Step 3: Building A Basic Website
My friend had approached internet marketing the standard way: he heard there was money to be made, got excited, bought a product, learned that work was involved, and quit. Two years later, he needed money, and he picked up internet marketing again (which, of course, was met with purchasing another product).
This is the usual approach to this business… sad and true. My friend picked it up again and started learning about, and he did what most people do again: He started looking for ways to make fast money that required the least amount of work. Recently, he approached me wide-eyed and said, “Ryan, you don’t even have to have a website!”
That phrase revealed that he had a long road ahead of him. Of course, he was sort of right… if you find a market that is hungry, and you find products that are relevant to what the market wants, then you can give it to them in a hundred different ways – with or without a website.
Heck, I saw one guy get to know a market really well and make a few posts on a forum, followed by his PayPal address so that he could collect payment, and he raked in $20k in a few days just from understanding the market and giving it what it wanted. Bum marketing is another way to make some money without a website.
But that guy who made the $20k on the forum disappeared immediately after his launch, and he’s now deep in the porn industry. Bum marketing is great, but you have little control over what the article directories do, and you never fully capitalize on the leads that you generate.
It is my opinion that, in order to make a significant splash in internet marketing, you absolutely need to have a website. Sometimes, a blog or small site on Weebly or Blogger will do the trick, but I’m a firm believer in having your own site on your own host and your own domain. There is no substitution.
This step is a real barrier for a lot of people, often because it requires learning to deal with domain names and hosting programs. To help with this, I’ve listed the exact programs that I use for each step:
Design: WordPress or XSitePro
Domain Names: Namecheap.com
For more, see Best Website Building Software.
When I find a hot niche, I always snatch up a domain over at Namecheap (I try to avoid GoDaddy – don’t like their commercials, and they have a tendency to cause a lot of problems). Then, I simply transfer it over to my hosting company, which allows me to put files online (that is, your website). Then, I either build the site in WordPress, or I make a template in XSitePro. The latter is the easiest option for beginners.
When adding content to a web page, I usually follow a model of what I simply call a “hub.” It works like this:
On the main page, I introduce the topic and attempt to collect an opt-in for a newsletter or some sort of bonus. If the niche is bowling, for example, I’ll introduce myself and explain why I’m worthy of giving you advice, and how you can find some advice in the newsletter on the page.
From the main page, I link to my central “hubs,” which are more specific to a sub niche. For example, one hub might talk about how to choose the right bowling ball, while another describes how to throw the ball straighter.
From there, I link to specific product reviews. From the hub about choosing the right bowling ball, I link to the bowling balls that I think are the best and provide reviews for each of them.
Of course, this is my own simple formula and can be tweaked however you’d like, but I do this because this structure allows me to touch on a lot of subniches, review products, and build a list from the same site.
One big mistake that people make is to create a very broad site. For example, a blog on bowling isn’t going to get you very far; the idea is too broad and fails to target a specific market. Instead, you’d be better off offering an opt-in subscription on the main page, linking to more niche specific topics in your hubs, and then providing reviews for products that would help other avid bowlers.
Questions often arise about driving traffic, promotion, and relationship building once you have a website, and I’ll address those in the coming steps, but all of these are immaterial unless your site is up. And again, if you’ve picked a hungry niche with good products to promote, then you can do a lot of things wrong and still see success.
Building a web site is nothing to fear – the first time through, it can be a pain, but it gets easier every time. While it’s possible to make money without a website, I would dare to say that it’s IMpossible to sustain a profitable business without one.