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How to get started on your first website



9:50 pm on Nov 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

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?


2:38 am on Nov 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator mack is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Hi Junanagoh welcome to WebmasterWorld :)

You have made a very good choice of site to work on. Because it is based on a hobby you will be able to add true character to your site. There are just so many sites built for nothing more than making money and very often by people who have no experience of the topic they are trying to cover. The result is a site that falls far short of the users expectations.

In your case both you and your brother have an active interest in the game so you will be able to give users exactly what they are looking for.

On the web "content is king" you will probably read that term quite a lot of WebmasterWorld but it is very true. I will go into a little bit more detail to explain exactly what I mean...

As you build your sites you will be able to add great content to the pages. If you have good content people will like it. Other site owners will also like it. If you provide the best articles on a specific topic then other sites within that topic will be likely to link to you.

As you gain links you will see an increase in traffic and search engine rankings. It is however very important to keep adding to your content. If you can add a page a day to your site you will be doing very well. This is not a target, so long as you regularly add content you will be on the right tracks.

Because you are regularly updating your site people will begin to respect your site as a source of good information. Again this helps you to get sites to link to yours. Every link from another site to your site is classed as a vote by the search engines. The more votes you can get the higher the search engines will rank your pages.

You should not however just wait for people to link to you. You can actively go looking for links. There are literally loads of web directories on the web. Try and get your site listed on as many of these as possible. There may even be some directories dedicated to the game you and your brother are interested in. The more links from directories you can get the better.

You should however wait until your site is fully functional and ready for the public to view before you start trying to hunt down directory links. If you suggest your site to a directory before it is finished it is very un-likely to be listed. This may also damage your chances of being successfully listed once your site is finished.

With regards to search engines I no longer add my url to search engines. I just concentrate on web directories and inbound links. If you have links pointing to your site search engine will be able to find your site.

As for making money from a site there really is no definite answer to this question. I guess it all depends on the exact nature of your site. If your site topic is within a pretty small niche you may be able to seek out sponsorship from one of the big suppliers within the industry. You will however need to have a fairly established site in order for this to be a reality.

Advertising is another option. You may wish to show affiliate adverts. Affiliate adverts means you show banner ads for a supplier and you are paid a commission for clicks or sales that originate from your site. There is also Google Adsense. Adsense is a service run by Google that pays you for clicks on their adverts. There are quite a number of advertising opportunities for you to look into.

When you are still developing your site I suggest you try and keep it as clean and ad free as possible. Users like this and it will allow you to build up a user base. Then once you have good traffic you may choose to try and make money from the site.

In terms of investment there really is very little you need to spend to get a site online. Domain name, web hosting and more importantly your time.

As you pointed out the process is certainly not fast. It can take months to get ranked well in Google. Long term though, you may do very well from your venture.

I wish you good luck and keep us posted. :)


[edit to fix typos]

[edited by: mack at 5:47 pm (utc) on Nov. 3, 2005]


5:35 pm on Nov 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

WOW, that was definatley more detailed then I expected :)

Thanks for all the help and I will definately keep you posted on what happens.


5:46 pm on Nov 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hey Junanagoh,

Welcome to WW. I have not posted a lot but have certainly lurked quite a bit. I am somewhat in the same boat as you, although I have spent a great deal of time learning how to program web pages. I work on my site in my spare time and have not really taken it "live" yet.

You will find that the "elder statesmen/women" at WW are very generous with their advice. I encourage you to read through the old threads, which seem to be all archived here. Also, go to the User Profiles of some of the members who have achieved great success, like europeforvisitors. The user profiles contain a list of that user's posts. Spend a few weeks reading this site. There are a lot of gems to be mined here. The main themes seem to be quality and patience.

Good luck with your site.


6:08 pm on Nov 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks. Ill keep looking around. Good luck with your site as well :)


8:38 pm on Nov 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

A pertinent question is:

Is anyone else doing what you propose?

If there is, who is the most successful, how did they achieve their success, and how are the making their money?

If there is not ...

How can _you_ make money at it?


1. You have a great idea people will be drawn to or
2. There is no competition, because such things don't work on the web.

Research on the internet is cheap, easy to do, and worthwhile, if you have time.


9:27 pm on Nov 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hi Junanagoh welcome to WW :)

Building a site from scratch is always a daunting prospect, however think of it as if you are writing a book or an essay. Pure content sites should be planned out just like that with the "chapters" being the main pages of your site. So if you are planning a general site to cover one game (and this works for most games, even RPG/PBEM) the front page is usually where the latest developments or news goes. Directly under that in your menu would be relevant "chapters" of the book like gameplay, history of the game, techniques, cheats (if its a PC or console game) and then the general help sections you want to cover.

Game site's, even niche game sites will still find competition buried deep in the search engines. First thing you need to do is hit google, MSN and yahoo and type the full name of the game you want to cover. See what the competition are up to and then make sure you DON'T copy what they have done. You can look at what they done and make theoris on it and then do a complete rewrite in your own words.

Remember, the site you build is primarilly for your visitors, forget about small search engine optimisation techniques, only go for the main points...

Header 1 line at the top of all content follwed by h2 and h3 tags below them for various subsections...just like a book.

Meta Tags, ok google doesnt put much wheight in them now but some do.

Title, make sure the title of the page has the site name followed by what the page is for.

Content...well, that's obvious.

Brett himself (chap who runs this place) made a good 26 step guide for google which also gave good website tips and what NOT to do on your new site, cant find the link for it so maybe someone can post it here :)

When your site is ready to go online the first thing you do is go straight to the DMOZ directory, find your catagory and add your site, do the same for the Yahoo directory. Search out other sites (if there is any) that cover your game and ask in an email to exchange links. 7 times out of ten they will, 10 times out of 10 if you happen to be a female helping to run the site and send the email ;)

Once your site is out i would seriously consider opening a message board. Don't go over board with it though, just one or 2 forum sections...you dont want lots of empty forum sections...also, make sure you post in the forum itself and emphasise on the site via a graphic link or bold text link that you do have a message board running.

After DMOZ lists you (and they usually do if your site covers the subject well) what i would do is simply forget about search engines for a while. It's at that point you can jump into Googles Adsence. However dont go overboard and start with 468x60 banners or those tower things that google have, go for the small 220px width rectangles first and place them within your menu system. After a while you can start placing the 460 banners inside the actual content (at the end of the content is a good idea, more clicks there).

The site i run followed that route in 1999 when it first opened. We cover Star Trek games, we now have visits from the head of products and merchandise of Viacom (the company who owns paramount until 2006 when CBS splits off and takes over, they own Star Trek) he basically runs the games franchise that we are covering and posts in our forum. We also had dealings with Warner Bros to advertise there Babylon 5 DVD set (that didnt make paramount happy from what i hear...). We regularly hold interviews with other gaming site webmasters, viacom, paramount and game developers...and in 1999 the site started as a 3 page FrontPage tabled & framed mess, we now get over 30,000 hits per day :) Site is still a mess though...lol

If we can do it, anyone can, but it takes time and patience.


9:59 pm on Nov 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I believe this is the article you are referring to:



10:02 pm on Nov 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks so much everyone. All of this infomation makes me excited :)

On a quick side note, How much money should I expect to put out a month? Is there are certain company that I should host my website through?


10:11 pm on Nov 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I am reading that right now :)


10:18 pm on Nov 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

In the beginning I usually go with a cheap webhost and then as traffic increases and the site grows I will go with a web host that has faster servers, allows more bandwidth, etc. My opinion is that until a site really takes off you should spend as little as possible on it just in case the idea wears off or you lose your steam. That way you will not suffer a big loss if something unexpected happens.

This has to be within reason though, I would stay away from any "free" hosting solutions, if you are a paying customer with your host, you can demand more from them and you will get better support. Also, do not skimp too much in the beginning. You want things to start off on the right foot. Basically, what I am trying to say is that you should not go overboard in the beginning. The web is a very dynamic place and sometimes websites take off and sometimes they don't.


11:31 pm on Nov 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Whats the average 'cheapie' hosting cost? Does it really matter who I go with in the begining then?


11:53 pm on Nov 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

You can get some really cheap hosting out there. What I would suggest is that you try to find a "reliable" and cheap hosting co.

When I started out I used to believe all the hype on the hosts site and soon found out that they had bad downtime problems and were very rude when I complained. So I did some research on the internet and found some really good and (relatively) cheap hosting with good customer support.

added - Welcome to WebmasterWorld Junanagoh

Pardon my manners...


10:50 am on Nov 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

When I started my websites I found the search for a webhost difficult and frustrating. I had no idea what I was doing, no idea how to choose, and spent ages searching the places where people can leave reviews of webhosts. If only someone had been able to recommend a suitable host I could have saved myself no end of time and trouble.
With the memory of my experience, therefore, I'd like to save you the same experience and recommend Dreamhost. They are simply superb in every way and I have been with them since October 1999. They are easy to find:
I wish you well!
Best wishes,


10:54 am on Nov 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

y not use what WebmasterWorld is using, if its good enough for them its good enough for your needs.


11:01 am on Nov 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

As someone who has had experience with several bad hosting companies, I would recommend finding a good web host to begin with. A bad webhost can get your site on an IP block that might be penalized by SEs.

[edited by: mack at 11:31 am (utc) on Nov. 4, 2005]
[edit reason] Url removed. See TOS [webmasterworld.com] [/edit]


3:53 pm on Nov 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

You should be able to find a good cheap host for anywhere from $10-20/month. Some packaged programs (domain/site hosting) can be even cheaper. Yahoo offers some packages, Register.com does as well. I know a lot of folks who use GoDaddy. You really have a million choices.

[edited by: jatar_k at 6:26 pm (utc) on Nov. 4, 2005]
[edit reason] removed url [/edit]


4:35 pm on Nov 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks for all the suggestions. Ill look into all the hosts that you guys have recommended.


6:41 pm on Nov 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

a really helpful intro-topic. this posting should be made one of the top ones on the site for those of us just checking into things.

ps i use pair.com, very reliable and reputable, they've been around for years.

their support is really good and they reply within a day to any email question i've had (a lot of really dumb ones too...!).


6:43 pm on Nov 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Yah less then 2 pages and its crammed with more information then I ever thought I would get :)


6:59 pm on Nov 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member essex_boy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

A good host I use charges around $12 py and gives bundles of free scripts, including a forum, which I think would be a great idea.

You can acquire like I did all teh software for writing sites for free, just examine the cover disks on computer magazines.

It shouldnt really cost a lot of money to put your first site, however I must warn you it is addictive and will ruin your social life!


7:03 pm on Nov 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hah, I play MMORPG's and I still have a social life... maybe this is a bad idea then. :)

I have a question while we are on the topic of forums. How hard is it to make a forum? Is there are generic script that has everything including usernames and passwords? This is definately somthing I would like to add to my website when I get it running.


9:30 pm on Nov 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

for a free open-source (you can copy the program) program that everyone is using now:


You need to have SQL database accessibility, which might add like $3-5 a month to your hosting

I'd like to do one too, but have no idea how... even with the step by step set up instructions!

Maybe one day I'll have time to learn it. good luck with your site.


9:56 pm on Nov 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

great, thanks!

I am doing a online html course right now. Learning it slowly, but i think ill get it. I talked to my brother and hes going to come over and teach me a little more tonight. I am going to start on the website this weekend. I hope to have all the content in the next month or so, and it will take a while to put it together since it is going to be about 100-150 pages or more.


10:48 pm on Nov 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

My little humble opinion: FORGET about the money. Think for the users, the usability, the content. Once you've got all that - the money will come :) Unless you want to start one of those spam sites..


11:08 pm on Nov 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Yah I figured that while looking around this forum and a guy was complaining that his site wasnt making anything. I looked at his site and 60% of it was adds...

I am going to spend alot of time on the content and try to get a large userbase. I figure it will be at least a few months before I get all of the pages made and start to think about launching it. But durring that time I am going to spend a lot of time researching.


11:09 pm on Nov 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I second that. As a beginner he should build a site that he would want to use and once its up and running monetise it


11:11 pm on Nov 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I also have a second website idea already turning the gears in my head! lol, but i cant get ahead of myself because that one would require even more time and would require a bit of money. (A store idea that I was looking around didnt see anything that specialized on the specific merchandise. I was actaully kind of surprised since it is so popular!)


1:00 am on Nov 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I have another question, well a couple in one.

When I launch my site in 3-6 months, how do I get peopel to see my site? Also, If i start making money with Google AdSense would it be wise to advertise through Google AdWords? I know that it would be far in the future but would it be worth it to attract more trafic?


1:40 am on Nov 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I have been lurking for a while around, this is a great place and got great people.

If I were you, I'd start to organize the contents and structure first, i.e. every thing that shows to your comming users, once you have done that, coding, design and server can be easily worked out, if the content is very interesting, there are numbers of ppl like to give a hand, maybe for free. e.g. your brother.

It is just "If i were you"

This 90 message thread spans 3 pages: 90

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