small businesses, or even newbies, to develop some very effective web strategies.
Indeed you can at any time test sales pitches by modifying the presentation of a web page, doing A / B tests (A / B testing consists in presenting randomly 2 slightly different pages to measure the one that is the most effective), test arguments, etc., …
Once you have a good understanding of your recruitment costs, it becomes easy to optimize the use of your marketing budgets.
For example, a portal offers to send you qualified contacts against commissions. Test and compare if this action is more or less profitable. Same for the purchase of keywords or for an action of affiliation, ad on Facebook (Facebook Ads), …
To measure your visitors’ traffic and understand their behavior, your website is connected with Google Analytics website tools that allow you to constantly know the audience of your site and verify its position on Google.
That’s why your website is a great machine to generate leads.
5 – To generate sales
Whether you have a DIY store or a freelancer, whether you are selling a product or a service, creating a professional website is a major commercial lever.
A website operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even while you sleep.
Yet very few companies use their website to trade. As of January 2019, there were 1.94 billion websites on the Internet. However, in the US, only 28% of businesses who have a website offer online sales.
It is true that a few years ago, commerce was a little complicated. Online payment and logistics are now very easy to integrate into a website.
Whether you go through a communication agency (creating your website on WordPress most often) or you build your website yourself with a free professional website creation software like SiteRubix you just have to connect a module and in a few seconds you will have:
- An online payment tool,
- An online booking tool (for example for a hotel website),
- A planning management tool (for example for a sports coach site),
- and more …
How to create a website: the keys to success …
The simplicity of use is more important than the design!
We all tend, when creating or redesigning a website, to spend a lot of time on color choices. Yet the rules of web design have nothing in common with the rules of graphics or traditional communication.
Creating an effective website in web design involves taking into account 4 principles:
- The user wants quick access to information. In a few seconds, he will scan the web page on which the search engine brings him and decide to stay or to get out,
- In more than 50% of cases this user browses his smartphone or tablet. The small format of these media involves conciseness,
- User benchmarks have gradually imposed themselves on the internet.
For example …
- A button to access a private area is always at the top right. This benchmark has become essential because the banks’ websites work like this and we are very likely to visit them every day,
- The logo allows you to return to the home page,
- The menu (or navigation bar) is at the top of the page.
Website creation must match the expectations of search engines …
- A responsive website design optimized for mobile reading,
- Web pages that load in less than 2 seconds so that you can view them even with 3G connections,
- An url address in HTTPS.
Because of these different constraints, having a streamlined design is crucial if you want to create a professional showcase website.
You will need …
- Quality templates. A template is a template for presenting a page and can quickly create a website.
- A limited choice of colors. Web design specialists recommend 3 different colors maximum for all the web pages of your website,
- A unique font for all the site,
- High quality images. A beautiful image is at least 960 pixels wide, it must be understood in 1 second and therefore not have thousands of details,
- A menu (navigation bar) with up to 6 links to pages on your site,
- Access to all pages with up to 3 clicks (what experts call “depth”),
- Action buttons (CTA) in small numbers on each page (Maximum 3 buttons: top, middle and bottom of web pages),
- A recourse to limited flat colors. The usual practice is to write on a white background and our eye is programmed for that. Imposing color variations makes reading more complex and anything that makes access to information more complex encourages users to leave your website,
- Information modules harmoniously arranged to allow rapid transverse reading,
- Texts interspersed with titles, images, words in bold, to give a perception of simplicity of access to the info. A page can be very long, if it is justified, but the paragraphs should ideally not exceed 10 to 15 lines maximum.
In the same way, the profusion of carousels, pop up, graphic effects is rarely effective because all these elements make the navigation difficult to the surfer who comes looking for information.
Hubspot (one of the largest inbound marketing software) did a survey that showed that 76% of people say the most important feature of a website is ease of use.
This facility also makes it possible to demonstrate a form of credibility of the website concerned. Indeed, no need for graphic effects if the information is of quality.
What really matters to users?
All studies show that an effective website is a website in which …
- The information in a showcase site is organized in a logical way,
- The information is up to date. This seems obvious but how many websites have not been updated in the last 3 months: a majority,
- There are links to quality websites.
When creating your website do not hesitate to ask your customers or acquaintances about how they perceive the ease of use of your website. To avoid falling into the “I like” “I do not like” which is perfectly subjective, ask them specific questions such as …
- Have you easily found the web page that talks about my products?
- By clicking on a link did you know what you would find in the destination web page?
- Have you had all the answers to your questions?
- Have you bought (or made contact)?
After publishing your showcase site, you can analyze the behavior of your users to detect misunderstandings.
To start with, a simple reading of your Google Analytics control tool can help you detect problems.
For this in the menu on the left click on “Behavior” then “Site Content” and “All Pages”.
In the blink of an eye, you can know the number of visits to each of your site’s web pages, visit duration, and the bounce rate.
If the stakes justify it you can use professional software such as Hotjar that allow you to understand the activity of your visitors on your website.
As you will see, the wow factor can play tricks!
The effectiveness of your website depends a lot on how it is built. If you go through a web agency, confirm that it has the necessary skills to create an ergonomic and easy to use site.
If you build your website yourself, you will have the possibility to do it exactly as you want it to be. Web designer have the bad habit of designing websites, not for the user experience, but to impress their clients. And trust me, that doesn’t impress Google at all.
So again, I suggest that you …
Are there tips for Google SEO?
The referencing of a website does not come from any magic operation. Your site will be well referenced if it meets the expectations of search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. …).
First, it is computers that scan web pages to detect, in specific places, information enabling them to understand what they are dealing with.
Then, when a page is referenced, the search engines offer this page to users according to the requests they make. They analyze the behavior of the Internet users. Do they stay on the web page for a long time, browse the site, buy the product, come back? Etc.
Finally, because they are computers, they need specific rules to quickly analyze your web pages. These are the technical aspects of SEO too often underestimated.
How to well reference a website?
All SEO experts will tell you the same thing. SEO is a process that requires method, time and based on 4 distinct phases …
1 – Understand how people search
We are talking here about the famous keywords. That are the words typed by internet users on the search engines.
This is the basis of Google’s SEO which consists of you knowing all the keywords used by your target audience to find a website like yours.
Some are keywords that correspond to the phase of reflection of a customer (how to create a website, what is the price of a site, ..). They are sometimes quite far from the act of purchase but being identified on these keywords makes it possible to make yourself known by the prospects at the very beginning of their decision process.
Others are clearly used by your target audience ready to purchase the solution you are offering that will solve their problem. Using these keywords is essential when creating an effective website.
2 – Include the right keywords in the right places
Each page of your website is summarized by a title and a description (meta data). This is what you see first in the search engine results (in blue or purple for the title and in black for the description).
Each of the titles and descriptions of each of the web pages of your website must include keywords. This allows Google to understand the specific goals of each page to present them to the right people.
If this sounds obvious, the reality is that more than 50% of the websites have neither a title nor a precise description. At an internet site audit this is the first thing that SEO experts will analyze.
Then everything is about logic. A page is structured with generally a title (H1) subtitles (H2) texts and images. Keywords should be part of the titles, subtitles, at the beginning of the paragraph of text and in the titles of images or videos. It is not more complicated than that. It is just a question of method and rigor.
By doing this, you allow search engine robots to understand precisely the purpose of each page of your website and thus present them to the right people.
3 – Update your website
A website is a showcase. In the physical world it would come to no shopkeeper the idea not to update his shop window. It’s obviously the same on the internet.
Your prospects want up-to-date information, search engines focus on recent information so you have to keep updating your website.
This is job the of a blog, which is a web page news that can produce new content regularly and enrich your site.
Ideally, you should publish each week a page of at least 300 words (more if you can) and to make it known through the social networks (see paragraph below).
Of course, this implies that you are autonomous to be able to update your site, which is possible today with the site creation software that offers responsive design templates that are easy to modify.
4 – Attract Inbound Links (Backlinks)
The most essential step of any natural referencing process. Your showcase site or your e-commerce site is rich in content, regularly updated, so it is more and more visited and appreciated by Google.
This is the moment to identify the websites with which it is relevant to enter into relationship, to propose an exchange of links. Each site has a page rank (a mark expressed in index from 1 to 100). Moz SEO is a free software that lets you know the Page Rank of any website.
The challenge is to get backlinks from sites that have a higher page rank than yours.
To put it simply, if your site has a page rank of 10 (low) and a site with a page rank of 90 (very high) puts up a backlink to your profit, your life changes. Do not dream, this will not happen! Sorry to disappoint you.
It is necessary as always on the internet to work with method and to progress step by step. Aim for sites with a page rank of 20. Then as and when, 30, and so on …
Technical aspects related to SEO
Creating a responsive website is a must. Indeed, more than 50% of visitors to a website come from tablets or smartphones. This has led Google to decide not to present non responsive design websites during mobile requests. The impact on the traffic of a website can be considerable.
The responsive design consists in automatically recomposing the page templates, according to the size of the medium by which they are accessible.
If you have to redo your website, your designer will certainly charge you an arm and a leg for this service because most of the software they used at the time they created your website may not have been compatible. Meaning that it will require a complete redo!
Another good reason for you to create your website yourself …
The e-commerce sites are built in compliance with the HTTPS standard since the origin of the web. This standard is not new. What is new is that Google has decided to impose this standard on all types of websites to strengthen the security of data on the web.
If your website (showcase or blog site) is not in HTTPS, since October 2017 the Chrome browser has been displaying a warning message to visitors to your website if pages on your site contain a form to fill or a search field.
Given the content of the message, the effect is guaranteed. Your visitors will prefer not to enter your website rather than run a risk.
The goal of Google is to impose HTTPS on all existing sites. The HTTPS is a transfer protocol that encrypts data and thus provides more security for readers of your website.
Passing your website from HTTP to HTTPS is like doing a website migration.
Simply put …
3 steps are expected:
- That you modify your hosting contract to acquire a suitable SSL certificate. The cost of your accommodation may increase significantly,
- The HTTPS migration of all your web pages,
- That you check that all the plugins that are using in your website are HTTPS. Otherwise, the pages of your website will be considered insecure.
Depending on the software you use this work will be more or less complex so more or less expensive to achieve …
- Your site was built on an open source system CMS (WordPress for example, which is what I am using) In this case, if you are creating it yourself, you have nothing to worry about. It will not cost you anything. But if you went through a web agency, they will take advantage of the situation to charge you heavily for simply pressing a button on their keyboard.
- Your site was built on a CMS cloud software (a website builder like Jimdo, Orson or Squarespace). It is likely that you have realized your website independently. In this case, just like with WordPress, the HTTPS migration of your site will be done automatically so without any additional cost on your subscription.
The loading time of your web pages
It is certainly the technical element least often taken into account when creating or redesigning a website.
Google values web pages that load in less than 2 seconds to ensure a quality user experience even when mobile browsing 3G.
For your pages to be fast they must respect the technical standards of the HTML 5 language (say W3C) and you must be particularly vigilant on the weight of the images that can slow considerably the loading of the web pages.
The best way to optimize loading time is to compress your images with an appropriate software. When creating your website or blog with the free SiteRubix software, you will automatically have the state of the art plugin which allows to save between 70 and 80% of weight without any impact on the quality of the images.
There is also a software that is integrated for you to verify regularly the download speed of every page of your website and blog.
A website without social networks?
There are more than 100 social networks, the most popular are Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, Youtube. They are used by a large majority of your prospects and customers.
It is therefore relevant to create a Facebook page or to show your presence on social networks.
The benefits of being present on social networks …
1 – To develop a relationship between your company and its prospects
A website is a cold media that generates little proximity to your prospects and customers.
Conversely, social networks are emotional media through which your prospects express themselves spontaneously and directly.
For example a satisfied customer will not hesitate to give his opinion on his Facebook page or to reTweet your messages on Twitter. The criticizer will do so in the same way but you will know his opinion and can interact with him.
2 – You might enjoy the virality of social networks
Social networks are great echo chambers. They allow you to make known your offers to as many people as possible, the latest publications of your blog for example.
The principle is simple, the subscriber of your page will discover your publication and relay it to his relatives. So a person can communicate your message to dozens of other people who will do the same thing in their turn.
Of course this virality is organized and does not work suddenly.
This is where brand empathy makes sense. You are close to your customers, you use a nice tone, you put people at the heart of your communications and you will see your results soar.
Better yet, networks are an opportunity to encourage your prospects to talk about your company or your products. Organizing contests, questioning, offering benefits are all practices that encourage your target to share information about your brand.
3 – To optimize your SEO
Social networks are the natural extension of your website.
You publish content regularly in your blog, by commercial offers or in any other way, take the reflex to systematically communicate on your social networks to publicize this content. They are the demonstration of your know-how. Each new visit on a page of your website gained thanks to the shares on your Facebook page is taken into account by the search engines.
How to build an effective website – The pitfalls dummies must avoid
There isn’t really any, even dummies, are able to build an effective website that generates business. But I am quite sure that you do not fall within that category.
First and foremost it is essential to understand and accept that Google SEO takes time and work. All the promises of the type “to create a free site and instantly get on the first page of Google”, “quality backlinks for $200” are simply B.S., and should not be believed!
The challenge of your digital communication is such that it is essential that you train yourself and that you audit your website to understand where are your sources of optimization.
Then, when you master certain parts of your website or blog, start delegating them by hiring freelancers, so that you can concentrate on other parts that need your full attention.
How to build a professional website for dummies …
Creating an effective website is not complicated.
What it to be effective and boost your business is based on 3 essential levers …
- You need to know your niche, products and services very well in order to identify the arguments that will make the difference,
- A good methodology to create an effective website, work on its SEO and visualize it in the long term,
- Permanently measure of your results in order to put in place the necessary corrective actions.
Now, are you ready? …
Did I miss anything?
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this new tutorial on How to Build a Website for Dummies. If there is anything that should be mentioned and I have omitted…, we would love to hear from you.
And, if you have any questions, please use the box below and I will respond as soon as possible. If you enjoyed this article please share it socially and leave a comment below, I will highly appreciate it!
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