Mar 12, 2012

How to Build Your Own Business Website, Part II

(Photo by mmagallan)
So on part I, we talked about what we need to build our own business website:
  • domain name,
  • logo,
  • template, and
  • content (i.e., images and text).
Now it's a simple matter of putting it all together. 

1. Start your site. Go to www.blogger.com, open an account there, then click on New Blog. 
  • Title. It will ask you for the title of your blog. As much as possible, try to incorporate your blog's keywords into the title. For instance, this blog is not just The Nanay Notebook. It's formal, registered name in the Title bar is "The Nanay Notebook | Work at home Philippines."
  • Domain name. For address, you can put in your chosen domain name for your blog. If you're getting a custom domain name later, feel free to put in anything here. But if you intend to use a domain name with "blogspot.com," you put here the name of your blog "e.g., nanaynotebook.blogspot.com" and cross your fingers, hoping nobody has taken it yet. If somebody has already taken it, you'll need to find something else.
  • Template. Click on any of the available templates. It matters not which one you click since you will be replacing it with a more professional looking one from Btemplates.com later anyway.
  • Finish the preliminary steps. Click on "Create Blog!"
2. Set your other website settings. Go to your blog's settings. On the Basic settings, after title, add a description of your blog, that is, what your blog is about, and try to include your keywords. If, for instance, you sell baby dresses, you could say something like "Beautiful baby dresses for infants and toddlers, free delivery" or something like that (only put "free delivery" if you really give free delivery).

You could also add a custom domain name. If you want to get "blogspot" out of your domain name, you click on "Add a custom domain," input your desired domain name, and hope nobody has taken it yet. Otherwise, you'll need to find something else. You will be directed to Google checkout, and you'll need a credit card to pay $10 or approximately P500 to be able to keep that domain name for one year. After one year, you'll be given the option to give the domain name up or automatically renew your subscription.

3. Add the content of your first page. Click on New Post and paste there the contents of your front/Home page.  Remember that if you intend to make this website look like a regular website, not a blog, this post will be the first and last post you can put in your blog. Click on Publish. 

4. Add a pages bar. Click on Layout on the right side of your blog dashboard. Click on one of the Add a Gadget links. Look for Pages and add that. Then, in the Layout page, drag the Pages widget below the part that says Header.

5. Add a widget to your sidebar. You need to do this so that you can see what your sidebar settings (font size, font color, etc.) looks like. You can add the Text widget for now and write in it whatever you like. You can replace the text or even the widget itself later.

6. Add pages. Click on Pages on the right side of your blog dashboard. Click on the "New Page" button. The title of the first page is About. Paste here the contents of your About page, then click Publish. Then add another page: Contact. Paste the contents of your Contact page here, then click Publish.

7. Upload your template and logo. Now you have the basic elements of your blog, it's time to upload the template you downloaded from Btemplates.com. The instructions on how to upload templates can be found on the site, but if you need more help, leave a comment here and I will help you out.

If you've got a logo and favicon for your blog, now is the time to upload them. Go to the Layout page, find the Favicon widget on the page, click on Edit, and upload your favicon there. Then find the Header widget (instead of Header, this widget may show the title of your blog), click on Edit, and upload your website's logo there.

8. Tweak your template. This is the hardest part. If you know some HTML, it is possible for you to do this step by yourself. If you don't know HTML, I would strongly suggest you find somebody who does. I tweaked the HTML for Escrive.com myself, but it took me two full days to finish. My knowledge of HTML is limited to what I learned from asking questions from our office Web encoder in the two years I worked at goFLUENT.

9. Add other pages or widgets. But before you do so, always save your template. With advanced templates such as the ones you download from BTemplates.com, any change you make in the layout, any page or widget you add, could bring your entire template out of whack.

What other pages and widgets would you want to add? If you're building a blog, just copy the pages and widgets I have here on the Nanay Notebook (shortcut! ha ha ha). If you have specific questions, leave me a comment and I would happily answer.

If you're building a static business page, make sure you have your contact information right on page 1. If you have a separate contact page, it could contain a Web form that should make it easy for your buyers to ask questions or order from you. You can get a free email form from emailmeform.com. 

If you're selling stuff, make sure you have a catalog of the stuff you're selling. You may also want to include an easy way for your buyers to pay, like Paypal buttons.

An FAQ page can tackle returns, shipping, payments, and other things your potential clients may want to know about.

10. Share your new site on Facebook and Twitter. Use social networking to get word out about your new Web site. Start a Facebook page for your business or blog. Get a Twitter account. Link your Facebook and Twitter accounts to your website. (Click here to get the Facebook button. Click here to get the Twitter button.) Keep your pages updated. 

Now comes the hardest part of all: you need to wait. If you keep your social network pages and your blog updated, you should begin to see substantial growth in a few month. In a year or two, your blog or website might even become profitable. The key is patience and constant work. Give it time. 

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