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Step By Step Checklist To Set Up A Website (For Blog or Business)

Writing a Statement of Purpose for Your Website

It's easy to get excited about registering a domain name and getting your website hosted on the Internet. But it is nonetheless important to decide what your website will focus on. I suggest writing one and up to three paragraphs of text summarizing the purpose of your website or business. This usually takes anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes and you will use this text on the front page of your website. Believe it or not, without the statement of purpose on your website's front page, people will find it difficult to understand what your website is about.

Sometimes it is exactly simple things like these that make your website different from the rest. People notice that you cared about making your website and enjoy reading the content. This usually results in visitors posting inbound links to your website from their own, which eventually makes your site popular. This is not because there is a new link to your site, but because Google considers an incoming link to your site as a vote, which means that the information on your website is worthy of mentioning. Creating helpful (or entertaining) conent are the only two goals I think any webmaster should think about.

Getting The Website Hosting Account

There are plenty of website hosting companies on the Internet. My personal favorite is GoDaddy Website Hosting. At first I was suspicious about them because I didn't like their website that much, but I like hosting companies that grow so popular that they start being recognized by the Internet industry. One of the software companies I used to work at used GoDaddy to provide dedicated hosting for the main company website. Reliability (often advertised as 99.9% uptime) is important because you don't want your website to go offline at any moment, and God forbid during a traffic rush. This down time could result in unrealized sales, lost clients and affiliate commissions. When a hosting company becomes so big everyone knows about it, the owners of the company feel greater responsibility for serving their clients. This is why I think GoDaddy is a reliable web hosting company.

Please Use This Link to GoDaddy Website To Register A Website Hosting Account, if you find this page useful and are ready to create your first website hosting account. When you use this link to sign up for their hosting services, I will receive affiliate credit. If you choose to do this, I will really appreciate it and see it as a reward for writing great articles on this site.

Registering The Domain Name

Registering a domain name is sometimes overlooked by excited webmasters who can't wait to get their website up and running. But there are a few things I'd like you to pay attention to before committing to any domain name in particular.

How to decide what your domain name should be?

Looking back in retrospect, the only tool that ever helped me choose a good domain name was Thesaurus. Think of what your site is about, put the keyword in and you get a lot of synonyms. Pretty neat stuff. I usually go for combining two simple words together. That's how I came up with WebsiteHomework. The other interesting combinations were WebsiteAdvocate.com and TheWebsiteScience.com as you can see not all good dot com domain names are taken yet. All it takes is a little creative thinking. Try using thesaurus for making your own domain names.

In the end, what matters is not how your domain name ends (net,com,org,info...) but the quality of content residing on it. People will link to your pages if they like it, they don't even pay attention to what it's called, they just want to share the content. But I think there is still an advantage in getting a domain name that sounds simple because in the long run it's easy for people to recall a simple, memorable domain name from the top of their heads.

When you start a new website it is important not to make the first most common mistake many people make. That mistake is rushing to%25252520register a domain name. Your domain name is the identity of your website, it is like a telephone number friends memorize because it is important. However, times and times again I see that many domain names are not very attractive or too complex and therefore they are not easy to remember. What you want to call your website depends on what the website is about, and it is very important to make a powerful name for your site so people can remember it by simply retreiving it from memory.

Designing The First Web Page on Your Computer's Hard Drive

While you wait for your domain name to propagate through the Internet servers, which usually can take up to 24 hours, you can start working on your first web page. If you are using Windows operating system, you can simply open Notepad and start writing your first HTML code as demonstrated below:

        <title>My New Website</title>
        This is the front page of my new website.

This is the minumum HTML code required to make a single web page. You can simply copy and paste it into a new Notepad document if you'd like. Please save it to your hard drive in a special folder where all files for your website will reside. You should create this folder anywhere you like on your computer hard drive, although I do suggest some place that is easy to access (for example, the Desktop if you are using the PC or the Apple's Mac). I'm sure you already know that to create a folder on either a PC or Mac. But for those who still don't, you will need to right-click anywhere on the desktop and select an appropriate option on the pop-up menu (On the Windows operating system you will need to click on two items New > Folder).

After copy and pasting the code above into a new open Notepad document, save the code displayed below and name the file index.html. You have just created your first webpage and you are now ready to upload it to the Internet!

Uploading Your Website to Your Hosting Server Using FileZilla (A Free FTP Client Program)

Once your first page is complete and you are ready to upload it to your web hosting account and essentially to the Internet, it is likely that you will want to use your hosting company's web interface for uploading files. This is sometimes okay for upliading just one or a few pages. But what if you want to upload many pages at once? The generic server file system managers usually have a poorly designed interface and some don't even provide an intuitive way to upload multiple files. The soltuion is to use a a free FTP client tool like Filezilla. There are plenty more of them you can find on the Internet, but Filezilla is a very good FTP client used by thousands if not millions of users. Simply go to the link I just provided and download it.

Once you download and install Filezilla, run the program by double clicking on the Filezilla icon on your desktop or under Programs in your start bar (for XP users). Once Filezilla opens up you will see a window that looks something like the image below. You will need to enter three things in order to log in to your hosting server. They are your hostname, username and password. These three items are usually sent to you by your website hosting company in a "Welcome" email message. Howeverm if the email was somehow lost, unnoticed in the trash folder or simply not sent, please log in to your website hosting account with your username and password. Once logged in, browse around the control panel to find your FTP account credentials.

Filezilla FTP Client-How to log in to your website hosting account

Replace host name, username and password with the login credentials your web hosting company provided you with when you created your hosting account. Then press on the Quickconnect button. Your website login information will be saved under the list that you can access later by clicking on the narrow drop-down button next to the Quickconnect button.

Note: Your web hosting account username and password are not the same as your Filezilla FTP Client username and password

Installing Google Analytics on Every Page of Your Website

Google Analytics is an invaluable free website tool you can use to track just about any website statistic. It's essential to install it on every page of your website (it's a javascript script you can copy and paste into your pages) if you care about site statistics. And there really isn't a reason that you shouldn't care about it. Statistics help you see what the visitors actually do on your website, what navigation paths they take while browsing your site and what pages they spend the most time on (usually pages with great content).

To install Google Analytics code on your website, you need to go to Google Analytics front page and log in with your existing Google account. If you don't have a Google account, you can get it by going to Sign Up For Google Analytics Account page.

Note: You can use your existing GMail account to login to your Google Analytics account.

Once logged in to Google Analytics, create a new statistics campaign and add your website to it. It's pretty intuitive and the website will run you though the process. Install the code by copying and pasting it at the bottom of each page on your website (Be sure to place it just before the <body> tag). Give your website some time to receive first visitors in order to see statistics. If no visitors come to your website, you will see a clock icon next to your website name in Google Analytics.

Your Website Is Online - What's Next?

Congratulations! Your website is now online and you are tracking statistics for your website with Google Analytics. But don't get excited just yet. A common misconception among many people is that once a website is online, it is viewed by the hordes of people on the Internet. This myth couldn't be farther from the truth. Your next task is to build content for your website so that visitors can find it on Google and other search engines. If you skip this step your website will suffer low visibility on the Internet. On the contrary, you are now responsible for making your site more visible online. One way to achieve that is by Starting To Add Value to Your Website, which is the most effective strategy. This is often accomplished by writing content in a form of tutorials, guidelines, "how to do something" instructions and other creative articles. Many people actually buy articles from "content writers" to put on their website, but doing this gives you very little control over Website Layout And Content Integrity, which has a significant impact on the overall success of your website. You see, the layout of your website, the text and placement of links within paragraphs of text all play an extremely important role in making your site memorable, more useful and generally helpful.

A Helpful Consideration

A popular misconception believed by most webmaster beginners is that every single sentence they write on their website will be read by all visitors who are interested in the subject of their website. Not only is this a false statement, but it has been proven by countless experiments (my own included) that website visitors scan the pages, rather than read it completely. People's eye-sight usually jumps from one item of interest to the next, until they find a text link they'd like to click, or a button they'd like to press or even leave your website (which happens more often than any beginner webmaster wants to imagine). This is why it is so important to pay attention to something I refer to as Text Layout, which is simply a term describing the placement of text paragraphs and text links on your website. If you look at the front page of this website you will get a better idea of what I mean by Text Layout. Once on the front page, pay attention to how your eye wanders from one link to another, without the desire to read the text but to simply get a quick clue of what the text is about by moving your eyes from one point of interest to the next.

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