Ten steps to building a successful website

Ten steps to building a successful website

Monday, 20 August, 2018

Building a website might seem like an impossible challenge for someone who’s not especially IT-literate, but it’s much easier than you might think.

Many of the websites you visit on a daily basis will have been designed by one person, from enthusiasts to sole traders.

These people aren’t coding experts, and they certainly don’t know their PHP from their Python.

Instead, they’ll probably have used a site-building platform.

These are packed with pre-designed templates, while WYSIWYG editors do all the complex coding work as people move text or photos around a draft webpage, add page links, etc.

Two of the most popular platforms for building a website are WordPress and Wix. Both make the process of creating a new site as easy as designing a bespoke birthday card online.

In fact, if you’ve ever customised a Moonpig or Funky Pigeon card, you’ll feel comfortable building a website by adding your own text and graphics to an existing template.

These companies also help you through the process of buying a website domain and setting up related email accounts, which typically costs around £100 for a basic site.

But how can you make sure your new business or personal website looks – and performs – professionally?

Ten steps for successfully building a website

  1. Firstly, choose a simple domain name. Shorter names are easier to remember and type. Tell people your preferred name, and see if they mishear it or spell it incorrectly.
  2. Use a template. Don’t write your own HTML or CSS code unless you’re an IT graduate. By the time you’ve edited a generic template, it will be totally unique to your site.
  3. Source copyright-free images. Avoid fines for taking images off Google without author permission. Take your own, or visit copyright-free photography sites like Stockvault.
  4. Streamline your text. Modern audiences have short attention spans, so keep word counts to a minimum. Break up text with short sentences and paragraphs, or lists like this one.
  5. Use plugins sparingly. The WordPress platform has 56,000 pieces of code for specific functions, but these slow the site down. Only add plugins if it’s absolutely necessary.
  6. Boost SEO. This improves your performance in search results. Key tips include adding captions to photos, creating page descriptions and tagging relevant words on each page.
  7. Make navigation easy. Internal links between webpages should be large, clearly labelled, and in the same place. Big buttons are far easier to hit on compact smartphone screens.
  8. Don’t give people a reason to leave. Search engines consider average site visit times when ranking pages. Don’t add links to external websites unless absolutely necessary.
  9. View the draft on several devices before going live. Use Kindles, iPads, phones and PCs. If anything looks odd in a particular web browser, change it before hitting Publish.
  10. Regularly add content. Search engines rank a site more highly if it’s regularly tweaked. A News or Blog page is ideal for weekly updates, giving audiences a reason to come back.
Neil Cumins author picture


Neil is our resident tech expert. He's written guides on loads of broadband head-scratchers and is determined to solve all your technology problems!

News What's the story?

Keep up with the latest developments in UK broadband.

Full-fibre coverage grows to 8%

Can nationwide fibre actually happen?

Full-fibre coverage grows to 8%Full-fibre coverage grows to 8% Read more

Half a million homes without 10 Mbps broadband

Over 570,000 premises lack the basics for Universal Service Obligation.

Read more

The next generation of streaming technology is here

Read more

New study shows UK 5G is the slowest in the world

The fastest wireless broadband just isn't fast enough.

Read more

Help Learn with us

Make the most of the internet with our broadband library.

Ten things to look for when buying a new PC

Ten things to look for when buying a new PCTen things to look for when buying a new PC Read more

Dealing with bad behaviour online

Read more

Ways to reduce domestic data usage

Read more