I first learnt How to Build A Website aged 15 when I launched mini-laptops-and-notebooks.com; I read a lot about how mini laptops (or netbooks) were a massively growing industry, and figured that a top ranking at Google with a site about netbooks would put me through Uni.The site was a success, and within a few months I had a few hundred visitors per day and a steady income from Adsense, referring people to Amazon and oddly – wholesalers (?!)
But the more I became involved in developing my website, the more I became interested in website marketing and development. So I set up this site with a single goal in mind:
“If I were to rewind back to when I was starting out online, and could only visit ONE website on how to build a website – it would be this one.”
Despite engaging in one of the most competitive internet niches out there, I persisted to build more and more pages, developing content and inbound links, building traffic and then starting a newsletter on how to build a website. At the same time, I felt slightly depressed at playing “catch up” with the computing industries top journalists with the mini laptops site (TechCrunch, enGadget etc.). In order to free up my time and “cash in” on my efforts, I sold the mini laptops website to concentrate fully on this.
With the money, I hope to explore more and more ways to both enhance my website, and explore new and different ways to build profitable website and internet businesses. This website is the documentary of those findings.
I believe in seven truths about how to build a website and online business in general:
1) Content is King
You’ll here this echoing across the whole internet, but it is true! When people enter a query at Google, or ask a question on a forum, or search for videos on YouTube – they’re looking for a solution to there problems. That ‘content’ drives the internet. Learning how to produce quality content is essential to learning how to build a website.
Of course, good content needs to be visible and linked to. Links make the web what it is; and successful link building partnered with fantastic content will lead to…
2) Traffic Makes You Lucky
The luckiest people are the ones who roll the dice the most right? Well online, surely the luckiest people are those with the most visitors to their websites, blogs, profiles and video channels. If you’re established traffic wise, you’re far more likely to be successful, be asked to participate in something, receive advertising offers, review requests and more.
Tragically, most of the internet is without traffic – even after you’re spent hours writing a blog, or making YouTube videos or even spending thousands on an “all the bells and whistles” website, most of the web doesn’t have any traffic. I reckon, most of the time it’s simply because of ill-education. Do YOU know how to rank #1 at Google?
Content drives traffic - learning how to build a website that drives lots of targeted traffic makes the whole thing worthwhile. What's the point of having a website if no one uses it?
3) Treat People as Individuals, not just “traffic”
Addressing people individually, and by name where possible helps build credibility and trust. We all like to buy from those who we like and trust – whether they be big brands that “buy” our trust or individuals.
The step after building traffic is working hard on building relationships. Weird perhaps that people “trust” those on the other side of a computer screen, even with the anonymous nature of the web, but take a look at some big people you ‘follow’ online. Blogs, websites, profiles, subscriptions…
Here’s the thing – thousands of people will read these words you’re reading now. Thousands. How can I as an individual extend a virtual arm and begin to nurture a trusting relationship with both yourself and the thousands of other visitors to this website?
You need to learn how to build a website that builds and nurtures a relationship with it's visitors on an individual basis.
The much shouted about “Web 2.0” is essentially making the internet into a free-for-all discussion. With the advent of social media channels, blogs, forums and message boards anyone can say anything and the rest of the web community will comment. Of course, the discussion gravitates towards specific websites (cyclists will go to a cycling forum) but the principal remains the same.
Which leads me onto…
4) Being Online is about Being Found, not Preaching Your Message
Thanks to Web 2.0, social standards and ‘what is acceptable’ plays a key role in your marketing message. Simply putting up a website saying how great your firm is isn’t enough anymore (was it ever good enough?). You need to engage in the discussions online and ‘be found’ in a socially acceptable manner.
Don’t you just hate pushy salesman? Well, are you coming across as a pushy salesman online? Help and be helped – the great thing about a social web is that humans return favours.
5) The “Net” is doable – when broken down into c-h-u-n-k-s
If I asked you how to build a website and get at least 1,000 daily visitors within a year without any prior knowledge, you’d probably panic. Mammoth task right?
Break. It. Down.
If you work methodically through a process, working on each individual detail … er … in detail. I do a lot of music as well; prior to building websites I learnt to break down tasks into bitesize chunks. This was (and still is) crucial to mine and anyone elses success.
Those of you who remember Britains Got Talent (2009) – remember the finalists street dance performance. ‘Diversity’ would have spent hundreds of hours perfecting each individual move, each individual flip, the technique to send a “ripple” from the tip of your finger down your wrist, elbow, shoulder, other shoulder, along to your opposite elbow, wrist and along each joint in your finger. That kind of details takes specific time and patience. Watch this video of the final – watch for the little details:
Look at the details!
6) The Best Way to learn about how to build a website and internet business in general is...
...a good book!
When you spend your life sat in front of a computer clicking between websites and blogs looking for information, you never will fully absorb it – and even if you do, you’ll fail to put it into practice as you get distracted by ’whatever you click on next’.
A hardcopy book forces you and your computer apart and forces your attention onto it (some people need that force!) – no more distractions of updating your email or twitter profile or whatever..
A book will also explore a topic in more detail and more concisely than a collection of blog posts you might otherwise read. Furthermore, a publishing house will usually only hire true experts in the topics field to write the book – so (most of the time) you are getting practiced and specialist advice in one helpful dollop of information.
Books range from brilliantly innovative to nothing but rehashed content. I’ve read enough to distinguish some fantastic books; check out my Web Supplies Shop at the top.
Funnily enough, the authors of the best books I’ve read tend to become featured well on this site – typically, I find myself promoting those who have shown off skill and expertise in books I’ve read on this website.
7) Surround Yourself In Experts Who Speak Your Language
If you find an expert in a field you are trying to master – for example; search engine optimization, the process of ranking higher at search results – and you can understand them (i.e. they speak your language – literally as well!) then for heavens sake follow them.
I use iGoogle as my homepage and have a handful of blogs which I subscribe to via RSS and appear each time I open up a new browser window. Some of my favourites include SEOmoz, ProBlogger, CopyBlogger and StomperNet. What are your favourites?
You can get started by checking my interviews section if you’re stuck for experts. I’ve had the privilege of getting in touch of a few industry experts and grilling them on a specific topic. Interviews are always good fun!
And of course, there’s always my site! I run a newsletter – Ed’s Web Bulletin – which you can subscribe to as well. Going along with a similar theme: “If there was ONE newsletter I could subscribe to about running an online business, it would be this one”. It focuses slightly more on those who have already established a website, but is perfect for those who are learning how to build a website from scratch too - and want to have a look at some more advanced marketing techniques.
That pretty much sums up my plans for this site – below you’ll find a table of contents of some of my key articles, or you can scroll up and view more on the left navigation bar.
Of course, I always want to hear your comments – Contact Me via the links on the left and at the bottom!