In this Mega Guide you will find a summary of almost 2 years of journey, in which I share with you the step by step that I personally follow to launch a website with the right foot, in addition to all the stages you will go through until you get to make money with it.
Note: Not all of the steps I detail below are completely necessary to successfully launch a website; however, they are the compilation of the setup, which I personally recommend to members of my Digital Entrepreneur Community.
Remember to enjoy the journey
Don’t get overwhelmed at the thought of the number of steps to follow. Some take only a couple of minutes to complete, others you will implement over the months.
My suggestion is that as you work on creating the content that you will publish in your blog or web page (one of the steps in this checklist), and shaping the design (configuration of the template you selected following the steps in the free guide to create a professional website), also work on completing the technical aspects that I share with you.
Important: Information shared on this website does not constitute professional advice and is not intended to replace, nor does it replace, the services of trained professionals in any field, including, but not limited to, financial, employment, entrepreneurial, travel, medical or legal matters. Any ideas, advice, opinions, information and/or other training materials or links accessible through this website are for informational and entertainment use only. Please note that there are no guarantees as to the results you may obtain by using or implementing the strategies, products, services and ideas discussed on this website.
Steps to launching your website – the overview.
I would like to start by sharing with you a simple, step-by-step checklist that I personally follow to launch my websites.
Create your website – The first 3 steps
If you do not yet have your website, I invite you to see the guide of Make Your Web Page. There you will learn how to:
- Choose the theme (at a general level) and the name of your project.
- Create your website
- Select and configure the design of your web page.
Before Launching your website
- Learn the main functions and settings of WordPress
- Add SSL and make your website secure to receive payments from your users.
- Install the basic plugins
- Create a corporate email for your website
- Create the social media accounts for your project (focus on one at first, maximum two).
- Create secure usernames and passwords for your website and social networks. Also, appoint a second administrator (whom you trust a LOT) for your business accounts.
- Set up your permalinks
- Create your first entry (content piece)
- Consider if it is necessary to create a logo for your web project (usually in is not).
- Prepare your blog for launch
- Install Google Analytics and start measuring traffic to your website.
- Launch and start promoting yourself
The first months of your online business
- Define your goals by levels
- After you have continued to generate content and improve your promotion strategy and social media management, for at least 1 month and constantly; identify your most popular post, your ideal customer and start analyzing your potential niche market.
- Focus on writing attractive content, derived from the theme of your most popular post.
- Within 3 months of launching your website, provided you have already received some organic visits, as well as a couple of thousand social traffic visits to your website, apply to Google Adsense.
- Promote yourself for free like there’s no tomorrow (Adsense will only pay off if you have a high volume of traffic). It’s time to see your first dollars
- Build up your authority before you start promoting products / services, either yours or third party (affiliates).
- Look for affiliate programs and/or create your own products or services.
- Once you have enough authority and something to sell, start experimenting with paid advertising (a good place to invest your Adsense earnings).
- Continuous improvement
The blogger route
Let’s go a little more in detail with each of the recommendations I mentioned above. Click on the table of contents to navigate the different sections.
Learn about WordPress
Learn how to manage WordPress at a basic level. You will find a general overview of the platform at this video. Believe me that little by little, with practice, you will become an expert.
Install an SSL certificate on your website for free, following the step-by-step instructions from this tutorial.
Install the basic plugins
Install the tools or plugins basic.
A plugin is an add-on that contains a group of functions to extend or add new functionality to your website. There are thousands and they install with a couple of clicks, but I advise you to start with a few and not go crazy trying to add thousands of features to your website.
On YouTube you can find many tutorials explaining what each one is for, as well as how to install and configure them. But in summary, these are the plugins that I recommend you have to get started:
- Yoast SEO
- WP Forms Lite or Ninja Forms (optional – you only need one of the two).
- SUMO (optional)
- W3 Total Cache
Create a corporate email for your website
Forget about paying for this service, because you can create a corporate email for your website, easily and quickly, following the steps in this tutorial.
Although many people ignore it at startup, when creating a web page the Law requires us to explain to our readers about the collection and use of their personal information (email addresses, first and last names, etc.), while browsing our site.
On the other hand, but following the same legal line, it is advisable that so that your readers or customers are clear with the service you offer and its limitations, you establish the terms and conditions of use in a clear way.
To create the terms and conditions of your web page, you can base yourself in this free example.
When the project grows
Once you start generating money with your website, I advise you to consider hiring the services of a lawyer to draft some legal texts specific to your business. It is not at all expensive and worth the investment.
Remember that when you start generating considerable income, you are no longer an aspiring newbie blogger, but an entrepreneur in every sense of the word. Think and act like one, you’re worth it.
Create your Pinterest and Social Media account
In the event that you only had time to manage just one of these platforms (it’s better to properly dedicate yourself to one, than to dilute your efforts and end up not doing any of them well), my recommendation would be to create a Pinterest account.
I recommend you read this one Free Pinterest Guide for Bloggersin which I explain the step by step to get the most out of your Pinterest for Business account and generate thousands of visits to your website without having to pay for advertising.
How to know which social network to focus on
Is Facebook getting old? Well, according to a finding at the end of last year, currently only 51% of 18-year-olds use Facebook, while 85% use YouTube and 72% use Instagram (they don’t have “time” to read and prefer to look at photos and videos).
This social network has also lost millions of users under the age of 24, while it has seen a significant increase in older people who feel connected to Facebook (like my mom and her contemporaries).
Personally, over the past year I’ve pushed it aside, focusing much more on SEO (super curated traffic coming from search engines) and Pinterest (my favorite promotional platform), as well as diversifying social a bit.
As my target audience is moving platform (to Instagram), I decided to upload a small group of photos to my profile, to show something striking of my lifestyle, and that new followers see that it’s not an empty account (because taking, editing and curating photos, is for me the most demanding part and I prefer to spend my time on other more productive activities).
Prioritize your efforts
If you already follow me on Instagram (@carlicasblog) you will see that in this platform I have dedicated myself exclusively to the Stories because I found out (after conducting a survey), that they are the preferred section of my ideal client and also, the ones that consume the least amount of my time.
As I have mentioned on different occasions, it is very important that you analyze well what you are going to dedicate your efforts / time / resources to, especially when you start and you don’t have the help of someone else.
In my personal case, I divide my time between:
- Facebook groups
- Instagram Stories
- SEO for Search Engines (Google and Pinterest)
Pay attention to the following points:
Does your ideal audience look like you? If so, how much do you go through each platform lately? Which platform option is your favorite? What has given you the best results in the past (try each for several weeks)? What do you think is worth your time?
Note: some of the links you will see below are affiliate links, which means that if you decide to use the discounts and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. This will be at no additional cost to you and will help me continue to keep this guide free. Thank you very much for reading me, it’s a pleasure to help you!
Create secure usernames and passwords
If you are like me, and your memory only allows you to create and always use the same password for everything (like 1234), I recommend you to be very careful.
Passwords are the heart of our digital life and the keys to our bank accounts, website, emails, social media profiles and everything in between.
Just as common criminals try to steal money, watches, cars, etc., it is possible for “cybercriminals” (and even some envious ones) to try to steal your passwords and exploit your content.
Note: It is also a good idea to appoint a second administrator for each account, making sure it is a person you trust.
What is Lastpass or 1Password
Lastpass or 1Password are ideal to generate secure passwords (something essential for every digital entrepreneur), save them all in one place without having to learn them, and also have access to the information from any computer or cell phone.
One of the features I like most about these applications is that once you activate it, it automatically fills in the fields on each page / application you try to enter, and it is compatible with the double authentication option of the platforms and apps we use the most (this is very important).
In summary, LastPass and 1Password are a “freemium” password manager (since it has a free version), with which we solve the big problem of always using the same password, to avoid forgetting it.
All passwords are protected by a master password, are encrypted locally and then synchronized to any browser in which you open your account.
Its main features are:
- Master Password
- Synchronization between browsers
- Secure password generation
- Password Encryption
- Automatic web form filling
- Import and export of passwords
- Multifactor Authentication (Google Authenticator)
- Fingerprint verification
- Cross-platform availability (and mobile versions for premium users).
- Mobile access available.
Configure your permalinks
To make your web url’s (the link you see in the top bar of your browser) appear cleaner and easier for search engines to interpret, change your website’s permalinks settings to “entry name” as the default option.
To do this, go to your WordPress dashboard, then to the section of settings, permanent linksselect the option “NAME OF ENTRY” and click on save.
Create your first entry
Create an introductory entry.
If your website will be based on you as an expert, or on your personal tastes and lifestyle, having a presentation entry explaining who you are and how you got to where you are today, like the one I tell in my story as a digital nomadis a must-have to start connecting with your audience.
In case you prefer to keep the authorship of your project anonymous, simply talk about the mission of your website and how your idea was born.
Create your website logo
Depending on your approach, perhaps creating a professional and defined logo and brand identity could help you at certain stages of your web project.
Having said that, I want to clarify that having a logo will not be absolutely necessary to start with, and not having one will not hinder your success.
In fact, after 2 years since its creation, Carlicas still has no logo and changes colors every 3 months (I start experimenting when I have some free time), without that has prevented me from billing hundreds of thousands of dollars only with this project.
The same thing happens with some of my other websites, as long as the nature of the monetization model of my online business allows it.
In the event that you simply cannot use a photo of yourself or someone else. free image bank in your social network profile, you have the option to create your own free logo on Canvaor pay $5 for one on Fiverr.
Once your web project has earned enough money, you can pay a professional designer if you think it’s necessary.
Prepare your website for launch
As I already mentioned to you, having a self-introduction post will help you connect much more with your reader. But outside of that first article, I suggest trying to create 2 additional pieces of content, so that you launch your website with at least 3 posts.
You can do this while you are setting up the aesthetics of your website, as this is something that usually takes several days. So don’t get overwhelmed, the important thing is that you have already taken the first step.
As a complement, you can also create in canva.com, several motivational phrases that have to do with your theme. Thus, in the same week of the launch, you can publish something every day on your social networks and on your Pinterest account.
Making a weekly blog post on Facebook, Instagram and/or Pinterest account, plus 6 images with motivational phrases, are enough. Images are the easiest thing to do as a complement, when we do not have much content on our website.
There will come a point where you will have enough content on your website, that you can re-publish it every so often, while taking breaks between posts (I have reach of millions a month, with less than 60 posts in each of my projects).
Install Google Analytics
It is well said that “what you don’t measure, you can’t improve”. You will learn everything about your readers and their behavior within your website, thanks to the options and reports of Google’s free analytics.
To install Google Analytics, just follow the steps below. this tutorial.
Launch and start promoting yourself
Did you know that I achieve several million monthly readers using different free digital marketing and content promotion strategies?
Millions? Free digital marketing? Seems hard… right? I know, I’ve been there too.
And there’s nothing more discouraging on this road than after putting all your soul and effort into an article (or product / service on your blog), in the end only your mom and sister read it.
We must be clear that the work does not end when we learn how to create a website, because the biggest challenge is to make your content reach your audience.
Luckily for everyone, there are ways to achieve incredible reach without paying for advertising.
After developing my techniques, I have managed to grow websites from 0 to over 800,000 monthly visits in less than 12 months. To achieve this I tried (literally) every free digital marketing and promotion method I could find on the internet.
So, if you’re just starting out (or even if you’ve been blogging for several months) and you still don’t have at least 10,000 monthly visits, it’s not because you should be patient, it’s because you’re doing something wrong.
If this is your case, I recommend you to take some of the. hundreds of free digital marketing and social media courses.which you can find in the free virtual courses section of this website.
Define realistic goals
We all start out motivated, but many people allow themselves to be turn off the engine at the first obstacle.
To avoid throwing in the towel when we are not in good shape, it is very important that we know our why. And the fact is that many times we will have to return to our initial motivation in order to move forward.
In my very personal case, the first goal I set for myself with my web page was to achieve a salary that would allow me to live somewhere in the world remotely, and without having a boss.
After a 3-week vacation trip to Southeast Asia, I found the cost of living to be quite inexpensive and, based on my experience during that time, I calculated that one could live decently on $500 a month there.
It was because of that experience, that my first goal with. The Mano Suitcase (my travel blog) was to achieve what at the time I called: “A salary for Thailand”.
I worked hard to achieve that first $500 a month (a mix of advertising and some consulting to travelers), and although it wasn’t a millionaire, every time I felt lost (it was many, many times, and let’s remember that I had no support group, nor the guidance of a website like this one), I remembered that at least my blog was already giving me enough to live somewhere in the world.
The world is in your hands
As I have commented on several occasions to the members of my blogger communityThere are many cities around the world where digital entrepreneurs benefit a lot from the exchange of currencies.
Remember that if you are a blogger or freelancer, most of your income can be in dollars, euros or pounds sterling, and all these are much stronger currencies than the Thai baht, the Mexican peso and many others that circulate in Latin America.
The moral is.
Set realistic goals and look for inspiration in every small accomplishment.
Even if your plan isn’t to move to Thailand, knowing that with your website you’ll be able to afford your expenses somewhere in the world can give you an incredible energy boost.
With that first goal completed, the next thing I did was to try to earn what I needed to live the lifestyle I wanted almost anywhere in the world, and on top of that to be able to save.
From the beginning, my idea was always to live better than I was living in Panama and to travel without the need to sponsorships.
Take into account that motivation is a very subjective issue.
What motivates me is not necessarily going to motivate you.
In the case that your goal is to achieve a certain lifestyle, you would have to define a standard of what “earning and living well” means to you, since it varies greatly depending on the country and the lifestyle to which each person aspires.
For example, many do not live on less than $5,000 dollars a month, while some others would be happy to earn $600, just to have the desired freedom.
Before I continue, I ask you: Have you already put your goals in black and white, defined your dream lifestyle and the plans you will execute to achieve it?
If you answered yes, go back to that every time you need inspiration and, if you haven’t yet, I recommend you start looking for that source of motivation.
Identify your most popular content
At this point you should identify, analyze and try to replicate your most popular post. This will be the basis for finding your first business nicheOr that specific subject in which you will try to position yourself as an authority.
Note, I mean your first niche, because you will repeat this process from time to time, usually when you feel that you run out of ideas and decide to try with content of different themes, until find the next niche.
The $200,000.00 entrance fee.
In my Bloggers Group I have already told the story of how a single article on this website, led me to bill over $200,000.00 dollars. in its first year.
An article that was not intended to sell anything and yet it connected so well with the public that I was read by millions of people in the first months of this website.
At the time of launching it, I only had 2 other publications and a completely blank mind about possible new entries to develop.
When you reach that first blocking point (which you’re sure to experience), it’s time to shake it off, stop whining and take action. Yes or yes, you have to start writing because a blog without content is like Paris without the Tower!
Focus on writing attractive content.
The thing is, in order to test what content goes best with your strategy and find the one that will be your million-dollar ticket, you’ll need to start testing, writing and sharing. Because there is NO other way.
I know this point is not easy, since it is not easy to start when you are blank. But let’s start from the assumption that you already have your niche chosen, or at least you have a group of topics you want to start exploring before deciding on one.
You know what topics you’re going to cover, but you lack the inspiration you need to figure out how people like to receive that content.
- What is the most talked about thing on the Internet?
- What are the top questions asked by those searching for information on your particular topic?
- Is there anything in your personal story that might stir the feelings of your prospective reader?
- What have those who are already successful in your subject matter written about?
Search… search for the topic, find it and explore it!
Join Google Adsense
Within 3 months of launching your website, as long as you have already received some organic visits, as well as a couple of thousand visits from social traffic to your website, apply to Google Adsense.
Promote yourself like there’s no tomorrow
It is true that content is The King; but I have also learned that, promotion is The Queen.
Promote yourself for free like there’s no tomorrow (Google Adsense will only pay off if you have a high volume of traffic).
It’s time to see your first dollars.
Increase your authority
Build up your authority before you start promoting products / services, either yours or third party (affiliates).
Multiply your income
Look for affiliate programs and/or create your own products or services.
Reinvest to grow
Once you have enough authority and something to sell, start experimenting with paid advertising (a good place to invest your Adsense earnings).