There are two types of people in this world.  Those who have their own websites and those who don’t.

If you don’t have your own website yet, you can change that in about 10 minutes.

If you do have your own website, this is your opportunity to make sure it’s laser-focused on your number one goal, whatever that might be for you.

MARKET RESEARCH

Before I talk about websites, I’m going to assume 2 things.

1st – I’m going to assume that you want to create a website to make money.  If you’re creating a website for yourself, then it doesn’t really matter what you do.

2nd – I’m going to assume you’ve already done your market research.  You know there’s a hungry market out there and you have the best keywords to reach your market.

If you don’t have your keywords yet, you might want to check out this article on choosing keywords.

Otherwise, let’s move on.

DOMAIN NAME

The first thing you need to do is choose your domain name.  There are generally 4 different choices.

AN EXACT MATCH DOMAIN NAME.

If you’re targeting the keyword phrase “Internet Marketing Consultant” because that’s what you do, then the exact match domain name would be “internetmarketingconsultant.com” (which exists, and is awful, by the way).

No more.  No less.  It’s an exact match of the main keyword phrase you’re targeting.

Exact match domains are good for affiliate marketers.  Affiliate marketers typically build small niche websites and sell other people’s products on those pages.

Affiliate niche markets are usually small, so they build lots of websites and don’t want to spend a lot of time on search engine optimization (SEO) for those websites.  That’s the benefit of having an exact match domain, it provides an SEO boost for that keyword phrase.  It won’t magically propel you to the top of search results, but SEO is cumulative and it’s one more signal for the search engine Gods to pick up on.

Obviously, having an exact match domain can give you a boost regardless of whether you’re an affiliate marketer or an internet marketing consultant.

So, what’s the downside to having an exact match domain name?

First, they’re difficult to find.  A lot of the good exact match domain names are already taken.  You could probably find some with low-quality top level domains (TLD), but the low-quality TLD would probably offset any SEO benefit.

A TLD is the extension on the end of your domain – .com, .net, .org.  Those are the 3 best TLD to have and if you buy anything else, it will be a little more difficult to get to the top of search results.  Have people ranked number one with a .info TLD?  Yes.  Would it be easier with a .com?  Yes.

I’ve seen really good case studies that confirm .com, .net, and .org are easier to rank with.  If you’re still skeptical, go to Google, type in any search phrase you want and take a look at the top 10 results.  How many are .com?  My guess is most of them!  How many are .info?  Thought so.

While I’m already off subject here, let’s talk about dashes in your domain name.  Through the strategic use of dashes in the domain name, it’s possible you could kinda sorta get an exact match domain.  My advice is don’t do it.  Here’s why.

Again, go to Google and type in any search phrase.  How many of the top 10 search results have dashes in the domain name?  My guess is not many.  Having dashes in your domain name makes it a little more difficult to rank well in search engine results.

Domains with dashes or hyphens can look spammy and they are hard to communicate to people in the real world.  One dash might be okay.  Two dashes, you’re pushing it.  Three dashes – stop it!

I have a friend that has one dash in his domain name.  Before I put his new email address in my contacts, I constantly forgot where the dash was in his email address because it was three words and 1 dash, or was it two?  Maybe it’s just my memory, but it’s something to consider.

If you want to make things difficult for yourself, then buy a domain name with 4 dashes in it and a .info TLD.  If you want to stack the cards in your favor, ditch the dashes and stick to the best TLD.

Okay, back on track – the downside to having an exact match domain.

When you buy an exact match domain, you are stuck in that niche.  Not that that’s a terrible thing, but if it doesn’t work out, or your business evolves and you want to grow, it might be difficult with that domain.

For example, what if back in the day Apple chose “desktopcomputers.com,” instead of apple.com?  They’d have to make some serious changes as they grew…if they grew.  If you plan on growing a business into different areas, consider that before choosing an exact match domain name.

A MODIFIED KEYWORD DOMAIN

A modified keyword domain name is a domain with a keyword phrase in it and something else.  For example, “losangelesinternetmarketingconsultant.com.”  Whoa, that’s a long ass domain name.

A better example might be superbadinternetmarketing.com.  The keyword phrase is “internet marketing,” so search engines will recognize that, and Superbad is added to the front for a branding effect.

You can use branding and still get the benefit of having the keyword phrase in the domain.  It doesn’t provide the same boost that an exact match domain does, but every little bit helps when it comes to SEO.

If you really want to use a domain with keywords in it, but the exact match is not available, you might want to consider this option.

A BRAND NAME DOMAIN

This doesn’t really need much explanation.  Most major corporations are built on brand names.  Nike isn’t tennisshoes.com.  Sony isn’t electronicequipment.com.  Yet, they managed to succeed somehow.  If you use a brand name for your domain, the only thing you won’t have is the the extra SEO boost that comes with using keywords in the domain.  If you’re building a long-term business, it probably doesn’t matter that much anyway.

YOUR NAME AS THE DOMAIN

Technically, I would say that using your personal name as your domain name is simply a brand name domain.  For example, tonyrobbins.com.  Tony Robbins is the brand.

When you use your own name as the domain, YOU become the brand.  To an extent, that’s true even with a “normal” brand name.  But, when it is your name, it will be much more difficult to sell your website or your business down the road.

It would be nearly impossible for Tony Robbins to sell his business and exit completely.  People expect him to be a part of the company.  He is the brand.

Of course, there are exceptions.  Michael Jackson, Dale Carnegie, or Elvis Presley.  Their estate still sells products but they’re all dead.  If you think you might ever want to sell your business while you’re still alive, think about that before you buy a domain name based on your personal name.

Don’t over-think your domain name.  Make sure your domain matches your business model and choose one you’re comfortable with.  A domain name alone won’t determine whether your website succeeds or fails.  You can succeed with a crappy domain name and you can fail with an awesome domain name.

Think about what you want to accomplish.

Research keywords and domain availability.

Buy your domain name and move on to the next step.

WHERE TO BUY A DOMAIN NAME

If your wondering where to buy your domain and hosting, I would say buy your domain the same time you get your hosting.  Most hosting companies are currently offering free domains for life, or as long as you host it with them.

Go to GoDaddy.com to find out what domains are available, but DON’T buy it from them.  They are more expensive than most places.

The best hosting company I have found (and I have been through a lot) is WestHost.  They have customer support that you can actually talk to.  They have the latest PHP programs.  And, their servers are fast and reliable.

I’m going to do a LEGITIMATE review of hosting companies within the next month, so I’ll update this with a link to the review.  Until then, if you want the best hosting, check out WestHost.

If you already have hosting, but you just want to buy a domain name, you can buy your domain names through 1and1.  They have relatively low prices, an easy control panel for DNS and email forwarding.  Nothing spectacular, but easy, cheap and reliable.

CREATE YOUR WEBSITE

So, now it’s time to build your website, right?  WRONG!

Before you build your website, the best thing you can do is to create your content FIRST.  I’m sure there are people who disagree with me, but this one tip can help save you serious time and money.  Here’s why.

I love cool web design.  I love unique designs.  When I started building websites and messing around with WordPress, I wasted way too much time thinking about the design of my website.  I tried to pick the really cool designs only to discover that the design was not right for the content.

You don’t want to be in a position where you have to alter your content to fit the design of your website.  Content is THE MOST important aspect of your website.  Create your content first THEN find a design that works with your content.

When you create your content first, this helps you do several things.

First, it helps narrow your focus.  The more focused your message is, the more likely it is that your website will attract, retain and convert visitors into customers.  When you have a website design already picked out, you just tend to fill in the spaces.

“I need to put something in this space.  I need to put something there.”

That is NOT how you do it.

You don’t want to JUST fill in spaces.  You want to create an important message for your visitors to see.  Ask yourself, what does my market want?  What am I providing them?  Why should they buy from me?  What do I have to offer?

Figure out what will attract the attention of your visitors.  You have 10 seconds to capture their attention, what can you write?  When you answer this question, THAT is what you need to put on your website front and center, above the fold (before making them scroll down).

When you create content first, you eliminate the waste.  You don’t create content to fill spaces that need to be filled.  You create content because it’s important.  If you want more info on creating content, follow the link.

Once you have your content, figure out the best way to arrange it BEFORE you choose your website design.  In other words, take a look at the content you have and determine what should go where.  Think about it from your visitor’s point of view.  What do they need to see first?  What questions will they have?  How can you best arrange the information to make it easy for visitors to do what you want them to do?

Now you know what’s important.  Now you have content that is valuable, NOT just filler.  Now, you can find a website design that will allow you to display your content the way you want to.

You don’t need to look at every website design.  Quickly scan for designs that will fit with your content.  This will significantly narrow down your search and save you time.  Plus, you’ll have awesome content, which is much more important than a fancy design.

Don’t get me wrong.  Good design is cool and it can help you, just as bad design can hurt you.  But, time after time, studies show that content is much more important.  I would love to spend my time trying to create a perfect, killer website, with the most amazing design ever.  But, sadly, it’s a waste of my time.  Having that killer website won’t make me money.  It’s what I do after I get the website up that will make me money.  The website is just a means to an end.

So with all of that said, NOW is the time to create a professional website that will fit your content.

HOW TO CREATE YOUR WEBSITE

If you can build your own website, then you don’t need any solutions. You know what to do.

If you don’t know how to build a website, here are the resources you need.

I recommend using WordPress to build your websites.  It is super easy, there are a ton of options to customize your website and it also has built in SEO benefits.  WordPress is not just for blogs, you can create any type of website you want.  Even if you have no technical skill at all, it’s simple to install.

There’s nothing wrong with using an HTML website if you can build one with some sort of site-builder program that you have access to.  The biggest problem is that most of the templates look really dated and they’re usually not as easy to customize.  With WordPress, you can change the entire look of your website with a few clicks of the mouse.

If you plan on doing affiliate marketing, this is a no-brainer.  There is an amazing product called Optimize Press that was created specifically for affiliate marketers.  It runs on the WordPress platform and you can use it on an unlimited number of websites.

Here’s the really cool part.  Optimize Press gives you a ridiculous amount of really cool templates for sales pages, squeeze pages, landing pages, product launch pages, membership pages and a blog page.  Seriously, it’s amazing how cool this product is.

You have to see it to really understand how much you get for only $97.  I can’t imagine it will stay at that price for long, but it’s a steal right now.  Just to give you a comparison, you might remember a product launch not too long ago that was for a similar product but with more backend features.  That product was selling for $1,997 plus a significant monthly fee for the backend services.  That product was not built for the WordPress platform and it had all sorts of problems.

Anyway, if you have a need to build affiliate sites, this is the best software I’ve seen, and it’s priced really low.  You can get it here – Optimize Press.

If you want a blog, you have several options.  You can buy Thesis, which is a very flexible theme that allows you to customize a lot of things without knowing how to code.

 

You can always use the free templates that are offered in WordPress, but if you want to make your website stand out and look more professional, it’s probably a good idea to buy a theme or hire a website designer.

ThemeForest has a huge WordPress selection that offers a lot of really cool websites.  They have a lot of different selections and many of the themes are designed for building regular websites, as opposed to blogs.  Remember, look for a theme that will fit with your content.  Not the other way around.

EXECUTION

How long do you think it would take to do all of the steps above and get your website up and running?  Obviously, some people aren’t as technically savvy as others, but getting your website up and running with content should not take you more than a week.  Honestly, I’d be surprised if it took most people more than 3 days.

The most challenging part should be creating your content.  It can be difficult to write compelling content that’s really high-quality.  If you’re creating a lot of content, or very technical content, it could take longer.  But, you can always go back as you learn more and change the content.  The key is to get your site up and start building traffic.

Click here for a few tips on how to get website traffic.

Otherwise, get started now.