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How to get started on your first website

 9:50 pm on Nov 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

Well the other day I found out from a friend that his sister in law made TONS of money with her free "IQ test" website and I decided I just wanted to see how it all worked.

My brother knows how to make webpages and I had an idea for a site that I figured would get alot of hits. (A help site for a game that have played since we were kids that is still very popular).

My question is, how much would we have to invest into it? I know this kind of thing doesnt really happen overnight but how much money is in these kind of sites that get commisions from advertisements?



 1:45 am on Nov 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

"how do I get peopel to see my site?"

Your content, Time, Search engine.

Adword?, dont you think it will make your
site too comercial when it is just started?
and adword costs,if you have product to sell, adword might be a good solution.


 3:52 am on Nov 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

It can't cost you much for a small / medium site. Cheers for your idea. Catch it and turn it into business!

[edited by: mack at 4:22 am (utc) on Nov. 5, 2005]
[edit reason] No need for all caps ;-) [/edit]


 9:33 am on Nov 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Whatever else you do, you have to be out there getting links from sites with the same kind of theme as yours from day one, consistently and stolidly. Make it a part of your working discipline each week to approach, say, 50 sites for links. Without links, you may have a great site but in Google especially you're not likely to rise very high inb the search results.


 11:50 am on Nov 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Make sure you get the site running on an Apache webserver, not Windows/IIS. You'll have a lot less problems, and be able to configure things the way you want them.

You can very easily set up Apache on your home computer to run an offline test version of the site too.


 2:06 pm on Nov 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

A help site for a game that have played since we were kids that is still very popular


Make sure you pick the right topic. People will visit a site like the one you outlined above for free information - not to buy anything. If you want to make money, you may have to either widen the scope or reconsider the topic.



 7:10 pm on Nov 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

I started building a site dedicated to one games console of the past (although that is slowly turning into a website dedicated to various consoles from that time period).

My original plan was to add adwords or something similar to make money, but I got attached to the website, and the finished version probably won't contain any ads or anything, as I have become too attached and don't want to 'degrade it'.

The website is on the back burner at the moment though, as my ecommerce site must take full priority.

Welcome to webmasterworld btw, its thanks to these guys that my website is even partially successful.


 9:20 pm on Nov 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thanks again everyone.

The only money I will make from my site will be from ads. I have a great eCommerce idea that I would like to work on but I would need the money to invest into it which I dont have right now. So I will put all of my time into my "Free Information" site that I will put a twist onto the limit the competition. Thank you all for all of the great information.
I will continue to snoop around the forums and hope that any other people like me learn from this post.


 6:00 am on Nov 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

Nowadays, an good idea is the idea to succeed.


 6:09 am on Nov 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

If you are contemplating a site with 100-150 pages for starters and thinking about a forum, I *highly* recommend that you take the time to get familiar with PHP/MySQL. It sounds like you and I are about neck-and-neck when it comes to programming skills. I am a hack whose career has never had anything to do with the web or computer programming. I've been using online tutorials, but for good PHP/MySQL knowledge you may want to invest in a book. I've been studying the one by Ullman and find it very useful, but there are several good ones out there.

I've been spending tons of time designing the functionality of my pages and my PHP/MySQL "backend" in the hopes that this will save me time in the future. I think that I'm right, but who knows?


 1:08 pm on Nov 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hi, I am in the process of setting up my first website. What Im doing is outsourcing it all.
I made a picture in photoshop of how I like the site to look (layout) and then asked people to make a bid on how much they would ask to create it, I did this on a website called rentacoder.

I am also outsourcing all the content, i.e. I am getting other people to write the actual articles and them I am going to edit them. Im now paying 200$ for 50 articles, total of 25000 words. If you are planning 100-150 articles this might be an idea? To jumpstart your website and not wait 6 monts.

After you start receiving good traffic, the advice of Brett in article mentioned in earlyer post, is to study referal logs carefully. If someone finds your site on google, using the term "warhammer necromancer magic" and clicks on link to your site in google results, you will be able to see from visitors logs, if you have proper software" what search words that visitor used to find your site. You can take that as suggestions for what content to write next.
Or you can use a website that specailices in finding out what words people use when searching online, and see what words are connected to your particular game.

Dont forget art. Good thumbnail sized art can do wonders for articles.


 5:48 pm on Nov 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thanks guys.

And about paying somone to script it for me, I am having alot of fun messing around with html right now and have people to help me when I get stuck. I do like your idea about making a picture of it on photoshop though since I will have a better idea of what I want it too look like before I start making it (instead of fooling around with html) :)


 5:54 pm on Nov 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

Outsourcing everything? Wow. If you can achieve those kinds of effeciencies, more power to you. It's my intention to keep my content updated from my own, personal knowledge base. For example, I have a second website (that I need to get around to launching) on a topic I know much about. I was able to crank out 30,000 words in less than 2 weeks, working in my spare time. Now I have control over my content, I know what's in there and what to cross-link to when the opportunity arises.

My mantra is: "Keep the overhead low." I can't imagine how you do that with outsourcing. Besides, the fun in this for me is learning how to put it all together. Hopefully the fun will eventually involve generating revenue. :)


 5:57 pm on Nov 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

I always make a picture of it first. Although many webmeisters on here will tell you that the amateur look can be just as profitable as a slick design (which I have verified to be true), it's never a bad idea to get a handle on your graphical presentation first. After all, the web is a graphical--not a textual--medium.

My preference is Fireworks, since it will export your layout into html, although there's lots of tweaking after you export in order to get the file size down.


 6:07 pm on Nov 7, 2005 (gmt 0)


Re: My previous post on PHP/MySQL, you may wish to read this thread:



 6:22 pm on Nov 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

Do you know any good tutorial sites for html by the way? I have been looking at a couple of them. Thanks for the information.

And since you know that I am TOTLALLY new at this, what do you mean by overhead? And how do i keep the file size down?


 6:48 pm on Nov 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

I cut my teeth at www.webmonkey.com and with "HTML for Dummies." Webmonkey got me started and "for Dummies" filled in the gaps (or pretty much just reinforced what I was learning). I went the same route for learning (and I use that term loosely) PHP/MySQL, except I used the book by Ullman.

By overhead I just mean cost--money out of pocket.

I have read wisdom here that says to keep your total file size below 15K. I don't see how this is possible if you want to use pictures and graphics. To answer your question about how to keep file size down, see Webmonkey re: optimizing images. I think the conventional wisdom is to use gif files whenever possible. When you need better quality, use jpeg and optimize it for the web, which is usually about 70 to 80% quality in the graphics programs.

Geez. I'm talking like someone who knows what he's doing. Scary.


 7:42 pm on Nov 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

Haha I hope to sound like that one day :)


 7:54 pm on Nov 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

Another good way to learn HTML is to take a college course on it. I know that our local community college offers the option to "audit" a course so that you may participate in the class without having to pay the tuition for it. I know of many people in our community who have done this and are quite pleased.


 8:15 pm on Nov 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

I am sure my local community college offers it, but I know I would have to pay for it. (Although my community college is very inexpencive). I will probably take a course next semester just to learn as much as I can (Though I do work a 8-5 job and commute to work... which makes a tiring day already.)


 8:23 pm on Nov 7, 2005 (gmt 0)


Most of my site will be a combination of information from alot of my competition. No, I will not plegerize but some of the information that I need is hard to just pull out of my memory. (I.E. quests in the game that I did 3 years ago. I will read it from a couple sites and then put it in my own words.)
The main portion of my site though will be done differently then all of my competition. That is what I figure will get alot of people to see my site. I have talked to a few people about my idea and they all approve. Once my site gets started I will also try to find some qualified individuals to write some articles for the site that explain that topic in more detail.
The only reason I am going to put things like 'quests' on the site it to make it more universal as well and hopefully I will get people coming back and back again to use my site as a reference.

P.S. Sorry for all of the spelling errors. I am a horrible speller.


 8:32 pm on Nov 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

>> I have read wisdom here that says to keep your total file size below 15K <<

Err, I think that's keep the "HTML" file size below 15K, not the "page" size.

The "page" is made from the HTML, the CSS and the images combined.


 8:40 pm on Nov 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thanks g1smd, that helps to know, 'cuz I was wondering just how that was accomplished. One problem we newbies have is the lurking feeling that there are so many tricks we still need to learn. I can now scratch that one (how to magically keep your pages < 15K) off my list!


 8:54 pm on Nov 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

Yeah, people have to be careful to use the right words when they post; and you need to take great care as to what was meant when you read it.

I'm sure you have seen multiple posts where people had confused <title> tags and title attributes, or called the alt attribute something else, or mixed up the <head>er of the HTML file, with <h>eading tags... and then got all confused.


 9:34 pm on Nov 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

Lol agreed, thanks for clearning that up. I was getting a little freaked out.


 9:55 pm on Nov 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

Most of my site will be a combination of information from alot of my competition.
The main portion of my site though will be done differently then all of my competition. That is what I figure will get alot of people to see my site.

...and that may be the only frontier left on the net for us folks who are not market leaders or visionaries: Doing it better than the competition. Nothing wrong with that. That's exactly what I'm doing...er...trying to do.


 9:57 pm on Nov 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

Perhaps I spoke too soon. I suppose the other frontier would be exploiting niches that other people just haven't identified. I never thought I would think of one, but one came to mind recently and I can't wait to get going on it.

Unfortunately, I have a day job (career) and it will, in fact, have to wait.


 10:03 pm on Nov 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

Yah I am trying to find time to do all of the hours and hours of research i will need to do while working and spending time with my friends and girlfriend...

I hope to get this going in a few months. About the static and dynamic sites, is there a good program to make a static site?

(By this I am assuming static=a program generating the html and dynamic=writing it yourself so you can do more with it. Is that correct?)


 11:23 pm on Nov 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

(By this I am assuming static=a program generating the html and dynamic=writing it yourself so you can do more with it. Is that correct?)

Mmmmmm...no. Static = straight html. Dynamic = PHP, ASP or the like. E.g., you have a website about widgets and you want to feature 100 of them. A static website would have 100 html pages set up: widget_1.htm, widget_2.htm ... widget_100.htm.

A dynamic site would have one page of code and 100 rows in a database. That one page of code would receive a variable for each different widget, query the database, and then construct the html on the fly and present it to your browser.

As a further example, the page you are reading right now is a dynamic page. It as to be. If you look in your address bar, you will see stuff at the end of the url like "...cgi?action=something... etc. I don't know anything about cgi, but I think that "action" would be the name of the variable and "something" would be its value.

As for software, I use Macromedia Dreamweaver to code my html and php pages, although I rarely use the WYSIWYG editor. I almost always use code view.


 11:33 pm on Nov 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

wow, ok.

So I have to learn more then just html then?


 11:55 pm on Nov 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

No, you don't HAVE to. I think there are WMs here who have big sites with static, plain old html pages. There's certainly no law against static pages--especially if you keep them well-organized. I just find the idea of dynamic pages really cool. Granted, if I had not bothered to learn how to code them I'd probably already be live with my content. But for my purposes, I think that dynamic pages are a must.

For example, I'm going to have at least one new article a day, maybe more. All I have to do is dump my writing into my database (with a few html tags like <p> here and there) and the php pages I have programmed take care of the rest. They put the headlines in the right place, place the newer articles at the top of the page, push the older articles down the page and sort the really old articles into an archive that is organized by date.

Very, very handy. And, I might add, not too hard to learn once you have html down.


 11:55 pm on Nov 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

Start by learning the 20 or so tags in HTML, and the 30 or so CSS properties.

You don't need to get into PHP or scripting just yet.

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