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How Hard Is It To Set Up Your First Web Site

by Marguerite Bonneville

I’ve been helping people set up their own web sites for the past three and a half years, and it’s been an education for me as well as for my clients. Here are some of the most important things we’ve learned during this process.

What NOT To Do

1. Don’t expect it all now.

Impatience can be one of your worst enemies when it comes to setting up a web site or online business. There are so many ‘marketers’ out there telling you that you can make mega-bucks in a short period of time, and if you believe them, you can burn through substantial amounts of cash very quickly. And in most cases, you’ll have nothing to show for it.

Many of the so-called turnkey systems you’ll see advertised online are methods that made money for marketers in the past, during which time they kept it to themselves. Once their earnings start dropping off, they package the method as a system and sell it to the masses. How well do you think it will work when tens of thousands of desperate novices buy the same system and attempt to make money with it?

2. Don’t use a scattershot approach.

You need to have a plan if you want to make money online. Avoid scrambling after one get-rich-quick scheme after another, or trying to set up a number of different web sites at once. Step back and take a deep breath. Then choose one idea to start with.

3. Don’t neglect the research phase.

Much as you don’t want to get stuck in over-preparing, you do need to do a reasonable amount of research if you want to create a quality web site, product or service.

The Internet is currently overrun by automatically generated sites, featuring endlessly duplicated content from PLR articles and other dubious sources. Much of this is written by third world freelancers whose native language is not English, as evidenced by the appalling grammar, punctuation, and incorrect use of idiom in the articles. Do you want to be yet another opportunist adding to the clutter, or do you want to contribute something of value?

4. Don’t get sucked into buying all the bells and whistles too soon.

Many marketers will try to convince you that you need their product or software so your site can perform at its best. Hold off on whipping out your credit card until you’ve chosen your site building program and/or web host.

Quality programs like Site Build It (SBI) and XsitePro have many of these functions built into their product so you don’t need to buy them separately.

5. Don’t ignore your mindset.

90% of success is determined by the way you think. The other 10% is learning the most efficient strategies and following through. Desperation is the greatest repellent of success for most people. Calmly expecting to succeed, then taking action towards your goal will almost guarantee a positive result.

What To Do

1. Find a niche.

First, look to yourself for inspiration. What are your skills, hobbies or interests? What services do you offer or what products can you sell?

Next, take a look at the marketplace. What are people searching for online? What are the most popular topics? Do any of your skills, hobbies, interests, products or services fit in here?

2. Choose the type of site you want to create.

Are you selling a single product? Perhaps you only require a two-page mini-site. If you plan to offer a range of products or services in a particular niche, then you'll do better with a multi-page information site.

3. Plan your site.

Draw a graphical map of your proposed site. This will help you make sure you’ve covered all the important aspects of your topic and that your pages will flow from one to another in a logical sequence. You can add to your site map as more ideas occur to you.

4. Optimize your site.

There are a number of key areas you need to look at in the planning stage. The main ones are keyword selection, sales copy principles, graphics, affiliate programs, product creation, online payment processing, autoresponders, and search engine optimization, to name a few.

While this may seem overwhelming at first, keep in mind that you only need to tackle these one at a time. Help is available through ebooks, e-courses and online mentorship services, and it’s built into web building products like Site Build It and XsitePro.

5. Treat your site as a business.

Whether you spend 30 hours or 4 hours a week working on your web site, you should always treat it as a business.

- Keep records of your activities, expenses and anything else of relevance in a separate folder.

- Write your pages and your email messages in a friendly yet professional manner.

- Always follow though on any claims or promises you make on your site.

- Make sure you update the site at least once a week. One way to do this is to create all your pages on your own computer, then upload a page at a time each week.

Don’t expect your web site to make it into the search engines right away (until you really know what you’re doing). While you wait to get listed, you can either opt for pay-per-click advertising or simply continue building your site. Be patient, and if you’ve completed all the steps professionally and correctly, you should begin to see results after several months. Once the momentum kicks in, it will continue to build if you keep the site fresh and relevant.

Thursday, Dec 21st, 2006