How To Build Websites
This Guide is good for Affiliate Marketers, Dropshippers, E-commerce store owners and anyone wanting to make money online.
If you plan on making money online with any business model you must have a web page where your money-making tactic can function. This could be a sale of goods or services, ad revenue from displaying advertising, a lead capture or click-through offer. You need a place to base your content and marketing activities.
This is your step by step end to end walkthrough for creating a website, landing page and sales pages.
- We need a domain name
- We need web hosting
- We need a website theme
- We can use plugins and extensions to design and add functions to our websites
- We then need some content and media to promote what ever we are selling and promoting.
- Then there’s some extra activities for growing the web traffic and sale potential
This guide is designed for beginners and intermediate skillsets. Bookmark it and provide feedback if Im missing anything that you need for building your websites.
You can start with A Step-by-Step Guide to Building Your Affiliate and E-commerce Website with WordPress
Section 1: Getting Started
When building a website, your domain name is your online identity and its one thing that you own and no one like Facebook or Google can take away from you. It’s what users will type in to find your site. Here’s how to choose the perfect domain name:
1. Brainstorm Ideas:
Start by brainstorming words or phrases related to your niche or business. Consider keywords that describe your content or products.
2. Keep It Short and Memorable:
Short, snappy domain names are easier to remember and type. Avoid using hyphens or special characters. I like short snappy names over keyword-targeted domains.
3. Check Availability:
Once you have a few options, check if they’re available using a domain registrar like NameSilo, Namecheap, GoDaddy, or Google Domains.
4. Choose a Relevant Extension:
Common extensions include .com, .net, and .org. Pick an extension that suits your website’s purpose. I don’t mind using alternative TLD extensions like gg, io, XYZ, and others
5. Register Your Domain:
When you find the perfect name, register it with your chosen registrar. I suggest that you switch on auto renew if you like the domain just to save any issues with dropping the domain.
I buy domain names from these providers
- – NameSilo for a wide range of extensions and associated services.
- NameCheap – Great marketplace
- Google Domains – has a wide range of domains but doesn’t offer some of the hidden gems you can find elsewhere.
1.2. Selecting Web Hosting:
Web hosting is where your website’s files and data are stored. It’s crucial to choose a reliable hosting provider:
1. Assess Your Needs:
Consider your website’s expected traffic and features. Shared hosting is cost-effective for beginners, but consider more robust options for larger sites. Shared hosting is ok in the instance for a beginner website with low to minimal web traffic. Its kinda like living in an apartment block where everyone is using the same web hosting server. You can start with dedicated servers and that’s perfectly fine to do so its just a bit more expensive to have your own house just like in the real world.
When we switch over to dedicated web hosting we should have enough web traffic to need our own web server or house in our example of apartments vs houses.
2. Choose a Hosting Provider:
Popular hosting providers include Bluehost, SiteGround, and HostGator.
Look for providers that offer one-click WordPress installations. Most provide a lot of hosting options so double-check that you have the correct hosting settings. You could also add on any additional services that you need like provide email services, provide an SSL (for security purposes).
Here are my suggestions:
- – Beginners with 1 small website use HostGator
- – Starter website with some traffic use DreamHost hosting servers
- – Growing websites with some web traffic use Kinsta Hosting.
- – For running multiple sites I suggest using Go HighLevel for simplicity & performance.
You only need 1 web host per website and sometimes you can bundle the domain, web host and emails all in one, depending on your specific needs.
3. Purchase Hosting:
Select a hosting plan, register your domain (or connect an existing one), and complete the purchase process.
I recommend anyone starting out on a small budget to try shared web hosting which should run around $3-7 per month. But for much better performance you want to be using dedicated hosting that would run you around $7-25 per month but the difference in performance will be noticeable.
4. Install WordPress:
Most hosting providers offer one-click WordPress installations. This simplifies the setup process significantly.
If you don’t have a 1 click install available you can try to install it yourself or contact hosting support services for a walkthrough of how they offer installation of WordPress.
Congratulations! You’ve taken the first steps toward building your website. Next, we’ll delve into setting up WordPress.
Section 2: Setting Up WordPress
2.1. Installing WordPress:
Now that you have your domain and hosting in place, it’s time to install WordPress, the powerful content management system that will power your website.
This goes a little deeper into the configuration of WordPress from your hosting panel and for the actual setup on your website.
1. Access Your Hosting Control Panel:
Log in to your hosting account’s control panel. This is usually accessed through a URL like “yourdomain.com/cpanel.”
2. Find the One-Click Installer:
Most hosting providers offer a one-click installer like Softaculous or QuickInstall. Locate this in your control panel.
3. Install WordPress:
Click on the WordPress icon in the installer. You’ll be prompted to choose your domain, set up an admin username and password, and select your website’s name and description. Click “Install.”
I highly recommend saving your access details in either your password manager or a secure and locked excel or Google Sheet for your reference later.
4. Wait for Installation:
The installer will configure WordPress for you. This usually takes just a few minutes.
5. Access Your WordPress Dashboard:
Once the installation is complete, you can access your WordPress dashboard by going to “yourdomain.com/wp-admin.” Log in with the credentials you set up during installation.
Even now if I install 10 websites I will get 1 of them fail and throw up some error messages regardless of how many times I’ve set them up before. This just happens and it takes a minute or two to find the error and then reset the installation.
The most common installation errors I come across are spelling, spaces, and the wrong directory. These can all be easily fixed.
2.2. Basic Configuration:
With WordPress installed, it’s time to do some initial setup to make your site look and behave the way you want it to.
1. General Settings:
In the dashboard, go to “Settings” > “General.” Here, you can set your site title, tagline, and timezone.
Permalinks are how your website’s URLs are structured. Go to “Settings” > “Permalinks” and choose a structure that’s SEO-friendly, like “Post name.”
You can leave it as is but your URLs will have some funky numbers and or dates attached to the URL and that’s much harder to use for humans. If you change this to the suggested settings its easier to redirect someone to /best-juicer-for-hard-fruits/ instead of the standard /230914&bestjuicerforhardfruits23/
3. User Roles:
Understand the different user roles (Administrator, Editor, Author, etc.) and assign appropriate roles to team members if applicable. You can manage this in “Users” > “All Users.”
Your WordPress installation is now ready for customization. In the next section, we’ll cover how to choose and install a theme.
Section 3: Customizing Your Website
3.1. Choosing and Installing a Theme:
The theme you choose will determine your website’s look and feel. Here’s how to pick and install the right one:
1. Explore Themes:
In your WordPress dashboard, go to “Appearance” > “Themes.” You can browse through free themes in the WordPress theme repository or consider premium themes from reputable sources like ThemeForest.
2. Search and Preview:
Use the search bar to find themes related to your niche. Click on a theme to preview it. Pay attention to layout, colour schemes, and customization options.
3. Install and Activate:
Once you’ve found a theme you like, click “Install” and then “Activate” to make it the active theme for your site.
Themes that you may want to explore
- – Divi Themes from Elegant Themes is a fast feature rich theme builder
- – Envato themes
- – Bricks Builder is an advanced users dream theme
- – WpX Post is what I use for theming my categories and posts.
3.2. Essential Plugins:
Plugins add extra functionality to your website. You should browse the native plugin library inside your WordPress before just installing everything that looks good, your website may become bloated with extra weight from having too many plugins so select carefully.
There is no documented sweet spot for the total number of plugins that you can and should have. I think most of my websites have between 10 and 20 plugins. E-commerce stores will naturally have more requirements so they would have higher end of plugins.
Here are some essential plugins to consider:
1. SEO Framework:
This helps with on-page SEO optimization, making it easier to rank in search engines. I really like the simplicity of Framework and how it covers all my baseline technical needs.
Alternatives to SEO Framework:
- RankMath SEO
- Squirrly SEO Plugin
- Yoast SEO
- All In One SEO plugin
2. Akismet Anti-Spam:
Protect your site from spam comments. There is also the JetPack plugin for this type of moderation and you can also manage this with no plugin in the settings of your website.
It comes down to ease of use, Akismet is an easy to use moderator for your blogs.
3. WP Super Cache or W3 Total Cache:
Improve website speed and performance by caching. Both of these are good free options for beginners and don’t require too much h technical knowledge to get started.
The role of a cache is to help reduce load time and minify a lot of code scripts that run on the backend of websites. For front end users this improves the experience.
This is also a good plugin option for having too many plugins, ironic I know but this can shave seconds off your page load time.
4. Wordfence Security:
Enhance website security with features like a firewall and malware scanner.
For a free option for beginners, Wordfence is a great start. And if you want to dive in deeper to ways to secure your website then this starting point is the perfect launchpad for that when you are ready.
Set up automatic backups for your site. I suggest getting into the habit of making automated backups of your website. The UpDraft plugin helps you manage this with ease. You just need to pick a safe destination.
6. Divi Builder:
If your theme doesn’t have built-in drag-and-drop functionality, consider using one of these page builders for easy customization.
I am running the Divi builder theme on this website (at the time of writing). I find fast reliable and customisable to my needs. I love the Divi library where I can save preformatted designs and layouts that I can quickly pull into production. This saves time.
7. WooCommerce (if applicable):
If you’re setting up an e-commerce store, install WooCommerce to manage products and transactions.
This is a free open-source e-commerce features platform that sits on top of your WordPress installation. You have options to pay to increase the features depending on what you want from your site.
I like WooCommerce for print-on-demand and E-commerce. The limits are pretty high with the max tested that I’m aware of being around 2 million product listings on a website. That’s a crazy high number of SKUs and you and I shouldn’t need that many so it’s a robust option.
8. Social Media Sharing:
Choose a social sharing plugin to make it easy for visitors to share your content. You can use what ever plugin takes your fancy and you may find the theme builder of your choice comes with social share buttons preformatted out of the box.
If I run the Divi theme on the inch website I would use Divi’s Monarch extension which provides social sharing buttons just about everywhere.
9. Contact Forms:
Create contact forms for user engagement.
For forms, I use a mixed bag for different use cases.
- Bloom for Divi
- Gravity Forms
- MailPoet (for newsletters)
- SendFox (for Newsletters)
When I am growing email lists I tend to use email platform-generated forms like a MailPoet or SendFox form.
When running affiliate offers I like to use Gravity Forms or Divi Bloom if I use the Divi theme on that affiliate niche site.
10. Google Analytics for WordPress:
Monitor website traffic and user behaviour. I prefer personally to run all my tags and scripts through Google Tag Manager (GTM) but that’s for advanced users.
3.3. Customizing Your Theme:
Now that you have a theme and essential plugins, it’s time to customize your website’s appearance:
1. Customizer: Go to “Appearance” > “Customize.” Here, you can adjust site identity, colors, fonts, and more, depending on your theme’s options.
2. Widgets: Add widgets to your website’s sidebar, footer, or other widget-ready areas. Widgets can include search bars, recent posts, and social media feeds.
3. Menus: Create and customize your website’s navigation menus under “Appearance” > “Menus.”
4. Homepage and Blog Setup: Configure your homepage and blog page. You can do this under “Settings” > “Reading.”
With your website customized, it’s time to move on to the next section, where we’ll cover content creation and SEO.
Section 4: Content Creation and SEO
4.1. Content Strategy:
Now that your website is taking shape, it’s time to focus on content, which is the heart of your affiliate marketing, e-commerce, or online money-making venture.
1. Define Your Niche:
Clearly define the topic or niche you’ll be covering on your website. It should align with your affiliate products or e-commerce offerings.
2. Create a Content Calendar:
Plan your content in advance. A content calendar helps you stay organized and ensures a steady flow of posts.
3. High-Quality Content:
Focus on producing high-quality, informative, and engaging content. Your content should provide value to your target audience.
4. Visuals and Multimedia:
Use images, videos, and infographics to enhance your content’s appeal.
4.2. SEO Optimization:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is crucial for driving organic traffic to your website.
Here’s how to optimize your content and website:
1. Keyword Research:
Use tools like Google Keyword Planner or Ubersuggest to find relevant keywords for your niche.
Shortlist of Free keyword research tools:
- Google Keyword Planner
- Google Search Bar autosuggest
2. On-Page SEO:
Optimize individual pages and posts by including keywords in titles, meta descriptions, and content. Use headings (H1, H2, etc.) to structure your content.
There are a range of off-website tools that help you with this task.
3. SEO Plugins:
Install and configure SEO plugins that help you optimise content and understand topical word placement. These tools offer guidance on improving your content’s SEO.
These plugins are different to the SEO plugins mentioned above. These are purely focused on content optimisation.
- Surfer SEO
4. Internal and External Links:
Include internal links (links to your own content) and external links (to reputable sources) within your articles.
5. Image Optimization:
Compress and optimize images for faster loading times. Use descriptive alt text for images.
I like minifying images for optimal file size before uploading them to my websites. I do this with TinyPNG.com and Google’s free Squoosh tool.
When I don’t have time I use ShortPixel on my website to help minify the images, I don’t really like to do this on my website because sometimes images lose their pixels and get quality reduction from the on website minifiers.
6. Mobile Responsiveness:
Ensure your website is mobile-friendly, as Google considers mobile usability in search rankings.
In the next section, we’ll explore monetization strategies for your website.
Section 5: Monetization Strategies
5.1. Affiliate Marketing:
Affiliate marketing is a common way to earn money through your website by promoting products or services and earning a commission for each sale or action. Here’s how to get started:
1. Choose Affiliate Programs: Research and select affiliate programs that align with your niche. Look for reputable programs with good commission rates.
2. Promote Affiliate Products: Create content that promotes affiliate products naturally. This can include reviews, comparisons, and recommendations.
3. Use Affiliate Links: Insert affiliate links into your content. Ensure they are disclosed as affiliate links to maintain transparency with your audience.
4. Track Performance: Monitor the performance of your affiliate links using tracking tools provided by affiliate programs or third-party plugins.
5.2. E-commerce and Dropshipping:
If you’re interested in selling physical products, consider setting up an e-commerce store on your website. Here’s how:
1. Install WooCommerce: If you haven’t already, install the WooCommerce plugin. It’s a powerful e-commerce solution for WordPress.
2. Add Products: Create product listings, including images, descriptions, prices, and inventory management.
3. Payment and Shipping: Set up payment gateways and shipping options. WooCommerce provides various payment options, including PayPal and credit card payments.
4. Security: Ensure that your e-commerce site is secure by using SSL certificates and trusted payment gateways.
5. Promote Your Products: Use your content, email marketing, and social media to promote your products and drive traffic to your store.
6. Consider Dropshipping: If you don’t want to handle inventory, explore dropshipping, where you partner with suppliers who fulfill orders for you.
5.3. Other Monetization Strategies
Depending on your niche and audience, consider additional monetization methods:
1. Display Advertising: Use ad networks like Google AdSense or affiliate marketing ads to display ads on your website.
2. Sponsored Content: Partner with relevant companies for sponsored posts or product reviews.
3. Premium Content: Offer premium content or memberships for exclusive access to valuable resources.
4. Online Courses and E-books: If you have expertise in your niche, create and sell online courses or e-books.
5. Donations: Accept donations from your audience if they find your content valuable.
Remember to balance monetization with providing value to your audience. Overly aggressive monetization can deter visitors.
In the next section, we’ll cover website maintenance and growth strategies.
Section 6: Website Maintenance and Growth
6.1. Regular Backups:
Website backups are essential to safeguard your hard work. Here’s how to set up regular backups:
1. Choose a Backup Plugin: Install a reliable backup plugin like UpdraftPlus or BackupBuddy.
2. Configure Backup Settings: Set up automated backup schedules. Backup your site files and database regularly.
3. Store Backups Securely: Save backups to remote locations, such as cloud storage or an external server, for added security.
4. Test Restores: Periodically, test your backups by restoring them to ensure they work correctly.
6.2. Security Measures:
Website security is vital to protect your site and user data:
1. Strong Passwords: Use strong, unique passwords for your WordPress login and hosting accounts. Consider using a password manager.
2. Security Plugins: Install a security plugin like Wordfence or Sucuri Security to help protect against threats.
3. Update Regularly: Keep your WordPress core, themes, and plugins up to date to patch security vulnerabilities.
4. Limit Login Attempts: Implement login attempt limits and use two-factor authentication for added security.
5. Monitor for Suspicious Activity: Regularly review your site’s logs for unusual activity and take action if necessary.
6.3. Growing Your Audience:
To succeed in affiliate marketing, e-commerce, or making money online, growing your audience is crucial:
1. Content Consistency: Stick to a content schedule to keep your audience engaged.
2. Social Media: Promote your content on social media platforms relevant to your niche.
3. Email Marketing: Build an email list and send newsletters or updates to your subscribers.
4. Engage with Your Audience: Respond to comments, emails, and social media messages promptly.
5. Collaborate and Network: Partner with influencers or other websites in your niche for collaborations.
6. Analyze and Adapt: Use tools like Google Analytics to monitor website traffic and adjust your strategy based on data.
7. SEO Continuation: Regularly review and update your content for SEO, keeping it fresh and relevant.
Congratulations! You’ve now covered the key steps to building a successful website on WordPress, from setting up your domain and hosting to monetization and growth strategies. Your website is ready to flourish in the world of affiliate marketing, e-commerce, or online money-making.
If you have any specific questions or need further guidance on any of these steps, feel free to ask.