￼Build a website from scratch and create a sturdy foundation within a year.
Is that something you want to do?
A lot of people don’t know which steps to take to launch a successful website.
Almost everyone these days has a website or wants to build a website. But the competition is huge, because there are so many websites.
Build a website? How to do it?
How can you create a flock of readers, and attract more visitors to be able to earn money in the long run?
A the beginning of january, WPjournalist didn’t exist yet. Now, at the end of December, WPjournalist is really on the map.
- More than 1135 followers on Twitter,
- 68 Facebook friends (but I haven’t put any effort into this yet…)
- 100+ reader comments,
- More than 400 unique visitors every day.
- A great position in the Open Site Explorer van Moz,
- Almost 700 newsletter readers (this I am most proud of!).
To be fair, you can’t expect to have thousands of visitors, followers and newsletter subscribers within a year.
You really need to work at it.
But if you follow the right approach, then you can lay a sturdy foundation for your website which you will be able to enjoy for years to come. On which you will be able to build your business or dream even further.
The great thing is that even without a big budget, you can still build a successful website.
I myself have built my website from the ground up and improved it step by step. And I have seen it grow significantly.
Curious about how I did it?
I have written down per month, how you can build your website step by step.
The first question you need to ask yourself is: what do I want to achieve with my website? What are my goals, visions?
It might sound a little abstract and boring, but it is important. Because when you know what you want to achieve with your website, you can focus all you attention and content on this.
This way you won’t do anything unnecessary, but only the things which will help you reach your goal.
I had also formulated a goal for WPjournalist: improve your website. That’s what it is about for me.
So describe in short, powerful and concretely what it’s about. I didn’t do this until later by the way. In the beginning I was also way too diverse and I wrote about things that were not part of my goal.
This is something to take into account.
Think of a name
Coming up with a name is the next step. Because if you know this, then you can also secure the domain name and social media accounts.
Choose a special name, something that stands out, but also covers the content. I chose WPjournalist, WP from WordPress and journalist because of the content. I try to combine technique and content in a smart way so I can make better websites.
Don’t forget to create a logo. My friend is fashion designer and created the logo for me. But you can also do it yourself with Logogarden.
One of the best and most exciting part, building a website!
You can have someone build the website, but you can also easily do it yourself. I have really gotten to know a lot about WordPress.
Building a website isn’t hard. The easy way is to open an account with WordPress.com, because they take care of the hosting for you.
Time & energy
Do you want to get everything out of your website, then you could look into WordPress.org. But be aware, it takes a lot of time and energy to learn this.
But you won’t regret it…
Choose a suitable theme
With WordPress.com you can choose from a limited amount of themes. I have chosen for WordPress.org and bought a theme with Themeforest. There you can choose from hundreds of themes, one even more beautiful than the other.
I do often choose a theme that is sold a lot. Because these themes often have good support and regular updates.
I wanted a magazine look for the website and chose Newsmag. Look at what this theme’s options are. Because you will be stuck with it for years. Do you need a slider or a forum? In some themes it is built in standard and with others it isn’t.
Weighing the options
I weighed the options for weeks before I bought this theme. But after a year I still feel I made the right choice.
When the website is operational, it’s time to draw some attention to your website from the ‘big audience’. I started with writing articles.
At first I had no focus, I wrote about everything I found interesting. Nothing wrong with that, because you need to learn how to write articles. The more you practice, the better your articles will become eventually.
Text or… infographics!
Try to vary in your content. You can write articles in different ways. A top 5, five external experts speaking, a review.
And also vary with text, podcast or video and infographics. A you a good presenter, then you make a video yourself. Or you alternate between a text and an infographic. Nowadays you there are free tools like Piktochart to create your own infographics.
SEO, SEO and SEO
This is also the time to learn more about SEO. Learn the basics and you will be found better in Google.
This is already done quite often in the internet marketing branch: creating content to make yourself findable in Google. But in other branches a lot of profit can still be made.
Start posting on social media and build a followers audience. Determine which social media will best suit your business. Preferably post something every day or at least a couple of times a week.
There are tools with which you can place posts automatically, like Buffer. This way you can spend half an hour a week on this and put the posts ready for the next couple of days. Also Twitter offers this option. Then you don’t have to think about it every day.
Now you have been working on this a few months, it’s also good to build your website even further. Every day you can look at what could be improved.
- a different photo on a page,
- rewriting a text,
- trying out a live chat plugin so people can come to you with a question live.
There are so many options to improve your website.
After five months in May, I wrote creating quotes easily for social media. It was a hit because it turned out to be my best read article. You can never know upfront how you will rank in Google, but with the keyword ‘Creating quotes’ I ranked number 1 in Google.
Up until now you have mainly been focused on internal, now it’s time to focus more on the outside world. Draw attention to your website from others, acquaintances, friends, family and especially influencers.
These are people with a large network and who can share a lot of content with others. And ask them if they want to link your website on their own website. Because when other websites link to your website, you site will get more value.
Google thinks: hey, this site is recommended by others and this will cause you to rise in the search results.
Now it’s also time to start with a newsletter. A newsletter is still an important resource to get customers and generate leads.
It’s quite some work to set it up and send every month, but not that difficult. You can easily send out a newsletter with tools like Mailchimp.
Really do it, if you want to get serious about your website, this is a good investment. You won’t have that many subscribers at first, but if you keep going it will pay itself off and you will see you’ll get more subscribers.
Write, write, write
Definitely keep writing. Your website doesn’t have that much body and you really need to work at it. For people who don’t write that much this can be difficult. Check out what other successful blogs write about.
There are tools to find out what your readers needs are, like BuzzSumo. Here you can find out which articles are popular and shared a lot.
Get some rest and take a break from your website. Time to go on holiday. Of course you can keep doing small things for the website. I myself wrote an ‘about WPjournalist’ article, in which I tell a little about myself and how WPjournalist came to exist.
I also made a video about WPjournalist with Powtoon, a tool with which you can easily make a video yourself.
Half a year…
Your site now exists half a year and you have probably quite some content on your website. Now it’s time to learn more about Google Analytics.
With this you can see how often your site is visited, which articles score the best and which don’t. This is something you can adjust your strategy to. When an article scores well, then you know there is a need for it.
Measuring your website is also an important part of building a website.
Perhaps now the first comments are starting to come in. It’s important to take them serious, because your visitors are starting to trust you and are asking questions. It gives more authority to your website when people start asking you questions. And you will see, more comments will follow.
You have now sent a few newsletters, but you notice there are few subscriptions. I also only had 1 or 2 subscrib
ers per month in the beginning. You can improve this with a lead magnet.
What this is? A lead magnet is a small present when people sign up for the newsletter. For example think of an e-book about something that interests your readers or a video message with tips for their website. It really works. People are always curious about your e-book and will subscribe even faster.
Authority & trust
The site is starting to get more recognition. You have a couple of hundred followers on Twitter, the amount of visitors is increasing and people are sticking around longer on your website. A good sign, your site is getting authority and trust.
Here I had a little slump. When you put time into your website every day, you also sometimes face a backlash. You don’t feel like working on it for a while. Take that into consideration.
If you don’t feel like writing articles or creating content for a while, you can also share existing content. This takes less time than writing. It’s not that Google will punish you if you don’t write new content for a while. No, it could even be that a hiatus will cause an increase in visitor numbers, especially if you keep sharing your articles on social media.
There are moments when your website will have a lot more visitors all of a sudden. Like on November 24th, when the amount of visitors went way over the 200 unique visitors. These are great moments!
What you can also do is start thinking about how you can make money with your website. Because this would be a nice addition and it might be your dream to make a living with this in the future.
You can make money with affiliates, so you will get a commission when people buy products or services through your website. Even better is to develop a product or service yourself.
Adjust Facebook logo
Another small improvement to your website. Or better said, the Facebook page. I have created a new logo for Facebook.
Time to look back on the past year. Have you achieved your goals and have you made large progress compared to the beginning of the year?
Don’t have to high expectations. I read in the book Content Machine about content marketing that it takes time to build a website and make it successful. This is probably not achievable in the first year (with a few exceptions).
But after two or three years your visitor numbers will increase more and more. And then it could very well be that your number of visitors will triple or even increase in tenfold in the third or fourth year.
And then the customers will be rolling in…
Perseverance is key. Really! I see a lot of blogs from people who blog for a year or a year and a half and then quit because they are unsuccessful.
People who have perseverance and keep going will almost always eventually score with their website.
And what now?
After a year your website has a sturdy foundation on which you can keep building. The second year is about developing a service or products which you can sell through your website.
I have also thought about this for WPjournalist. And I have figured it out! I am going to write a book about how to get more out of your website.
It will be an e-book at first, but perhaps also a paper version. I might publish it myself. Because you can save a lot of costs with this: if a publisher does it for you, you only get 5 to 10 percent of the profits.
When readers order the book, they will get access to additional information on improving their website through a shielded environment
Do you also want to build a website and do you still have questions? Just let me know!