We all have to start somewhere, and if you don’t have $100 to set up your site professionally, then you can still get yourself started with my....
6-step guide to designing your own website for FREE!
There is really an incredible quantity of free material and resources available on the Internet. Having spent many years working with every different aspect of web design, my team and I have probably looked through hundreds of thousands of websites....
....and I’ve bookmarked the best!
On this page, I’ll guide you through the steps you’ll need to follow to create a successful website — using only 100% free services that are available to anyone.
It isn’t going to be a short-term, get-rich-quick project. My very first website took me over three months, working 60 hours a week, to get online. I’m going to help you put yours together in a lot less time, but don’t expect it to happen overnight.
Having said that, the rewards of building your own website can be well worth the time you put in. Once you really have a handle on what’s needed to build and market a successful site, you should definitely be able to make it generate a five or six figure income for you.
And if you do it right, the revenue from your online business will be almost fully automated. It will just accumulate in your bank account, and you can focus on building your next website!
But you have some work to do before you get there.
Let’s get you started....
Step 1: The Basics
Before you start with the actual design of your website, you need to focus in on the topic that your site is going to cover. You need to find a niche that has a high demand, but that has very few good websites covering it.
The way to find a good niche is with a detailed keyword analysis. This is where you figure out what search terms are commonly being entered in search engines, and how much competition there is for those phrases in the search results.
A good place to start is with the free trial of Wordtracker . As far as I know, they don’t limit the number of times you can use the trial, so you can go through it over and over to get a good list of effective keywords. Or if you can afford it, getting a one-day subscription is well worthwhile.
For your site to be a success, you’ll need get get a list of at least 500 effective search terms that are closely related to the niche you want to cover.
There are a number of other free keyword research tools that you can use, which I cover in my 150 Best Free Web Resources ebook. I’ll tell you how you can download it a little later on.
Once you’ve distilled yourself a list of keywords, you can register yourself on a free web host , using your best keyword(s) in your web address....
....and then you’re ready for Step 2 of the free website design process:
Step 2: Start Writing
Before you spend much time with the actual design of your site, I suggest that you start off with your text. If your writing is engaging and rich in information, that will be far more important than having a site that has stunning graphics.
The more text you write, the better — as long as it stays interesting to your target audience. You will ultimately need to build your site up to a couple of hundred web-pages before you really own your niche.
If you get stuck for topics, just refer back to your keyword list. That is what people are looking for information on, so you can be the one to give it to them. On the Internet, it is information that will attract visitors to your site.
I also recommend signing up for my newsletter, if you haven’t already, because it includes a free download of The Netwriting Masters Course ebook — which has some excellent tips on writing for the Internet.
After your site is actually online, you will want to fine-tune your text to improve your search engine results. I suggest downloading the free trial of some optimizing software like IBP or WebPosition . These packages will analyze your text and help get your site into the top rankings.
Steps 3 and 4 of your free web design can be started in parallel with the copy writing:
Step 3: Graphics & Layout
Essentially, when you’re designing the look of your website, you only need to design one page, and the rest of your site will just be copies of the same design, with different text.
Web designers have various ways of creating a page layout — some work on paper first, some do a mockup in a graphics program, and others create a mental vision of what they want and then design it as they go.
Unless you are already skilled in a graphics program, I would suggest you do your first layout on paper. You can even colour it the way you want it — this can be one of the most fun and creative parts of your website project.
The ‘less is more’ philosophy works very well for web graphics. I would recommend making a fairly conventional design, with a logo at the top left, and a navigation menu across the top or down the left side.
Then you will need to create some of your page elements in a graphics program. The Vicman Editor is free software that you can download and use.... and there are other free tools as well, which I cover in the 150 Best Free Web Resources ebook below.
Keep in mind that every page element in web design is rectangular, so if you want some large, rounded shapes – like this site has – you’ll have to be creative and break them up into rectangular divisions, which will then fit together to make the layout you want.
Again, try to keep your graphics as simple as possible. Almost everybody working on their first site gets over-ambitious with the design — but graphics are far less important than your text, so try not to get bogged down with anything too fancy.
Next comes the part where you put all the pieces together:
Step 4: Programming
Not everybody has a mind for programming, and if you don’t, there are free ways – such as Google Page Creator – around having to do any. But the best websites are hand-coded, so let me give you an overview of how the guts of a website works, so you can decide for yourself whether you want to tackle it in more detail.
Besides HTML and CSS, there are many other programming languages that can be used to add features and functionality to a website. If you’re doing everything yourself, I would suggest that you keep it simple and stay away from these until you really need them.
Here are a few free online tutorials for learning HTML and CSS:
I list many more in 150 Best Free Web Resources — which I’ll tell you how to download a little farther down. It also gives you a number of free tools you can use that allow you to design your site without having to know HTML and CSS.
Once you’ve put your site together, you’ll need to upload it to your web host, using a free FTP program such as AceFTP .
The next step is to promote your site to attract visitors:
Step 5: Site Promotion
There are lots of ways to promote your site on the Internet, and many of them are free.
A good first step is to submit your site to as many search engines and directories as possible. Here’s a free submission service that helps you automate the process.
Then you need to get as many other websites to link to yours as you can. One way to do this is to contact the webmasters of sites that are related to yours, and offer to exchange links with them — it’s something that can be mutually beneficial, so you should be able to talk them into it.
There are plenty of other free ways to bring in more visitors, and I cover them in more detail in 150 Best Free Web Resources. Download instructions coming up.
The last step (whew!) in web development is the one that never ends:
Step 6: Monitor & Improve
A good web host – including a number of the free ones – will give you detailed statistics on how many visitors your site is getting, where they came from and where they go in your site. So there’s no need to add a page counter that’s visible to the whole world.
Over time, you can see how your website is performing, and what areas need improvement. And you can test different ideas and see how they affect the site’s performance — sometimes just changing a headline can make a big difference to your sales.
It’s also a good idea to monitor your site’s rankings in the search engines for the keyphrases that you’re targeting. Your rankings will naturally move up and down, but the more optimization and promotion you do, the higher you can get in the results.
Here’s a free beginner’s guide to search engine optimization .
So those are the 6 steps to free website success — now here’s the ebook I keep talking about:
150 Best Free Web Resources
Before I tell you how to download this ebook, I just want to tell you that it not only represents thousands of hours of my time, which I’ve spent finding and documenting the very best free products and services available on the net....
....but it will also save you hundreds of hours of trying to find the resources you need, and figuring everything out from scratch for yourself.
I’ve already told you the steps involved in creating a free website, but I guarantee that this ebook will save you at least 250 hours of time — even after all of the tips I’ve already given you on this page.
Let’s say that the value of your time was only ten dollars an hour. That would make the information I’m giving you in this ebook worth over two thousand five hundred dollars to you. And your time is almost certainly worth much more than that.
But you don’t have a lot of spare cash to pay for your website, and I know what it’s like to be in that boat. So I’m going to offer you a really great deal. I’d love to be able to give this ebook to you for free, but I need to respect all of the time and effort it has taken me to put this information together for you.
All of the links in this ebook are as good or better than the ones I’ve given you on this page. If you want to build a website yourself for free, I think you’d be crazy to do it without getting this ebook first.
The ebook also contains a free bonus section on monetizing your website. It tells you all of my secrets for turning your website visitors into cash in your bank account. This bonus section alone has a $75 value, and I’m including it for free.