WEBSITE CREATION - WebsiteToolTester

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SIMPLE STEPS TO CREATING YOUR OWNBUSINESS WEBSITEWEBSITECREATIONFOR ABSOLUTEBEGINNERSWebsiteToolTesterRobert Brandl

2A out this e ookThis ebook was written for anyone interested in creating a new website. You mayhave an old website that needs a complete rehaul, or you may be starting fromscratch – regardless, this ebook is for you.I want to show you how to create your own website without having to learnprogramming or spend a fortune.Why should you read what I have to say?I've already helped hundreds of people to create their own websites through my sitecalled WebsiteToolTester.com. This ebook is based on what I've learnt from thoseexperiences. So far it has already been downloaded more than8,000 times.I promise that if you read this ebook all the way through, you'llgain a good understanding of how to create an inexpensivewebsite for yourself. There's a good chance that you'll have fun inthe process too!Wishing you much enjoyment in the creation of your website.Robert BrandlP.S. Please feel free to share this ebook with friends and colleagues.For more information, see www.websitetooltester.com

3ContentAbout this ebook . 21.The Basics . 4Six important reasons to have a business website . 4How to make your own website . 5What is a website builder? . 6Pros and cons of website builders . 8What skills do I need? . 92.Planning Your Website . 11Set goals . 11Create content . 12Sample mind map for a shoe store website . 13Review other websites . 143.Selecting Suitable Website Tools. 15What to do he4.e site uilders are ’t right for the jo . 17Creating your website with a website builder . 18Getting started . 19Important things to remember before and after publishing. 21Tha k ou . 24For more information, see www.websitetooltester.com

41. The Basi sSi i porta t reaso s to ha e a usi ess e siteAs you're reading this ebook, I'm going to assume you have at least one importantreason to create a website. Here are a few more:-Showcase the full range of your offeringMany businesses have more to offer than their customers realize. Does your drivingschool also offer safety training? Maybe your translation company has recentlyadded Korean to its language combinations? Interesting. Use your website to keepyour customers in the picture and generate additional sales.-Make life easy for your customersSome customers aren't inclined to pick up the phone or visit your store out of theblue. Instead, they may prefer to find out about your company first at their ownpace. An online presence can allow them to do just that.-Advertise more effectivelyHow do you advertise now? Flyers, cold calling and direct mail can bombard yourcustomers and rarely find their way under the right noses at the right time. But whena customer finds your website through Google, there's a good chance they have aspecific need in mind - and are hoping you can help them with a solution. This makesyour website one of the most cost-effective advertising methods out there.For more information, see www.websitetooltester.com

5-All your contact details in one placeMake it easy for customers to find all your details in one place, from phone numbersto travel directions. Your customers will thank you.-Sell your products onlineIf you sell a product that can be mailed or shipped in digital format, there's noreason why you can't set up an online store. This immediately increases the numberof potential customers and takes your market nationwide - or even international, ifyou want.-Engage your customersThese days there are a range of great methods to engage your customers. Why nottry an email newsletter? Or a Facebook Page, Instagram and a blog? These low-costcustomer relationship tools are there to be used. But first things first: your website.Ho toake our oe siteThere are several reasons why you might want to have a go at building a website.Unfortunately, beginners can find themselves drowning pretty quickly in terms likeHTML, CSS and PHP. Teaching yourself how to code is a very noble way to build awebsite from the ground up. In fact, you can find some good information on thishere, if you're interested: www.w3schools.com.But what if you don't want to train as a web designer, or put your business on holdfor several months while you master the finer points of web development? What ifou're looki g for a easier solutio ? Wha ’t our e site e as eas to reateand edit as a Word document?For more information, see www.websitetooltester.com

6That's exactly where the latest generation of online website builders comes in. Youcan use them to have a perfectly respectable website up and running in very littletime, and without having to learn any programming.What is a e site uilder?Website builders are ideal for small- to medium-sized website projects withrelatively simple page structures. Traditionally these tools ha e ’t eeerpowerful, and their amateurish results weren't suited to business websites.However, these tools have become far more advanced in recent years. Take a look atthese examples and see the vast range of commercial websites, online stores andprivate blogs for yourself: websitetooltester.com/out/showcaseImage 1: www.cometpingpong.comImage 2: www.bobsmade.comWebsite builders are a one-stop shop for all our e site’s eeds: domainregistration (e.g. yourname.com), online storage space (web space), and often yourown email account. There's usually some form of technical support too in case youget stuck along the way. Template designs, elements and a text editor are also partof the package.Let’s take a loser look at so e of the t pi al ele e ts of a e site uilder.For more information, see www.websitetooltester.com

7Ready-made designs (templates)Image 3: Wee l ’s Te platesWebsite builders make it easy to chop and change between a range of differentready-made designs. This can be done at any time, even after you've filled youre site ith o te t, as our e site’s desig a d o te t area aged separately.If your company has a logo and color scheme, you can easily incorporate these into atemplate. If you can't find a design you like, it's also possible to use a custom-madedesign, although this will require an understanding of HTML and CSS (theprogramming languages of the web).ElementsImage 4: JimdoA website can include text, images, videos, contact forms or products for an onlinestore. A e site uilder allo s ou to hoose hi h of these ele e ts ou’d like oyour website. Simply drag and drop them to where you want, then customize at theclick of a button.For more information, see www.websitetooltester.com

8EditorImage 5: WeeblyThe editor is used to edit the content of your pages. To edit a block of text, simplyclick on it to open the editing window. After that, it's as easy as using MicrosoftWord. You can also add links to sub-pages or other websites.Pros a d o s of e site uildersIf you're considering using a website builder, you should also be aware of the prosand cons.Advantages of website buildersxEasy to use: no programming skills required. Also your staff will getthe hang of it pretty quickly.xAll you need in one place: a domain, hosting space, email address, etc.xCost: very reasonable, with prices from USD 5 to 25 per month.xSecurity updates: your provider will install any necessary securityupdates in the background. Open-source content managementsystems, on the other hand, require you to install these yourself on aregular basis.xSupport: if you get stuck along the way, you'll find plenty of technicalsupport via email and forums.Disadvantages of website buildersFor more information, see www.websitetooltester.com

9xLimited flexibility: this is what it really comes down to - how muchflexibility are you prepared to give up? For example, if you must use aspecific layout, you might find a website builder too limited. The onlyway to know for sure is to give it a try.xRelying on one provider: it's important your provider is well managedfrom a business perspective, because you could lose your website if itgoes bust. That's why it's better to go with a more establishedprovider.xLarge web projects: these systems are simply not appropriate forlarger or more complex web-based projects.We’ e got a o plete arti le ouilder ihat can and what can’t be done with a websitease ou are u sure. There ou’ll fi d ple t of e a ples for differe twebsite types (e.g. portfolio websites, blogs, online stores, multilingual sites):websitetooltester.com/out/limitationsWhat skills do I eed?The skills ou’ll eed to use a e site uilder are the sa e as those ou eed to usea text editing software (such as Microsoft Word). Whe it o es to our e site’sappearance however, it can help to have a basic understanding of design. You don'tneed to be a qualified graphic designer of course, but you should be able to identifythe colors and images that are likely to appeal to your customers.It's also a good idea to have a graphic design package tohand. Adobe Photoshop is undoubtedly the best in class,but there are many free ivesImage 6: gimp.orgGive Gimp (www.gimp.org) a go if you're feeling ambitious, but Sumopaint(www.sumopaint.com) provides all the basic functions without the steep learningcurve and is ideal for beginners.For more information, see www.websitetooltester.com

10I order to ork effe ti elith i ages, ou’ll eed to k o the differe e et eegraphic file formats such as .jpg, .gif, .png and .bmp:websitetooltester.com/out/image-formats.Your te t ill also eed to e ell ritte . Here’s a o er ie of the things you'llneed to keep in mind when writing for the web: websitetooltester.com/out/webwriting.It may also be worth asking friends and colleagues to review your text to make sureit makes sense, is of good quality, and of course contains no errors in spelling orgrammar.If graphic design or writing aren't your strong points, then seriously consider bringingin an expert. A good designer or copywriter will ensure your content reflects aprofessional image. You can find service providers and get an idea of their prices atUpwork or 99designs.These sites allow you to advertise your project and request a quotation. Irecommend dealing directly with the service provider where possible - anintermediary tends to just make communication more difficult. And above all, makesure you check the reviews left for your provider by previous customers.You should now have a rough idea of whether you feel technically able to use awebsite builder to create your own website. In the next section I’ll take ou throughthe process of planning your website from start to finish.It’s well worth reading through the remaining sections before making a final decisionon whether a website builder is for you. It's important to understand the exactrequirements of your website project beforeaki g a de isio ohat tools ou’lluse to implement it.For more information, see www.websitetooltester.com

112. Plai g Your We siteGood planning really is the secret to success, and this is especially true when itcomes to creating a website.Set goalsIf you don't set clear goals, how will you know if your website investment ever paysitself off? Here are some important questions to consider:What do I want my website to achieve?This is the most important question of all. The clearer you are on your expectationsand goals, the more successful your website will be. For example, some goals for animaginary New York based shoe store could include:Attract new customers: by raising awareness of the store's offerings. The success ofthis goal could be measured through regular customer surveys and web statistics.Increase customer numbers during typically quiet periods: by boosting salesthrough an email newsletter. This could also highlight Sunday trading hours, specialanniversaries and other such occasions. The number of newsletter subscribers couldbe an indicator of success here.Create a new stream of sales separate to the retail store: by creating an onlinestore. The success of this goal could be measured on the basis of sales figures.Now let's take a look at some business requirements and see how we could applythese.For more information, see www.websitetooltester.com

12Business requirement - solutionNew customersOptimize the website for search engines under thekeywords "shoe store new york tribeca". Create aGoogle My Business listing(www.google.com/business) and a Yelp Page .Increase customer numbers duringLook for a website builder that makes integrating aquiet periodsnewsletter subscription form easy so you can keepin touch with your customers.Create a new stream of salesEnsure the website builder also has an online storeseparate to the retail storefeature.Create o te tOnce you've collected your requirements, you'll have a good idea of your objectives.Collecting material for your content makes your website even more concrete. Sitdown with a piece of paper and gather all your ideas, including those relating tocontent and features such as contact forms, photo galleries, etc.Mind maps are a great way to capture your thoughts at this stage because they allowyou to record your ideas as they spring to mind, without having to organize them in ahierarchy before you're ready. Start by writing the key idea in the middle of thepage, and then add your thoughts in the form of keywords extending out from this.You'll end up with a pictorial representation of your thoughts.You can do this using a pen and paper, or with special software such as Mindmeister(www.mindmeister.com). Read on to see the mind map we produced to organize thecontent for our shoe store.For more information, see www.websitetooltester.com

13Sa plei dap for a shoe store e siteImage 8: Mind map shoe storeYou should now have a clearer idea of the content for your future website. In ourexample, we identified some additional features such as an image gallery, contactform, store directions via Google Maps, and an online store.For more information, see www.websitetooltester.com

14Re ie other e sitesThis step comes after your initial data gatheringexercise. But be aware that rushing straight to yourcompetitors' websites can mean you can miss out onatrul origi al ideas, hi h ou’ll eed if ou a tto stand out.Instead, look for all kinds of websites that appeal to you in terms of content anddesign across a range of sectors. Make a note of what you like and then add it toyour mind map. Take a close look at what your competitors are doing, but remembernot to let it limit your vision - businesses in your industry may have websites that arebelow average!Keep adding new ideas to your mind map, and add more lines to create newconnections between your ideas. You may find your main keywords are a goodstarting point for your website's navigation menu. Once you've finished make noteof everything, it's a good idea to ask for feedback from people you trust. This canopen your eyes to some valuable insights. It's far too easy to lose sight of the biggerpicture when you're working alone sometimes.For more information, see www.websitetooltester.com

153. Sele ti g Suita le We site ToolsYou’ll fi d ou' eade good progress after the plai g phase, a d ao start totake some concrete steps. The next stage involves determining whether we can finda website builder that meets all of our requirements. Website builders are idealbecause they are the cheapest and quickest way to create a website. And becauseyou can easily update your website yourself too, you'll save money down the track.We even have some suggestions for you if you can't find a suitable website builder.Find a comparison of a range of website builders onwebsitetooltester.com/out/reviews, including regularly-updatedinformation on each individual tool.Here’s the pro ess I re oe d hehoosi g a e site uilder:1. Use the reviews to find a provider that meets your requirementsRegular site builders: websitetooltester.com/out/reviewsEcommerce builders: websitetooltester.com/out/ecommerce2. Create a free account and see whether you like the feel of thesystem. Pay particular attention to the templates and whether you canfind a design that suits you.3. When you're 100% happy with your choice, upgrade to the mostappropriate paid plan.For more information, see www.websitetooltester.com

16What about free packages?Many providers now allow you to create websites for free. You can find some ofthese on WebsiteToolTester.com. These packages are usually financed by differentkinds of advertising, depending on the provider.Other providers only allow you to use a cheap domain name, such asyourname.freewebsitebuilder.com, instead of yourname.com (or .org, .net or .co.uk,etc.). Free providers may be worth considering for personal websites, but aren'tgenerally suitable for business ones.It’s possi le to get a o pletel ad-free site, with a proper domain name and emailaccount, for as little as USD 5-8 a month. This presents a far more professionalimage to your customers.Already registered a domain name?Well done. No-one can steal your name now! You have two options ifou’ e alread registered a do aia e ut a t to use a e sitebuilder:1. You could transfer the domain to your website builder provider andterminate your contract with your original domain name provider(easiest option). Or:2. You could stay with your current domain name provider and forwardthe domain to your website builder account. Your current domainregistrar can help you set this up. Find more details on what you'll needto do on websitetooltester.com/out/reviews, in each review under thesection on domains.For more information, see www.websitetooltester.com

17What to do hee site uilders are ’t right for the joIf your requirements go beyond thecapabilities of a website builder, there aredifferent possibilities. If you want tocontinue the DIY-route, I’d re oe d ou to he k out WordPress.org. Originally itstarted out as a blogging platform, but since then it has evolved into a multi-purposewebsite platform that allows for almost any kind of website project. In particular, ifyou want your visitors to pull information from a database (e.g. a real estate websitewhere visitors can search for properties, or a multilingual ecommerce store),WordPress is a great choice.WordPress’ doside is that it’s ot as eas to use as a e site uilder. Setti g it uprequires basic technical skills and you also have to actively manage updates. If youwould like to learn more about it, check out our WordPress Beginner’s Gui

website builder to create your own website. In the next section I’ll take ou through the process of planning your website from start to finish. It’s well worth reading through the remaining sections before making a final decision on whether a website b