Last updated on September 2013
Always check ThePerfectSiteGuide.com for updates.
Want to create a website, but have no clue how to begin? Well, you are in the right place!
This tutorial will walk you through all the steps to creating and marketing a website from
If you are in a hurry and want to skip over all my tips, warnings and suggestions (not
recommended), then you can skip down to the Quick Start Guide to creating your site.
If you decide to go this route and bypass all my juicy tips, don’t say I didn’t warn you! ;)
Enjoy the book and feel free to share it with your friends and family by either sending them to
the website address below…
You can save this book to your computer (if you haven’t already, go to “File”, “Save Page As”
in your browser now) and e-mail it to people, or offer it as a free download from your own
website or blog.
Table of Contents
Click the titles to jump to the desired sections of the book.
Domains & Hosting (First Step)
Free Web Hosts
Building Your Site
Making Money Online
Digital or e-Goods
Selling Ad Space
Building Traffic to Your Site or Blog
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Social Networking Sites
Pay Per Click Marketing
Writing Guest Articles & Blog Posts
Squidoo and Hubpages
Topic Choice is Everything
Quick Start Guide to Setting Up a Website (For those in a hurry!)
Domains & Hosting (First Step)
Before we get started, you should understand that EVERY website
must have two things…
1) A domain name
2) A web host
The domain name is the address of your website (yoursite.com) and
the web host is the company that allows you to publish your pages to
the Internet, create e-mail addresses ([email protected]) and develop additional features
like chat rooms, forums, shopping carts, feedback forms etc.
I recommend getting your domain name and web hosting from WebsitePalace.com. This is my
reseller store. I offer free tutorials, free e-book creation software and videos to help you get
started with your site. (The links to the freebies are on the THANK YOU page after you
order so don’t miss them!)
However, if you have a company in mind, feel free to use whatever registrar you wish for
registering your domain and getting a web host. Registrars typically provide the same
services, but the others won't give you my freebies, obviously.
A web host is the company that provides the server space for your web pages and whatever
files you need for your website. You will be uploading your website files to your host. This is
how a website becomes visible on the Internet.
They also provide you with e-mail addresses ([email protected]), scripts for forums,
blogs, chat rooms, feedback forms, etc. A website cannot exist without a host.
Website Palace Hosting
This is the most common type of host that most people use for their static websites and blogs.
It’s the most economical and you can do whatever you want with your site in terms of adding
forums, chat rooms, user uploads, video, creating a blog, etc.
If you are going to build a static website (like 2 Create a Website), then you can either learn
how to code online by going to sites like W3Schools or Lynda.com. Or you can buy a website
designer/builder like Artisteer or Dreamweaver.
If you plan to create a WordPress blog, this is the hosting option to choose. No software is
needed since WordPress comes with its own templates. You will simply, sign up for WordPress
hosting and you can begin creating your site right away.
TIP: Choose the DELUXE plan and you can host unlimited sites on one account.
Don't really know the difference between a blog and a static website? Stay tuned. I will talk
more about that later.
Coupon for WebsitePalace.com
Surprise!! Because I appreciate you supporting my site and downloading my book, here is a
coupon you can use if you choose WebsitePalace.com as your domain registrar or host for
In case you didn’t know, you do not have to host your site at the same company you buy
your domains from. So if you were planning to register (or host) your domain somewhere
else, you can still host (or register your domain) at WebsitePalace.com and take advantage of
As long as you purchase something from Website Palace, you’ll get the discount.
All products on the site are eligible for the promotion. You just have to meet the spending
requirements outlined in the coupon below. Simply enter the appropriate coupon code during
the checkout process to take advantage of the savings.
I Don’t Endorse FREE Domains or Hosting
I know what you may be thinking. Do I have to pay for my website? The answer to that is
simple. No, you don’t. But I highly recommend it due to some bad experiences I’ve had
with free hosts. I am not going to recommend any free hosts here so you’re on your own if
that’s what you’re looking for.
Here’s the bottom line. You get what you pay for (or don’t pay for) and I will not spend any
time endorsing any free web hosting companies here because I believe if you want people to
take your site seriously, you will invest the money. (Especially if your goal is to make
You wouldn’t believe all the people who email me and tell me they wish they had found my
advice about free hosting before starting their free website. The horror stories regarding sites
getting shutdown, no guarantees, etc. are endless. Trust me, I’ve been there!
Not to mention it is a ROYAL PAIN to switch from a free host over to a paid host, especially
after you start building out a lot of pages. Do it right the first time -- even if that means
cancelling a couple of monthly trips to Starbucks just to afford hosting. :-) It's worth it!
Watch my video where I discuss the problems with using a free host.
WordPress is the best solution for building a website today.
You can create a blog-like website where the content is arranged
by date and category or you can create a more traditional site.
I was once a Blogger user, but switched to WordPress in January
of 2008. I haven’t looked back since. WordPress is much more
robust and you can do so much more with your content thanks to
the plug-ins available (which are free, by the way).
A plug-in is simply a script that gives your blog additional functionality and WordPress has a
directory full of plug-ins you can use.
Let’s say you want to display a listing of the top commenters on your blog (people who leave
the most comments). You can install a plug-in that will publish a real-time listing of your
blog’s top commenters.
So there are tons of different plug-ins in categories (shopping carts, forums and more) that
can make your site do many different things. WordPress is EXTREMELY powerful.
My blog, http://blog.2CreateAWebSite.com is a WordPress blog.
Creating a WordPress Blog
There are two ways to create a WordPress blog.
1) You can use a free one at WordPress.com (no domain or hosting account needed) or
2) You can create a self-hosted blog on your own domain.
I HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend doing the self-hosted blog on your own domain. If you do
not and host it for free on WordPress.com, then you cannot add affiliate links or Google ads.
A huge disadvantage if you plan to make money with your blog.
My blog is self-hosted, meaning it sits on my own domain at
http://blog.2CreateAWebSite.com. If you go this route, you need a domain name and a web
Just select the WordPress hosting option and the script will be installed on your domain. You
can begin your site right away.
If you're interesting in learning more about WordPress, don't forget to sign up for my free
Blogger is owned by Google and probably the easiest platform to use.
It’s completely free and you do not need to buy a hosting account to use
To create a Blogger blog, you simply go to Blogger.com and sign up.
Note: Even though you don’t need a hosting account with Blogger, I would HIGHLY
recommend you buy your own domain for your blog so your address is
http://www.yourblog.com instead of http://yourblog.blogspot.com.
Once you buy your domain, Blogger has instructions for pointing your domain name to your
Any Disadvantages to Using Blogger?
Even though Blogger is easy to setup and use, it’s not as robust as WordPress. Some people
find it tricky to setup static pages with Blogger and organize their posts outside of the
standard blog format (newest to oldest). Plus there aren’t plug-ins you can use like
My advice is simple…
Note: There are other blogging platforms such as TypePad, Moveable Type, etc. I tried
TypePad and didn’t like it, and I’ve never tried Moveable Type. WordPress and Blogger are the
most widely used blogging platforms.
Making Money Online
Many of you downloaded this book because you have one goal,
and that is to make money with a website or blog.
It is entirely possible to make a full-time living online. I do and
hope to never return to a 9 to 5 again.
I can work when I want, travel when I want, wake up when I
want and I have no one to answer to but MEEEEEEE.
The freedom that this “job” provides is beyond measure. If you
are prepared to work hard, set realistic goals and enjoy yourself,
you too can have this lifestyle.
As I said earlier, this all came with a price. I have spent an
enormous amount of time in front of my PC over the years.
I had to learn how to create my own websites (yes, that includes learning some HTML/CSS
programming) and learn how to use different tools and software programs. I didn’t have the
luxury of a book like this or a personal mentor to give me any kind of guidance.
So let me set the record straight. If you are going into this expecting to make a lot of money
in a few short months without having to learn, make mistakes and possibly spend some
money (at least for your website), then you might as well stop reading now.
Also, I cannot protect you from failure. Many people let the fear of failure paralyze them and
they become afraid to “just do it.” But did you know that sometimes the best way to learn is
Do you think I did everything right the first time? Of course I didn’t. But I didn’t let that stop
me. I learned valuable lessons from my mistakes. And fortunately for you, you have this
book (something I didn’t have) that can nudge you in the right direction.
While there’s no way for me to protect you from failing (too much of your success depends on
your own hard work, creativity and effort), but I can help minimize potential mistakes by
giving you advice based on my own experiences.
OK, I’m done preaching (at least for now). But I really want to emphasize the fact that you
cannot put a time-limit on your success. I cannot and will not tell you how long it’s going to
take you to make money. There are too many variables involved to make such a prediction.
But I can tell you that if you are a hard worker, enjoy the learning, and understand that
success is not going to happen instantly, then you are already starting on the right foot.
I am going to make an important statement here so make sure you remember this…
How much money you make online solely depends on how much
TARGETED traffic you can drive to your site and how well you build
OK, now that you understand that, let’s talk about the different kinds of sites and ways you
can make money online with a website or a blog.
Google AdSense is probably one of the most convenient ways to
monetize your static website or blog. This program is free and you
partner with Google by promoting their sponsored ads on your site.
Every time an ad is clicked on your site, Google pays you a percentage (undisclosed) of what
the advertiser is paying them for the click.
Google’s technology can read your pages. So they will determine what your page is about.
And when you paste the AdSense code on your pages, their technology will generate ads
relevant to your content – thus increasing the chances that your visitors will click.
So if your site is about baseball, you will see sports-related ads on your pages. Google is in
complete control over what ads display. However, you are allowed to filter competitive or
inappropriate ads if you wish.
When your earnings reach $100, Google will send you a check (or pay with direct deposit).
Applying For AdSense
Once your website or blog has several pages of useful, unique and organized content, you can
go to http://adsense.google.com and apply.
Recently, Google tightened their acceptance policies. I’ve heard conflicting information on
this, but some have been told that in order to get accepted with AdSense, your site must meet
the following requirements…
1) Must be hosted on a true domain name (yourdomain.com) So that means you
cannot use a Blogger blog without pointing it to your own domain
2) Your domain must be at least 6 months old
3) Content must be original and unique
Rule #3 is not new, but 1 and 2 were not requirements when I joined. Although I will say
I’ve heard from some people who have gotten accepted without meeting all those
I guess it depends on the quality of your site or blog. If your site is very well organized and
provides a lot of useful content, then Google may accept you even if you don’t meet all the
Lisa’s advice: Don’t worry about applying to Google AdSense in the first six months. You
are not going to make much anyway if you don’t have the traffic. So you might as well focus
on building and marketing your site and apply for AdSense (or any affiliate program) later.
Too many people focus on making money right away and they can’t wait to join AdSense.
Then they join and wonder why they aren’t making any money with their ads. Of course, if
you haven’t learned how to build traffic to your site then you aren’t going to make anything
with AdSense or any program.
How much targeted traffic you have is a big factor with how much you will make with
AdSense. Actually, it’s a big factor for how much you will make no matter how you attempt to
make money online.
Don’t ever underestimate the importance of learning how to market your site. Traffic does not
just appear because you create a website. Marketing is everything.
Alternatives to AdSense?
There are some alternative programs to AdSense. The only one I’ve really tried is AdBrite.
The ads don’t pay as much as AdSense, but it’s worth a try if you were either banned or not
accepted into AdSense.
You are allowed to use both programs together on your site. I e-mailed Google to make sure
it didn’t violate their terms. I use AdBrite, but not in the same way I use AdSense. AdBrite
also has a 3rd party ad management program that I use to sell flat-rate ad space on my site.
Kontera and Infolinks are two other AdSense alternatives. Both are in-text advertising
services, so the actual keywords on your pages will turn into underlined ads. I am not a fan of
these kinds of ads, personally. I think they are too intrusive, and I don’t like the fact you
can’t control which words on your pages will become ads.
At least with AdSense and AdBrite you can designate a space for the ads. With Kontera and
Infolinks you have much less control over where the ads will show up on your pages.
Affiliate Marketing is how I make a full-time living online.
As an affiliate, I build websites on topics that interest me
and make money by earning commissions when I refer
people to products and services that relate to the content
of my sites.
I market my websites in places like Google (and other free
search engines), Twitter, YouTube, forums, I comment on
related blogs, etc. As my traffic grows, the more money I
earn from the affiliate programs I join and programs like AdSense.
Once again, almost all affiliate programs are free to join. You simply go to the company’s
website and check to see if they have one. If so, you sign up and within minutes you can
begin promoting their products.
Here’s an Example…
Let’s say you love the sport of bowling and you want to create a website that teaches people
how to perfect their game.
You could register the domain name bowling-tips-for-newbies.com and build a website
with tons of information and instructional videos on how to become a great bowler.
After you create your site, you begin marketing it by learning about SEO (search engine
optimization). This is the process of getting your pages ranked high in Google, Yahoo and all
the other free engines. Your goal is to get found for popular bowling searches.
There are many more ways to market a website (forums, Twitter, FaceBook, paid marketing,
writing guest articles, PPC (pay per click), article submissions, etc.) You can even create
YouTube videos teaching your audience how to walk and throw the ball down the lane.
YouTube will provide another way for people to find you online.
There’s more specific traffic advice here.
I’ll say it again. Success online is all about marketing. No matter what
kind of site you create, you must learn how to get in front of your
targeted audience and give them VALUE. This is not an easy or
Monetizing Your Bowling Website
To make money from this site you could display Google ads on your site (via the AdSense
program that I mentioned above). You could also visit your favorite bowling supplies website
and see if they have an affiliate program.
As an affiliate, you can refer your site visitors to bowling-related products and supplies. This
means every time someone buys a product as a result of your referral, you’ll earn a
commission from that company.
Almost all affiliate programs provide tracking details so you can login to your account and see
how much traffic and sales you’ve generated. The company will provide you with the links and
banners you need to promote their products from your site.
Where to Find Affiliate Programs
One way to find affiliate programs that match your niche is to join networks like LinkShare,
ShareASale and CJ.com. These companies house a multitude of affiliate programs under one
You can scour their directories for the perfect program, get affiliate links for your site and
check your traffic and earning reports. Instead of getting a separate check from each
company, the network sends you a lump sum check for all your earnings from the programs
AssociatePrograms.com is another great site to visit to find affiliate programs. Allan Gardyne
has compiled a directory of programs and they are sorted by category. You will also find some
outstanding affiliate success tips.
Payments and Taxes
Most affiliate programs pay by check, PayPal and some even pay by direct deposit. If you live
outside of the United States and have questions about payments, you should e-mail the
individual companies and ask about their payment options.
If you earn over $400 for the year, the company will treat your earnings like an independent
contractor, and everything you earned will be reported to the IRS. So yes, you are
responsible for keeping track and reporting everything you earn.
You do not have to setup an official business name/corporation as an affiliate, but if you start
making enough money, you will be able to file a Schedule C form with your regular 1040 and
claim expenses for your affiliate business. So that means you can write-off things like your
domain name, hosting fees and any other expenses associated with your affiliate business.
Keep in mind that in order to write these things off, you must be making a certain amount.
I highly recommend you seek advice from a local tax professional so you can get
advice specific to your situation. Be careful about getting advice from the web as it may be
incorrect and/or outdated. If you are going to get info from the Internet, make sure you go to
www.irs.gov – the official IRS website.
I purposely did not disclose specific numbers about taxes here. I want you to do your own
research and make sure you get the answers you need from a local tax professional.
Videos Related to Affiliate Marketing
Which Affiliate Programs Generate The Most Money?
Is Affiliate Marketing Oversaturated?
MLM vs. Affiliate Marketing
Why Many Affiliate Websites Fail
Ecommerce Website / Selling Hard Goods
If you want to create a website that sells actual products then
you will need some kind of shopping cart system in addition to
your domain and web host.
There are several ways to go about setting up a shopping cart
but I am going to discuss the most popular…
1) Installing a shopping cart system through your hosting
account (or WordPress plugin)
2) Using PayPal to collect payments
Shopping Cart Systems
Most domain registrars / web hosting companies have shopping cart solutions you can
purchase as add-ons for your website.
For example, Website Palace has one here. If you choose this option, there will be some setup
required, so you’ll have to get the instructions from the web host.
Collecting Online Payments
To handle credit card transactions you will either setup a merchant account or use a 3rd party
solution like PayPal.
PayPal is probably the easiest payment system to setup and does not cost as much as the
merchant account solutions provided by most web hosts. Signing up with PayPal is free and
the only cost to use their shopping cart/checkout system is the fee you pay per transaction.*
If you do decide to go with PayPal, you can integrate it with the shopping cart solution found
on Website Palace.
Using PayPal By Itself
You can use PayPal without setting up a shopping cart. If your website is only going to sell a
few items then you may be able to get away with just setting up a few “Buy Now” buttons and
directing your customers to PayPal to purchase. But if you plan on selling multiple items then
you should consider setting up some kind of shopping cart system.
Make sure you check out PayPal’s site for specifics on all the fees and options.
* PayPal offers multiple merchant account options and there may be additional fees associated with the premiere accounts.
If you use WordPress to build your website then there are ecommerce plugins like
WooCommerce you can add on to your website that makes taking orders a breeze!
Digital or e-Goods
A digital or e-good is a product that your customers can access
instantly (via download, e-mail, etc.) The main advantage to
selling an e-good is you don’t have to deal with shipping and
Running out of inventory is also never a problem. Since your
product is in a digital format, it never runs out of stock. You
always have unlimited copies on your computer.
This e-book you’re reading now is an e-good. I created it with
Microsoft Word and used Adobe Professional (not the free Adobe
Acrobat Reader) to convert it into an electronic (PDF) book.
Adobe allows you to protect the book from theft (copy and paste)
and you can even restrict printing if you want.
One advantage to using a PDF format like this is that it’s compatible with both Macs and PCs
so you don’t have to worry about people having trouble opening your book.
Learn how to create a PDF/ebook with this video.
Selling Your e-Goods
Many people who sell e-goods, opt to use PayPal to collect the orders because they can setup
PayPal to automatically e-mail the customer the download link to the product immediately
after the order is placed. What a convenient setup! You can literally make sales and fulfill
orders for your e-good while you sleep!
Offer Your e-Goods for Free
Another option is to give away your e-goods for free (or at least a sample). First of all, it’s a
great viral marketing technique because many people will pass it on to others.
Second, if you are an affiliate, you can add affiliate links in the book to earn money that way.
That’s what I’m doing with this book. Even though I make no money from direct sales, I earn
commissions when people purchase some of the products and services I recommend here.
You can also earn revenue by adding sponsor ads inside your book and offer advertising spots
to people looking to promote their sites.
No Ideas for Your e-Book?
Don’t feel you know enough about anything to write a fabulous e-book? Jim Edwards and Joe
Vitale will make you think otherwise in their e-book, “How to Write and Publish an e-Book in
as Little as 7 Days.”
It’s 180+ pages of advice on how to write your own e-book and interviews from other
successful e-book authors. The book is quite lengthy, but it’s a quick read. I enjoyed it!
Forums / Message Boards
A forum is a site that allows people to have threaded
conversations. Forums are usually divided up into smaller sub
forums based on topic. You can see my forum by going to
Most forums make money with advertising. Forum owners
display Google (AdSense ads), allow paid advertising,
Just like everything else, there are multiple ways to build a forum. It depends on how much
work you want to do and how much control you want to have. I highly recommend selfhosting your own forum like I’m doing with WebsiteBabble.com.
That means the forum is hosted on my own domain name and I have full control over
everything from the address of the forum to hosting ads, etc. If you want to go this route,
you need a domain name and regular web host. My forum is hosted at Website Palace and the
forum script/software that I’m using is vBulletin.
So to create my forum, I had to buy the vBulletin script and then install it on my hosting
account at Website Palace. Yes, this will require you to learn a bit about uploading files to
your web hosting account.
Don’t Want to Buy a Script?
In my opinion, vBulletin is the best forum script out there. The customization options are
great and you receive the customer support. However, if you do not want to pay for your
forum there is another option.
If you choose the regular hosting option with Website Palace, there are some free forum
scripts that come with your plan.
You can install the forum in just a few clicks without having to manually upload files, edit the
scripts, etc. The forum scripts are not as powerful as vBulletin, but they may suit your needs.
You can always upgrade to a paid script at a later time.
Watch this video and learn how to setup a forum with Website Palace.
Getting Traffic to Your Forum
Just like social networking sites, forums are not as easy to draw in traffic as content-themed
websites. One big mistake I made with my first few forums is that I tried to launch before I
had enough traffic to my website.
It takes a LOT of traffic to get a forum active because most people who are exposed to your
forum will not become active members.
So to give your forum a chance to succeed, you NEED an existing traffic base that you can
promote your forum to. Just like social networking sites, I would not suggest creating a forum
if you don’t already have a well-trafficked site or blog first. Take it from someone who’s had
three failed forums.
Video Related to Forums
How to Create a Forum/Message Board
Selling Ad Space
Once you start getting traffic to your site, you may want to think
about selling flat-rate ads to other advertisers.
This is different from contextual ad programs like AdSense
because you will be charging a flat fee and the ad may run for a
week, month, or whatever you decide.
I do not recommend trying to sell ad spots if you don’t have much traffic. Think about it.
Would you pay for an ad on a store window if you knew that store was on a street with no
You should definitely wait until you have a few hundred visitors per day before you think of
selling ad space. Not to mention, it makes your site look very smallish if you have a “Your Ad
Here” message up for months and no takers.
Using Ad Management Software
If you want to keep all the profits yourself, the best thing to do is use your own ad
management software. OpenX is probably one of the most popular, free scripts out here. You
can integrate it with PayPal, and the setup is fairly easy if you are familiar with configuring and
uploading scripts to your web host.
OpenX supports image and text ads.
OIO Publisher is the perfect, hassle-free solution for WordPress users who want to host
sponsor ads, but don’t want to deal with setting up and installing complicated scripts. If you
use WordPress, OIO Publisher installs just like a plug-in, so setting this ad management
system up is a breeze.
OIO only works on PHP sites (sites like WordPress blogs and most forums), so if your site is
static (HTML) then you’ll have to convert your pages to PHP in order to use it.
I bought this script for my forum, WebsiteBabble.com and it worked like a charm.
OIO Publisher supports image and text ads.
The Manual Method
If you don’t want to deal with any scripts or 3rd parties, of course you can manually manage
the ads on your site and collect the money through a site like PayPal. I would not recommend
this method because it’s not automated.
You have to keep track of when the ads expire and remember to take them down. Not too
difficult if you have one or two ads, but if business starts picking up, you may regret this
Determining Your Ad Price
So how do you know how much to charge for your ads? One way you can do this is by
checking your eCPM statistic from any ad program you may use.
If you are a Google AdSense member, you can login to your reports and check your eCPM for
the day or the current month. The eCPM stands for earnings cost per thousand. So let’s say
your eCPM for this month is $5.00. That means you earn $5.00 for every 1,000 ad
So if your site gets 5,000 page views per month, then you would charge $25/month for an ad
($5.00 for every 1,000 page views).
Now this is just one way of doing it. And of course, you can adjust the price based on other
factors. For example, if I used that formula on 2 Create a Website, my ad prices would be
much higher than they are. But I also took into account the history of my sponsor ads click
through rates, placement of the ads, competitor prices, etc.
So you can use that formula to get a base price, and then adjust as needed.
Building Traffic to Your Site or Blog
Building targeted traffic is the most challenging task of owning
a website. I get more e-mails about this than any other
Your ability to drive targeted traffic to your site will probably be
the determining factor for whether you succeed or fail.
Many people assume that if they have a great idea for a site,
the traffic will just come.
People don’t just stumble upon websites like they do stores on a street. You have to drive
traffic to your site through either paid advertising or other online methods that I will discuss
This is where you need your creative cap because marketing your site effectively is the key to
success. I will show you some of the most common ways people promote their websites, but
it’s up to you to execute, execute, execute!
Let’s get started…
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
There’s nothing like search engine traffic because it’s free
and very targeted.
Notice I keep using the word “targeted”. I do so because
there is a BIG difference between any traffic and targeted
I would much rather have 50 people come to
2CreateAWebSite.com who searched for “how to create a
website” in Google than to have 500 random people on MySpace find my site because of a
bulletin or e-mail I sent out.
Why? Because the people in Google were actually SEARCHING for how to build a website. So
I know that my content fits their needs and it is more likely they will buy and become regular
visitors. These are targeted visitors.
A lot of people think that sending out a blast e-mail to their FaceBook friends is marketing.
Sure, some of your buddies will check your site out of courtesy, but most will not become
customers because this is not TARGETED traffic.
Google and Bing-Yahoo are the most popular engines out there and make up for over 90% of
the Web’s searches today. Don’t waste your time paying any submission services to submit to
(50,000 sites). They’re rip-offs. Most of the sites they will submit to are rarely used.
Also, when you do a web search on other sites, most of them use Google’s results anyway. So
as long as you’re listed there, you’ll also be listed on other sites that use their results.
Search Engine Rankings are a Popularity Contest
Back in the day, getting a good ranking in the popular engines was all about adding meta tags
and keyword stuffing.
Meta tags are descriptors that go into the top of your pages and they tell the engines what
title and description to display in their results. Even though the search engines rely less on
meta tags for rankings, you should still add them on every page.
I have a video on creating meta tags here.
Keyword stuffing is when you load up your paragraphs with the phrases you want to rank high
for. So if you were trying to rank on the first page of Google for “home employment”, your
paragraph may have looked something like this back in the day…
Looking for home employment? This site has the best home employment opportunities available today! Don’t
look for another home employment site because you won’t find better employment opportunities than you will
Notice how many times I used the phrase “home employment”? Doing this used to help you
increase your ranking for that phrase.
Now, as you can imagine, this method got abused because any nonsense site could rank high
for anything they wanted by simply keyword stuffing. So the engines had to quickly adjust.
To learn more about getting ranked in Google, Yahoo and Bing go here.
Also find out why I don't chase links or buy into those "linking schemes."
Forums are another way to drive traffic to your site but this
also takes time. I would never suggest you go to any
forum and just blast ads for your site. First of all, that’s
spamming. Second of all, it’s worthless.
The best way to promote your site with forums is to find
ones that are related to your niche and develop a likeable
profile. If your site is about tennis, find forums related to
tennis by googling “tennis forums”.
Join the forum and begin interacting with other members by asking questions and helping
others. Develop a trusted personality on the forum by being helpful and kind. Most forums
will allow you to add a signature to your posts. This is where the promotion comes in.
As you continue to build your reputation, it will increase the chances that people will visit your
site that is listed in your signature file.
This takes time. Just make a habit of posting 5-10 posts per day in the forums of your choice
and you will be amazed at how this can help get more traffic to your site in the long-run.
If you emerge as a helpful, likeable member, you gain credibility and the more likely other
members will visit your website.
Forums and Backlinks
Many people believe posting to related forums will improve their search engine rankings
because of the backlink in the sig file. Remember, backlinks are inbound links to your site and
the search engines keep track of how many relevant ones you have.
I do believe that posting to forums may help your link popularity some, but they aren’t as
effective as they used to be because the engines know people use forums in an attempt to
increase their number of backlinks. So don’t expect miracles from this.
The best benefit you’ll get from forums is the traffic you’ll receive from members who
manually click on your signature. That’s why it’s important to post to relevant forums in your
niche and build up a positive, credible profile with the other members.
Social Networking Sites
Sites like FaceBook, Twitter and Google Plus can be great
places to build relationships and promote your site.
FaceBook even allows you to create a fan page, so you can
use that to promote your site as well.
Even though the founders of Twitter don’t classify it as a
social networking site, I would still say it falls in that
A lot of people think Twitter is a waste of time, but if you
learn how to use it, I think it can be a great traffic
Here’s an example. I did a video explaining how to use the WordPress theme called Thesis.
Right after I published the video, I noticed the developers of the product also had a Twitter
account. So I sent them a tweet to let them know about my video.
They were so impressed that they began featuring my video on their site which not only
helped me land more affiliate sales for the product, but it also brought traffic to my blog.
Social networking sites can be great promotion tools, but just like anything else, you have to
use them effectively to get results.
Don't just promote your own content. Engage with other people and share their links as well.
Social media is definitely a two-way street and not for people who are only looking to get from
YouTube has been one of my favorite places to market
lately. It’s fun and I get to build credibility by creating
videos that teach and help build my brand and
People love video because it gives them a break from
reading. It also gives you a chance to show off your
personality and let your audience see the real you!
What’s even better is once your channel becomes popular, you can become a partner and earn
money from ads displayed on and near your videos.
To get the best video results you should use a camera with HD capability since YouTube will
let you upload video in HD. I use a Sony HD Handycam, although you really don’t need a
video camera. You can use a regular digital camera that has video capability. The higher the
megapixels, the better.
I also highly recommend getting a good video editing program so your videos have a more
polished, professional look. I use Final Cut Express (Mac) and iMovie on occasion.
Learn more about creating videos here.
YouTube and SEO
One cool aspect about creating YouTube videos is if your videos become popular and get
“favorited” a lot, you might find them showing up in Google’s search results for relevant
keywords. Google owns YouTube so if you can create a popular channel with great videos,
that can only mean good things for you as far as SEO goes.
I honestly can’t see many reasons why you wouldn’t want to add YouTube videos to your
promotion portfolio. Check my blog to read my post titled “10 Reasons You Should Be
Pay Per Click Marketing (PPC)
PPC allows you to bid on keywords you want to rank high for.
Above, I wrote about SEO, which is the process of getting
ranked in the free/natural results. PPC is the opposite of that.
You will actually be paying for your rank.
Every time someone clicks on your ad/site link, you pay a
predetermined amount. The most popular PPC programs are
AdWords (Google) and Microsoft Ad Center.
This is a great way to bring targeted traffic to your site, BUT
you can also lose a lot of money quickly if you don’t track your
conversions and money spent.
Here’s how it works…
Let’s say you want to rank in Google for the phrase “blue hats”. You would create an account
with Google AdWords if you want your site to show up on Google.com. AdWords will walk you
through creating your ad campaign and will help you determine the price you will pay per
click. So let’s say your price ends up being $.89. That means every time someone does a
search for “blue hats” and clicks your ad/site, that is the amount you will pay.
In Google, the AdWords ads appear in a shaded box right below the search box on the search
results page and on the right hand column under the heading “Sponsored Links”. Try it now.
Do a search for “perfume” in Google. You will see the ads in both places. These are PPC ads.
Most people use PPC to promote specific products because it’s easier to track your ROI (return
on investment). As I said earlier, you can lose a lot of money quickly if you do not track how
much you are spending. Some even do PPC full-time.
But you can also use it to draw traffic to your site. You can bid on very inexpensive keywords
and set a monthly budget.
So let’s say you bid on the phrases “blue hats”, “red hats” and “gold hats” and set a daily
budget for $30. Google will automatically freeze your ad campaign when you reach your daily
limit. This is a good way to keep your spending in check, especially if you are just starting out.
I don’t have much experience with PPC. When I do use it, I bid on very inexpensive keywords
to drive additional traffic to my site. I don’t use it to promote specific products and track the
But I will tell you this. If you can learn how to master PPC as a business, you can make a
boatload of money. Some people make 6 and 7 figures per year just working the PPC market
alone by setting up campaigns to promote specific products for which they earn commissions.
The money sounds exciting, but it’s hard work because you have to constantly monitor and
perfect your campaigns while keeping track of your (ROI) to ensure you are making a profit.
If you are interested in learning more about PPC as a business (not just for driving traffic to
your site like I use it), check out PerryMarshall.com.
Article Marketing is where you submit original articles (that you’ve
written) to a directory that allows other Webmasters and Bloggers
to re-print your article on their sites.
If someone uses your article, they must also print your info box
that contains your bio and link to your site. This is how this
technique can bring a viral traffic flow to your site.
Another way to use article marketing is to create keyword-focuses articles on particular
phrases that are commonly searched for. Some people believe that submitting articles to
popular submission sites will get these pages listed/ranked faster in the major search engines.
Then they can use that article to drive traffic back to their site.
Some popular article submission sites are EzineArticles, GoArticles and iSnare.
I would NOT recommend submitting the same articles you have on your site. The search
engines may ignore the article. Make sure the articles you submit to these directories are
unique to anything you’ve written or submitted elsewhere.
I used to use article marketing all the time when I first started marketing my sites. In fact, I
credit this technique for helping me get traffic back in the early days. Although, as the Net
evolved, the results weren’t as sweet so I moved on to other things.
However, there are still a lot of people who use and believe in article. I think a lot of your
success chances have to do with your niche. Some niches are more saturated than others.
For the record, I’m not a big fan of this technique anymore.
NOTE: Now that search engine optimization has changed, article marketing is no longer as
effective as it used to be, but some people still use it to drive traffic. I don't.
Writing Guest Articles & Blog Posts
Guest writing is a very effective way to get exposure for your
site. Imagine the traffic potential available if a heavily trafficked
site features your article.
Guest writing is very common in the blogging world. Many
successful bloggers will tell you they got their break by writing
guest posts for other popular blogs.
Now, before you start submitting articles to any and every
popular site you know, there are guidelines you should follow if
you want to maximize the benefits from guest article writing…
1) Check to see if the site owner has submission guidelines. If so, make sure you follow them.
If they ask you to submit a Word doc, don’t submit an HTML file. The fastest way to get
your e-mail deleted is to ignore their submission instructions.
2) Only choose sites that have an audience relevant to your topic. There’s no point in
submitting an article to an electronics site if your article is about beauty supplies. I know it
sounds like common sense, but you’d be surprised at the lengths people will go through for
3) Submit original articles. As I mentioned in the section above, the search engines ignore
duplicate content, so don’t submit an article that you’ve already published elsewhere. Not
to mention, the owner of the site will not want to publish the duplicate content on their site.
Ramit of IWillTeachYouToBeRich.com wrote a very solid article with outstanding guidelines for
writing guest posts for other blogs. You can read the article here.
Squidoo and Hubpages
Squidoo is a free site that allows you to create a one-page site (or a
“lens”) on any topic of your choice. So if your main site or blog is
about fishing, you might want to create a Squidoo lens on this topic
and link it to your website.
One advantage of creating a Squidoo lens is that Google loves
Squidoo. Why? Because it’s updated frequently with fresh content.
(In case you haven’t figured it out yet, Google loves fresh content.
That’s why blogs tend to get listed and ranked faster than websites.)
Another advantage is that Squidoo shares its ad revenue with their lensmasters (Squidoo
Click here to learn more about Squidoo.
Hubpages are much like Squidoo pages, with a few minor differences. One major difference
is the ad sharing/revenue piece. With Squidoo, you share the earnings. With Hubpages, you
place your own AdSense code on your pages and keep the revenue.
However, the important thing to know is they can both help you generate extra traffic to your
site if used effectively.
Here’s an article that explains the difference between Squidoo and Hubpages.
This is not by any means an exhaustive list of ways to market a website. I just wanted to give
you an idea of some common ways people promote their sites and blogs.
Topic Choice is Everything
Now that you understand a lot more about how to build
and market a website, I want to spend some time
emphasizing the importance of topic choice if you want to
make money online.
This section is especially for those who want to make
money the way I do – build an information site on a topic
and make money through affiliate programs, Google ads,
Many people get the topic part wrong because they either
copy other people’s successful ideas or they aren’t
passionate enough about the topic to stick with it.
Remember, it could take you months before you start
making decent money, so you have to enjoy this enough to hang in there.
The Problem With Copying Someone Else’s Idea
People aren’t successful online because of the topic. They are successful because they have
fresh, quality information and they present their content in a way that informs, entertains,
builds trust and educates their audience.
When people hear that I make 6 figures online, they often assume it’s only because of my
topic, so many try to build a site similar to mine.
The problem is many of these people don’t have the kind of experience I have with this topic
so their content is often uninspiring and unoriginal. There’s no point in building a site like
someone else if you don’t have anything fresh and unique to bring to the table.
Affiliate websites that do well online are authored by people who have a great
passion for the topic and develop interesting perspectives that engage people from
the very beginning. Think different. Be innovative. Research potential competition
and find gaps and opportunities they missed.
While demand for your topic is still important, your knowledge, passion and innovation is even
more crucial when it comes to building a successful website.
Speaking of demand, there are many tools out there you can use to see what people are
searching for. One of my favorites is the Google AdWords Keyword Tool.
It shows you how many times a particular phrase was searched for in Google last month. It’s
a great tool to use while you’re brainstorming for a topic.
Another option is to invest in a tool like Long Tail Pro. It is one of the most thorough research
tools on the market. It took me awhile to get used to it, but the more I used it the more I
grew to like it.
Market Samurai takes the data from the free Google AdWords tool and helps you decide what
keywords to target based on demand and competition.
I wrote an article that shows you how to use it.
“There Are Too Many Sites on My Topic”
Be careful not to fall into the trap of believing there are too many sites on your topic. Even
though there may be a handful of sites out there, you should also check the quality.
What are they missing? Do most of the sites just say the same thing? How good is the
writing? Think you can present your ideas more clearly? Do they use video? Does the site
The truth is, even though there are billions of sites on the Web, the majority of them are low
quality. Most people don’t want to invest the time into building a long-term, quality website
so they throw up something quick and abandon it shortly after.
That’s good news for people who are dedicated, motivated and willing to take the time and
energy to making it work.
A lazy man’s approach is a hard-working man’s opportunity
to compete and conquer the market!
Quick Start Guide to Setting Up a Website
Now that you’ve read over all the tips and suggestions for
starting a website, here is a quick guide you can reference
to make sure you have what you need for your site.
Note: I sure hope you didn’t skip all the valuable
information above. One of the biggest mistakes people
make with creating their websites is that they rush and
don’t take the time to do the research. This often leads to
failure and frustration.
Step 1 – Register Your Domain Name
You can use my store, Website Palace or domain registrar of
your choice. All domain registrars provide the same service
for the most part.
The advantage to choosing Website Palace is you get the
free guide, HTML templates and tutorials I provide to help
you setup your site. I don’t know of any host that offers this.
Remember, your freebies are on the THANK YOU page so don’t miss them!
Step 2 - Choose a Web Host
a) You can choose the hosting plans on Website Palace or a hosting plan of your choice. If
you go with WordPress hosting, it will automatically be installed and you can begin your site
Step 3 – Create Your Site
Don't forget that if you use WordPress, no software is needed. It comes free with your hosting
plan AND you will get my FREE WordPress Guide if you use Website Palace as your host! It’s
available on the order confirmation page.
Adding Forums, Shopping Carts & Additional Features
Some web hosts like Website Palace have built-in applications that you can add to your site
with one click. For example, if you want a chat room or a forum, all you have to do is login to
your hosting account, select the “Applications” tab and choose the applications you want to
As far as collecting payments, you can either use a merchant account or PayPal.
Social Networking Sites
If you want to create a social networking site, you’ll need to find a script that you want to use.
As I mentioned earlier, you can either use PHPFox or Elgg. (There are many more but these
are two that I have read about). Just remember, you are responsible for setting these scripts
up on your own hosting account.
The other option is to install a social networking script through your hosting control panel.
Website Palace has a few you can install through your account.
Social Networking Site -- No Domain or Hosting Needed
If you do not want to install and customize a script on your own domain, you can always use
Ning or SocialGo.com. It’s much easier to setup and you do not need to buy a domain or
hosting package. The downside is your site sits on a 3rd party server and you do not
technically own the content. There will also be design limitations.
If you are going to use a 3rd party solution like this, you should at least register a domain and
redirect/mask the name to your Ning or SocialGo site so the address is yourdomain.com
instead of yoursite.ning.com.
Website Palace offers free domain redirection and masking with every domain purchase. That
means you can buy a domain and set it to automatically forward to any site you choose.
Masking allows you to hide the forwarded address in the browser address bar.
So if you setup a social networking site at Ning.com, you can buy your own domain and have
it redirect to your Ning site so your address of your site is sitename.com instead of
sitename.ning.com. Keep in mind, your site is still sitting on the 3rd party server, even if you
are using a domain redirect.
Hire a Programmer
If you cannot find a script for the kind of site you want, you can always outsource a
programmer. I use a site called Freelancer.com when I need technical tasks completed that I
cannot do myself.
The advantage of hiring someone to create your script is you can get exactly what you want
and you don’t have to worry about editing much of the code. Just make sure that you get a
clear understanding of how to maintain/update your site going forward. Many scripts are
very complex and complicated to update if you do not have a programming background.
You don’t want to be left at the mercy of someone else’s knowledge when it comes to
maintaining or troubleshooting your site. So be sure you understand what you’re getting into
if you want to manage a social networking website.
OK, you’ve made it this far and may be feeling
overwhelmed by all you’ve just learned.
Don’t feel you have to absorb and do everything
today. Honestly, the only thing you need to decide
now is the topic of your site and the method you are
going to use to create it.
Do you think I learned all this overnight? Heck no!
I’ve been out here since 1998 so I’ve learned a little
at a time.
…And I’m still learning. ;)
The best gift you can give yourself as an online entrepreneur is the knowledge to build and
manage your own website or blog. I know it may be tempting to hire/outsource someone, but
that’s not always the best scenario for you in the long-run. I have nothing against outsourcing
certain parts of your site (custom, complex scripts that involve hard-core programming, etc.).
However, I believe you should learn the basics yourself so you are not dependent upon a 3rd
party to make basic updates for you. You need to be in control of your site and there’s
nothing more empowering than that.
If your goal is to make money online, remember it's all about building a following first.
Don't worry about making money in the beginning or you will be focusing on all the wrong
things. When you have the targeted traffic, the monetization options will be endless.
Choose a topic you love and one you are directly connected to
Do keyword research to discover the best angle and phrases to target
Focus on nothing but building helpful content and solving problems related to your niche
Use YouTube and social media to network, connect and build a following
Make helping people your number one focus and everything else will follow
My name is Lisa Irby and I started making money online my senior
year in college. Like most college students I was financially
strapped for cash and wanted to find a way to make some extra
My very first website was hosted on a free web host (never again!)
and it promoted a bunch of offers where I earned a commission for
everything that was sold.
I learned how to get my site ranked near the top of the popular
search engines and began to make money. Once I made my first
dollar you could say that I was officially hooked on the concept of
making money online.
I knew that if I could make one dollar, I could turn that into two
dollars and so on.
Since that time I have been making money online using these same
principles. I build websites on topics that interest me and earn
commissions when I refer my site visitors to products and services I
2 Create a Website is by far my most successful site. It was created in 2002 and by 2005, the
earnings from this site nearly quadrupled my 9 to 5 salary. I make the majority of my income
by reselling domain names and hosting.
Bye, Bye 9 to 5!
In 2006, I quit my full-time job and started working on my Internet business full-time. This
was the best career and personal life decision I’ve ever made.
Since then I’ve continued to build my affiliate empire by adding additional sites to my portfolio
such as WebsiteBabble.com, Napturally Curly and my blog.
However, I want to emphasize that you have to do the work first. I spent the first few
months really putting a lot of time and energy into building that site, developing my content
and perfecting my approach to the topic.
I also had a huge advantage because I had created successful websites before and was
familiar with the formula for success.
Not all my sites have been successful. I had a lot of failed sites back in the day, but I’m
grateful for those failures because they taught me what works, and now I can publish books
like this to keep you from making the same mistakes I made.
Don’t Forget to Plan
My most recent website, 2 Plan a Website, answers a lot of the preliminary questions people
often have (costs to start a website, taxes, etc.). So make sure you stop by for a visit. It’s a
much smaller site and a pretty quick read. It’s laced with additional getting-started facts and
answers to frequently asked questions.
One of the biggest mistakes people make with starting an online business is they don’t arm
themselves with the facts. They rush, make assumptions, choose inappropriate topics and
harbor misconceptions about success.
Taking the time to read over my sites will prevent you from making those common mistakes.
Trust me. It’s worth taking the time to educate yourself before you jump into this.
Lisa’s Last Words of Wisdom
No matter how you attempt to make money online, remember that you get out of it what you
put into it.
Realize you may have to learn a little bit of programming to manage your website, but you
don’t have to become a certified programmer to succeed. I am far from that, yet I make a 6figure salary and know enough programming to accomplish my goals.
Understand the commitment that is involved here. It’s not about just throwing up a site and
expecting the money to just appear in the next month. You have to learn to market and build
traffic to your site. This is going to take time, but you must be resourceful and learn the
appropriate marketing methods for your individual site.
What works for one Webmaster may not work for someone else. You have to find what works
for you and perfect your skills.
Being creative and innovative will also help. It’s not enough to just put up a bunch of content.
You have to have a direction, find your own voice and learn how to build a brand of one (if you
plan to make money as an affiliate like me.)
I can give you all the guidance in the world, but I cannot give you motivation and a good work
ethic. That has to come from within. This is not a lazy man’s world. So if you aren’t prepared
to work hard and spend hours in front of your computer, you may want to think twice about
this. The desire to make a lot of money cannot be your only motivation. You have to
enjoy the ride.
You can do it. You just have to belieeeeeve you can. Remember, I had no formal training,
prior education or mentor when I started this. The only experience I had online was checking
e-mail. I’m serious! So if I can do it, so can you.
I wrote a book called Niche Website Success that goes into much more detail on how to build
niche sites the way I have over the years. It will show you how to brainstorm for the right
topic, promote your site and there are even tips for making money with AdSense, affiliate
marketing and more.
Wishing you all the success going forward and thanks for reading! Be sure to check the next
page for ways to keep in contact with me online.
Stay Connected With Lisa Online
http://www.WebsiteBabble.com (Webmaster Forum)
http://www.youtube.com/lisa3876 (marketing and making money online)
http://www.youtube.com/2createawebsite (programming tutorials)
Please Spread The Knowledge
Don’t forget to share this book by sending people to ThePerfectSiteGuide.com
If you like this book, I would appreciate any tweets or shouts from your favorite social
networking sites. Remember you can just save this PDF to your computer (File, Save Page As)
and e-mail it to your friends or offer it as a download from your site! I bet your friends, family
and site visitors will appreciate the gift!
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