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Friday, Jan. 8, 2010

Creating a Website: Something from Nothing (and Where to Begin) Part I

By Natalie Hart
January 8th, 2010

poof_logo.jpg (JPEG Image, 300x300 pixels)_1262725637962Last week, I ran into an old high school friend while I was out to dinner with my parents.  As we got to chatting, he told me that he was interested in starting a website for his future photography business.  Since he’s still in school, and doesn’t have a lot of capital to put forward, he asked me for advice on where to begin in creating his website, and how he can get started in a way that promises growth for his business.

It’s an interesting predicament that he, and like-minded entrepreneurs, are in: Can a unique, persuasive website be created if you don’t know anything about creating a website, and don’t have the resources to hire someone to do it for you?

YES! (I’m an optimist)…  BUT (I’m also a realist), you have to be willing to “do your due diligence.”

Because I know that many of our Grok followers are like my friend, and are of the DIY school of thought, I thought I’d create a list of where to begin if you’re inspired, “broke” (i.e. don’t want to shell out $100,000+), and want to create a website.

1. Figure out what you want to sell and if there’s a market for it. There are some markets that are over saturated; within which a mom-and-pop site would have difficulty competing.  Examples of this are SEO, iPods, and shoes. You generally have a better chance if your “product” is something with quality you can control, like a service. When you’re competing in an industry where everyone is selling the exact same thing, your only means of differentiating yourself from your competitors is price, delivery time, and freebies (like shipping).  This makes your chances of success much slimmer.  (I warned you that I’m a realist).

2. Check out the competition. Do some keyword research. Figure out who else is out there in the area that you want to succeed in. This day and age, it’s extremely rare that you’ll create website for a business that isn’t already out there. If you’ve already determined that there’s a market (see #1), make sure that you can offer something better than your competition. Go to their website(s) and pick out what you don’t like from a visitor/customer perspective and how you’d do it better, then make note (WRITE IT DOWN OR YOU’LL FORGET) to do it.

3. Create a UVP. If you’re a Grok follower, you’ve heard us (possibly for years) go on and on about creating a UVP (unique value proposition) but I promise that if you spend the time on the front end creating a strong UVP, you’ll reap the rewards in the long run. Think about why you want to start this business. What need is there in the industry? What do you want to do better (and with more passion) than anyone else out there? How will you accomplish this goal?

Ok, that’s enough to get you started. Stay tuned for part two! (Note: None of these steps can be completed in a few hours, let alone a few days, for even the most diligent of workers. Remember, you signed up for the long haul, and I’m not promising that you won’t have to work hard, but you’ll be working smart.)

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Comments (99)

  1. Great post. I think if people starting websites did these 3 basic steps, far less would fail. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. I like that saying.

  2. I agree that checking the competitions is very important. Especially searching for various keywords to be sure that you have a unique niche.

  3. This is a great article. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had similar conversations with people who come to us.

  4. Great article. I believe many online businesses fail because of inadequate planning and finances. Many people do not do the necessary research to improve their Web sites. In addition, developing a successful Web site takes time, money, and resources. Finding a niche market, analyzing the competition, and developing a marketing plan that produces results are important steps to take for an entrepreneur or small business owner.

  5. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.Love that.Wish i had told my ex business partner that.

  6. It is hard to get a website started especially if you have no money.You give some great tips and I might have to pass them on when the next friend of mine ask about a website. It does take time and thought its not as easy as everyone thinks but there is hope and anyone can do it with a little work.

  7. very informative post, thanks for sharing

  8. Complete beginner’s guide.

  9. Thanks for the tips. Start something could be so difficult, including starting a new site. It needs patience, fresh idea, and work hard. And your tips are very useful to start a good new blog. Thanks for the sharing.

  10. Just trying to get my life together and rocking out when i can. So im totally having difficulty paying off school but i just started flipping websites! its been great so far, made a good penny and getting loans paid!I learned from a couple articles that I really can pull myself out of debt and push my way back up to the top and start paying off these stupid student loans. I’m always looking for any good Home Business Work Opportunity and trying to find the common fallacy of falling into internet “traps” with get rich quick schemes, guess what? they dont work! Another article entitled Making Money On The Internet actually talks about a few different ways to begin making some cash online that work, but will still require you to work such as by learning all of the Website Flipping Secrets!

    My New websites are
    Prikash Informatics Pvt Ltd
    Chennaionline Shopping Portal
    Low Cost Ebook Shop
    Breaking News Online

  11. Keyword research is not enough. You have to know if those are “buying” keywords. Commercial intent is very important too.

  12. I agree Natalie. You really have to get your proposition right before you even think about building promotional tools.

  13. [...] Source:Creating a Website: Something from Nothing (and Where to Begin) Part I Share and Enjoy: [...]

  14. Thanks for this perfect beginner’s guide. Very informative. And I couldn’t agree more that checking out competition is important factor, and many don’t take it seriously.

  15. talking about unique selling proposition / point (USP), which is a marketing concept to evaluate a pattern among successful advertising of factors that led to success

    Forex Mercenary

  16. Hi I’m from Poland. Only a little while ago I started with some SEO.
    Since then I learnt a lot from the net and also from this and many other SEO blogs.

    I can only suggest to everybody in the same position like mine to buy some commercial or to download some free SEO software. It’s very time saving and boosted my site already into the top 10 of Google.

    Have a look at this

    fast blog fnder etc., etc.

    and there is much more available.

  17. With free CMS software like WordPress, Joomla and Drupal, creating your own web site is not rocket science anymore. The real challenge is, like said, to provide unique, valuable content to your readers! SY

  18. Great post. Beginners who want to create website, this is great information. Thanks for sharing this post with us.

  19. Great info for the Noobs like me.

  20. Fantastic advice, for both the beginner and those like myself that have had a fair few goes at building sites :)

  21. nice article – i’m looking forward to Part II

  22. Very informative post and inspiring for beginner website designers. I hope part II explains more about design and graphics…

  23. It all goes back to “Do your homework”…

  24. You list a lot of great introductory steps for getting a website going. I recently went through this process when I started my SEO company in Lexington, KY and one thing I have noticed about a plethora of new websites is that they don’t incorporate on-page SEO into their web development cycle. We recently wrote an article on on-page SEO that was well received and has helped a lot of new companies get things done right! Hope this helps.

  25. Excellent post. I think the most important point you made in this post is to clearly set your goals through your USP. There’s always room for one more as far as competition, but without goals you’ll only be spinning your wheels. Great job-I look forward to your second post.

  26. I constantly encourage all my friends to create their own website in order to learn more about their business and their customers.
    The amount of knowledge you gain about your market just by doing it is invaluable and should never be outsourced.

    Once you have it running you should then decide to hire professionals. This way you know what it involves and what they are talking about.

    Adwords and Google Analytics thought me more about supply and demand than any marketing book.

  27. Just heads up, your link to UVP in #3 step is broken.


  28. You have to be willing to either put in LOTS of hours or LOTS of money to be successful online. Both would be preferable.

    People think its easy money online but it aint.

  29. Hi Natalie and all,
    Yes nowadays using CMS for building a site is definetly not a rocket science anymore.
    The real “dance” is starting after that – in promoting your site.
    Thanks a lot for your article, it’s great. Looking forward for part2.

    Lena & Dima

  30. Actually having a strong enough UVP or USP is very important to stand out in the competition. Having that said there are very very similar sites in the same niche flourishing well.

  31. Thnx. that is some helpfull information.
    Free info. is the most valuable thing in the world :)

  32. Great advice. Particularly going to everyone else’s website and seeing what you don’t like about them. My pet peeve of wedding photographers is the lack of price lists – so I’ve got one on my website.

  33. Thanks! It’s very useful for beginners!

  34. good post for novice web designer and web marketer

  35. yea, youre right!
    SEO is one of the most important aspect by cretaing a website nowadays.
    above all to public your website or to be popular its important that you get a high page rank.

  36. #

    This is a great article. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had similar conversations with people who come to us, thanks

  37. Thanks to all who told me about the broken link. I’m fixing it now. :)

  38. SEO is playing big games today in google SERP.

  39. hey natalie!
    your topic with your post has helped me a to decide which provider I get.
    but now I am at the beginning to create a webpage :-)
    But i learn more and more and it makes a lot of fun. Thank you :-)

  40. it is a remarkable thing but i feel little difficult in reading this but very


  41. is sounds that isn’t difficult to create a own webpage.
    I like your Poof gif.
    did you create it by yourself or did you find it in the internet?

    btw: some people told about seo?
    whats seo?

  42. I’d always recommend that they get a book on HTML – even if you build a site entirely using a builder tool, eventually you will need to edit something to get it just right – and it also helps with problem solving.

    RE: Joomla and other CMS programs – they are not at all east for a beginner to install and set up, but great once running. They may be a good option for those willing to spend a bit on getting a template modified for their needs.

    Hanna: SEO=Search Engine Optimisation (UK spelling!) It’s modifying your web site, links and similar to get your web site as high as possible when someone searches for your key words. I work for a telemarketing/market research company, so I am working to make sure anyone typing ‘telephone market research in the UK’ will find our site at the top of the first page. Not an easy task as everyone else is doing the same!

  43. Oh fine explantion Jonathan. I ask likewise myself what’s the meanong of seo. Okay, now I am smarter! thank you a lot.

    btw: your work in a seo company, is the worl tough?

  44. Great post! I agree with you that keyword research is the main key to success in building a website. If you failed in it than the site is nothing rather than a crap. :)

  45. You bring up a lot of great points here such as the need to experiment with many different types of elements, and also the need to sit down and analyze all kinds of data sources for better optimization.

    One effective method we’re using at ion to qualify visitors is pre-conversion segmentation. With pre-conversion segmentation, we don’t include a form on the initial

  46. This is good straightforwrd advice and it makes a refreshing change from the garbage spouted all over the place on the net about how to make money. I have lost months following poor advice when I could have been making money. At the end of the day its a business not a gimmick and you have to treat it that way to be successful. Websites need to be planned before you start, not just thrown up in five minutes.

  47. Both wonderful articles for beginners Wendy. Well done!

  48. These 3 steps are good basic steps for the beginner. But we have to realize that nowadays, marketing plays much more important. Let’s say, if we know how to marketing a quite competitive products, we might be close to the winner. After you do 3 points stated above, you still need to learn marketing which will take lots of your time. Keep doing and success.

  49. create a blog using wordpress cms, but because it is still new so not quite understand about how the optimization, but the important thing is already starting to make their own website.

  50. Good tips but it always better to choose an are which is not very competitive because its difficult for a anew website to do well in the competitive field.

    Beside I am a regular reader of Grok and I agree with the idea of UVP.

  51. When you begin any web site it takes a long time for people to locate you. This provides you plentiful time to change things around and contemplate on what you’ve done. Like composing a book, the hardest thing to do is come up with a story.

  52. [...] full post on Conversion Rate Optimization & Marketing Blog | FutureNow, Inc Enjoyed this article?WebsiteWordpress [...]

  53. I think this applies to pretty much any kind of website created with profits in mind. At least, these are things that anyone trying to build profitable websites should consider.

  54. Well, about keyword research, you colud mention some of tools used to get some ideas about our future content.

  55. Well thought article. I had a website, but it was on a free hosting. I really didn’t research “keywords” or “UVP” before I first started my business. Now, I have to take down the site because everything was wrong like the domain name, etc.

  56. making a website and give it maximum advertisement .this is the trick of online marketting.

  57. Thank you Natalie for giving us some tips and advice on how to make it in this world of tight but provocative competition of online business. I enjoy reading your blog posts!

  58. This is indeed true. Thanks for sharing such an informative topic. The most difficult thing when planning to create a website is how to start it. The moment you started creating the website..everything will do follow as easy as you could imagine.

  59. lots of people give projections without facts, mainly becomes opinion and you have to be able to see through this

  60. Great Article, I agree you have to really play smart and think about what the market wants, etc. I just started my first website in my life last week and i am still learning every single day of finding ways to monetize, put quality articles about the Ipad, Accessories that are offered etc… Any advice for me would be great. Thanks!

  61. Its really very nice and informative post. #

    I have to take down the site because everything was wrong like the domain name, etc.
    thanks for sharing with us.

  62. Great post. Beginners who want to create website, this is great information. Thanks for sharing this post with us.

  63. Good article and advice for your friend. I will admit that the second or follow-up article had more specific information for me. Piece of advice, move out of your hometown.

  64. For spring 2010, the jeans will be “treated in clean, translucent washes and enriched surface treatments in shades of white, ozone, and cloud.” This sounds suspiciously like ’80s acid wash.

  65. Great all steps beginner’s guide! recommended

  66. Always get a template and customize it. Youll drive yourself crazy starting from scratch. Start with a template and customize from there.

  67. This is a great resource, a beginner’s guide to creating a website from scratch 101. I suggest you place a link of the second part so readers can continue reading your tips.

  68. During keyword research everybody can use google keyword suggestion tools, but never depend on ‘wordtracker’. It shows fake result sometimes.

  69. Sound advice! I was lucky enough to have been given similar advice when starting our site several years ago. I’m glad to say that our business has not only survived the recession, but it has thrived. The keyword research was especially important, but all your advice is solid (and much needed by those getting started).

  70. Becoming an entrepreneur isn’t something that can be done overnight, nor is it something that just anyone can do. You have to know what you’re doing, be optimistic about the outcomes, and keep trying no matter how hard it gets (often referred to as perseverance). Combine these three things with common sense and a bit of intelligence and you’ll have a thriving business in no time.

  71. say that our business has not only survived starting our site several years ago. it something that just anyone can do. You have to know what you’re doing, be I’m glad to

  72. and keep trying no matter how Web site takes research to improve successful what you’re doing, be optimistic about the outcomes, time, money, and resources. Finding a niche markettheir Web sites.

  73. Creating a website is just nothing, but the main thing is keeping it on a constant reviews and ranking, it plays a major role…..

  74. My recommendations for creating a website :
    1 – the name of your domain must have your main keywords.
    2 – Take up your domain name for many years, not only for one year.
    3- Each pahe of your website must have different Title, description and keywords
    4- respect the H1, h2, h3 tag
    5 – Your main keywords must ne encontered in each title and subtitle of you page
    6- encode your html with WC norms
    7- Ping your website in yahoo google and search engine.
    8 – have backlinks

    Good luck

  75. Scoping out your competition is a great way to not only see just who it is you’re up against, but also to see what it is about them that makes them succeed. You can take those ideas and mold them into your own designs and do something even better with it.

  76. Doing a keyword research is really important. These days, many new websites shoot to the super niche keywords.. But still to be a something website is about process and time…

  77. When I first started building websites I used WordPress since it is such a simple platform to work with. Now that I understand code a bit more I’m beginning to venture into new waters. Thanks for the post!


  78. Well done Natalie, completely agree with you,outlining the path of the business is the main & most important thing,just like you are creating business plan or proposal.(for offline business)

  79. An often overlooked step is to make sure you are entering into a business that isn’t so over saturated or dominated that you can start competing right away. So many people want to start a flower deliver company or clothing line but don’t realize they wont have any competative advantage or niche…or that they’ll be broke soon:(

  80. It all resumes to content and creativity, while not abusing techniques and cheats to be in front of your competitors, let the visitors decide that.
    There are many steps to go through to make your website worth-wild and the best start is from the basics:
    - proper domain name
    - good content related keywords
    - original and unique content
    - optimized HTML for the SERPS
    - etc

  81. I used WordPress since it is such a simple platform to work with. Now that I understand code a bit more I’m beginning to venture into new waters.

  82. i think keyword research is the most important part, because once you set up your site, focused on the wrong keyword, it will cost you a lot to change the whose strategy, if you decide to focus on another keyword…

  83. Excellent article. I only wish I had this information before I started my affiliate website. The hindsight given here, however, will allow me to fix my mistakes and get on the right path to having a successful website.

  84. Another great article about things to think about when creating website. All the steps that you have mentioned in your article are important. Little problem with DIY (do it yourself) and people who want to have their own website is that a lot of them want us (seo and web design company)to design and optimize their websites for free… As someone mentioned in your other post, people can learn (DIY) and do all by themself or hire a web designer and seo expert to do that. I hope that you understand what i mean

  85. Finding non competitive niche is not as easy because almost every good topics have been picked up by expert webmasters. The only way to survive in the wild virtual world to think something innovative and create something really out of box

  86. Part 1 and part 2 are really helpfull, thank you :)

  87. Thank you Natalie for this great article I sure wish I would of found it sooner :) anyway I really like the end note which is a encouragement which I think applies to all of us “(Note: None of these steps can be completed in a few hours, let alone a few days, for even the most diligent of workers. Remember, you signed up for the long haul, and I’m not promising that you won’t have to work hard, but you’ll be working smart.)” So thank you and keep up the great work.

  88. Hi, thanks for the article, there are some good points in there. I find the UVP such a difficult thing to come up with; I can think of UP’s it’s just the V I’ve got problems with!!!

  89. This day and age, it’s extremely rare that you’ll create website for a business that isn’t already out there. If you’ve already determined that there’s a market (see #1), make sure that you can offer something better than your competition.

  90. Using the tools today anyone can start a website., when it has the main idea. And in my opinion you should focus on advertisements or profits but on the quality and the quantity of the visitors. Profit will eventually come

  91. Very interesting post.
    Nice and motivating at the same time!
    If you don´t have money, use your energy to build your site!

  92. 1st thing was – find a person who can lead you through this process for free :)

    … and that has been done :)

  93. Thanks for the interesting post!
    Tip: use the Google Keyword Tool ( to do some keyword research.

  94. I liked the third point most. A UVP is the most compelling thing to do to get response. Even low traffic levels will work with a good UVP. I would add, that the UVP should or MUST rather, be connected to the hotbutton of the product. The hotbutton is the clients main reason for buying such a product. Good article!

  95. This article is great, it brings a lot of useful information. I think it is really important to focus on those 3 steps, otherwise the project will fail.

  96. These days it’s not very hard to create your own website and perfect it. You get better with experience.

  97. Alot of usefull information. I agree with Jake. It takes alot of experience to be perfect. There are so many options to make websites these days.

  98. This is such a great post. Keyword research is a huge deal, if you don’t bother to do this, you will be left in the dust. A UVP is also a must for any entrepreneur, you have to stand out from the competition. If you don’t set a standard for your company, you will have a rough time.

  99. Thanks for your recommendations on this blog. One particular thing I want to say
    is purchasing electronic devices items through the Internet is
    not new. In truth, in the past several years alone, the market for online
    consumer electronics has grown substantially.
    Today, you can get practically any specific electronic unit and other gadgets on the
    Internet, which include cameras and also camcorders to computer components and gambling

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Natalie is a Persuasion Analyst with FutureNow.

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