Website Building Tips to Live By – An Expert Roundup

Although anyone can create a website using the right website builder, sometimes it takes a seasoned pro to guide you in the right direction.

That is why we asked industry experts about their experiences with website building, the tools they used, and how they achieved success.

EXPERT ROUNDUP

In this Expert Roundup you will learn about:

  • – The things you need to know before and after creating your first website.
  • – Trade secrets that you won’t find anywhere else.
  • – How to turn small failures into big success.

All from the top experts in the field:

So read on and find out how you can improve your site today!


 Andrea Kinnison, Content Strategist, Volusion


What key advice would you give to someone creating their first website or blog?

Create a solid content calendar! Having your information organized and planned out before getting started can help you develop a roadmap for your website or blog. Additionally, it will give you more time to get content organized before it’s set to go live.

What is the one thing that differentiates successful website owners from those who fail or never get started?

The willingness to fail. Failure is never fun, but it’s inevitable, so you may as well learn from it! When you accept your mistakes and learn from them, you’re sure to start making less of them.

What are the best tools that helped you, and could help others achieve success in their online endeavors?

Depends on what your endeavors are! If you’re looking to run an online store (I sell embroidery!), then Volusion is a great option, of course. I also think just keeping an old-school dictionary and a thesaurus on hand can be very useful if you’re just interested in creating content. Also, read as much as possible! It’s a surprisingly great way to improve your writing skills.

Failure is never fun, but it's inevitable, so you may as well learn from it! @Volusion Click To Tweet

 Gupreet Singh, CEO, Pixpa


What key advice would you give to someone creating their first website or blog?

Your website or blog should not exist in isolation.

You need to work on spreading the word and bring traffic to your website through social media, referrals, word-of-mouth, and search engine optimization.

You can’t just create your website and forget about it and expect results.

Having a successful website that converts is an ongoing process.

What is the one thing that differentiates successful website owners from those who fail or never get started?

I think that the one thing that differentiates successful website owners is their focus on conversion.

If you are running a blog, then focus on building your email list. If you are running a business website, then focus on generating client inquiries and business leads.

Your website needs to be optimized and designed for conversions. That means having clear calls for action and correct positioning of the value you deliver.

What are the best tools that helped you, and could help others achieve success in their online endeavors?

The first and most important consideration is to choose the right platform to build your website.

Whether it’s a self-hosted CMS like WordPress or hosted solutions like Pixpa, you need to make sure that the platform you choose is the right fit for you and enables you to create, manage, optimize your website effectively.

“You also need to get familiar with and start using Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics. These form the foundation of analyzing and making sure your website is on the right track.”

There are a ton of free tools out there that you may need help you optimize and convert.

For example, SumoMe for email list building, HelloBar for announcements, Jotform for contact forms, and AddThis for social media integration.

Pixpa comes packed with a ton of features and tools out-of-the-box that make your job easier and effective.

Having a successful website that converts is an ongoing process. @thisisgurpreet Click To Tweet

 Emile Ben-Atar, Marketing Associate, Envato


What key advice would you give to someone creating their first website or blog?

Content is king.

Choose your niche and own it! Stay true to your knowledge and write about stuff that you have a genuine interest in.

Here’s some content advice from a member of our SEO team:

Write for humans, not search engines; providing people with answers to their questions or discussion on topics which interest them is the only way to improve user engagement, which is a ranking factor for search engines. (Ben McNicholl, SEO, Envato)

What is the one thing that differentiates successful website owners from those who fail or never get started?

Consistently publishing great content is key. The successful websites we see in our affiliate program consistently put out content that shows their deep understanding and passion for their niche.

If there’s one area we’d suggest taking no days off, it’d be in content publishing. The more high-quality content you have, the more likely your website will be discovered and re-discovered.

What are the best tools that helped you, and could help others achieve success in their online endeavors?

Find an email marketing tool you like or one recommended by someone you trust (check out MailChimp, Aweber, or ConvertKit) and use it to start building your list and driving traffic to your blog posts. It’s never too early to start collecting emails.

When used correctly, BuzzSumo is a great tool to help you understand what type of content in your niche resonates best with your target audience. If you’re committed to consistently putting out great content, then you should utilize this tool.

This last one is probably a head scratcher, but I think Google Sheets is a must-use tool. It has numerous add-ons the Google Analytics and Supermetrics, which can help you better understand your business with beginner-friendly data analysis.

If there’s one area we’d suggest taking no days off, it’d be in content publishing. @envato Click To Tweet


 Mudit Jain, Founder, TalkersCode


What key advice would you give to someone creating their first website or blog?

If you don’t know coding very well, then always use the most trusted tools for creating your website or blog because the initial investment of time is the toughest time for any kind of website.

What is the one thing that differentiates successful website owners from those who fail or never get started?

One thing that differentiates successful websites owners from others is perseverance. The initial setup is so hard for most website owners that if you don’t love your work and don’t have a vision of where you want to go, then you will ultimately fail.

What are the best tools that helped you, and could help others achieve success in their online endeavors?

I think social media is the best tool to achieve great success and it is also helpful in creating your brand which is very important.

One thing that differentiates successful websites owners from others is perseverance.… Click To Tweet

 Netanya Bushewsky, Blogger, Wix


What key advice would you give to someone creating their first website or blog?

Use your website to tell a story!

This starts on your homepage, which is your first impression, and continues through all the pages on your site.

What is the one thing that differentiates successful website owners from those who fail or never get started?

Setting aside time to actually create your own website. Once you have a website, you can add your own SEO, so your business gets found online.

What are the best tools that helped you, and could help others achieve success in their online endeavors?

This depends on what kind of business you have. With Wix, you can easily add an online store, bookings system or video player, which will help you bring in revenue.

Use your website to tell a story! @netanyabee Click To Tweet

 Gev Balyan, Founder, ucraft


What key advice would you give to someone creating their first website or blog?

I would recommend people creating their first website or blog not to try to always change the design of the selected template unless you are a designer!

Just add your content, connect a domain and start thinking about your target audience!

What is the one thing that differentiates successful website owners from those who fail or never get started?

The passion! They try their best to create a website that will be easy for them to maintain but at the same time easy for their visitors to navigate, read, learn, and convert!

What are the best tools that helped you, and could help others achieve success in their online endeavors?

There are a lot of awesome tools that I can recommend, but here is the list of my top 10:

Start thinking about your target audience! @balgev Click To Tweet

 Kara Hooper, Owner, KLH Technology Solutions


What key advice would you give to someone creating their first website or blog?

Plan and outline your website design, navigation, photos, links, and text before you even start creating your site. This will save you a lot of time and money overall.

What is the one thing that differentiates successful website owners from those who fail or never get started?

Consistency and determination are key! Giving up is not an option. Those who are successful know success doesn’t happen overnight and that it’s a daily journey. Many website owners I see who succeed are very passionate about their work or mission.

What are the best tools that helped you, and could help others achieve success in their online endeavors?

Mentors, coaches, and connections with people who support and encourage you are huge. Online webinars, training, conferences, and books are invaluable tools as well. Some software I’ve used in my business has included Microsoft Office, Adobe, Quickbooks, and CMS software to keep organized. Technology is always changing, so the ability to learn something new and be creative all the time is beneficial.

Technology is always changing, so the ability to learn something new and be creative all the… Click To Tweet

 Kyle Wakefield, Founder, Themeco


What key advice would you give to someone creating their first website or blog?

Think small.

If you intend to make money with your new site or blog, you will need to be laser focused, and I believe that is easiest when you are trying to do one thing very well. For example, if you hope to become a successful internet marketer don’t try to promote dozens of products. Find one or two key products or one key industry and focus on that.

The name of the game at this stage (just getting started) is looking for small wins that can turn into bigger wins. An example of a small win is actually getting your site together, getting approved to promote an offer, writing your first sales copy.

In your quest to achieve success, don’t think big – think small.

What is the one thing that differentiates successful website owners from those who fail or never get started?

Aside from simply taking action (you’d be surprised how many people never actually try), a combination of persistence and determination mixed in with a willingness to take risks are critical to finding any measure of success. 

It’s also important to note that success does not necessarily have to be financial. Success for you could be being able to stay at home with your family or employing people you care about. Yes, that takes money to achieve but money in and of itself does not need to be the end goal.

To have the best chance of achieving success, you must first define what that success looks like to you then work backward to how you would achieve the goal.

For example, if the goal is to stay at home with your children you could first look and see how much you are paying for child care currently. Let’s say it’s $750/month plus an approximate $50/month in gas to drive them there and back plus about five hours of your time. Let’s put a reasonable $25/hour rate on your time because, remember, as a business owner time is money. The total monthly outlay in this example is $925. If you have defined success to be staying at home with your children, this is your first target from a financial point of view.

Tip: If your goal is $925/month go ahead and double it to $1850. What you’ll find is that thinking bigger than your minimum will give you a much better chance at actually achieving your goal.

What are the best tools that helped you, and could help others achieve success in their online endeavors?
I would encourage you to look for someone who has achieved something you would hope to do and model their behavior. If possible, be mentored by them. Trying to achieve something you have no experience doing is already a hugely challenging prospect – trying to do it on your own is virtually impossible. This is part of the reason we created Apex, a free community for creative professionals.

Built around purposeful discussion we want to help bridge the gap between knowledge (knowing stuff) and wisdom (applying stuff) for those in a creative line of work – developers, designers, marketers, etc. Surround yourself with people who can help elevate your thinking and knowledge. Be malleable. Be instructable.

In your quest to achieve success, don't think big - think small. @yourthemeco Click To Tweet

 Hamza Mikou, Web Developer, and Social Media Manager, Hamza Mikou


Bio: Hamza Mikou is an avid traveler, tea drinker, cheese lover, and techie.He has the passion for bringing ideas to life. He also focuses on creating growing and engaged brands through quantitative web marketing, growth, storytelling, social media and websites development, in-product marketing, strategic and foresight partnerships.

What key advice would you give to someone creating their first website or blog?

Creating a website or blog can be easier than you think. 

Deciding the purpose of your website should be the first step. Is it a static and simple to provide info to potential customers, blog, or an eCommerce store to sell products and/or services online?

Next, dig deep before choosing the CMS that suit your needs.

Finally, brainstorm, organize your website and do research before you start.

What is the one thing that differentiates successful website owners from those who fail or never get started?

Today the process of building a website is very easy, but maintaining it is hard. Techniques like SEO and content and social media management can be tricky for most of us, but perseverance is the key.

What are the best tools that helped you, and could help others achieve success in their online endeavors?

I love tools like WordPress and WooCommerce to build websites, Hootsuite to manage my social media accounts, MailChimp to manage my e-mails and newsletters, and Asana and Slack to manage my tasks and to work with my team members.

Today the process of building a website is very easy, but maintaining it is hard. @HamzaMikou Click To Tweet

 Nate Flynn, Co-Founder, CTO, Press Pro Studio


Bio: Nate is the co-founder and CTO of Press Pro Studio, a WordPress development agency based in Liverpool, UK. He’s been developing with WordPress for Agencies in Liverpool and as a Freelancer over the past ten years and is currently creating a brand new WordPress Theme Framework with Press Pro Studio.

What key advice would you give to someone creating their first website or blog?

My advice would be to spend as much time planning and researching as you do building. The trap I fell into when I first started developing was thinking I had to build everything myself when there were a wealth of solutions that people had already put all that time and effort into creating.

Using a solution that someone else has built doesn’t in any way reduce your worth as a developer. In fact, if you take the time to see how they created that solution it will only serve to enhance your skill as a developer. There’s only so much one person can know, seeing how somebody else approaches solving the same problem can give you a great insight into new ways to develop and will only ever make you a better developer.

What is the one thing that differentiates successful website owners from those who fail or never get started?

In my opinion, and from my own personal experience, the key is persistence. You could have the best idea in the world and expect it to take over the world as soon as you launch, but that’s not always the case.

My own company has been working for over two years since launching our flagship product. We’re now on our third attempt at launch and we’re finally starting to see some traction building.

It can be heartbreaking to feel like all your hard work is going nowhere or that your product or website isn’t as popular as you thought it would be, but be persistent.

Listen to what people are saying to you about every aspect of what you’re doing and adapt your methods and go again. If you have the drive and the passion for putting behind what you’re doing, people will start to notice that and start supporting you.

What are the best tools that helped you, and could help others achieve success in their online endeavors?

Blogs and tutorials. Without a doubt. As I mentioned before there’s only so much one person can do. But there are people all over the world that have faced the same problems and come up with solutions to them. 

Use their experience and knowledge and learn from the mistakes they’ve made. I dedicate a day every week to reading blog posts and tutorials and learning new ways to tackle problems, new ways to code and new tools to use.

The one thing that has helped me and my company the most is a single book. It’s called Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal and it’s an absolute essential for anyone looking to drive user or customer engagement on the websites.

Using a solution that someone else has built doesn’t in any way reduce your worth as a… Click To Tweet

 Chris Bulzacki, Managing Director, Rubber Dragon


What key advice would you give to someone creating their first website or blog?

Focus on your aims and objectives, and then think about how to achieve them.

What is the one thing that differentiates successful website owners from those who fail or never get started?

Successful website owners don’t give up. Don’t let the hurdles get you down and follow your aims through to completion.

What are the best tools that helped you, and could help others achieve success in their online endeavors?

Use online resources and knowledge to find out what others have already done (e.g. YouTube).

Successful website owners don't give up. @rubberdragon Click To Tweet

 Tim Maxwell, Founder, Mile High Themes


What key advice would you give to someone creating their first website or blog?

Take time to study your competition or similar sites in the field prior to working on your own site or blog.  Have your finger on the pulse of what’s trending in the industry by reading blogs, listening to podcasts, and subscribing to relevant newsletters.  Always be willing to learn and don’t be afraid to try something new!

What is the one thing that differentiates successful website owners from those who fail or never get started?

In my experience, cutting corners in web design simply doesn’t work.  Don’t try to rely on a service that has some kind of drag and drop interface if you can avoid it.  While websites with these interfaces can be successful, you’ll be stuck with a cookie-cutter layout that will be difficult to update and improve later.  Take the time to do it properly.  You’ll thank yourself later.

What are the best tools that helped you, and could help others achieve success in their online endeavors?

Believe it or not, the best tool I’ve found is Google.  Nearly every web development problem can be solved with a little searching, and there are hundreds of free scripts, code snippets, advice articles, and tutorials out there waiting for your consumption.  One particular site that has been really helpful for me is Lynda.com.  They offer video training on nearly every topic imaginable and it’s very well done.

Always be willing to learn and don't be afraid to try something new! @milehighthemes Click To Tweet

 Ben Pines, CMO, Elementor Page Builder for WordPress


What key advice would you give to someone creating their first website or blog?

Building websites is a craft that takes time to acquire.

I would suggest the following points: Start with a focus on a page, presumably the homepage. For that homepage, start with a pre-designed template, and customize it. This way you avoid rookie mistakes like stacking elements one above the other, not planning a page layout, misusing fonts, and not thinking of consistent and proper spacing between elements.

Because the templates were designed by web designers with hundreds, maybe thousands of hours of experience, you are able to take advantage of that experience and not design it all yourself from scratch.

After you finish the homepage, really finish meaning after showing the result to people and getting feedback, only then resume to other pages. You might also consider creating a one-page layout for the site, meaning that the whole site is one page and the top menu links to different areas on the page.

What is the one thing that differentiates successful website owners from those who fail or never get started?

That’s easy. Successful websites are based on real businesses.

That means that if I am just someone who wants to create a website to make money, let’s say a real estate website, and I don’t have a real business behind it, most chances that I’ll make a website that won’t be successful. I won’t be able to get genuine testimonials, my copy won’t be genuine because it won’t be based on real experience, but rather on Wikipedia. I won’t use real images but rather stock images at best. The whole website will be a kind of charade.

That doesn’t mean every real business with a website will be successful.

You still need to be able to relate what makes the business work to web format. Again this means frequent blog updates, real updates images, testimonials and case studies, relevant videos and so on.

What are the best tools that helped you, and could help others achieve success in their online endeavors?

I’ve done different projects for different purposes, so you first need to understand what is your business model, how are you going to get traffic and make money, to understand which tools you are going to use.

Let’s say you are building something like a personal trainer website, for the sake of being specific. You need:

A domain name + hosting + WordPress installation – Don’t skip this, and go for something like free hosting or free domain. It doesn’t cost much and is necessary.

A page builder – This is not just because my product is a page builder, I believe this is a must in today’s competitive environment.

A Google Adwords account – Adwords is better than Facebook Ads for the short term testing period of a new business. Create a few landing pages. Ask friends of yours with knowledge of marketing or web design for feedback about those pages. Then send traffic to them and see if they convert to customers. If they do, you know you’re on the right track.

Building websites is a craft that takes time to acquire. @bpines1 Click To Tweet

 Alok Rana, Founder, LoudTechie


Bio: Alok Rana is the founder of LoudTechie.com. He likes to share his blogging experience and resources with his readers, in addition to talking about traffic strategies, content marketing methods, better blogging guides, and money-making blogging.

What key advice would you give to someone creating their first website or blog?

You need to start a blog with the right mindset.

This means defining the purpose of starting a blog, niche selection, competition, financing, time management, content marketing strategies, social networking approaches, email marketing strategy, affiliate marketing, and target audience.

What is the one thing that differentiates successful website owners from those who fail or never get started?

It cannot be only one thing, as there are multiple reasons for this like bad niche selection, content quality, lacking SEO, bad use of pop-up ads, and poor site navigation.

What are the best tools that helped you, and could help others achieve success in their online endeavors?

I mostly use SEMRush and ahrefs to get a better hold on the competition. BuzzSumo is also very interesting tool. Other than these premium tools, don’t forget to use the basics like the Google Search Console and Google Analytics.

You need to start a blog with the right mindset. @Alok88rana Click To Tweet

 Mirko Humbert, Web Designer, MirkoHumbert.ch


What key advice would you give to someone creating their first website or blog?

Don’t wait for everything to be perfect. Your blog or website will always have space for improvement, and fine tuning can always come later. Get a good design, prepare great content, and launch!

What is the one thing that differentiates successful website owners from those who fail or never get started?

It really depends on the type of website. For blogs, I’d say the quality of content. For eCommerce, usability, and responsiveness are key. For social media sites, it’s all about the usefulness of the network and the ability to acquire users.    

What are the best tools that helped you, and could help others achieve success in their online endeavors?

Learn to code and maintain your website yourself. No need to be a Ph.D. programmer, but being able to tweak your WordPress site yourself will allow you to not depend on others to do what you want.

Your blog or website will always have space for improvement, and fine tuning can always come… Click To Tweet

 Evan Scoboria, Co-Founder, Nimbus Themes


What key advice would you give to someone creating their first website or blog?

When you create your first website or blog, the temptation may be to create articles for every possible type of content and topic in your niche. Take the time to lay out all of these ideas on a piece of paper and then circle only the most important ones.

These are the topics you should create pages or posts for–the rest should be ignored until you get feedback about your live website and hear that something is missing.

What is the one thing that differentiates successful website owners from those who fail or never get started?

Choosing quality hosting and technology is the primary differentiator that I see in a website owner’s success or failure. If you’re endlessly dealing with outages and/or poorly coded templates, you will burn out.

Use a host like WP Engine or Kinsta if your budget can absorb the cost, and buy your themes, plugins, and templates from a reputable seller.

What are the best tools that helped you, and could help others achieve success in their online endeavors?

I’ve built my entire career around WordPress in one way or another and continue to be amazed at the wonderful web creations that the WordPress community creates.

Choosing quality hosting and technology is the primary differentiator that I see in a website… Click To Tweet

 Deevra Norling, Content Writer, DeevraNorling.com


Bio: Deevra Norling quit the rat race in 2012 to start freelancing. She focuses on content writing, copywriting, and travel writing. Deevra has contributed to Career Addict and Huffington Post

What key advice would you give to someone creating their first website or blog?

Choose a self-hosted domain rather than a free subdomain on a blogging platform like WordPress. It’s not as expensive as you may think. You can get started for less than $100 to buy a domain name and web hosting.

With a self-hosted domain, you have more flexibility in design, more themes and plugins available, and more control over the site’s look and functionality overall.

What is the one thing that differentiates successful website owners from those who fail or never get started?
Keeping the audience in mind.

Successful bloggers know that building a thriving blog involves more than just writing great content. They know that ultimately it’s about the reader and solving a problem they have. People sign up to blogs or buy products that offer a solution to a problem they have. Think about how you can help your reader and build your blog from there.

What are the best tools that helped you, and could help others achieve success in their online endeavors?
On my website, I make use of plugins like Yoast to gauge SEO and Google Analytics to get a quick overview of my site’s metrics. I also added a testimonial and portfolio plugin. Testimonials help position you as an expert and create trust in the reader. Potential clients are more likely to work with you when they see other clients raving about your work. They also like to see examples of your work. So pick your best clips and choose a portfolio plugin that can display your work beautifully.

Successful bloggers know that building a thriving blog involves more than just writing great… Click To Tweet

 Philip Moses, Marketing Consultant, PhilipMoses.co


Bio: Philip Moses is a French freelance Digital Marketer, based in Scottsdale, Arizona. He previously worked at Get Visible, a local web agency where he received experience in digital marketing. He has a Master’s Degree from ISC Paris, a top French Business School, he’s also a travel enthusiast and amateur photographer in his spare time.

What key advice would you give to someone creating their first website or blog?

My key advice for a successful website or blog is: Track your metrics and make sure to optimize your entire website for SEO to gain organic traffic. It’s also pertinent to know your audience. Who’s visiting your website? Millenials, senior citizens; or everyone in between? What area or country are most of your visitors from? Are they using a mobile or desktop device? Once you have answers to these questions, you will have a better understanding of your target and deliver your message in a more efficient way.

What is the one thing that differentiates successful website owners from those who fail or never get started?

In my opinion, the main difference is perseverance and commitment. Stay focused on your objectives and your metrics, and then, start from there. If you don’t receive the traffic you expect, change your strategy. Try a different title for your blog article, post your article on a niche platform where you can attract more leads, or try a different design for your homepage with A/B testing and track the results. Don’t give up, there’s always a way to succeed.

What are the best tools that helped you, and could help others achieve success in their online endeavors?

I use different tools for different purposes. I use Crowdfire, a great online free tool to help me manage my Twitter account. I also use IFTTT, to repost my blog articles on different platforms and social media. To track my traffic, Google Analytics is a terrific way to better understand where my traffic is coming from. It’s an amazing tool with a plethora of information about your visitors and their behavior. The last main tool I use is Sumo. There’s a lot you can do with it. It allows you to create a “pop-up” to attract more subscribers to your newsletter, see a heat map of your web pages, and create a quick contact form.

Stay focused on your objectives and your metrics, and then, start from there. @Ph_Moses Click To Tweet

 Pavel Ciorici, Founder, WPZOOM


What key advice would you give to someone creating their first website or blog?

My advice is to keep things simple and focus on readability and easy to find the needed information about a specific business.

Only a simple website and good information hierarchy guarantee a good experience for users across all devices without having to spend too much time to optimize your website for all devices separately.

What is the one thing that differentiates successful website owners from those who fail or never get started?

Many people spend too much time to launch the perfect website instead of focusing on one thing at a time, and improving it with time.

Instead of trying to create a website with all the possible functionalities, try to keep it simple and launch sooner with something really useful that your users can benefit. Find your niche, ask your friends for advice, and try to be different.

Find your niche, ask your friends for advice, and try to be different. @ciorici Click To Tweet

 Joe Roberts, WebFire Themes


What key advice would you give to someone creating their first website or blog?

Start with the foundation pages (home, services, shop, about, blog, contact etc) and then build up from there. A website is a long term project, so don’t rush into the big bang approach. Take your time and get it right!

What is the one thing that differentiates successful website owners from those who fail or never get started?

The people that succeed know how much time and effort is really needed to make a successful website… that is, understanding the target audience, understanding the topic of the website, researching and planning it properly and sticking with it.

What are the best tools that helped you, and could help others achieve success in their online endeavors?

There are hundreds!

The ones we use the most are obviously Weebly, Google Analytics, Google Adwords, Facebook, Twitter, Optimizilla, Monitor Backlinks, and GTMetrix.

There are tons of other tools, but these will give you the foundation information you need to get your site working properly.

A website is a long term project, so don't rush into the big bang approach. @WebFireThemes Click To Tweet

 Mark Tillison, Founder, Tillison Consulting


What key advice would you give to someone creating their first website or blog?

Don’t get hung up on the product or service. Focus everything on the customer. “Build it and they will come” is rarely as effective as, “who is my customer, what do they need and why do they need it?”

What is the one thing that differentiates successful website owners from those who fail or never get started?

Two things, in my experience; focusing on the customer first and building a business around that demand AND focusing and prioritizing effectively. Those who fail more often jump from one thing to another, often waste a lot of time of low priorities and never get anything properly finished.

What are the best tools that helped you, and could help others achieve success in their online endeavors?

There are many, many tools with a lot of different insights and data, but staying with the “customer first” strategy; tools such as the AdWords Keyword Planner, Uber Suggestand even Google Predictive Search provide fantastic insight in to what your customer is searching for and what questions they ask Google which relate to your product or service.

If you can create pages and content on your site which are the best answers to those questions, you’ll go a long way to being the dominant player in whichever is your chosen market.

Don't get hung up on the product or service. Focus everything on the customer. @Tillison Click To Tweet

 Fabien Versange, CEO, SiteW


What key advice would you give to someone creating their first website or blog?

It is important to think about your website content by asking questions like who is my website intended for and what do people want to find on it.

What is the one thing that differentiates successful website owners from those who fail or never get started?

Once your website is set up (that means when its content and ergonomics are okay), you need to work on acquisition (SEO, advertising campaigns) and retention (the update of your website, blog, newsletter).

What are the best tools that helped you, and could help others achieve success in their online endeavors?

Just choose the right tools according to your abilities. If you have some expertise in web design, you can code your website alone or use a WordPress base. If you are a novice, choose a tool that handles creation, modification, hosting, and domain name… Like SiteW. 😉

Once your website is set up, you need to work on acquisition and retention. @SiteW Click To Tweet

 Leon Blum, Digital Marketing Manager, DreamHost


What key advice would you give to someone creating their first website or blog?

The key advice I would give a new website owner when starting their website or blog is to make sure they start with content;  Most importantly, good clear images for their website.  

Once you have your images of your business, your headshot, your products or anything that you will use to identify why you have your site, you are halfway there to creating your website.  

Be very clear on why you want a website and what you want to share. Plan ahead!

What is the one thing that differentiates successful website owners from those who fail or never get started?

Use a tool that works for you and set simple goals… 1. Just get your website online. 2. Customize the layout and images. 3. Add your blog, etc.  Giving yourself step by step projects can lead to your success, with step one actually achieving your main goal, getting your website online.

What are the best tools that helped you, and could help others achieve success in their online endeavors?

Remixer’s goal is to make web site building easy.  Start with an easy builder and as your web presence grows, work on transitioning to a complete CMS like WordPress.

Be very clear on why you want a website and what you want to share. Plan ahead! @DreamHost Click To Tweet

 Richard Davies, Studio Manager, WeTheme


What key advice would you give to someone creating their first website or blog?

For eCommerce, we would recommend focusing on images. Products, sliders, banners, and logo should all be as high resolution as possible, and build the story around your brand.

What is the one thing that differentiates successful website owners from those who fail or never get started?

I think there is more than one thing that differentiates between people who find success and those who don’t 🙂 but a major contributor is having a point of differentiation. Standing out online isn’t always easy, but having a store with different products/design/prose will help you stand out.

What are the best tools that helped you, and could help others achieve success in their online endeavors?

As studio manager, most of the tools I use are design/development related, so I would recommend Sketch, GitHub Atom, and InVision to anyone looking to get more involved in the design/development process of their online store.

Having a point of differentiation can be the distinction between success and failure.… Click To Tweet

 Gideon Baldridge, Developer, Groupthought


Bio: Gideon is a designer and developer based in Whistler, BC.  His company Groupthought makes themes for Shopify.

What key advice would you give to someone creating their first website or blog?

Know your audience.  

I will talk about eCommerce because that’s what I know best, but this applies to publications and SAAS businesses as well.  If you’re going to spend a good chunk of your life sitting in front of a computer and building something, you need to know what your buyers really care about. You can make a fortune selling something obscure as long as it solves a real problem.  Validate that problem before you start.

What is the one thing that differentiates successful website owners from those who fail or never get started?

All of the success stories are solving a real problem — one they understand better than their competitors.  A lot of things have to go right to have success online but if you are not solving a real problem then you’ll never get out of the gate.  It sounds obvious but it’s a lot easier to come up with solutions to imaginary problems than it is to find real problems and solve them better than anyone else.  

What are the best tools that helped you, and could help others achieve success in their online endeavors?

Shopify is a tool that really helped me, but I think it’s different for everyone.  The tool that is going to help you is the one you find so interesting that you will learn everything there is to learn about it.  The resources you need are out there — but the interest and the motivation have to come from you.  There’s no shortcuts or easy formulas to follow — success takes a ton of effort — but having a real interest in what you are doing makes that effort less grueling.  

A lot of things have to go right to have success online. @gideon_b Click To Tweet

 Grzegorz Nowak, IT and Logistics Freelancer, GrN.dk


Bio: Greg works in the sphere between IT and business. His primary skill is to understand the business and convert that knowledge to simple optimized IT solutions. He has successfully implemented many pilot projects with business models created in web applications or spreadsheet.

What key advice would you give to someone creating their first website or blog?

Keep it simple and focus on high-quality content.

What is the one thing that differentiates successful website owners from those who fail or never get started?

Do what you are good at, and get help with the other things from others.

What are the best tools that helped you, and could help others achieve success in their online endeavors?

Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools, Google PageSpeed Insightsand low maintenance websites on web servers with high performance.

Do what you are good at, and get help with the other things from others. Click To Tweet

 Jeannette Duguay, Owner, JenTekk


Bio: Based in Langley BC and with over 16 years of web development and design experience, Jeannette has been helping non-profit and small to medium sized businesses – locally, across Canada and into the USA – realize their online presence. Jeannette’s creative leadership and dedication to client service has established JenTekk as Greater Vancouver’s trusted web development company. Now, the majority of her clients are directed by way of referral.

What key advice would you give to someone creating their first website or blog?

Before building your website, get ALL your content together – web copy, stock photos, downloadable docs, etc, etc, etc. This is where many projects run amok. In doing this, you will have the challenging part done first, and a clear direction for your site’s information architecture and required functionality.

What is the one thing that differentiates successful website owners from those who fail or never get started?

Can I only list one thing? I’m going to list two: humility and talent, and in that order. IF only one… humility.

What are the best tools that helped you, and could help others achieve success in their online endeavors?

The best tools I’ve found and recommend for achieving success in one’s online endeavors is tenacity, a hungry mind for knowledge and Google. Educate yourself, a wealth of resources are at your fingertips. Read something every day that pertains to running a business, customer service, your expertise, social media and personal development. Praying definitely doesn’t hurt either.

Before building your website, get ALL your content together. @JenTekk Click To Tweet

 Giles Thomas, Owner, AcquireConvert


What key advice would you give to someone creating their first website or blog?

Shoot for mid-tail keywords and link build until your domain rank is 60.

What is the one thing that differentiates successful website owners from those who fail or never get started?

Consistency, turning up every day, and doing it for at least two years.

What are the best tools that helped you, and could help others achieve success in their online endeavors?

Online courses. You have to invest in yourself and your skills to be able to profit.

Shoot for mid-tail keywords and link build until your DR is 60. @acquireconvert Click To Tweet

 Steve Burge, Co-Owner, JoomlaShack, OSTraining


Bio: Steve is the author of the most popular Joomla book, Joomla Explained, and is a co-owner of JoomlaShack and OSTraining.

What key advice would you give to someone creating their first website or blog?

When you’re just getting started, it’s essential to buy Joomla products from companies with great support – – they should use a support ticketing system and not a community forum where you’ll be able to ask questions and get answers. Look for a hosting company that has exceptional Joomla knowledge and support: Rochen, InMotion, and SiteGround are good examples. Also, any templates or extensions that you use should have excellent reviews.

What is the one thing that differentiates successful website owners from those who fail or never get started?

We can narrow it down to two things: persistence and customer-focused. There is a learning curve to having your own website and the initial stages can be daunting, but it gets easier with time. It’s also important to keep a customer-first mentality when creating and adding new features to your site.

What are the best tools that helped you, and could help others achieve success in their online endeavors?

A membership at a training site like JoomlaShack University or OSTraining.com will speed up your site building because you’ll be able to get direction quickly when you get stuck or are having difficulty getting something to work or look right. Good training and support are key and can often be a lifesaver! You can also use them to talk through ideas and get a second opinion.

It's essential to buy Joomla products from companies with great support. @joomlashack Click To Tweet

 Milen Kovachev, Founder, NOP Templates, Kabuki Themes, Storakle


Bio:  Milen is a developer by profession. His passion for the work and the companies he founded can only be compared to the same he has for his snowboard. It was his old childhood business idea to run a board shop, which brought his attention to eCommerce and evolved into what Nop-Templates.com, KabukiThemes.com and Storakle are today.

What key advice would you give to someone creating their first website or blog?

You need to be prepared to get involved full time with it. Otherwise, you would never succeed and it would be a waste of time.

What is the one thing that differentiates successful website owners from those who fail or never get started?

Successful website owners are focused. They do not manage their website in their free time or operate a multitude of website lest they lose to the focused entrepreneurs.

What are the best tools that helped you, and could help others achieve success in their online endeavors?

  1. Storaklenot because it is our own tool but because it simply works and drives revenue on auto-pilot.
  2. Zendesk no need for an introduction
  3. Storeyefacilitates our Gmail communication
  4. GA, Adwords, Facebook and Twitter
Successful website owners are focused. @KabukiThemes Click To Tweet

 Michael P. Hill, Creative Communications Professional, MichaelPHill.com


What key advice would you give to someone creating their first website or blog?

Specifically, when launching eCommerce sites it’s vital to understand the amount of work, energy and focus that it requires to not only launch a site but attract customers and make money. So many store owners are rightfully passionate about their products, but don’t always realize the amount of work that goes into turning the idea into a successful business.

It’s also important to be sure you have the proper resources to get started. While it’s become easier to launch a site with little or no experience or investment, it’s important to keep your expectations in line with what comes with free services — and be prepared to invest some money into getting your site to the level you’d like.

That said, it’s also important to keep in mind that websites can evolve over time. As your traffic and business grow, you can invest in more features and changes, so it’s always a good idea to have a list of your “must haves” and “nice to haves.” For every item on the “must have” list, take a step back and really consider if it’s vital, especially if you’re working with a limited budget. As your business grows, this list is a great way to prioritize what to invest in.

What is the one thing that differentiates successful website owners from those who fail or never get started?

With eCommerce, store owners often fall victim to the “build it and they will come” train of thought. In most cases, eCommerce sites are entering a crowded marketplace with many other merchants selling similar or even identical products. To build a successful business, which is a much different prospect than a building a nice website, you’ll need to be willing to invest time and resources into getting the word out — whether it’s through paid advertising, social media or other tactics.

It is also easy for store owners to become overly focused on store or theme design. I see so many store owners focusing on colors, fonts, and layouts. It’s easy to understand because it’s often it’s more enjoyable to experiment with design than to work on the more mundane areas of running a business.

However, in reality, it’s easy to get too focused on these elements while neglecting areas that can have a bigger impact on your business. As a business owner, there are so many aspects that demand your attention — ranging from writing blog posts, revising product descriptions and SEO strategy to product development and customer service to data analysis and accounting — that prioritization is a must. In most cases, however, changing a color or font is not going to have the same impact as focusing on other areas of your business.

What are the best tools that helped you, and could help others achieve success in their online endeavors?

For new site owners who are on a budget, search engines can be your best friend. There is so much content out there that can either give you a direct solution to your problem or, at the very least, reframe your thinking or get you pointed in the right direction to learn more. Many services, including Shopify, have great online documentation that, surprisingly few people know exist.

For new site owners who are on a budget, search engines can be your best friend. @michaelphill Click To Tweet

 Tyson Tredger, Founder, Empyre


What key advice would you give to someone creating their first website or blog?

Try not to get overwhelmed by all of the things you think you need to know. Creating a website can feel quite daunting because of the sheer volume of information and number of options out there but you don’t need to know everything. Modern website platforms have taken care of all of the complex technical aspects of getting a site up and running so spend time focusing on your content instead of trying to decipher the latest development acronym.

What is the one thing that differentiates successful website owners from those who fail or never get started?

They don’t get discouraged by information overload or underwhelming results. Building a successful site takes time, patience and persistence so learn at your own pace and try to add or improve something small each day. Choose some key metrics to track (such as conversions or unique visits) so that you can review performance and adjust accordingly. What gets measured gets managed.

What are the best tools that helped you, and could help others achieve success in their online endeavors?

Shopify, without question. It makes setting up an online store so quick and easy that, literally, anyone can do it, even those with zero technical know-how. I was so impressed by it that I decided to build an entire business around supporting it and its merchants by way of themes, apps and consulting services. Needless to say, it’s been fundamental to our growth and success.

In addition, Google Analytics and Moz have been invaluable for tracking goals and performance and social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have been highly effective as marketing tools.

Try not to get overwhelmed by all of the things you think you need to know. @empyredesign Click To Tweet

 Vlad Mkrtumyan, Founder, LogicInbound


What key advice would you give to someone creating their first website or blog?

Be passionate about your topic. There will always be competition and what will set you apart is how hard you’re willing to work and how consistent you are. Getting your on-page SEO right and knowing which keywords to go after will also definitely help you get a good boost in initial traffic. If you know a lot about a topic it will give you a knowledge advantage, which is one of the few ways you can carve out your own space in a niche.

What is the one thing that differentiates successful website owners from those who fail or never get started?

The biggest factor is consistency and continuous website improvement. Websites that fail are often those that don’t measure their results and outcomes well enough. They don’t collect valuable information to choose the best path forward so they end up haphazardly jumping from one objective and one tweak to the next, or they keep going down the same path without ever verifying that it’s correct.

What are the best tools that helped you, and could help others achieve success in their online endeavors?

Facebook groups are a great place to share your site and get feedback. They are also a good place to foster partnerships. Learning google analytics properly will also give you a heads up on your competition because most website owners don’t have it installed or if they do aren’t tracking it very well. Lastly, finding good directories like Reddit, The Warrior Forum, or other places to post your content can be great for community engagement and quick user acquisition.

What sets you apart is how hard you're willing to work and how consistent you are. @vladshark Click To Tweet

 Gavin Ballard, Founder, Disco


Bio: Gavin Ballard is a Shopify consultant with years of experience helping businesses achieve success online.

What key advice would you give to someone creating their first website or blog?

Don’t worry about perfect and focus on getting something out there as fast as possible. Once you’ve done that though – be relentless in getting real user feedback and iterating continuously to improve.

What is the one thing that differentiates successful website owners from those who fail or never get started?

As above, getting something launched quickly will help you keep momentum. If you’re launching a business, you need to be realistic about the costs, time and work involved and don’t expect overnight success.

What are the best tools that helped you, and could help others achieve success in their online endeavors?

I’m a big fan of Polymail for quickly getting through email, Calendy for taking the hassle out of scheduling calls, and Hotjar for tracking user behavior for UX improvement.

Don't worry about perfect and focus on getting something out there as fast as possible.… Click To Tweet

 Ryan Bowman, Founder, Web Eminence


Bio: Ryan is on a mission to build 200 websites for small business clients at WebEminence.com. He also provides valuable digital marketing insights for all website owners on his blog and YouTube channel.

What key advice would you give to someone creating their first website or blog?

Take the time to research the right platform and method for building your website. Do you want to build the website yourself or hire someone to do it? Do you need the flexibility of WordPress or the ease of a DIY website builder? Make sure to consider what your website will be months or years in the future so you have the features you need and don’t need to switch over to a new website platform in the future.

What is the one thing that differentiates successful website owners from those who fail or never get started?

Many people have good ideas and intentions for their website, but when you filter that out, you’re left with the hard work of putting the website content together. I’ve seen many of my small business clients stall out after paying me to build their site simply because they didn’t want to take the time to sit down and write out their website content. I created this guide on my blog to help people work through the content creation for their website.

What are the best tools that helped you, and could help others achieve success in their online endeavors?

I’ve built my business on the back of WordPress, Elegant Themes, and Google AdWords.  The advancement of WordPress into a full featured website platform and great premium design themes from companies like Elegant Themes have allowed many people to create serious web design businesses or just create their own website. And Google AdWords has allowed me to get my name out there. 90% of my clients have come from Google advertising.

Take the time to research the right platform and method for building your website. @WebEminence Click To Tweet

Based on the results of our roundup, several things seem to be universal truths:

First, passion for what you’re doing – no matter what it is – is crucial. If you don’t love it, others will take advantage and pounce on your weakness.

Second, your website doesn’t have to be, nor will it be, perfect from the start. Accepting that will not only help you publish sooner, it will also motivate you to keep improving based on experience and past results.

Finally, the website-building community is one of the best, most tight-knit groups out there and we learned first hand just how amazing they can be!

Thanks for reading and huge thanks to all of the participants.