How to create a website and earn money

Creating your own website is easier than you might think. Even if you do not have a business, your own website can be very useful.

More and more people want to create something individual instead of a standard profile on LinkedIn or Facebook. Why not own your own website with your own domain name?

First let’s look at the questions that were asked the most in the past by ambitious beginners like you:

Do I have to be able to program?

That depends on what you want to use your website for. The most complicated way is to learn how to program in HTML, CSS, JavaScript and PHP. These are the programming languages ​​that are used for just about every website.

But there are other ways to make a website: even if you do not know much about the technical side, you can easily create a good website.

How?

By using a website creator. If you can deal with Word, Facebook or PowerPoint, you can also learn to work with this kind of tools without problems. These easy-to-use platforms offer a visual editor , hosting and the possibility to reserve a domain name : everything you need via one provider .

The 3 most popular ways to create a website online for free

Let’s look at the most popular ways to create a website for free. There are various possibilities. Some are more flexible than others and some are quite complicated.

1. Create a website with a website creator

Let’s start with the simplest option: a website creator. This is a complete package: one provider usually offers the templates (the design), the editor, hosting, the domain name, an e-mail address and support. The website creator carries out all the complicated tasks for you.

That is not only useful for beginners, it also depends very much on the type of website. Why do it difficult if it is easy? Almost all website creators offer a free basic package that allows you to extensively test the tool before you decide whether you want to pay for it.

The price of a paid package starts at € 8.50 per month, but then all basic requirements are included. If you do not necessarily need an e-mail address, it is even cheaper.

Check out our review of Wix if you want to know exactly how it works. This is pretty much how all website makers work.

Pros:

  • Very easy to use.
  • You do not need separate software.
  • You can get started right away, without programming knowledge.
  • Updates and security are regulated by the website creator.
  • Templates with ready-made designs that you can adjust yourself.

Cons:

  • It is not always possible to add additional functions (depending on the website creator).
  • Less flexible because you depend on the provider.
  • Not suitable for more complex websites that require a database (eg a job site or house site).

Other examples of website creators are JimdoJouwWeb and Webnode. You can find even more website creators in our comparison.

You can try Wix for free as long as you want.

2. Create a website with a content management system

A content management system (CMS) basically works the same as a website creator, but is much more complicated to use .

With a website creator you can not only easily add content such as text or images, you can also design a complete website with it. A classic CMS is much more limited in that respect and in design you are stuck with the available templates .

We limit ourselves here to WordPress, the most popular CMS WordPress website development, but there are also a lot of other systems like wordpress website builder, such as Joomla !, Drupal and Typo3. Thanks to hosting companies that offer the possibility to install WordPress with one click, setting up is not really difficult.

You can also easily install and customize templates using design options. But : if there is something you are not satisfied with, you (or your programmer) will probably have to change the CSS or HTML code.

Hosting, the domain name, e-mail addresses, installation and the level of support you need depend on how much you want to spend and how much technical knowledge you have. If you do it yourself, it can be quite cheap .

One of the advantages, especially from WordPress, is that thousands of plug-ins are available that allow you to add special features to your website that are not offered by default. A typical example of this is WooCommerce, a plug-in with which you can add a complete webshop to your website.

WordPress is available in one language by default, but there are plug-ins such as WPML that allow you to translate your pages. I am also very enthusiastic about the Dutch plug-in Yoast SEO, with which you can adjust the settings for search engines (eg Google).

In our introductory video we show you what to take into account if you are considering using WordPress. The video is in English, but the WordPress interface is also available in Dutch.

Pros:

  • You can choose your hosting company yourself.
  • Ideal for websites in multiple languages.
  • Technically flexible: you have access to all source code (if you know how to deal with it).
  • You can add functions using plug-ins.

Cons:

  • No personal technical support.
  • Creative freedom depends on the template you have chosen.
  • You have to pay for some plug-ins.
  • You probably need a programmer for even the smallest adjustments in the design.

Other examples of content management systems are Joomla! and Drupal, but these are much more complex than WordPress, so we will not go into that further.

3. Programming a website yourself

This is the ultimate option: just open an editor and start writing code yourself. If you want total freedom , then this is the best option to create a website using html and css. You need patience and for beginners this is usually too much to ask (and too frustrating).

On websites such as Codecademy, Mozilla or W2Schools you will find step-by-step tutorials for beginners. But keep in mind that it can take a long time before your website is finally ready.

We can not give any idea of ​​the costs, because this is very much dependent on the website. It is of course even more expensive if you have to hire a programmer: around € 6.50 to € 10 per month for a website maker is always cheaper than what a designer or agency charges for an hour's work.

Examples of tools for creating a website are NetBeans, Aptana Studio and Brackets. They are free and you can at least use them for HTML, CSS, JavaScript and PHP. Another option is Webflow , a visual editor for source code.

Pros and cons of programing your self to create a website.

Pros:

  • If you can program, the possibilities are infinite.
  • Cheap hosting.
  • Maximum flexibility.

Cons:

  • No support.
  • The learning curve is very steep.
  • The costs are difficult to estimate.
  • You need a lot of time to learn and implement.

What about domain names?

A free domain name usually does not look very professional because it contains the name of another company. If you do not want to use a free domain name, you have to buy your own domain . This then looks like www.mycompanyname.com. In most cases you can best choose the extension .com, unless you are active in only one country, for example in the Netherlands (.nl) or Belgium (.be).

There are enough companies that sell domain names. One.com is one example. Here you pay about 15 euros per year.

Depending on which website creator you choose, your own domain name can also be included in your package . At JouwWeb , for example, your own domain name is included in their paid package. With Wix and Jimdo you do not pay anything for your own domain name in the first year. The following years you pay a bit more than for example at One.com, but it is useful if you have everything at one company.

If you use WordPress.org or build a website yourself, you also have to arrange your own storage space. You can buy this at the same company as your domain name. But if you are just starting out, you do not have to worry too much about it.

Design and plan your website

Cooking without a recipe is not always useful, especially if you do not have experience. For a website too, improvising is not a good idea . By planning you can decide in advance which parts you want, which content works best and how your website should look like.

It is useful to start with a mind map with ideas about what should be on your website. The most important parts of this mind map can form the basis of your navigation.

Tips for planning your website:

  1. Use paper and pen and write down everything you want on your website. Brainstorming and a mind map are perfect ways to organize your ideas.
  2. View the design and content of other interesting websites. Write down what you like and what you do not.
  3. Once you have a draft version of what you want on your website, you can ask good friends for feedback. This will certainly give you a good idea of ​​how your website should look like.
  4. Make a list (for example in Excel) of all pages of your website. For each page, write down the title, the type of content, the keywords, the target, the type of page and the importance of the page.
  5. Extra: if you want your website to rank well in search engines, you now have to figure out which keyword fits best with each page and note this in step 4.

What about web design?

Making a nice graphic design for your website is not easy. I even think that there are more examples of bad designs online than good ones. Make sure your website does not belong there!

Jeans with wide flared legs were completely trendy in the seventies, but in the eighties and nineties you could not see anyone else. You can also see these kinds of trends in website design. So remember that what was in five years ago may be seen as old-fashioned.

These simple tips are not intended for professional designers, but usually do work:

  1. Preferably choose a light (or white) background.
  2. Choose attractive colors that fit together . Use Adobe Color if you need help with this.
  3. Choose a clear, simple design and leave enough white space between the different elements.
  4. Do not use too many different fonts : one font for the titles and a second font for the text is usually sufficient.
  5. Make sure the style is consistent: all your pages should look the same. Do not make a Frankenstein monster.
  6. Your website must also work perfectly on mobile devices .
  7. Only use professional photos and images. Do not upload a selfie that you have just made in the bathroom. Nowadays you can take good pictures with your smartphone, so take the time to get a nice result.
  8. Less is more. In case of doubt, choose less.

Which parts does a good website have?

Your logo and the images you choose are essential for a professional-looking website. Nowadays there are plenty of free stock photos on the internet. For example, look at Creative Commons.

Moreover, there are also a lot of cheap professional photos (for € 1 or $ 1) to be found on websites such as Fotolia and Shutterstock . Here are a few good options for free photos .

Make sure you understand the different formats for images : .gif, .jpg and .png are the most important ones. You also have to optimize the dimensions and quality of the images for the standard web browser. Everything you need to know about this can be found here .

Also an editing program to edit or enlarge your images can be handy. Gimp is free and professional, but rather complicated to use. Another alternative to Photoshop is Affinity Photo. It costs much less than the original and you do not have to subscribe to it.

But there are more and more tools that allow you to easily create graphical elements without having to learn how to use Photoshop or Illustrator. For example, look at Stencil or Snappa.

It is much more professional to put a contact form on your website than an e-mail address. Contact forms can be easily integrated with tools such as Wix , Jimdo or JouwWeb .

Remember that the navigation of your website is essential to guide your visitors through your website. Pay a lot of attention to it and choose a logical navigation. For example, if you want your visitors to contact you via a contact form, make sure that you have a link to the form in your menu or in the footer of each page.

And do not forget to test your contact form before you put your website online!

Steps to make a website

These are the steps you need to follow in order to create a website:

  1. Plan your website and put your ideas in a mind map.
  2. Determine what content you want on your website.
  3. Buy your domain name, for example via One.com (but you can also buy your domain name later).
  4. Choose the best website creator .
  5. Create the content (text and images) for each page.
  6. Add the content to your website and optimize your site for search engines (SEO).
  7. Put everything online and promote your website.

Your website is online. What now?

Once you have put your website online, you can start promoting and optimizing to get more visitors and improve the website.

  • Updating your website : a website is not a book. Even if your website is already online, you can still make changes. Make sure you create new and relevant content as often as possible and that your website is regularly updated. Take, for example, the website of a restaurant: if the menu changes, the new menu must also be placed on the website as quickly as possible.
  • Online positioning : in order to attract as many visitors as possible, you have to optimize your website for search engines by means of SEO. That is not very complicated, but you have to put some time and effort into it.
  • Web analysis : online positioning (see above) does not make any sense if you do not know who visits your website. Visitor data helps you to determine whether your online positioning works. The most popular web analytics tool is Google Analytics. And it is also free!
  • Once your website is online, you must of course sign in to Google Search Console to let Google know that your website exists and can retrieve the right information. Send at least the URL (the address) of your website to Google so that your website is indexed.
  • E-mail marketing : another strategy, mainly used by companies, is to keep in touch with your visitors regularly via e-mail. This is especially useful for web shops, small businesses and bloggers. Email marketing is an art in itself.
  • Social media : most websites also have profiles on social media (such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn) in order to keep in contact with their (potential) visitors outside the website. This works especially well for professionals with visual professions, such as designers, jewelers and photographers.

Final Words

I hope this short guide on how to make your own website for freewill provide you with enough information to plan, create and publish your website. you can create a website for your business with this guide and earn good ransom.

Do you have any questions about how to get started? Leave a comment below and we'll try to help you.

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