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The Seven Steps to Your Own Website...


Today's tip is for folks who want a website of their own but are not sure how to go about it. You'll discover exactly how to put up your own custom web site without paying big bucks

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Before we start though, I'd like to answer one question I hear a lot...

"Jim, do I really need a site of my own? I got a free one with the last affiliate program I joined. Can't I just use that?"

And my answer is always the same...

Sure you could. That's if you're willing to hinge your success on a site that is identical to thousands of others. And I hate to admit this, but I tried that route six years ago. It didn't work then and it certainly doesn't now. You can try it too, but I guarantee you'll learn the hard way that having YOUR OWN web site is the first step in promoting ANY business online, even those affiliate programs. Okay, now let's get your site going.

For starters, we want to do this cheap. The total cost of setting up a custom web site can be less than a hundred bucks and some of your time. Once your site is up, the only ongoing costs are monthly web hosting charges, which can be as low as ten dollars per month plus yearly domain fees of $15 or less. Now that's cheap!

Here's the entire website building process, step-by-step:

Step #1: Put something down on paper.

Draw out what you want at your website. Don't worry about the look right now, just figure out what your basic web pages will be about. A few examples would be a main page, a page that describes your company or yourself, a page that offers free information about your area of expertise, and a page with your best product/ service/opportunity that you plan to promote.

Step #2: Put it into your computer.

Once you have a basic idea of what your site will contain, take that info from step one and put it into your computer. There are many ways to do this. You can go out and buy one of those 800 page books on html, the code used to design web pages, or you can go the easy route. The easy route is to purchase a WYSIWYG (stands for What You See Is What You Get) web design program. There are many programs to choose from in today's market. These programs offer the easiest way to design a web site, especially for the first timer. Most of these programs cost in the neighborhood of one hundred dollars.

Here are a couple examples of such programs...

- Microsoft FrontPage

Frontpage is the program I use to design and update my sites and it is a decent choice for new webmasters. Though I am not fond of the uploading interface, the design tool is easy to use and has improved significantly through the years.

- CuteSite Builder

This is one of the best WYSIWYG tools I've seen come along in years. The software makes it simple to add content such as text, images, and links, and publish your site with just one-click. CuteSite also comes with pre-designed website templates, although much better quality templates can be found on the web. (See the next step.)

Step #3: Get a professional template.

When designing a new website, I suggest you start with a pre-designed template, rather than designing the site from scratch. A professional-grade website template can be had for less that thirty bucks in most cases and it will save you days if not weeks of design time. Here's a website template site offering the best quality and variety of templates I've seen to date.

Note: If you have my Make A Living Online package, you now have complimentary access to those superb templates. (Members log in and look for the link on the main page.)

(If you're not a member of my Make A Living Online site, click here for a peek at some of the templates that come with my Make A Living Online package.)

When I think of the time templates like those would have saved me years ago while building my sites, it gives me a chill. But website templates were practically non-existent back in 1996. Today I can't imagine building a site any other way. Take a look at those and you'll see why.

Step #4: Get a domain name.

Once your site is laid out on your computer, you'll need to decide on a domain name for your site. Registering your own domain name means that web surfers will be able to connect to your web site by entering www.whateveryouchoose.com.

Try to choose a domain name that is easy to remember and has something to do with your business. If you need help coming up with an idea, my domain name wizard can conjure up a few good choices for you. Just enter a little info about your business at my domain name wizard and let it go to work. If you like the domains it suggests, you can register them right there for just $15 a year.

Step #5. Select a company to host your web site.

Okay, your web site is designed and you have a domain name picked out. So why do you have to hire a company to host your site?

Well actually, you 'could' host the pages on your own computer. After all, a hosting company will provide just that to you, a computer. But in order to do it yourself, you would need special software, a T-1 or T-3 connection (which can cost more than a thousand bucks a month) and a way to monitor it 24 hours a day. Therefore, hiring a web host who already has everything set up is a much more cost-effective solution for small businesses.

Since your web host will maintain your 24hr connection to the web, making sure surfers can connect to your site at all times, it's important to hire the right company. My past experiences with web hosting have been quite eventful (as well as painful). To help you make an informed decision, I've posted a full report about selecting a host.

Step #6: Set your domain name DNS.

Many people cannot understand how their site will load when someone enters their domain name in their browser. It's simple. You, as webmaster, must TELL your domain name where your site is hosted. That is as simple as logging into the site where you purchased your domain name and then entering the "DNS" (stands for Domain Name Server) information that your web host gives you. It looks something like this...

NS1.hostname.com

Once it is entered in, your domain will go "live" to your website with 48 hours or so.

Step #7: Upload your website.

This is another step that many newbies have problems with. Basically, you'll be transferring your newly designed web pages from your own computer to the computer at your web hosting company.

Although most WYSIWYG web design programs come with a "web publishing" interface, the few I've tried have been clumsy and slow. Rather than using the web publishing interface in my design program, I prefer to use FTP to upload my pages. "FTP" (stands for File Transfer Protocol) and there are lots of these programs available on the web. They cost in the $40 range and they make uploading your site to your host, as simple as drag-and-drop..

Here are a few simple and effective FTP programs you can try:

- CuteFTP

This is the program I use to upload web pages to my site. The simple drag and drop interface can be learned in a matter of minutes. You just enter your website address, user name and password the first time you run the program. Then, whenever you want to upload a web page (or entire site) it's as simple as dragging the files from your computer and dropping them at your host.

- WS_FTP

This is one of the more popular choices among veteran webmasters. The easy and intuitive interface makes managing your web site a breeze.

- Fetch for Mac

This is the popular FTP choice for Macintosh users. This user-friendly FTP client also allows point-and- click, drag and drop file transfers. If you're on a Mac, you'll save money in this department since Fetch can be licensed for just $25.

No matter which FTP program you choose, once you've downloaded it, spend an hour or so getting used to it. You'll be using it a lot as a new webmaster.

That's it! You now have each step laid out in an easy to follow checklist. Well, that's it for this month's gazette. I'll be talking' with ya in November.

Jim Daniels
bizweb2000.com
make-a-living-online.com





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