How to Make a Website For Fun or ProfitPosted on October 9, 2013 by
If you want to sell/educate/entertain/enlighten/etc. just about anything to anyone in the world these days, you can and should have a website. No matter what you do, you will be able to reach and communicate with anyone you desire with this incredible tool.
But how do you make one? What do you put on it? What do you say?
And how do you add those cool videos and funny pictures of cats on there that everyone loves?
Yes, these are the questions I often hear people ask. And today, I’ll do my best to answer them for you!
To begin, you need to ask yourself: WHY do I want a website, and WHAT will I be doing with it?
Well, I’m happy to say that I have the answer for you, and that answer is: “It depends.”
For example, if you’re running a local business, you obviously want to have things like: A description of what you do, the benefits attached with your products and/or services, information on how to contact you, and maybe a special discount/promotion you can offer them (TIP: Get their name and email address in exchange for the promo/offer), and a few other things.
If you’re just making a living testimony to your cat, you might want to throw up a few pictures or videos of the fuzzy feline, along with some crazy comments if you like.
But since you’re reading this article in a Real Estate publication, I’ll just assume that you want to do something with your website that’s related to buying and/or selling houses, ok?
Now, there’s actually a LOT of different ways to create a website. But it basically comes down to two main options. You either: 1. Do it yourself, or 2. Have someone do it for you.
TIP: If you have more TIME than MONEY, you’ll probably lean towards #1.
If you have more MONEY than TIME, you’d want to choose #2.
And if you think that you can get by without a website, you’re probably not even reading this article because you are too busy listening to your 8-track tape collection. Or watching a movie on Betamax.
So let’s start by talking to the “Cheap Charlies” out there who want to do it themselves. Of course, if you DO want to Do It Yourself (DIY), you’ll save a lot of money, but I have to warn you: There’s a potentially BIG learning curve in the road ahead for you, my friend. :)
So let’s get started! The next choice you have: You can create a website for FREE or go the PAID route. There’s pros and cons to both, so let me mention a couple of those for you.
The FREE Website Option:
Pros: It’s FREE (duh); You’ll have several pre-formatted templates to choose from; Creating them is a relatively simple and straightforward process; lovely way to learn how.
Cons: You may have some other company’s annoying ads on there (which you may or may not get paid for); You’re limited with what you can do; You don’t truly OWN the site – THEY do; Your domain name will most likely show as a subdomain on this other company’s URL (ex: www.YourSite.TheirSite.com), and that shows the world that you don’t own this site, and that’s potentially bad for business. (But great for cats if that’s what you’re doing!)
The PAID Website Option:
Pros: You OWN it – it’s yours; You’ll have more credibility; You’ll have more options on what you can do with it and what goes on it; you’re in control.
Cons: You need to pay a little bit (not much, normally); It may be a bit more difficult to set up initially (as you’re learning how).
So now that we have that out of the way, are you ready to get your feet wet and get started?
Here’s a Few Places You Can Get Started For FREE:
http://www.blogger.com – by Google.
http://www.wordpress.com – Very powerful and can also be used as a blog.
They all have templates/layouts/themes to get you started.
There are many other options out there, but these are some of the most popular.
Any of the options above can easily get you going in the right direction.
The first thing you’ll need to do (after picking one – or all – of the options above) is to create an account with one of these providers. That’s pretty simple – you’ll just need to fill out an online form and provide simple things like name, email, etc.
After that, you’ll go select the layout you’d like to use. This is where things can get confusing, simply because you’ll have SO many options from which to choose. My suggestion is to simply start out by finding a website that you like and model that style and layout. Note that I said MODEL, not COPY!
The next thing you’ll need is the WORDS and the IMAGES you’d like to have on your site. As simple as this sounds, it can actually be very challenging when first starting out, as you may not be clear with the message you’d like to share. So again – look for a site that does what you want to do and get some ideas from there.
When it comes to the images, it’s important to consider only using images that you have the RIGHTS to use. This is usually found in the Creative Commons licensing information. If you don’t have your own images/pictures to use, then a good site I’d suggest is www.istockphoto.com – you can buy images there for a decent price.
A note about the words and content you put on your site: It’s vitally important to consider writing your content around the essential KEYWORDS of what you’re target audience is searching for. For example, if you’re writing about how someone can SELL a HOUSE, you probably wouldn’t write the page content about how much you love to play with your little Scruffy-kins Siamese cat! They (usually) just don’t go together.
So Here’s What To Do Now (Your Assignment):
Get online and do a search for the keywords you’d like to target. For example, “Sell your house in Atlanta,” and see the results you get back. Find a website that looks good to you and look at what is said there and the types of images they use. Take notes.
Next, go to one of the free sites I suggested above and set up an account. Then look for a style you think is similar to the site you saw. Start to write the information and add the images that work with it, then publish the site.
Congratulations – You’ve now set up your first website. It only took you a few hours and it was free!
So go get started on that assignment now, and be sure to read next month’s article, when I’ll show you a few tricks on how to get started with the Paid Website option. After all, if you’re in the real estate business, you want to look professional and have that credibility, right? Meow!
Until Next Time,