My Mistakes as a Web Design Newbie
Learn from them
Approaching retirement age I was made redundant last year and decided to create my first web site, initially knowing little about it. I hope that, by reading about my experiences, that I may save you both time and money if you ever find yourself in the position of wanting to build a site with little initial knowledge.
I bought five or six ebooks on how to make my web fortune from the one-page web-sites that you see on the web. The prices ranged from $9.95 to $29.95. It would be unfair of me to say that they were of no use, as you can always pick up the odd pointer, or contact. However, with the benefit of hindsight I would not have purchased any of them. Instead there are free, better written books which give you at least the same pointers, and often have more substance. You can download from my web site, for free, two excellent books by Ken Evoy, which will provide you with a good basic knowledge to move forward. Don’t get carried away with the sales hype contained in some of these “get rich quick” single page sales letters that offer huge free bonuses and an imminent price increase.
Universities and colleges
There are various colleges and universities on the web which promise you the ultimate in web creation, site marketing, search engine optimization and much more, “all under one roof” They usually have libraries of “how to” books and membership is by monthly subscription with some offering a lower fee for the first month. Have a look, by all means, I looked at three and claimed my refund within the stated period. I found that I could obtain similar information offered for free with a little searching, and that what they really offered was convenience.
Web Design software
I initially purchased a web site building package for $69.95 and was soon disappointed by its lack of functionality. I then looked over the shoulder of a friend whilst they showed me the workings of a top-end product costing nearly $400.00 but I found it to be too complicated with too steep a learning curve too be quickly productive. I posted a request for help on the Warriors forum and there were more recommends for a particular product than any other. So I decided that my first web site would be a review of that product, which I would create as a trial, before I went on to build a site that would aim at generating income.
What should the web site be about?
Several of the books that I read suggested that the subject matter should be about something that you enjoy doing and therefore you will create your site with more passion and enthusiasm. Whilst this is sound advice I found that the need to create a trial site, which would force me to learn the basics, was more than a sufficient driving force.
Domain name & Web hosting
Go for a dot com registration and pay no more than $10 per annum. Don’t go for free hosting, you get what you pay for. I looked at hosting sites that offered complete package with hosting, autoresponders, SEO and linking software and much more. Whilst everything was conveniently in one place they failed to convince me that each product would stack up well if they were competing in each niche market. I therefore opted for the best of breed approach and a little less convenience.
Search Engine Optimization
This was probably the subject that I was most worried about as I new that it referred to making a web site as easy as possible for the search engines to find, but I had no clue as to how to go about it. I have a free ebook that you can download entitled “Search Engine Optimization Made Easy” which will give you the basics to carry out this process. The book is really a plug by the author of SEO software for his excellent product. I was fortunate in that the web design software I selected also, somewhat unusually, held my hand through this process, carefully pointing out page, by page, what I needed to do.
I was aware that, in order to succeed, I should submit articles to the numerous Article Directories present on the Internet. There are two ways to do this. By purchasing one of the two major pieces of software to assist me in doing it myself, or to use a company to do it for me. I looked at each way and found that, whilst both software solutions cut out some of the tedious manuals tasks of submitting to over 150 directories, it was still time consuming. Having examined the market place carefully, discounting any company who charged for a fixed number of submissions, I opted for one who for a fixed quarterly fee would submit any number of articles.
Again, so that I would get more site traffic, I new that I should get other sites to link to mine and that I would have to manage those links and the emails back and forth etc. I initially started to design an Excel spreadsheet linked to Microsoft Word but decided that I would still have to create the links pages by hand. My advice is to obtain software which houses all your links in a searchable database, handles all of the emails, including template housing, and that automatically creates the HTML link pages for you.