In this article (and in a series of following articles in the Niche Site Live category) I will walk you through the process of starting a website with a real life example.
Last weekend I started a new online store, selling recycled denim products. You can see a little sneak preview on the featured image, also I will include a link later in this article. And I decided to share with you my journey, my quest on attracting visitors then customers to this site. And also hopefully making this site profitable sooner or later.
I hope I can help you with this series when you are ready to start a new website. Not only with the technical issue, though this first article is mainly about these. But also with the nitty-gritty of achieving profit with a website. That is, how online marketing works (SEO, SM, copy writing, online store management, etc.) when on a low initial budget.
And of course this is a big challenge to me, starting a website before the eyes of my readers. And for that matter, I love challenges.
You might wonder why the hack did I choose an online store selling recycled denim products as the niche of my new website. This is a good question, and I will answer it in the next article in this series, when writing about how to pick up a niche for your website.
And of course this has to be the very first step. If you have no clue which market to enter, what to sell or just what to write about, why the heck should you worry about starting a website?
The very first step when starting a website should be to clearly define the niche you are entering and preferably also the products/services (your own ones or affiliates) you want to sell.
So stay tuned, I’ll tell you about this with more details. But for now let’s just accept the fact that my niche with this new website will be selling recycled denim products.
These are definitely pretty technical stuff, but you just can’t skip them. In order to start and operate a website you need a domain (ie. an address) and some kind of a hosting solution (ie. the real estate).
For buying fresh domains I usually use Namecheap. But this time I decided to give it a try and searched for denim related expired domains on GoDaddy Auctions. It turned out that it was worth a try as I could grab the domain allidenim.com for just $8. This site already had have some backlinks and did not cost a penny more than a fresh domain.
For hosting my English sites I use Bluehost. They provide a pretty straightforward solution to everyone starting a website.
I already had a shared account so basically the only thing I had to do is to point my domain from my GoDaddy account to my Bluehost server, and create an addon domain there. This had no extra costs for me (already having a Bluehost account), but if you just want to start out, registering a Bluehost account will set you back $3.95 the first month.
No wonder I opted for WordPress. If you know me or just check out my domain name here (WPCookHouse.com), you can be pretty sure that my preferred choice for CMS (Content Management System) is WordPress.
This is a completely free publishing platform, no cost, no hidden fees. You just download WordPress, upload it to your server, and install it in less then a minute with zero technical knowledge.
There are even free and one-click WordPress installers for that matter on most hosting platforms, I just don’t like to use them. But if you don’t want to bother with ftping and creating a MySQL database, you can just easily find these free tools on your cPanel.
There is a free eCommerce plugin for WordPress, WooCommerce which I find ideal for most small eCommerce stores. You can download it and use it free, but there might be some extra features in the future that may set you back with $10-100. Still, WooCommerce is a great tool and you can start and operate an eCommerce store even with the free version. This time I just installed the simplest free version.
Every WordPress site needs a theme which will eventually determine how your site will be displayed in the browsers. Colors, footers, sidebars, menus etc. Your WP comes with some built in themes but those are only good if you plan to run a simple personal blog.
I’ve previously written an article on choosing a WordPress theme, and still hold true that selecting a good theme is not easy task. For online stores I only recommend premium themes.
Previously I had good luck with a theme called Xing. Clean design, easy to set up, and very versatile. I decided to go with it
It costs $58, and installing and setting up didn’t take me more than a couple of minutes. When you install your first theme, or you install a theme the first time, of course it might take more time to learn how to do it.
Of course content itself is the key of every website or eCommerce site. You do need to set up the website, choose the theme, but if you don’t have quality content, don’t even dream about making money online.
As for the content in my case (i.e. an ecommerce stie), it had to be products in the beginning. And to tell you the truth, in this particular case it was an easy solution.
My friends who started the Old Blue Program had already installed an ecommerce store in our country. We already had very good quality pictures, I just had to upload them. Also creating a new product in WooCommerce is a piece of cake.
So this is how my new site looks like just after starting it. You can also check it’s current status clicking on this link: allidenim.com.
Please keep in mind that the single and most important part of your new website is your content. You can spend hundreds of bucks on state of the art themes and plugins, dozens of hours beautifying it. But if you lack a decent content, just don’t start your website, provided you want to make some money sooner or later.
So if you’re starting an ecommerce store, put some effort into making nice pictures, and creating your products with care, including a good copy.
If you’re starting a blog, do write 5-10 articles before starting your website.
In this particular case I used an online generator, but be sure that what you include there is actually complies with your actual situation.
I just needed to set up some social media pages and register my new site with Google. I’ll cover these steps in the following articles.
Next time: How to find a niche when starting a website? (coming soon)