Are you an entrepreneur looking to set up a new blog or website? The Google Webmaster Academy can help! Ever since its launch in 2012, it has helped hundreds and thousands of webmasters take their websites from mere startups to large money-making ventures. However, going over each resource from the academy can be time-consuming. Here's our version on how to build a website from scratch to greatness.
Part 1: How To Create A Great Website That Is Valuable To Your Audience?
Part 2: Coming Soon
Part 3: Coming Soon
Step 1: Setting up a new website
Setting up a website is the easiest part. But you have to get out of the comfort of a sub-domain, and spend a few bucks on buying a custom domain name and hosting (unless you're Blogger, in which case you just need to buy a domain).
But before that, you need to decide whether you want a blog, or a website.
If you decide that you want to get a blog, you have the choice between two of the most popular platforms, Blogger and WordPress.
By now, you should have figured out whether to set up a website or a blog (and which one). The next step is to select a domain name. The following post will tell you (almost) all you need to know about choosing domain names.
Now, it's time to look into a domain name registrar and web hosting provider. We would recommend going either with GoDaddy (for registering domain name) and HostGator (for web hosting), since we have experience with these companies and they have never let us down. But of course, you can pick another company of your choosing, as long as it is either HostGator or GoDaddy :) (just kidding).
Step 2: Identifying a target audienceBefore you create content, you should identify your site's audience. These are the people you want to visit your site. For example, the audience for brandonsbaseballcards.com include people who are interested in baseball cards. Once you identify your audience, you can create content that is useful and relevant to them.
Understand your audienceYou can use a powerful tool called Google Trends to explore trends and related keywords your audience might be searching. A search for "baseball" shows variations and related terms that people have searched in addition to "baseball". You can see when and where these searches come from, along with search volume for different terms. It also shows interesting trends over time associated with search terms. Understanding related terms to your site’s content helps you to create more relevant content for your audience, leading to more people finding your site.
Gather a test audienceOnce you have plans for your website written down, show your friends and family to gather feedback. Ask them what they think of your site as a potential visitor. You can also conduct surveys or usability tests. Ask insightful questions: What would they expect to find on your site? Is there missing information that they would find useful? Hearing what others have to say about your site can help you relate to your audience better.
Now that you've identified your audience, you can begin creating content with them in mind.
Step 3: Creating high quality contentThe key to creating a great website is to create the best possible experience for your audience with original and high quality content. If people find your site useful and unique, they may come back again or link to your content on their own websites. This can help attract more people to your site over time.
As you begin creating content, make sure your website is:
- Useful and informative: If you’re launching a site for a restaurant, you can include the location, hours of operation, contact information, menu, and a blog to share upcoming events.
- More valuable and useful than other sites: If you write about how to train a dog, make sure your article provides more value or a different perspective than the numerous articles on the web on dog training.
- A recognized authority on a subject: Think about how your users might identify authority by using original research, citations, links, or references. Things like a short author biography can help boost your articles’ trustworthiness and reputation.
- High quality: Your site’s content should be unique, specific, and high quality. It should not be mass-produced or outsourced on a large number of other sites. Keep in mind that your content should be created primarily to give visitors a good user experience, not to rank well in search engines.
- Engaging: Bring color and life to your site by adding images of your products, your team, or yourself. Make sure visitors are not distracted by spelling, stylistic, and factual errors. An excessive amount of ads can also be distracting for visitors. Engage visitors by interacting with them through regular updates, comment boxes, or social media widgets.
- Protected from user-generated spam: If your site contains user generated content such as comments and forums, read the User-generated spam article and watch this video to learn how to create a spam policy in place to protect your site from malicious users.
Google Webmaster GuidelinesIt's important to familiarize yourself with our Webmaster Guidelines. Our guidelines outline practices that could negatively impact your site’s performance in Google Search. If content on your site violates any guidelines, we'll inform you through Webmaster Tools. We’ll focus on Webmaster Guidelines and Webmaster Tools in Module 2.3.
Step 4: Site StructureAs a webmaster, you want your users to quickly and easily navigate your site to find the content they are looking for. You also want search engines to easily crawl your site and understand the content that you consider important.
Create a clear and logical structure for your websiteAll sites have a home or "root" page. It’s usually the most visited page on a site and the starting place of navigation for visitors. Unless your site has only a handful of pages, you should think about how visitors will go from your home or root page to a page containing more specific content.
Showcase a navigation bar
Help users navigate within your site with a useful navigation bar. A navigation bar allows you to call out important sections of your website. Create intuitive and organized categories such as ‘Home’ and 'News' and don’t overwhelm your visitors with too many choices. You can place the navigation bar on the top or side of each page for easy access.
Use informative URLs
When users search for a term or phrase in a search engine, the URL can help them determine if there is relevant content on that particular page. For example, example.com/article123.htm isn't as descriptive as example.com/latest-soccer-news.htm.