Building your own web site
whether for family fun or for profit is easier than you may
completely free options that are most appropriate
for those who don't mind a web address that is cumbersome and who
don't require the freedom of adding leading affiliate links to
their site. These are somewhat limited, but appropriate for
families looking for a little space on the web. One excellent choice for a free basic web site is
If you are looking for a small
web site builder that is almost a no-brainer (it's easy to set up
and no programming skills are required), you might want to turn to
Templates are provided for building a small web site that looks
good and is virtually painless to create.
If you are looking for your own
domain name and more designing freedom, there are ways to get
your very own web site domain name and run a web site quite
inexpensively. This article explores the steps for the latter
option. Once your own site is up and running, you can begin
submitting it to search engines and getting involved in affiliate
programs that are free to set up, but that can earn you some
Make it a family project:
Building a web site can be an educational experience for kids. Our
favorite resource for kids who want to learn the ins and outs of
web site creation is Web
Monkey for Kids. Here, children will find helpful and
kid-friendly lessons and tools that will help them discover how to
build a site.
Own Domain Name
Unless you opt to go with a free
web site, getting your very own domain name might be your first
step. However, many hosting companies offer domain name
registration along with their hosting packages at an attractive
price, so see our section below about web hosting before you jump
to register your domain.
What is a domain name? A domain
name identifies one (and sometimes more) IP Addresses. If you look
at what appears in your browser as the URL address of this page,
for example, you'll see:
The domain name in this address
What appears after the
"dot" (in this case, "com") reveals which top
level domain the name belongs to. Popular TLDs include com, edu,
gov, net, ca, and so forth.
You'll need to think up a name
for your domain. This name will, of course, be very important, so
you'll want to spend some time on it. Of course, many popular names are
already taken. You can explore which names are available at this
you can search for, and register, a domain name.
Factors to consider when choosing
a domain name:
An understandable and
easy-to-remember name is usually best.
Including some of your site's
important keywords--that is, words that people might put into
a search engine to find your site--can be important in terms
of how high your site gets "ranked" in search engine
Your domain name establishes
your online identity. Try to select a name that describes
what you are setting out to do, without limiting yourself for
possible future expansions.
Registering a domain name: You
will need to register your domain name with a domain registrar.
Originally, there was only one domain registrar, Network
Solutions. Now there are many options for registering your domain
name. It can be confusing, but it also means competitive prices!
Most domain name registrars
charge a yearly fee for domain name registration. Many offer
discounts for registering with them for multiple years.
you can search for, and register, a domain name.
Web Hosting Package
Once you have a domain name,
you'll need to find a web hosting service. There are plenty of
hosting services available.
Factors to consider when choosing
a hosting service:
You'll need to
find a package that provides you with enough data storage,
measured in Megabytes. A standard is 50MB.
Find a package
that includes traffic statistics. Knowledge of your site's
traffic statistics is not only interesting, it can help you
improve your site.
prefer to edit their web pages on their computer, and then
upload the changes and additions to their site using an FTP
program. If you're one of them, make sure the hosting package
includes FTP access in their services.
Find a package
that supports full domain names. It's much more professional
to have your own domain name, as we have mentioned
If you don't know
html, or you prefer not to play around with html code, you will want to find an
html editor. You can download free
html editors, such as FrontPage Express or AOL Press 2.0 (for
instructions on how to download these, click here).
Both are easy to use and quite sufficient for many users.
For a more
professional, yet still easy-to-use, web page editing program, you can purchase
Microsoft FrontPage 2002, our personal favorite.
FrontPage is ideal for those people who have no desire to learn
html. Those who are familiar with html code will find more
versatility in the pricier but flexible Dreamweaver MX.
**A special all-in-one
web site package is offered by ReadyWebsites.com.
For only $8.88 a month, you get a web site without the need to know
Your Site Listed on Search Engines
Once you've built your
site to a point where you feel it's ready for some visitors, you'll
want to get listed on search engines.
Some tips for
optimizing your web pages for search engines:
attention to keywords. Your keywords, included in your title
tags, meta tags, and main content of your pages (or
"copy"), should be
specific and relevant.
Add a Title Tag to
each page and use Meta Tags. Be
sure to include a title for each of your pages first and
foremost, and then add
"description" and "keywords" meta tags
Try to include a
fair amount of text on each of your pages. Many search engines
"read" your page, not just the title and meta tags.
Include specific keyword phrases, not just general ones, in the
text of your pages.
A good web site that
will not only help you with your title and meta tags, but will submit your
site to a number of search engines at once--for free--is Submit
In Front Page:
Title and Meta Tags:
Composing your title
tag for each page on your site is probably the most important step
in optimizing your site for search engines. In FrontPage, you can
quickly add a title tag to a page by right-clicking anywhere on the
page, selecting "Page Properties", and typing in your tag
under "Title". The tag should be approximately 50-70
characters long, including punctuation and spaces; and it should
include a concise description of your page, carefully composed to
include a couple of important keyword phrases.
Meta tags used to be
much more important than they are today. Still, it is wise to
include these tags since some search engines still use them.
In Front Page, you can
also add "description" and "keywords" meta tags
by right-clicking on your page, selecting "Page
Properties", and then clicking on the "Custom" tag.
Under "User Variables", click on the "Add"
button and enter the word "description" in the name field.
Under "Value", type in a description of the page of your
site, incorporating important keywords. Add another Name to this
section -- "keywords", and under "Value", type
in a string of keywords separated by commas. These keywords can be
single words and phrases, and it is often wise to add common
misspellings of important keywords.
Once your site is up and running,
you may want to begin making some money for your site, if only to
cover the monthly expenses of maintaining it. The best way to
begin is by using affiliate programs.
What is an Affiliate
Many businesses on
the web offer affiliate programs to other web sites. These are
"pay-for-performance" programs that generally involve
adding links to your site that take your visitors to the company's
page where they can buy products. If your visitors make a
purchase, you get a commission. Most affiliate programs are free
to join, and many take a few days to approve your application to
An excellent way to begin looking for
affiliate programs is through an affiliate marketing network.
These are third-party companies who manage many different
affiliate advertisers. Two of the most popular such programs are:
Some excellent individual
Affiliate Programs include:
Amazon's Associate Program is well run and easy to use. Associates
have a variety of linking options available to them, including links
to individual products (such as specific titles of books, software,
CDs, DVDs, and so forth), bestsellers links, banners, search boxes,
and more. They pay anywhere from 2.5% to 15% commission on products
sold through associate links, depending on the products.
posters and art prints. Their affiliate program is also very easy to
use, and their commissions are relatively high--for most products
sold through affiliate links, you receive 20-25% commission:
Add hundreds of thousands of images to your site – Free!
Join the AllPosters.com Affiliates Program and get access to hundred of thousands of images for your site.
AllPosters.com has images from popular movies, music groups, sports teams, fine art, and much more.
Adding these images to your site will enhance your content.
Furthermore, you get paid for improving your site with poster/print images! All of the images you use will link to AllPosters.com where your site visitors can make purchases.
When they buy something, AllPosters.com pays you 25% - 30% of the sale. If the visitor decides to purchase within 10 days of their last visit from your website, you'll still earn commission on the sale!
It’s easy to sign-up, build links, and track your sales.
Sign up today!
Although it may be tempting to
join as many affiliate programs as possible, try to remember the
age-old "quality over quantity" rule. Provide links
to sites that offer products that are relevant to your site's
content. Invest some time into providing links that are actually
helpful for the readers of your site.