How to Make a Website

This step-by-step guide will help you build your own website.
I'll also show you the right tools to get targeted traffic to your site.

How do you create your own website?

How To Make A Website

This is place where I’m going to share how I built the Vegan Supermarket UK website. Why? Because people often ask me how to create a website and could I give them some advice.

It’s a work in progress and will naturally evolve as time progresses. I’ve set the info on how to create a website into methodical sections so hopefully it’s easier for you to digest and more importantly… action.

People ask how can I make a website and it’s is not difficult but you do need unbiased information if you are going to build your own website properly. We’ll cover setting up a website for personal use, setting up a business website, how to create a WordPress website, and setting up a blog.

There’s a ton of information out there about how do you make a website. Some of it is obviously set up in such a way to sell you a product that you don’t really need yet.

Don’t buy a VPS (Virtual Private Server) when shared hosting will be adequate for your initial requirements. Especially at the start of your website building efforts, when cash is tight.

Other resources are super informative but sometimes so technical & long-winded that you end up with information overload. A sort of paralysis by analysis sets in and you end up just spinning around and achieving no real progress.

For instance, do you know what is the difference between a canonical attribute and a 301 redirect? Don’t sweat the small stuff yet on your website building journey.

Also, to keep you motivated, imagine that you had a boss breathing down your neck! Can you justify your plan of action? Is there a business case for it? It’s your money you’re spending!

Speaking of spending, people ask how to make a website from scratch for free. Well, if you are at all serious, especially if you are asking how to set up a website for a small business, then you will need to be prepared to spend a little.

Before you learn how to make a website, ask yourself;

  • Do you intend selling your own products. (e-commerce)?
  • Do you intend selling products for a company (affiliate)?
  • Do you want to set up a blog website?
  • Do you have any niche ideas?

Once you have narrowed this down, do some research on the internet and see if there are any similar sites already. Don’t copy them! You’ll get into legal trouble and Google will penalise your site for duplicate content.

Not sure what sort of website to make? Try this;

Find out what people want, (address people’s pain points) Find a need and satisfy that need.

Bluntly ask yourself why should people care about what you’re proposing to do. If you already know. Great! Get out there and help those poor souls!

My own idea was (and still is), simple – to stop animal cruelty. What’s your idea?

It’s far better to have a passion because that’s what will drive you when you write your content. That is why a niche blog website can be an absolute winner!

You will need to be constantly producing new content (your competitors will). Fresh content is a ranking factor and as an authority in your niche, you need to keep your visitors up to date.

So what do people need help with?

How can you discover what these people really need? Maybe you could speak to your colleagues, aunt, or your Mum, or your big brother or sister, or your best friend, or a business mentor? 

No?  Well, the answer may well surprise you!

According to Answer The Public who make a really useful Search Listening Tool, a surprising number of people use search engines for all sorts of questions. Yes, ALL sorts of questions!!

Try this with me…

Go to Google and start typing your idea one – letter – at – a – time.

s-t-o-p    a-n  (I’m not interested in any of the autocomplete suggestions yet)

s-t-o-p    a-n-i   Google autocomplete suggests; stop animal testing

That indicates that people have searched for stop animal testing quite often and that is why google have suggested it.

Furthermore, if you look at the monthly volumes from the Keywords Everywhere tool, you’ll see that there is about 140 searches per month.

Interestingly, the trends show that the search volume goes up to 260 in January. Possibly because people are making New Years resolutions.

So, experiment with these tools for some inspiration. Try and be data driven and don’t rely on hunches or ‘bar stool experts’.

Target a niche

Another tip is to find a ‘niche’ for your website. A niche is a very specialised area with laser focus on that one subject. The reason for targeting a niche is because you have a much better chance of getting your message or product to the first page of Google because the big websites can afford a more generic ‘catch all’ approach and they have the money & resources to do that.

If you look at ‘vegan cheese’ keyword, using the Keywords Everywhere tool, it has 22,200 searches per month and a competition level of 1.

So if you know what you’re doing and have a HUGE budget, go for it. Personally, I’ll leave that keyword to the big companies.

However, if you look at ‘vegan blue cheese’ keyword, it has 720 searches per month and a competition level of 0.33. That is what is known as ‘low hanging fruit’ in the industry and is a perfect target for a niche. 

SEO is not exact!

I need to make a couple of points here. The first is that all website owners want to get to the top of the search engines but the search engines won’t tell anybody how to actually do this.

However, you can rest assured that if you provide a better user experience than the website/page that is currently at the top of google, for your particular keyword (search term) then you will get to the top.

When you type in a search term, Google will return a web page (not a website), that best suits that query. So make sure that your page is laser targeted to that search query to give the searcher the best possible experience.

There are a lot of other relating factors to SEO including page authority (links) but this is the main one to remember!

I’m sure that you’ve been infuriated when searching for something for something, the search results pages come up, and you click on one of the top results and that website is seriously off the mark in relation to your search term.

Be assured that Google’s algorithms are so sophisticated that this particular website will be de-rated in time, probably due to a high bounce rate and low dwell time.

The second point is that a keyword or search term can be; ‘winter socks’ or ‘children’s red winter socks’ or whatever related search terms that people are searching for. 

Best Research Tools

Keywords Everywhere to see traffic volumes

Answer The Public to discover what people are asking about

See what’s trending on Google

Setting up a website – Create an action plan

Get it all down on paper or on your computer. This ‘motor learning’ practicing effect of this effort will give you even more ideas and hopefully make it easier to weed out the fantasy stuff. Remember You are going to need all the help you can get, so be aware, the sharks are circling. If it’s too good to be true – it probably is. Like; Our company can get you on position 1 on Google. Nobody can guarantee that.

How to start building your website

You’re going to need a Content Management System. (CMS) You’re best option for your website is probably going to be WordPress. This is where you will upload your content and look after the site administration. Most hosting companies will install WordPress for you as part of your package.

Website Hosting

This is really important because Google will penalise you if your site has excessive downtime or is slow to load.   If you’re audience is based in the UK, then it’s advisable to choose a UK data centre for reasons of website speed. A good website hosting company will allow you to grow your website and be able to handle the steadily increasing amount of traffic that you’ll be generating. You can monitor your hosting performance with GT Metrix Hosting companies don’t make it easy to compare, so make sure your research is like-for-like. It might be useful to get a pay per month package to see how they perform before you commit to a cheaper annual contract.

Best Website Hosting Companies

Ionos (One of the cheapest and best to start with) Siteground  (For more data intensive websites. I use their Go Geek Package)

Domain Names

This is what your website will be called, so it’s a good idea if it incorporates your main keyword within your URL. (Uniform resource locator). This is my homepage URL; https://vegan-supermarket.uk/ 

It is a unique identifier or address for a specific page of your website. On your journey you will learn and become familiar with all these technical terms and abbreviations. So if your website is about air conditioning filters, this would be a great domain name; www.air-conditioning-filters.co.uk.

Be aware that if you are in a competitive niche, then that domain name will almost certainly have already been taken, so you will have to think of variations. Note that if your business is targeting the UK, then a Top Level Domain (TLD) like .co.uk will be ideal.

However, there other variations like  .info  &  .biz  etc. Your Domain Registration or hosting company should have all the resources you need. Another thing you’ll need to know is the difference between http: and https: That is the part before the www. part. This is the reason you need to go for https: for security and ranking reasons.

Also, some people think that dashes between words is spammy but I haven’t experienced any issues. If you don’t want dashes between words, be careful of unexpected word combinations! www.thepenismightierthanthesword.com

Best Domain Registration Companies

Crazy Domains UK (I’ve been with them for over 8 years)

How Do You Design Your Website

This is where you start with a blank canvas to make your website. There is a learning curve to all these programs, so stick with it. I had a terrible problem with slow website speed and I narrowed it down to the website builder program I was using. You shouldn’t fall into the same trap now. Unfortunately I have so much content that it’s not realistic for me to use the program I’m going to suggest.  To fix the slow speed issue I’ve installed some great plugins that have helped speed up my website. See below for useful Plugins.  

Best Website Builder

Generatepress This website builder is all you need. In fact, professional website designers use it. After a small learning curve you’ll be able to have fun creating your own cool website designs with this nifty plugin AND it’s hasn’t got code that clogs up your server. Remember the slow website speed problem I discussed before? I wish I had known about this! This is lightning fast and that’s what you need.

WordPress Plugins

A Plugin is like a mini program that add some sort of extra functionality for your website. When you get used to how WordPress works, you’ll notice a menu on the side bar with Plugins. There are hundreds of plugins and most of them are probably going to be useful to you… but stop right there! We’re going to go back to my website speed problem again. All the plugins you install, will inject extra code into your website and almost certainly make it slower because your hosting server has to ‘serve’ all that extra code and it puts an additional load on your server resources. So, only install plugins that you really need. Check the reviews. Do they sound genuine? Check compatibility with your version of WordPress. Some plugins are not kept up to date. This is a security issue and could make your site vulnerable to attacks or hacking. I’ve had it done to me and believe me, it’s heart-breaking.

Best WordPress Plugins

You will be constantly making changes to your website and this leaves junk in your database (code that is no longer required) and this will eventually clog up your website. Keep your website databases clean with WP Optimise Here we go again banging on about a fast website! Well, Google have confirmed it as a ranking factor. Amazon have run tests that showed they would lose $1.6 BILLION every year if they slowed down by just one second. Customers assume a fast loading website is trustworthy. I use WP Rocket to speed up my website. One of the biggest causes of a slow website is poorly optimised images but the difficulty is that images can make a website look great. I use Shortpixel to optimise my images. Remember I mentioned that my website was hacked a few years ago? I lost everything. I thought my hosting company kept backups. Yes they did… but only for 24 hours. Actually there was another reason I lost my entire website. I was messing around in my website admin cPanel and I broke something. Don’t mess about with things in your cPanel unless you know exactly what you are doing! If you need to do something technical, let me know and I might be able to help you. I use Updraft to keep backups in case I lose my data for any reason. If you’re based in the UK as far as I know, you still need a Cookie Notice, even though we’ve left the EU.

SEO Tools

Ok. You’ve learned how to make a website and you’re justifiably proud of yourself. Well done. The problem is, nobody knows about your website.

Welcome to the world of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

The importance of keyword research When I made the first iteration of this website; www.vegan-supermarket.uk I wrote a lot of articles about how to stop animal cruelty. One of the keywords I was targeting was; ‘how to stop animal cruelty in the world’ Since I’ve been learning about SEO and keyword research, I discovered that this keyword has zero monthly searches. What a waste of all my hard work and more importantly, it failed to get a critical message out. It would have been better to use ‘stop animal cruelty’ as the keyword because it has 210 searches per month. One of the best keyword research tools I use is Rank Tracker I’ve mentioned before that I also use keywords everywhere for keyword data directly from my browser Another excellent keyword research tool is ahrefs

Writing Helpful Content

This is where you are going to answer the person who typed the search query into Google. So go ahead and type your target keyword into Google and look at the top results. Analyse their snippets (the blue headline and the black text below it). You will obviously click the advert that seems to answer your query the best. Then click on the blue headline to be taken to their website. Analyse their website. How have they laid it out? What content have they got? (images, videos, infographics). How many words have they got? You are going to have to do a little bit better to get above them in the search results. Depending on how competitive your particular niche is, determines how hard a task that will be. The good news is that the steps that you take to do this for one keyword/webpage, is repeatable.

SEO Content Tools 

I use Website Auditor to help me write good SEO optimised content I also use Rank Math to help me get better SEO scores  Most people say that you should write a minimum of 600 words of content per page and if you are aiming for pillar content then you can go up to 6000 words. You can fall into the trap of just writing words just to satisfy the search engines. Don’t do it.  To avoid falling into this trap I recommend using Surfer SEO to write relevant website content All these tools will help you write useful relevant content without falling into the trap of keyword stuffing. Don’t place too much attention to those that say you should have X number of keywords per X words content. Also, search engines are getting increasingly sophisticated and can recognise keywords with semantic similarity

Best Link Building Tools

Link building is one of the hardest parts of your SEO efforts! If you had a successful website, ask yourself why would you link to a website that is a lot lower ranking that your own? Answer: You probably wouldn’t. It get’s worse! most people won’t. Try It – it’s soul destroying! The only way they will consider linking back to you is if you give them something that will help them. Like the really useful content that you will be creating! That said, you NEED links because that is a ranking signal in Google. It means that your website/page has authority and that will help you in your rankings. These are the tools I use SEO Spyglass will find out what backlinks you already have Crucially, SEO Spyglass will help you find any backlinks you already have, that will damage your rankings and help you remove them. Link Assistant will help you build new backlinks to your website.

Email Marketing

So after all your hard work you are starting to get customers. It has been calculated that it can cost five times more to get a new customer than retaining an existing customer. According to Mailchimp, increasing customer retention by 5% can increase profits from 25-95%. The success rate of selling to a customer you already have is 60-70%, while the success rate of selling to a new customer is 5-20% You really should set a mailing list and keep your subscribers updated. I use Mailchimp for email marketing Another good Mailchimp alternative is GetResponse

Conclusion

I am breaking the rules a little, with this How to Make A Website tutorial because Google expects my website to be related to veganism and stopping animal cruelty. My thoughts are, if you can help someone, then you should. Maybe I have provided inspiration to a tiny animal rescue charity desperate for funds and this advice will help them get those funds. I hope you’ve found this guide helpful. You can leave a comment in the comments section below If you need any help give me a shout and I’ll see if I can help you. Good Luck!