Building a Web Site to making money online

Your Web site is your main presence in the online world. It is your shopfront if you like. It is essential.

Your web site has to catch someones attention then keep them there. There are a lot of technologies you can use to appear even more professional such as flash animations but if you are starting out it is best to keep it simple. Nothing should detract from your message and the site should load quickly.

There are essentially two kinds of web site. There are the single message type sites, sometimes called `mini-sites`, that aim to sell you an item or a service and usually take the form of a long sales letter. There are also the traditional sales sites that usually offer a number of items and take the form of stores, with a checkout facility. The easiest kind is the first kind. To make a `proper` online store you need to buy or create a shopping-basket application which can be expensive. You could always sell multiple items individually.

The actual design of the site is down to the individual. You should always ensure that it is clear and that the path you wish your shopper to take is signposted well. From viewing your site to purchasing the item should only ever be a few clicks away. I'd advise against building a radically new web site unless you're sure it will work. A familiar looking site will comfort your visitors and ensure that they don't give up. Classic site designs are usually the main text in the center and a menu of options along the top or the left side, but the bottom or right can work as well. Any links are clearly marked. As for colors, just make sure you can read the text!

An easy way to build a website is to take advantage of ready made templates. You can then just insert your text, graphics and links without worrying about the overall design.

The content of your web site depends on the type of site. For a shop site it is quite simple, you list your products! You should arrange them by some kind of category, and make an effort to make them look attractive, but that's it. As we said earlier the best products for those starting out items such as e-books, and they are ideally suited to a single topic "mini site".

A site of this kind is really a long sales letter. You can have it on one page or split it up. It doesn't really matter how long it is, but don't waffle on for the sake of it. Many, many people report great successes with building simple sales sites, marketing them agressively, and moving on. For the content you should use all the rules of writing good ad-copy. Here's some tips:

Ad Copy

  • Detail the benefits of a product and how you can't live without it. You should cover the emotional aspects of using the product as well as just the physical description and state just how much this would change your life.
  • Similar to above- Don't try to sell, try to inform and excite your visitor.
  • You should be eliciting desire in the buyer and creating an interest (appeal to their curiosity).
  • You should write directly to the buyer - that means using words like "you" and "your" a lot.
  • Try illustrating benefits with metaphors and stories. Any claims should be believable.
  • Be specific on detail (eg Reduce debt by 30% rather than just Reduce your Debts!), and only focus on one product. If you can be very specific, e.g. Reduce emissions by 39.6%!
  • Give real information, not hype, and get to the point, but you can start vaguely
  • Remind them that this can be bought, but not straight away, start with a free offer!
  • Use lots of bullet lists to make points clear.
  • Don't be afraid to be verbal on a web site, tests have proved that longer sales letters work just as well as short ones.
  • Split the copy over multiple pages and link with phrases like "But that's not all..." and "Wait! There's more!".
  • Use a P.S and a P.P.S and make lots of offers.
  • Use dates to spur a buyer to buy, usually about 48 hrs away (e.g. "buy by xx/xx/xx to recieve xxxx"). Use scarcity as well, e.g. We only have 36 of these left!
  • Above all start with a question, make sure the answer is clear and help the buyer understand why he's buying! Also, the reader cares about himself - appeal to this!
  • Headings are extremely important - make the reader curious or excited or both. Use words like "How To" "x Ways To" "Secret" "Just Revealed!" "Proven" "Guaranteed" and strong words like "Extremely" "Amazing" "Ultimate" "Revolutionary" etc. Headlines that state a problem with a solution or ask a question work well, as do those that seem like a news report - "Announcing..." Try putting quotation marks around the headline.
  • Offer guarantees, even a double-money back guarantee or similar. You must have a clause to make this work, e.g. they have to actually use and try the techniques in the product to qualify. Don't offer a no-questions-asked refund unless you're sure. Longer guarantees e.g. 90-day take away the instinct to rush if given a 30-day guarantee.
  • Pricing is important: For some reason prices with 7's work well, eg $47.99 or $17.97 etc. Split prices to lowest denominator, eg. $1 a day instead of $30 a week or whatever. Higher prices give greater percieved value. Some things have actually sold better at the higher price!
  • If possible, use testimonials. If you haven't any, ask for them!
  • Don't link out of a sales site! Just follow from page to page, but offer a quick link to the order page (and `tell` them to order - e.g. Click Here to Buy Now!) at top and bottom and after intro in case they get excited and want to order right away. Offer a link to a autoresponder for more info in case they don't have time to read the entire copy.
  • Continously throw bonuses into any offer you make. Don't scrimp here, it needn't cost you anything and makes a big difference to the value of your product or service. Just ensure that the bonuses are of a good quality and don't `compete` with your main product, i.e. take away the chance of repeat sales.
  • You don't need graphics but a company logo, a photo of yourself, and simple box or cover images can help create an impression that it is a `real` item. Try visiting E-Cover Generator for help with the latter.
Although there are the two main types of sites for selling something you could also create a content site. The focus of this isn't to sell, but to build a presence and establish a following. It should have real, useful content and only sell items as a secondary concern. These sites are ideal for building a mailing list as well. A popular content site could make much more money than a sales site, but takes a lot more to build and maintain. If you decide to go down this route then it's good to build something around a hobby or interest.

As an example we'll take tropical fish. Your site would include information on fish, how to feed them, how to look after them, cleaning your tank, where to put it, what environments the fish need etc. From there you could sell fish, tanks, food, cleaning equipment, etc. You could cut a deal with aquariam suppliers, or tropical fish magasines. You could even write an e-book about fish-keeping and write articles on the subject to send to e-zines. The worlds your oyster!

Finally you need to host your site. Don't worry too much about the URL. If you can get then so much the better. A URL and hosting are incredibly cheap these days so don't skip this and try a free site!

If you need to purchase a domain name I recommend NameCheap. They are cheap, (under $9) and efficient and have a simple interface to change mail settings, DNS settings (to point to your host) etc. Their site also has useful tools.

Another way to get a domain name is to search for previously used names that have expired. You can pay for these lists, or just visit Deleted Domains and run a search for free! The advantage of using an expired domain is that sometimes you are buying an address that already has a presence on the web, and may even be listed in search engines and directories - with the traffic benefits that come from that.

If you want web space for your domain then I recommend WebSytz. They have packages from only $3 a month and you get webspace, cgi, mysql, email and more. It's important you buy hosting from a reliable company. WebSytz is part of Jade Internet Services - an old, established name! If you have your own name it's best to buy hosting because the free hosting services will probably not let you use your own address and if they do you'll probably have advertising forced on it.

You can also join Push Button Publishing and get free Web Hosting thrown in (along with lots of other stuff).

If you are not familiar with building a web site then there's a lot to take in on this page. Your first step is to buy your domain name, as good ones are become scarce, and buy or get some webspace for it. Then you should create your site on your hard drive and upload the whole lot to your webspace. There are some good books in our Members Site to help you design and build your website. The Members Site is free for subscribers to Netpreneur News - join at this link.

The Truth about Websites

There are not really any hidden secrets about websites. Just K.I.S.S. - Keep It Simple, Stupid!

And here's another acronym that may be of use - A.I.D.A. This is the basic rules of copywriting which are Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. Stick to that.

Still... your site should stand out but not detract from the content. You MUST accept Credit Cards - and you can do this for (nearly) free. PayPal or ClickBank are the easiest ways. Don't put up unfinished sites, and don't bother putting up a totally amateurish site. Check your spelling for a start!

There are so many sites out there you should try and make yours work as it is intended. A quick, clear, well presented site will do wonders for your business. If you follow the next section correctly most of your traffic will be targeted, that is they've already intended to visit your site, so your job is only to make them stay and buy.