The focus of this article is to assist those just starting out in building a home based business that requires an online presence such as a website or blog.
Once you know the business niche you wish to pursue (see my chapter on finding your business niche) the first thing you will need to do is to think about, research and come up with the name of your website – which is called your “Domain Name”. This is the name you would type into a web browser to bring you and others to your website.
There are a number of services available on the Internet that you can use to research domain names and purchase them and they are easy to find. A tip in this regard: At the same time that you are researching your domain name, also be researching who you want to use to “host” your website. You will usually find that your potential web hosting partner will offer you a hosting deal that will include the registration of your domain as part of the package. This saves you a few bucks and also puts it all in one place with one vendor which can simplify your life a bit over the years as you try to maintain your site and extend terms of service.
One final step before selecting your web hosting partner. Have in mind the template you want to use as the baseline for your site and then determine whether or not you want to run your site on a Linux/Unix operating system or on a Microsoft Server operating system. Some templates are best run on Linux platforms and some work best on Microsoft platforms – it usually depends on whether or not your webpages are built using PHP (Linux Preferred) as opposed to HTML (Microsoft Preferred). Some vendors do not provide both Linux and Microsoft server platforms so be sure to know what you need prior to committing to a vendor and a platform. If you are new at this, as you narrow down to templates you think you want to use for your site, call your intended web hosting partner and consult with one of their technicians prior to making your decision. They will be able to give you some guidance in this area to help you make the best decision for your circumstance.
Ultimately, the template or “Theme” that you purchase will be downloaded to your computer in a .zip file. If you are going with a custom template approach (non- WordPress), you will need to create a folder on your computer to put this file into and then you will need to extract the files so you will have a place to work on your web pages prior to uploading them to your live website. I recommend you set up this folder in your Documents/My Websites/… area of your computer. You will then need an FTP upload tool to upload your completed webpages to your website. The tool that I use and many web hosting technicians use for this by the way is FileZilla. This is a shareware tool that will not cost you anything. Just download it from their website and get familiar with it.
A WordPress website on the other hand, is primarily worked on in an online environment “Live” within your site. You login to your site and go to the “Dashboard” and then choose the tool or plugin you want to use, make your modifications to your site, then you publish them using the “Publish” button to make your changes Live. After publishing, you usually will want to click on the “View Page” button to see how the page now looks and you repeat this process as you need to until the page looks like you want it to. By the way, if I were building a Blog site, WordPress is definitely the direction I would choose. They have built some very nice Blog “themes” that you can use that look extremely polished. They will make you look good.
You have now under both approaches, brought your website into a “Live” state. However, if you have not done this already, you will need to add in your keywords/tags to make your site more easily findable by search engines such as Google. To do this, first do your keyword research (discussed in another chapter) to select the keywords or keyword phrases that you want to use on your site.
If you are going with a custom site solution, you go to the “Code” view of your site and near the top of the coding lines in the Header area you will find three lines you can modify to improve your SEO for each of your pages. These lines include Title, Description and Tags/Meta Tags. Keywords and keyword phrases are entered into the Tag area separated by commas. Once modified, remember to republish this page to your website using the FTP tool you have chosen.
Within WordPress, first you need to search for, select and activate the “Meta Tags” plugin. Once done, you can go to the Pages section of your Dashboard to select the web page you want to “Edit”. Now when you enter that page in Edit mode on the site, if you scroll to the bottom of the page you will find a new section that will allow you to enter your “meta” tags for your Title, Description and Tags.