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The Technical Stuff
 
(By: Rob Rawson)  
 
(including how to build a fantastic website, all the elements you need to consider and how to make it work with little or notechnical abilities).

It can be done.
I'm almost certain that many people reading this Ecourse have no technical skills at all? I'm not embarrassed to let you know that I don't have great technical skills. I've learned how to build really basic websites, but nothing fancy (I don't think the Profit Puppy site is going to win any design awards in the near future!).

The fact is you don't need to have great technical skills to make a good website. In some ways having limited web design abilities gives you an advantage because you won't get caught up in, what can sometimes be, confusing details. As a novice you'll be able to focus on what counts . That is; making money, marketing your site and getting visitors.

If you have no money, then you will need to learn how to do all of these things yourself which will slow you down considerably. If you can afford to pay someone else to design your site, then you can get a great site designed at a tiny fraction of the cost (compared with what it would cost to start a "real" bricks and mortar business in the offline world).

Web design can be a be a bit overwhelming when you are starting out, especially if you haven't done it before - it's hard to know what you should do and where to start. However, once you've been through the initial process it gets easier and easier.

To start with, let's look at all the "technical" elements that you need to

Include for consideration on your new site. We will be covering several of these aspects in more depth in later issues, but for now, I'll provide an overview of the things you will need to get started:

Domain Name - you need a domain name for your site (E.g. www.yoursite.com)

Web Hosting - you need to get your site hosted somewhere so other people can see it.

An auto-responder email service - you probably want to have some kind of email auto-responder set up. This is can help communicate effectively with your audience by send them a series of emails from you automatically.

Copy - (i.e. words).

Design - you need to get a template designed for your site.

Audio - audio has proven to generate more sales and interest to visitors.

A Shopping Cart Service - if you are planning an ecommerce site and want to be able to accept online payments, you will need a shopping cart service where you can accept credit cards via a secure server.

A Merchant Account - to accept credit cards you need to have your own, or a third party merchant account.

An Affiliate Program - you may want to have your own affiliate program. We'll talk about this in future issues of the Ecourse.

If you can combine the above elements and put them together effectively, you'll have the essence of a great website. Keep in mind that you may not need the shopping cart service, the merchant account, or the affiliate program if you are not actually selling your own product.

Below, I've provided valuable information about how to build the 9 most important elements of a successful website:

The Domain name and Web Hosting

I will be examining domain names in more detail in a later issue of the Ecourse, but for now, I'll assume that you need a new domain name for your site. A goodplace to start is somewhere like http://www.mydomainfriend.com/ - this is a great keyword combination tool that I built for researching and finding new domain names. My Domain Friend helps to simplify, what can be, a quite often lengthy and tiresome process. When you find a suitable domain, there are number of cheap services where you can register it for under $10. For more info on domain names and web hosting check out http://www.profitpuppy.com/hosting.htm

An Auto-responder Service

If you want to build a profitable site you should definitely consider an auto-responder service. If you get someone to your website, there's a good chance they may never come back. By using an auto-responder you can build a valuable relationship with you your visitors and increase the likelihood that that they will visit your site again (unless they unsubscribe!).

There are many different ways you can use auto-responders. For example, you might start an Ecourse, or remind your visitors of upcoming events or product developments in a newsletter. Auto-responders are crucial if you want to maximize the profits from website. In a later issue of the Ecourse, I'll be showing you how to put together great sounding newsletters to help you get more bang for your buck.

So, how do you set up an auto-responder? The best (and easiest) option is to go with one of the many third party services that are available on the web. For more information and a list of the best auto-responder services visit: http://www.profitpuppy.com/compare-autoresponder.htm

Writing copy for your site

Words are the MOST important element of your site: Effective copy is the one factor that will ensure that visitors react in a way that you want them to (whether it's to buy something or simply to browse the information available on your site).

Of course, the way you write for your site depends on what type of site you are building and what you want to achieve. If you are building a site with sales in mind, you're going to need a copywriter to carefully draft a great sales pitch.

If you're not a confident writer, you're going to have to find someone to do it for you. The bad news is, a good copywriter is hard to find. However, if you fancy yourself as writer, you should start out by trying to develop the content yourself (other sites are always a good reference point!).

If you are building an affiliate marketing site you should concentrate on well worded copy to highlight the programs and products that you are promoting. General writing tasks, like this, are a much easier undertaking as there is usually a wealth of available existing information about your products or programs (sometime affiliate programs will even provide you with useful copy for you site). "General" (as opposed to specialist) writers are usually much easier to find.

In my experience, you can provide much more powerful content if you can afford to outsource your writing tasks to an experienced copy writer with a great understanding of your product or service. By taking this approach, you will have more free time to spend researching new opportunities and managing the other elements of your site which could be making you money.

To find a good copywriter, have a look at the Services on:

http://www.profitpuppy.com/freelance-sites.htm

In general, you can expect to pay around $15-30 per page (around 400 words). It's possible employ writers for around $5 per page, but don't expect polished copy for that price. For a reasonable copywriter you will be looking at a minimum of $50 per page. Not surprisingly, great copywriters charge hundreds or even thousands of dollars per page.

Designing the site

As with the other elements of your site, there are a few options here; you can learn how to do design a site yourself (if you don't already have the skills). The disadvantage of this method is that designing a nice looking site can be quite a lengthy process. Again, if you have the budget for it, I would recommend outsourcing the work, especially if you are just getting started.

Freelance web designers (unlike good copy writers) are everywhere. Contracting your web design tasks to a freelancer is usually an inexpensive and sound option. For more information about hiring a freelance web designer, check out the list of resources at: http://www.profitpuppy.com/freelance-sites.htm

Another (and less appealing option) is to get a local firm to design a site for you. If you reside in the USA or UK this is likely to be an expensive proposition (sometimes up to 500% on what you can pay for a freelancer) - I wouldn't recommend this option unless you have money falling out of your pockets : )

If you would prefer to talk to the person that is designing the site, think about alternatives like hiring a university student or someway studying graphic design. You can often find someone who has great web design skills and is relatively inexpensive.

Also, don't be afraid to ask for some examples of work before employing someone. It's important to know that they can create site design that you are going to be happy with. The last option for designing a site is to use an application like Site Build It. (Go to http://www.profitpuppy.com/designingwebsite.htm for more information on this package). There are some distinct advantages to using software like this - it does everything for you, including the domain name and hosting, auto-responders. The best thing about using Site Build It is that will also help you to get listed in the search engines. Audio, shopping, merchant accounts and more.

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