KEEP IT SIMPLE: CREATING A FOUR PAGE WEBSITE TO SELL DIGITAL DOWNLOADS
While some businesses by the nature of what they do necessitate a complex website, very few "one-man shows" need a site that consists of just a handful of pages. This article discusses why a simple website is often good enough, and walks through the creation of such a website — complete with plenty of screenshots.
ABOUT THE EXAMPLE SITE
In this article we're going to walk through the setting up of a site that consists of just four pages. For many site owners that's enough to get the job done (and by get the job done we mean make the sale). This site will be selling one digital download — Home Biz Enterprise, a work-at-home tutorial consisting of a PDF eBook and several videos, all bundled together in a .zip (archive) file and sold as a single downloadable "item." If your site will be instead selling a product (such as a printed book) rather than a download, the process is pretty much the same. Here's the pages of our example site (you can view the site at www.WealthEmpire.club).
- Why Home-Based?
The first three pages are pretty self-explanitory: the Home page describes what you're selling, the Download page is where a visitor makes the purchase of the digital download, and the Contact page has a contact form so visitors can get in touch with us.
We could probably have gotten away with just the three pages, but we've opted to add one more page. On the home page we're going to attempt to give visitors all the information they need to be convinced they need to purchase our digital download. For those visitors still sitting on the fence we've created a page title Why Home-Based?. This page doesn't discuss our courseware specifically. Instead, it makes a pitch as to why — in general — getting this type of product is a good idea.
We're selling a course on starting a home-based business. So our Why Home-Based? page lays out facts and figures about how home-based businesses are booming and why it's a good idea to get involved with one. Regardless of what type of product you're selling you might consider doing the same. For example, if you're selling an eBook on hypnosis therapy you might have a page title Why Hypnotherapy?, or similar. There you'd describe how hypnosis is a reputable and well-studied form of therapy.
Your MadBeeTech-hosted site comes with over a dozen pre-defined pages. Each page has a specific purpose. Additionally, you can create any number of custom new pages — a custom page simply being a blank page that you can use for whatever purpose you want. Here's a list of the pre-defined pages, along with a very brief summary of the purpose of each.
- About Us: Tell visitors a little something about you or your business
- Blog: Create any number of blog posts as you want
- Contact Us: Displays a built-in contact form, and optionally lets you display a business address
- Downloads: List and sell any number of digital downloads
- Events: List details of any live events you host or attend
- FAQ: Frequently asked questions (and answers to them) serves as a sort of help, or support, page
- Free Stuff: List any number of files you allow visitors to download for free
- Home: The site's home page (and only page that can't be turned off)
- Music: Post any number of music/audio files — visitors click on a file title and that file plays in an audio player embedded on the page
- Photos: Post any number of photos and a thumbnail of each is displayed on this page (click a photo to enlarge)
- Products: List any number of real (physical) products you sell and ship
- Testimonials: Display testimonials visitors have sent you
- Videos: Post any number of video files — visitors click on a file title and that file plays in an video player embedded on the page
- YouTube Videos: List any number of videos you've uploaded to YouTube and visitors can view them on your site without leaving to go to YouTube
If a website consisting of just a few pages is sufficient, why are you supplied with so many pre-defined pages? Because different sites have different needs. So we cover all bases, so to speak. Most site owners won't be sponsoring or attending live events, but some will (an author selling her books from the site might attend a book-signing event at a local bookstore). So while most site owners won't need the Events page turned on, some site owners will consider it a valuable addition to their site. The same applies to all of the pre-defined pages: if a page will be useful to your visitors, turn it on. If not, turn it off.
EDIT THE SITE'S THEME
You control the overall look of your site from the theme editor. Click the Site Theme link in Admin to access the editor.
The theme editor is a series of areas where you control the look of elements on your site. An element would include the horizontal menu, page headings and subheadings, the text that appears throughout your site, and so forth. You set the look of an element in the theme editor, and that's the look that one element will take on throughout your entire site, on every page. Here's a small part of the editor.
Here's a look at the Horizontal Main Menu settings part of the theme editor, and below that is a screenshot of the top of a page on our example site. In the below image we've highlighted the horizontal menu in red for clarity. Note that the colors of the site's menu match the colors as set in the theme editor. That's how all aspects of the theme editor work.
After making changes in the theme editor, click Save Changes to lock in the updates. If you have your site open in another browser tab or window you should click the browser's Refresh or Reload page button to reload the page so the changes are displayed.
ADD A SITE HEADER
We'll start with something every website needs — a header. That's the area that appears at the top of every page. It's the same on every page to give a site a consistent look.
Using a graphic editor app such as Paint or PhotoShop, create a header file that's appropriate for the type of business your site is focused on. If you aren't very artistic, find a suitable, existing image file and edit it by simply adding some big, bold text to it — like the name of your website or business.
We're setting up a site to sell a downloadable product called Home Biz Enterprise — here's the header file we came up with.
Uploading a graphic image to be used as the site's header is done from the Admin area's Site Header page.
You can have a header that consists of only text, but a graphic is much more interesting and appealing. If it's not already selected, click on the Graphic option and click Update. Then click Site Header: Graphic to go to a page that lets you upload your graphic file.
Click on New in the Add Header File form to reveal an area that let's you specify the file to upload. Click Choose File to select your graphic file from your PC, then click Upload to do just that.
The Delete and Activate Header Files area on the same page displays a list of any header files you've uploaded. In this area click the little round button to the left of the file you want to activate — the graphic you want to "go live" on your site. Here we're activating the graphic file we just uploaded. This is the image that will be displayed at the top of every page of the site.
If you want to see what the header looks like, and what the entire completed demo site looks like, open a new browser tab or window and go to www.WealthEmpire.club.
EDITING THE HOME PAGE
There's no denying that the Internet has shortened peoples' attention span — studies show that most visitors stick around one website for less than 15 seconds. Let that sink in. That's how long a site owner (like you) has to capture someone's attention. If a person hasn't taken an interest in your site in less than a quarter of a minute then most likely they're clicking away to a new site.
The best way to gain a visitor's interest is to have a compelling home page. Right away, from the top, get to the meat of the issue — what you're selling and why the visitor has to have it. Then go into a little more depth addressing the specific of just what your product or service is good for and how it will benefit the visitor. Include one or two nice, big, eye-catching graphics. Close with a "Buy Now" type of link or button to direct motivated visitors right to your download-selling or product-selling page.
SEO Tip: Having a home page that is very focused on your product or service is helpful to visitors, but it is equally helpful to Google. While Google employs people to be manual reviewers who visit and look over some websites, the vast majority of websites Google visits are visited by crawlers — software that analyzes web pages to determine the subject matter (among other things) of the pages. Keeping your home page on-topic makes it easier for these crawlers to accurately determine what your site is all about.
The Home page is one of the many pre-defined pages. You edit it from your site's Admin area by clicking the Home link.
Go to the Home Page Intro section and click Edit (the Pencil button). You'll see a form that lets you edit the content of the home page.
The editing of most pages works in the same manner, so we'll go into a little detail here as an introduction, and then lighten up on detail when discussing the editing of other pages.
We've entered a title for the page — this text will appear at the top of the page, under the header, and it's look (like all content) will be as defined by the site theme settings (as discussed earlier).
The bulk of the content of the page is edited in a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor. You don't need to know any HTML or coding — you highlight text and use the little icons in the editor toolbar to vary the look of text. Now it's time to type away.
If you want to include an image on the page (and you really should — graphics grab the attention of readers), begin by setting the insertion point — click in the editor at the spot where you want the image to end up. Click the Center icon if you want the image to be centered horizontally on the page. Then click the little Image icon in the editor toolbar.
An Image Properties dialog appears.
Before an image can be inserted in an editor it needs to be uploaded to the server. Click the Upload tab. Here you click Choose File to select the graphic file to use from your PC. Then click Send it to the Server to do just that.
The file will be uploaded and inserted in the editor, and you'll be returned to the Image Info tab of the Image Properties dialog. Click OK to dismiss the dialog and be returned to the editor.
We entered more text and images — the text and images you choose will of course be entirely based on what it is your site is selling. When completed, click Update to save your work. Note that you don't have to add the entire content for a page in one session. You might want to enter some text, click Update, and then view your site as visitors would see it (open it in a new browser tab or window) in order to check your progress. You can return to the editor at any time and pick up where you left off. Here's the complete home page of our example site at www.WealthEmpire.info.
CREATING A NEW PAGE
In addition to the many pre-defined pages you can create any number of new custom, or blank pages that you can use for any purpose. Near the top of this article we said that one of our site's four pages will be a page titled Why Home-Based?. The purpose of this page is to discuss why, in general terms, the time is right to buy a product like the one we're selling. Our example site is selling a downloadable course on starting a home-based business, so this page lists some facts, figures and background on why home-based businesses are a good idea in today's economy. If you add such a page to your site then, obviously, the subject matter will be completely different — it will consist of information specific to why now's the time to get involved in whatever it is you're selling. Here's a part of how that page looks on the final site.
SEO Tip: Having a page dedicated to discussing the generalities of why your product or service is important supplies Google with more information about the purpose of your site — Google needs to know the niche (particular market) of a website in order to determine what search terms might apply to that website.
To create a new, blank page, click on Create New Page in your site's Admin area.
Enter a page name and click New to create the page. Note that the name you give the page here will be used in the site's horizontal menu bar, so keep it "short and sweet" — you don't want a long page name taking up much of the menu bar. After the page is created you'll have the opportunity to define the page title as it will be seen on the page itself, so that's where you should use a more wordy title if you want.
You add content to a custom page in the same way you earlier added content to the home page: Go to the Page Intro section and click Edit (the Pencil button), then fill in the form that appears. Click Update to save your work.
TURNING PAGES ON AND OFF
Your site's Admin area lists over a dozen pre-defined pages — many of them being pages that aren't of use to the particular kind of site you're developing. Those pages you'll want to turn off so that they aren't listed in your site's horizontal menu bar. You turn pages on and off from the Show/Hide Pages page of the Admin area.
The Site Link Editing form lets you turn on and off both pre-defined pages and any custom pages you've created. You can also rename pages — renaming a page only changes the name of the link to the page in the horizontal menu bar, it doesn't change the title that appears at the top of the page itself. To turn a page on or off, or to rename its menu link name, click the Edit (the Pencil button) by the menu of interest. Make the chane then click Update. The image below shows a part of the Site Link Editing form, where we've turned on the previously created Why Home-Based? custom page.
EDITING THE CONTACT PAGE
A contact page is a necessity for any website — visitors don't trust a site that doesn't allow the visitor to get in touch with the site owner. Click Contact Us in the Admin area to make changes to this page.
There are a few optional sections you can display on this page. The one all sites will want to display is the built-in contact form. A visitor who wants to get in touch with you fills out the form and clicks a send button, and the information the visitor entered gets emailed to you. Make sure the form is turned on in the Contact Form Intro section.
The contact page allows you to display your business name (Contact Section Name), a postal mailing address (Contact Section Address), a phone number (Contact Section Phone), and business hours (Business Hours Section Items).
In this age of very little privacy, most people who run a small online business don't want this information made public, so feel free to turn these sections off. If you want all that information to not be displayed, edit the Contact Section Display by unchecking the Display Contact Section checkbox. That turns off the display off the business name, postal mailing address, phone number and business hours.
The display of any or all of above contact information may be important if you run a "brick-and-mortar" business — a business that has a physical office that people can go to. In that case, you may want to turn some or all of these sections on.
Here's how our very simple Contact page looks to a visitor — it consists of just a little introductory text and the contact form.
CREATING A DOWNLOAD ITEM
Selling a digital download is easy. For each file you want to sell from your site you create a Download Item. A Download Item consists of a title, a description, a price, and the file itself (you can also assign an item a product ID, but that's optional). To add a Download Item click the Downloads link in the Admin area.
Click New at the Download Item Editing form to reveal an area that let's you specify the information to create a new Download Item.
Enter a title for your download, and the price you'll be selling the file for. Then type a description of the download in the Description editor. The description can be as short or as long as you want, and the description can optionally include images ‐ adding an image works the same way in any editor, as mentioned in this article's EDITING THE HOME PAGE section.
We've included a fairly long description, including an image, for our example site's Home Biz Enterprise download. If you've thoroughly explained what you're selling on your site's home page then a long description of the file on the Downloads page might not be needed. Some types of files by their nature might not require any description (if you're selling mp3 music files, for instance) or might due with just an image as the description (if you're selling sewing patterns, for example).
Here's how our Download Item looks on the Downloads page of the example site at www.WealthEmpire.info. Notice that an Add to Cart button is automatically displayed in the download's title area. When a visitor clicks that button, this one file will be added to the site's shopping cart, and the visitor can choose to check out and pay or continue shopping at the site.
Your site is now up and running, all set for visitors to make purchases. Perfect. That's what you want — open for business and ready to start bringing in some income. Now, if you want, if you feel it would be beneficial, you can start thinking about adding more pages.
You could write up two or three articles related to your product and service, paste each in a new blog item, and turn on the pre-defined Blog page. You could make a couple of short videos promoting your product or service, upload them to YouTube, and then turn on the pre-defined YouTube Videos page so those videos are embedded right on your site. The key is to get your simple site online and doing business, and only then consider what additional pages, if any, would benefit your website.