Easy Web Design Strategies for Internet Marketers
Web Design for Internet Marketing Newbies
Up until fairly recently anyone who wanted a website had 1 of 2 options - a WYZIWIG program that built a fairly plain looking website with a few bells and whistles or learn HTML and design the website yourself (or pay a hefty fee for someone to do it for you.) With so many success stories, true or not, of average people just like you and me earning millions of dollars without batting an eye, the internet has become the new frontier land, similar to the great California Gold Rush.
For some, the thought of starting up their own website to earn some extra revenue seems far out of reach due to a lack of knowledge and understanding of how to design a great looking website. Enter the content management systems. There are several available now, some free, some cost a pretty penny. Out of the free one's available you have - Mambo / Joomla, Drupal, and WordPress (and WordPress Multi User.) Mambo and Joomla were designed with html designers in mind, so the ease of use for the average citizen is close to nill. Even as a web designer it takes awhile to learn exactly what does what. Customization of Joomla sites seems to be limited as well - for examples of Joomla sites look no further than tnawrestling and ufc dot com (2 different websites for those paying attention.) Yes, those are Joomla sites.
Now WordPress on the other hand is highly supported and is so easy to use your six your old could probably put up his or her own website as well. The only requirements for WordPress are an ability to click a mouse and type. That's it. Oh, and your own hosting service and domain name, but that's required to have any website (unless you're using a free domain that puts thousands of popups on your site.)
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The benefits of WordPress
Believe it or not if you can think it someone has probably created a plugin for it in the world of WordPress and unlike other CMS systems available, most of the plugins available are free. But before we dive into all that let's take a look at how WordPress operates first and why its beneficial for internet marketers.
1. You don't have to go back and update your navigation menus every time you add a new page to your website. Granted many of the savvy web designers are using SSI (server side includes) callouts in html, or similar coding in php, but still you have to go back in and update the file every time you add a new page. With WordPress its automatic.
2. You can change the entire look of your website in minutes. Yes, you can choose a new theme and presto you have yourself a new looking website. Believe it or not writing the code for a theme is easier than you probably think too. Just grab yourself any simple 2 or 3 column theme then start copying and pasting the php code into your html designed webpage. For those who have worked with SSI in the past this should be fairly simple, you have yourself a header, a footer, an index page, a sidebar or two, a functions page for the sidebar to use widgets then a few additional pages to change around the appearance of how your pages are displayed (if you're so inclined, you could always just rename your index page a few times if you don't really care.)
3. You can update your site wherever you're at without having to mess with ftp software. Just log in like you would to G-mail, write your new page and bam its up online. The only thing to hold you back is how many words per minute you can type.
4. RSS Feeds - Yes you want these. Why else would anyone create a hubpage other than to get their RSS feed up online to drive more traffic? Same applies to many other Web 2.0 properties including WordPress.com, blogger, or even Facebook. With your RSS feed you can have your latest content displayed on any website featuring your feed. Not only that but people can subscribe to your feed as well to keep up with your latest and greatest updates.
Essential WordPress Plugins
This is what makes WordPress the greatest CMS ever.
1. All in One SEO Pack - You want to be found on the search engines right? All good search engine optimization starts with on page SEO, the biggest area being the title and description (tags are debatable depending on the SE). With All in One you can add these to your new page in seconds.
2. XML Sitemaps - There are a few different sitemaps so I'll leave it up to you which one you want to go with. This allows the search bots to navigate and index your site easily without you having to type in all the annoying XML code.
3. Google Analyticator - You can't improve what you can't track. This plugin makes inputting your analytics account a snap so you can keep track of how your visitors are finding you, as well as where they're navigating to.
4. Google Website Optimizer for WordPress - If you aren't testing you're losing a ton of money. You need to split test headlines, tag lines, etc. This plugin allows you to split test using Google's Website Optimizer.
5. Pretty Link - This is great for affiliates who need to cloak and track their links. Now you can keep track of your click thru rate to increase promotion of certain products and ditch low converting ones altogether.
6. Sociable - Want your visitors to share your website on all the hot 2.0 bookmarking sites? Why not make it simple with a button at the bottom of every post?
There are tons of other great plugins for what you're trying to do, and far too many to list here...
The benefit for internet marketers
Giving people the ability to follow you through RSS feeds is almost reason enough but given the ease of updating, turning into a membership site, or even just adding videos makes it a no brainer for anyone looking to grow a following online.
Keeping a regular website up to date takes a lot of work, I should know I've been designing sites for the past 11 years. But with WP you click the mouse a few times and you're good to go.
Adding Media to your WordPress Website
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