As I wrote one of our previous articles, The 127 Best Black Websites Online, I noticed how hard it was for me to find decent, Afrocentric sites that werent pornography or music related. It seems that African-Americans and Blacks worldwide are still behind when it comes to publishing on the internet. Sad, since it is very easy to do so…and very necessary.
Cultural insurgents know how important it is to produce content and leverage the power of the media. With that being said, there are VERY FEW Black websites written by us, for us, and about us. And yet, we complain about how the media distorts our image and forces junk onto us and our children.
You may not be able to create your own television channel or radio station, but websites are forms of media that can be just as effective at raising awareness and winning the hearts and minds of the people as any major broadcasting network . Hell, there is technology that is easily available that can turn your laptop or cell phone into both a television-grade camera and a radio microphone!
For those of you saw the 127 list and have been on the fence about starting your own website, this article will be a very basic beginners guide to making it happen.
Dont put off starting your own website. We NEED a stronger Black presence online!
There are THOUSANDS of pornography sites online.
There are THOUSANDS of music sites online.
There are THOUSANDS of “how to make money online” sites online.
We need more Black Conscious and cultured sites online!
I had no idea when I started this site that it would be as popular as it is. I figured I would get a few dozen hard core readers every month and that would be it. What I have learned since then is that:
1. There is a huge and interested crowd of Black folks online who want more content from an Afrocentric perspective, and
2. If I had never started, I would never have discovered the power of the web. My income, influence, and own education have all reached new heights.
What you are about to read are the exact steps I took to make this site a success. If you follow these steps, I cant guarantee that you will be as successful as we have been, but I can promise you that you wont gain anything by not taking action today.
To get started, all you need is $20 and an hour a week. If you have that, lets get started.
Choosing Your Domain Name
A domain is the address for your website. This is how people will find your website, so its important to think of something thats easy to remember, easy to type, and makes sense.
If you want your website to be about black natural hair, then a www.blacknaturalhair.com would be easy to remember, easy to type, and makes sense for your website.
If you do taxes in the city of Atlanta, www.atlantataxpreparation.com would be another good choice for a domain name.
Many times you will find that good domain names have already been taken up. If thats the case for your domain, be creative, change the words up a little, and you should be able to land a decent domain. Godaddy had a search tool that also suggests some similar domains in case yours is already taken. To do a Godaddy search, click the Godaddy Ad.
Choosing a Hosting Account
Once you have purchased your Godaddy domain, its time to find a “home”. Think of your website like a house – if your domain name is your website’s address, a hosting account is like the physical brick and mortar house that you will put all of your content into.
You want to find a hosting account with a good landlord. Good hosting companies keep your hosting account secure, easy to get to, and keep your personal information from leaking into the public.
Godaddy has hosting available with domain purchase, but for this site, and all the others I own, I use Hostgator. Their cheapest plan is a Hatchling Package, and that can cost you as little as $4.96 per month. If you think you might need more space (for business sites, or if your site is huge) you can use business plan for $10.36 per month.
They are running a penny special for a while, so once you have bought your domain, click on the Hostgator ad below and try them out.
Adding Content To Your Site
Adding content to your site is the fun part. Content describes anything and everything that goes onto your website. The header (the big image that visitors see at the top of your site), videos, podcasts, and articles all go into giving your website personality. If you aim to teach something, adding video and podcasts are importance, since there are three different types of learners (audial, visual, and kinetic). Using a combination of video, audio, and text gives each kind of learner something to look forward to.
You might be a little intimidated about putting yourself out there to the world, but thats part of the game. Some people will love it, some wont. Support those that support you and ignore your haters.
Everything you publish on your site wont be great. Might not even be good. If you create content regularly (at least once a week), you can make up for it over the long run and your readers will forgive you, so dont sweat over it too much. HOWEVER, the one part of your site that you SHOULD stress about is your header. Your header is the face of your website, so make sure its good! If you arent a graphic designer, hire one. Its cheap as hell to get a worker in Africa or Asia to create a great looking professional website header using services like oDesk or www.99designs.com.
Dont be intimidated by hiring workers. The process is pretty easy. I dont recommend using these workers to write content for your site (you should do that yourself), but dont struggle with technical issues and graphic design when you can hire someone for as little as $5!
Breaking Bread: Making Money With Your Website
You have bought your website domain and hosting. You have gotten some design work done on oDesk or 99Designs. You have content on your site. You have readers starting to trickle in and engage. Now might be the time to start thinking about monetizing your site. The purpose of your site isnt to make money, but you should be compensated for the value that you are adding to the world.
There are actually hundreds of ways to make money online, but there are two that you should focus on: PPC and Affiliate marketing.
PPC, or Pay-per-click is the easiest way to make money online. Basically, you sign up at www.google.com/adsense , get some ads, and put them on your site. When someone clicks on the ads, you make money. Thats it. When visitors to this website click google ads, we make money. This strategy requires a little more work than what I have published here, but if you sign up on our forum (http://unitedblackamerica.com/forum/), we discuss these strategies in detail. Otherwise, just leave us a comment with your questions.
Affiliate Marketing is basically promoting someone else’s products. When people buy those products via your website, you get a cut of the purchase price. You cant just promote any old products. You will have to figure out what your readers want and give that to them. So going back to our earlier examples, if you run www.blacknaturalhair.com, you will want to promote hair products designed for Black hair. If you run www.pitbulls.com, you will want to promote products for dog enthusiasts. One of the absolute BEST places to find products to promote is Amazon.
Go to Amazon (click here for the Amazon Home Page), scroll down to the bottom of the page, and find the “Become an Affiliate” link. Sign up (or bookmark that link until you can sign up), and you get up to 10% of whatever your visitors buy each month.
Personally, we have found affiliate marketing superior to PPC, but you have got to do some homework! You cant just throw a product in your visitor’s face and expect them to buy it. Yes, there is a science to making money online and if you learn just the basics of how to do it, you will make money.
I learned how to sell Amazon products from a dude named Chris Guthrie. He has a cheap video course called Niche Profit Course that teaches you how to do everything. Some of the topics include:
- The Basics
- How To Set Up An Income Generating Blog
- How To Write Content For Your Blog
- How to Make Money On Amazon, and
- How To Outsource Amazon Sites
Theres a video that you can watch that will introduce you to the course, and if you buy it and dont like it, you get your money back. I can tell you that this is the one course that helped me start making money online, and its video,so you can watch his computer screen as he walks you through step-by-step.
So there you go. You now know where to buy your domain name, hosting, graphic design, and what you should do to make a little money on the side. Get on it.
Your ancestors built the pyramids. You can build a website.
If you have any questions, leave us a comment and we will walk you through it step by step. The world is waiting for your website!