For many entrepreneurs, learning how to make a website is a very scary and overwhelming task. Most people don’t know where to start, what questions to ask and they don’t understand the process. So if you are thinking of creating your own website (or having one created for you), here are the short answers for the most popular topics on this website.
This section is great for people who like to skim over information before jumping in completely.
1. Can I create a website without a topic?
Sure you can, but you shouldn’t. The best way to attract visitors is by having a clear message directed to a targeted audience. Read more about finding a niche or topic.
2. Do I really need a website?
If you consider the benefits, the answer is pretty clear:
- Save time – Don’t spend hours on the phone, direct customers to your website, where you can provide all the information they need. Whether it be your product or service list, pricing, business hours or simply directions to your bricks and mortar shop.
- Save money on advertising – Instead of paying for large ads, simply advertise your website
- Be flexible in your message – Change the content as your business changes. No need for expensive brochure or flyer reprints.
- Save money on postage – Email customers news about your products instead. It doesn’t cost you anything.
- Gain exposure to new customers – You will reach more local clients as well as interstate and global markets.
- Have a more professional image – Keep up with the times and your competitors. If your clients are asking whether you have a website, now you can answer “I will tomorrow”.
- Have your business open 24/7. Provide customers information when THEY need it. If you don’t someone else will.
Read more about my top 10 reasons you need a website.
3. How much does it cost to create a website?
It really depends on the results you want to achieve. But the prices can fall between $10 on up. Read more about how much it costs to get started.
4. How much time does it take to create a website?
Typically you can expect to be up and running with 24-48 hours (or less), but organizing your site, creating content and adding a few bells and whistles can take much longer and really depends on your desire to get it done. Read more on how long it takes to get started.
5. What is a domain name?
A domain name is like a street address or telephone number. The domain name points visitors to you on the Internet. The domain by itself is not your email or web address. The domain name, however, forms the base from which these addresses are derived.
6. Do I need to register a domain name to have a website?
The simple answer is NO. You do not need to have your own domain name. Your website can be created and hosted without it. The only advantage of not registering a domain name is that you will save yourself a few dollars, however I would not advise this option.
7. How do I find out if my domain name is still available?
Once you have decided on the domain name that you would like to register, you need to check if it is available through a domain name registrar like Hostgator.
8. What do I do if my domain name has been registered by someone else?
PANIC! Just kidding!!! If your domain is taken, there are a few tips available to find another one. Read more on how to search for domain names.
9. How do I buy a domain name?
10. What’s a web hosting company? Do I need one?
A web host is a company that provides server space for your website. You can think of a web host as a commercial building. The web host provides space for your website just as a commercial building provides space for your shop or office. You can build your own building and you can host your own website, but because of the cost and expertise required it is easier to rent the space. Without a web hosting company, nobody will be able to see your website. Read more on hosting or purchase a plan.
11. Should I choose free website hosting?
Typically no. Paying for you own hosting is the only way to ensure you are in control of your website. The cost is relatively cheap and it is a small price to pay to be in control. However there are instances where using a free hosting is a good choices. (see Make a Free Website or Blog)
12. How should I choose a hosting provider?
There are a number of things you should look for in a hosting provider, but at the very least they should offer customer support 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. There are also a few other features you can consider including webspace, bandwidth, email accounts, MySQL databases and reasonable pricing. Read more about hosting features here.
13. What should I expect to pay?
Hosting should cost no more than a cheap lunch. Expect to spend around $10 or less a month for basic hosting services. Ten dollars sounds cheap but you actually get more than enough features to get started and you can always upgrade later. Read more about how much this should cost.
14. What’s the difference between “Shared” hosting and a “Dedicated” Server?
Shared hosting is when several customers’ websites are hosted on one server or machine. A dedicated server is when you are the only customer on the server. You have full control over the server, and you can place as many websites on it as you like. The only websites on your dedicated server are yours.
Most individuals use shared hosting, since it’s much more affordable for those just starting out.
However, shared doesn’t mean other people can access your code or tamper with your files or anything. It just means that, behind the scenes, other websites are being hosted on the same server, but only you with have access to your website files. Read more about hosting.
15. Can I upgrade my hosting plan later?
The host you choose should allow you to upgrade your plan for free. You shouldn’t need to do anything more than make the request and pay the additional cost. Your provider will handle the technical aspects.
16. What’s the easiest way to build a website?
The easiest way to build a site and get online quickly is to use a site builder or install a content management system, like WordPress or Joomla. Most webhost providers offer these systems free with your plan. Read more about building your site or browse a few tutorials.
17. What skills are required to build a website?
Well not much. There are tons of tutorials available on Brand Build Sell, for people just like you and new to the web (and we will be adding more every month). You don’t need to be a computer junkie in order to build a website, but you should be familiar with a bit of terminology and the basics of how to get started.
18. Do I need to be good at designing or programming?
No not at all! Years ago you needed to be a little tech savvy to get started but now there are so many free resources available, you will honestly be overwhelmed by all the great choices you have. Get started by viewing some of our tutorials or taking a look at a few resources available to get you started.
19. What types of websites can I create?
20. What is the difference between a blog and a website?
The main difference is simple. A blog is a type of website, but all websites aren’t blogs. Just like a Hummer is a kind of SUV, but all SUV’s aren’t Hummers. Most people will agree that a website is more static and harder to update and a blog is dynamic and easier for newbies. In my opinion, the best websites combine both, static easy to find information and a blog. Blogs have also been known to be extremely search engine friendly, more so than standard websites. Read more about the differences.
21. How do I choose a design for my website?
Of course the ideal situation would be to hire a web designer to do all the dirty work for you. But here at Brand Build Sell, we understand that time is short and money isn’t in abundant supply, so I suggest using templates.
There are many templates or pre-set designs available on the web. Most of which are easily customizable and either free or very affordable. Plus if you do have a little extra money, you can pay a designer as little as $50 to make some minor changes to make the template truly your own. Check my list of favorite template providers and freelancers or my section of free website templates.
22. How do I ensure my website is customer friendly?
Provide an easy to use navigation system highlighting your sites more important information. Don’t go overboard on special effects or backgrounds. Create awesome content that is clean and professional. Read about a few more tips to make sure you get return visitors.
If you want a professional website, things to stay away from include:
- Flash intros, revolving globes, beveled line separators, animated mail boxes
- Loads of pop up or pop under boxes
- Autoplay music. Allow your customer to play music only if they choose.
- Hit counters of the free variety, which say “you are 27th visitor”
- Date and time stamps, unless your website is updated daily or weekly
- Busy backgrounds.
Learn more about making your site user friendly.
23. What pages should I include my website?
Before you start thinking about what to write on each page of your website, it is important that you create a plan, which lists all the pages you wish to include. Below is the short list of the most commonly used pages:
- Home Page (First Page)
- Products / Services
- Contact Us
- Testimonials / Product Reviews / Before & After
- Frequently Asked Questions
Take a look at the full list of common website pages to see how your site compares.
24. How can I sell products online?
There are many options to sell products online. Some solutions you can manage yourself, others you can have someone else manage. There are too many options to consider for me to give you a short answer, but you can read more about them here.
25. How do I collect payments?
Once you have a shopping cart or eCommerce store setup you will need to configure a payment processor (or online merchant account). A payment online payment processor (such as PayPal, Authorize.net and 2CO) accept money on your behalf, from people shopping on your site and securely transfer your money to your account – minus any applicable service fees. Instructions on how to get started will be provided within your online store admin area. Read more on collecting payments online.
26. How can I get my website listed on search engines? Should I pay for a service that does this for me?
Every search engine allows you to submit your website (or sitemap) FREE of charge. So to make sure your site is actually being submitted, I suggest you do it yourself. But overall the #1 method of getting your pages into search engines is to provide great content around topics of your knowledgeable about. It’s hard work, but honestly there are no shortcuts and since the rules are always changing to fight against spammers.
Lastly, always beware of anyone or any company guaranteeing positioning in any search engine, because they are selling LIES! Read more about growing your traffic.
27. How can I make money online?
There are two main ways – sell a product or promote a product. Selling a product is self-explanatory but promoting a product can mean many different things. The product can be information, your services, other people products and services and much more. Read more about ways to make mone online.
28. I don’t have a product to sell, can I still make money?
Well of course. What you need to be searching for is Affiliate Marketing. Affiliate marketing is when you promote or item to your visitors (you don’t own or even touch) and receive a commission based on a completed sale. Many small companies offer affiliates programs to help promote their products and earn you some cash. Some ore familiar companies who make money based on affiliate sales are Avon and Mary Kay. Read more about affiliate marketing.
29. What’s the deal with really cheap web designers/developers?
Usually cheap web designers/developers are either new to the business, looking to establish a clientele, students in school, moonlighting or overseas. I am a fan of outsourcing regardless of where they are located, however you need to be a step ahead of your contractor. These people aren’t on your team and will give you advice based on the cheapest easiest route FOR THEM. Not necessarily what is best for your new adventure. Read more on outsourcing.
30. Once my site is up and running, then what?
Good question. Have you researched your keywords? Promoted your site on and offline? Optimized your Webpages? Integrated Google Adsense? Used social networking to reach your audience? Checked your expectations and been real with yourself? Reviewed the do’s and don’t list for newbies? If not, then lets get started!
If you have, then GREAT! Fast forward and get online in 3 easy steps.