How to Create a Website for less than $50

How to Create a Website for less than $50

Are you serious about building your business? Successful entrepreneurs know that Internet marketing is the fastest way to gain massive exposure. Let me show you how to build a professional looking website for less than $50.

About 5 years ago when I started out in Internet Marketing, free website templates needed a degree and significant experience in HTML programming language to make simple changes. Not so these days, with the advances in free template technology most templates now come with a full content management system (CMS) and web hosting.

What does this mean for the novice webmaster?
Simply put, all you need to do is pick a free web template that suits your business logo colours and industry content, register a domain name and you're up and running. Some free web template providers will include your domain name registration in with the fee for hosting your new site.

The best prices I have sourced so far for Free Web Template packages range from $12 AU a month for a free web template, CMS and web hosting up to $39.95 AU a month which includes a free web template, more advanced CMS, 10 email addresses and domain name registration.

If you already have a domain name registered then you will need to login to your domain registrar and move your 'name servers' over to your new web host, your free template site provider should supply instructions on how to do this when you sign up.

Free website template companies usually provide a demo you can trial before signing up on how to use the content management system and provide tutorial support on all the functioning of their CMS systems when you purchase a free web template with web hosting. There are simply no more excuses for not having a website online to promote your business.

Domain Name Registration
Ideally you will select a domain name that refers to your operating business name or industry. If you are working for yourself and don't have a registered business name instead of using your own name as your domain name pick a .com version name that is going to give you the best chance of getting ranked on the search engines.

What does this mean? Select a domain name that involves your major keyword/s related to your product and service offerings. You are not trading under this name you are just promoting your business via this website. Any sales go through to your normal business name or sole trader name and you can make clients aware of this on your 'Contact Us' or 'About Us' web pages.

Well priced Domain name registrations in Australia start from $12.95 AU for a .com version for 1 year and $29.95 AU for a version for 2 years. If you are paying more than this then the provider is making money on registering the domain name on your behalf. It is a very simple process that you can do yourself.

The Next Step - Keyword Content Development
So you have taken the plunge and signed up for a new free template website, what next?

The development of your site content is one of the most critical factors in your website's success to attract site visitors and to rank well in the search engines. For these reasons you must add text content that is optimized for the search engines.

Flash web templates that consist mostly of images may look attractive but they will do you absolutely no favors in achieving top rankings on the search engines. Why? Because the major search engines Google, Yahoo & MSN only crawl and index text content on web pages, not images. The minimum ratio you need to work towards when developing your site content is 60% text, 40% images.

The first step in optimizing your site content for the search engines is to decide on what keywords or keyword phrases your site is going to target. These would be those words that site visitors would primarily type into the search engines to find your website. So keywords would typically be related to your products and services. You will need to create a list consisting of a minimum of 10 keywords or keyword phrases to target.

Tips for Adding Site Content
- Wrap text around images - use your edit image function on the CMS to do this. Make sure the size of an image doesn't overwhelm the content on a page.

- Use plain easy to read text in black or dark grey on web pages, alternatively white text on black background pages. Web pages start to look messy when webmasters try to match logos and background colours with font colours.

- Avoid using bold oversized text on web pages, save this for page and heading titles only. Similarly don't use bold text throughout the whole site.

- Make sure that you test all hyperlinks you add to a site actually work, including those to PDF documents as the search engines will penalize you for broken links with lower rankings.

- Use keywords in Page Titles and incorporate your major keywords and keyword phrases into web page text.

- Add keywords and keyword phrases to your footer rather than contact details, the search engines will pick these keywords up as part of your search engine rankings. Save your contact details for your 'Contact Us' page.

- Only add text to your site that is meaningful to your site visitors, accurately describes your products and services and is related to site content.

- If you have multiple businesses to promote with differing contexts then build a separate website for each. You will only confuse your website visitors and the search engines when trying to promote completely different businesses on one site. Believe me I have seen this done and it comes across as very messy.

- If you are having issues formatting objects on a page use a table to tile things down the page and remove the border. This can be used for images and text.

- Constantly compare any web changes you make in the CMS with the live site page and make adjustments if the formatting is out.

- Keep your web pages within the confines of the template design, do not add images and text that force users to scroll outside of their browser window to the right or left.

- Make it easy for your site visitors to contact you, a 'contact form' with no other details is just not enough and may put potential customers off from buying from you. As a minimum provide your email address and a telephone number.

- If you have a brochure only site, which most free website templates are you can add Paypal buttons to your web pages so that customers can purchase directly from your website through PayPal. This generally suits websites that only need to sell up to 15 items, anything above this and shopping cart software is recommended.

- Set 'Site Restore' points in your CMS so that if you lose the content of your web pages you can restore the site back to a certain time. Sometimes glitches happen when loading content and this will save you plenty of time if pages need to be redone.

- If you are going to upload a company logo make sure it is professionally designed for web use, as a poorly designed logo can negatively impact on the site presentation.

Site Navigation
Free Web Templates will typically already have the site navigation set running across the top of the home page, or running vertically down the left or right hand side of the page. I tend to advise clients to select a web design with left hand side navigation as it is more visually appealing for site visitors and is easier for visitors to use to navigate around a site.

Generally the free web template systems will have around 5 web pages with navigation set up that you can use as a guide, typically they will include a Home page, About Us page, Services Page, Contact Us page and Links page. These are all editable and you can add and delete pages as it suits you. You will also be able to change the sequence of pages showing in the navigation using the CMS.

Keep the titles of Navigation Tabs short and succinct, so that they clearly describe what the web page is about making sure titles are not so long as to put the web page design out of sync.

Going Live with your Site
Generally as soon as you change the name servers over to your new web host your site will go live. Alternatively some free web template systems will allow to you publish a page or save a page until you are ready to publish it live.

When you are satisfied that the content, navigation and presentation of your site is ready for website visitors then manually submit your website URL to Google, Yahoo and MSN. You will find the pathway to submit your URL usually under 'webmaster tools' link on the particular search engine.

Expert SEO Content Development Services
Okay, so what if you are not computer savvy and no matter how hard you try your website content looks amateurish?

Help is at hand, considering you are paying next to nothing for your free website template and hosting, you can probably afford to pay a professional SEO consultant to develop your website content for you. For around $545 Sitecontent4u can develop your entire site content up to 10 major web pages including sourcing, editing and uploading images. Your website content is optimized for the search engines and it takes all the worry out of developing the content yourself.

The Final Step - Website Marketing
Please don't expect anyone to know that your website is on the Internet just because it has officially gone live. You have a lot of work to do in the first 12 months to get your site noticed and promoted.

SEO optimized site content is the first step so that the search engines can start indexing and ranking your website in the search engine results for all of your major keywords. Hence, why relevant site content is so important.

Website marketing can take many forms, here are just a few suggestions:-

- Free Directory Submissions (1 way links) - you can purchase directory submission software such as SubmitEaze to manually submit your linking information to online directories.

- Business Directory Submissions - Free and paid listings to promote your business contact details, products and services with the opportunity to upload photographs and company logos.

- Free Classified Advertising - there are numerous free classified ad sites on the Internet where you can promote your products and services. Simply do a Google search to find them.

- Article Writing - a popular way of getting top ranking search engine results fast. Write articles related to your site content, post them as part of your website content and submit them to popular article sites and social sites. Articles can then be syndicated all over the Internet to build your website profile.

- Link Building - exchange reciprocal links with affiliate or content related sites similar to yours. You will need to add a links page to your site and learn how source link partners and add reciprocal links to your links page.

- Pay per click advertising - such as Google Adwords can be used to drive traffic to your website.

- Affiliate Advertising - can earn you revenue and make your website look more professional and appealing to site visitors.

- Email Newsletter Marketing - send to new and potential clients to encourage repeat sales.

If you don't have time to market your website online then there are plenty of professional website marketing & SEO companies that can do it for you. Sitecontent4u offer Website Marketing Starter packages from $549 AU to get your website launched successfully on the Internet.

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by Rosemary Donald  xml