First of all, I want to stress the importance of having a website to make money online. If you are serious about working full time online or thinking of starting your own online business, then you would need a website.
So How do you earn money online with a website? Many ways, you can build an ecommerce store selling products, create a web directory that charges inclusion fees or build a website selling services. The most common type is a review or information website that makes money with advertisements and affiliate programs.
I have written a post about building a website back in 2009, you can read more about here. I intend to write an updated and more detailed post about how to build a successful website. Below you can find an outline of the basic steps needed to start a website.
First you need a domain name, like www.yoursite.com. The domain name for this site is www.thefunstufftodo.com. It is very important to have your own domain name. There are places where you can get free sub-domains, but they are not yours and may be cancelled any time. I want to stress again, getting your own domain name is very important for your future success, you will gain trust from your readers and customers and you will benefit from all of the backlinks pointing to your site.
Domain names are cheap, they are about $10 per year for .com domains. Godaddy is the largest online domain registrars, you can check them out here. You can also find cheaper domain names from smaller companies, like Idotz.
Once you pick a creative domain name for your website, you would need a hosting company to store your web pages. Blogger offers free hosting, but they have the right to cancel your site at any time. I know many famous blogger who got their blogs deleted from blogger. So I strongly suggest you to host your website with a reliable paid hosting company. Then Only YOU will have the permission to change or delete your web pages.
I highly recommend Hostgator. I recently switched from Godaddy hosting to Hostgator and I am very happy with the results. Godaddy is a very good domain registrar, but their hosting is not as good as the others. If you previously have your website hosted elsewhere, Hostgator will transfer your website to the Hostgator Server completely Free!
Hostgator uses the famous C-panel, which is a very easy to use control panel for web hosting. What I really like about Hostgator is their customer support. Whenever you have questions or problems, you can get help and answers Instantly via the Live Chat. The technical staffs are very experienced and friendly. They will pretty much help you with anything regarding your websites. I recently had a problem installing a directory script on one of my websites and a technical staff solved the problem in a very time efficient manner.
Once you reach the Hostgator Home Page, click “VIEW WEB HOSTING PLANS”. I would recommend you to choose the “Baby Plan”, because you will be able to host Unlimited websites with Unlimited Space and Bandwidth. But if you are Sure that you only want one website, then choose the Hatchling Plan.
Next Pick “I Currently Have a Domain Name”, and enter the domain name you registered from Godaddy or Idotz in the box. Before Pressing “Continue to Step 2″, at the bottom, Enter Coupon Code: hosting25percentoff to save 25 % on your hosting package.
The option on the left is for people who want to purchase a domain name from Hostgator. I don’t recommend this, because Hostgator’s price for domain names is higher. But if you are lazy and want to save the hassle, then register a domain name at Hostgator and You can skip Step 3 ( Point your Domain to the Hosting Server) and move on directly to step 4 (Install WordPress).
Since you purchased your domain and hosting server at different places, you need to point your domain to the hosting server, so when people type your domain name (http://www.yourdomain.com), they will arrive the web pages stored at your hosting server.
There two things you need to change at your domain registrar, one is the IP address and the other is the DNS Nameservers.
I recommend you to change the IP address first. If you purchased your domain at Godaddy, go to DNS Manager and change the IP address after “A @”. Your IP address may look like this 188.8.131.52. Change that address to the IP address shown at the side bar of the Cpanel at your Hostgator hosting account. Once you log into the cpanel at your Hostgator account, go to the bottom of the page and find the sidebar titled “Account Information”. Under “Account Information”, you will find the IP address of your hosting server. Change the IP address at your domain registrar to that address.
Next you need to change the Nameservers at your Domain Registrar. You can find the Nameserver information of your Hosting account also under “Account Information” in your Hostgator’s cpanel. Your Nameservers may look like this “ns2000.hostgator.com”
“ns2001.hostgator.com”. Change the Nameserver information at your domain registrar to these ones. Note: you have two Nameservers.
If you purchased your domain at Godaddy, Here’s a Video Tutorial to help you change the Nameservers.
Now that you have pointed your domain to your hosting server, you can start to build your website at your hosting account. WordPress is a very powerful and free web-based software which you can use to build a blog or website very easily. If you think WordPress is only a blogging platform, then you need to think again. WordPress is very capable of building all kinds of websites and many successful websites are built via WordPress.
You can install wordpress right at the Cpanel in your Hostgator account. Once you log into the Cpanel, you will see a bunch of icons. Find “Fantastico De Luxe” (the happy face icon) under the Category “Software/Services”.
Once you enter the “Fantastico De Luxe”, you will be able to find “WordPress” at the Navigation Menu at the left. Next click on “Install WordPress”. First choose the domain you want to install wordpress on and you can leave the next field “Install in directory” blank (This will install wordpress at the root directory of the domain you chose). For the “Admin access data” field, pick a username and a password. You will be using this information to log into WordPress. Next pick a nickname, a email address in case you lose your password and fill in the site name and description. Finally click “Install WordPress” and you are all done!
You can log into WordPress by typing the url “http://www.yoursite.com/wp-admin” in your browser and fill in the username and password you selected during set up.
After you log into WordPress, you will see a navigator bar at the left. I will briefly introduced the important items.
Under “Appearance”, you can change your themes. A theme is basically a website template. You can use the default template of the WordPress called “Twenty Ten” or you can change to a different design template for your website. You can browse many available wordpress themes by clicking “Install Themes” tab at the top. There are also plenty of wordpress themes on the internet.
Under Posts, you can create a new web page by clicking “Add New”. You will see a platform similar to the image below:
You can create a title for your web page and starting writing content at the field below the title. You have a visual editor and a Html editor. Use the visual editor if you don’t know any html. The visual editor has a lot of editing functions similar to those found in Microsoft Word. Play with it. You can see a preview of the webpage by pressing the “Preview Button”. When you are ready, press the blue “Publish” button and your post will be live on your website.
By Default, WordPress shows a number of the posts at the home page. This is fine if you intend to start a blog. However if you want to start a website, this is not very convenient. There is a fix for that. Go to “Settings” at the left Navigation bar and then go to “Reading Settings”. Choose the option “Front page displays a static Page”. Then create a new page which you intend to use as your home page and select that page to be at the front page.
These are the basics which should be able to help you start a simple website. If you want to go into more depth, I recommend the Book ” WordPress for Dummies”
Now that you have a basic website, you need to let visitors to find your website. You can share your new website on the major social bookmarking sites, like Facebook and Twitter. Also join major forums relating to your niche and put your website at your signature to raise awareness. You can also publish Free Press Releases about your website.
You also need the major search engines, like Google, Yahoo or Bing to find your website. I recommend you to install the plugin “Google XML Sitemaps”. You can install a plugin in WordPress by accessing “Plugins” at the navigator bar and then click “Add New”. Search the term “Google XML Sitemaps” at the search box, and after you found the plugin, click “Install Now”. Next go to “Plugins” and find “Google XML Sitemaps” and click “Activate”. This will activate the plugin which will automatically create a sitemap for your website and submit it to all the major search engines.
You can also ping all the search engines at Ping-O-Matic and let them know about your website.
If everything goes well, Google should be able to index your website in about 3 days. You can check by googling your site’s url and see if your site comes up.
Good Luck at building your website, and if you have any questions, feel free to make a comment.