How to Build a Website

This short video tells you how to build a website – the right way!

Put simply, the way that we have built websites over the past fifteen years is NOT the way you need to build yours today.

New insights and new tools mean that we should focus much more on our marketing and message than on the graphics and construction of websites.


Resources for How to Build a Website

OpenSiteExplorer – a free site that lets you compare your site’s ranking potential against your competitors.

Google AdWords Keyword Research Toolfree tool from Google will estimate the amount of monthly searches on any search terms

WordPress.com – get a WordPress site or blog hosted (a basic blog is free, additional features need to be paid for)

It’s Built for You – this simple hosted solution choose from many of the finest WordPress themes

Set up a WordPress blog with Hosting in Under an Hour – my article shows you how easy it is to build a website on WordPress, including hosting

Learn How to Build a Website – Like the Pros  – The Pro Web Design Alliance will give you a 6-month foundation in all the skills that pay the bills!

Need Help?

If you would like to be put in touch with a pro designer from the Pro Web Design Alliance, simply email webdesign@benhunt.co, tell me what you need, and we’ll put you in touch with the right designer who can build your website.

33 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Clint Wilde says:

    Nice Video Ben. Very good overview. I completely agree with you on how time allocation has changed for web implementations. I remember how much time we spent in the early 2000 timeframe on making every pixel look perfect, but didn’t have any type of social media back then. Keyword research/marketing/content creation is sooo much more important to a successful website – just like you said.

    Keep up the great work!

  2. Mike Little says:

    Interesting video Ben.

    One point: there is no monthly subscription to get a blog on WordPress.com, it’s completely free. But it does come with some restrictions about what you can do commercially. And to get the best out of it you can buy power-ups!

    Also the link to Google AdWords Keyword Research Tool is broken: the initial ‘h’ of ‘https’ is missing.

    Cheers,
    Mike

    • Ben Hunt says:

      Thanks for the correction Mike. I’ve never used WordPress.com myself.

  3. Jen says:

    Hi Ben!
    I’m so glad I found your site! I just purchased Save The Pixel and am learning so much! I wanted to let you know for some reason your video picture is all messed up on my computer. The audio is great and is plays smooth but the picture is garbled. Just wanted you to know in case others are experiencing the same. Thanks, Jen

  4. Keith McLaughlin says:

    This video covers very little about ‘building a website’. You never mention semantics, optimisation (both server side and client side), accessibility, etc.

    Most of the video is about SEO and that is only a tiny part of building a website.

    This is really a dumbed down video for complete novices about how to quickly get a website up and running. Mentioning WordPress and how you can get website up in 10 minutes or an hour.

    If anything you’re making it sound like any shmuck can throw up a website and make it successful, just buy thinking about SEO. That is far from the truth.

    Proper web designers think about the overall picture. Which sections require more attention, call to actions, etc.

    What about progressive enhancement? Screen readers? Responsive designs?

    Choosing some keywords, then throwing up a WordPress website or blog does not mean the site will be successful. There is far more to it than that.

    • Ben Hunt says:

      Hi Keith. Thanks for responding.

      SEO is a very important part of building a website. Writing great content is another very important part.

      Actually, any shmuck CAN get a website up and make it successful! That’s true. Like many things in business, success comes from doing simple things right, not from being clever.

      Of course, there’s a lot to visual design, but really, if your message is strong, the purpose of visual design is just not to get in the way, to ensure that the message gets communicated.

      Making a good enough design great makes a fraction of the difference, compared to making a good enough proposition great. That’s a simple truth, which I’ve learned the hard way over the past 3 years of research and testing.

      To me, there’s a new way emerging. It’s rapid, and you don’t invest a huge amount of time in design up-front, because there’s a very low ROI on that. Use good design that’s been done before, i.e. a theme. Customise it appropriately, and focus on designing your MESSAGE, not the box it comes in. Then imagine, edit, test, update, and repeat the process until your site works GREAT.

  5. Tim says:

    Video Not Found/Access denied (Australian IP). Be good if you could use YTube or Vimeo.

    • Ben Hunt says:

      Sorry about that Tim… Is it still not working for you? It’s being served up by Amazon AWS now.

  6. Tim says:

    All good now Ben.

    Ignore the pointless criticism.

    This is a good video, and is a useful intro for beginners. It’s also very accurate.

    Keith! I’m a schmuck and I’ve built loads of sites in this manner. You can’t expect a video like this to cover *everything* do you? I think you’re missing the point.

  7. GwenH says:

    Ben, you’re an incredible salesman.

    I love what I learn here. I feel validated and motivated. I entered a web design program knowing full well that I’m a business, marketing and instructional design WRITER. Listening to you reiterate that content is king is so encouraging to someone with my background.

    I’ll finish my web design program in Dec and get back to my “writing for new media studies” in Jan. I’m thinking more and more about further academic study in Internet Marketing and of course, YOUR course and your organization. I only studied web design so that I could work and collaborate effectively with other pros in this environment.

    I’m sure you can guess which way I’m leaning…

    I’m coming to understand that I can make enough money while I’m in school to graduate with money in pocket and a decent cash flow. If I get a job, great! If I don’t get a job, also great. This is exactly what I want—the ability to prosper regardless of our national economy. I can actually position myself to never be laid off again. What a concept!

  8. Johnny Anderson says:

    Really wonderful presentation

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  13. Ann says:

    This was very helpful Ben – I am a complete beginner to this and about to start a web-site – this really has been very enlightening. Best wishes Ann

  14. Evoq says:

    Nice video and quite helpful indeed.

    One thing though, according to the Wikipedia, William Caxton was not the inventor of the printing press but the one who introduced it into England. The printing press was invented by Johannes Gutenberg.

    • Ben Hunt says:

      Hi Evoq. You are quite right. I realised that (while watching Stephen Fry’s “Planet Word”) just after I’d recorded the video. My mistake :-)

  15. Stuart Atkinson says:

    Top drawer video Ben, and an excellent common-sense approach, particularly regarding your comments on those channelling tons of time / budget into the whole graphical “branding” thing.

    The whole concept of “brand” is one of the most massively misunderstood notions on the web. A lot of people out there still think the key to success online is an elaborate logo. Logos alone don’t work unless you’ve got 25 years in the market behind you and a few hundred million to throw into advertising and sponsorship during that time, when building a few links would be massively cheap in comparison (if it costs much at all) and a better all-round solution for the small business looking to laser in on their potential clientèle.

    For me, “brand” only really comes down to two things for most of us:

    1. What we’ve got to sell / what service I’ll provide (and depending on the industry, some geographical info)

    2. The manner in which we’ll go about selling / providing it (cheap and cheerful, a little pricier but more comprehensive, item shipped next day, item customised over a period of days / weeks then shipped, etc)

    There’s a possible third point (again, dependent upon the industry), which is “showing your wares” — again, another visual clue that doesn’t waste any time. Have you noticed how many sites for consultants of various kinds simply show an image of a handshake? Handshakes are vague and mean nothing much specific to humans and search engines alike. Clear, effective text is better and works in your favour twice.

    The rest is pretty much secondary. You can only connect with someone once you’ve managed to catch and hold their attention because you’ve got what they want.

    I’m not so into the fancy visuals of branding and identity design as I once was. I just think that if you remain true to your strengths and core characteristics (which for the small business with limited personnel, forms pretty much all of your “brand”), your brand will develop via your consistency, clarity and direct involvement.

    That’s not to say I’m anti graphics. Just that I think that visual elaboration — when done for the sake of it or for promotion of the designer’s skills — simply detracts from the wares up for sale in many cases (unless the visuals are a part of the wares up for sale, such as photography or artwork). And when a site is designed for the accolades that pour in from other designers, it’s not remaining true to the needs of the client and their potential customers.

    Anyway, I’ve always enjoyed WDFS and its no-nonsense approach to designing with better business in mind. And as Tim says, some of the criticism of this post simply moves away from the core points — namely, which factors make a website that is simply better for business.

  16. John Miller says:

    Great stuff, Ben! As a web developer who also started in the business in 1994, hand-crafting HTML from Illustrator images produced by graphic designers and artworkers, I’m fully in agreement with the market-led, WordPress-based, content-driven, testing-optimised approach that you outline here.

  17. Site Builder says:

    Great Video Ben. I remember how much time I used to spend in the late 90′s and early 2000′s using tables and single pixel images to make things look perfect. Today social media, marketing, keywords, and content is so much more important and creating a website itself is quite easy. Keep it up man.

  18. Steve says:

    Ben Hunt: That’s edutainment at it’s finest. Keep up the great work. I learned a lot from your video!!! Thank you. I also enjoyed all the interaction in the posts and learned a lot from them as well. So you thanks again to you and your audience. This was really terrific!! Keep on, keeping on! Steve

    By the way, how do I post my picture with my reply?

    • Ben Hunt says:

      Thanks Steve. To show your picture, sign up at gravatar.com with your email address.

  19. tunykam says:

    Ben Hunt: That’s edutainment at it’s finest. Keep up the great work. I learned a lot from your video! Thank you. I also enjoyed from your video!I would like to be good SEO.Hopefully i’ll get help from you ? Well thanks again to you and your audience. This was really terrific! keeping on! Tunykam

  20. Sony says:

    Nice video Ben,

    You have covered a lot about websites in this video. For a beginner this video is very good piece of information. I feel good that I found this website. your website is very useful. Please keep it alive. Great Job.

  21. Eeshan Bashir says:

    Hello Ben. I am interested in learning web designing from the basics please suggest the start. that from which language should i start and what path to follow. looking forward for your answer, thanks

    • Ben Hunt says:

      Hi Eeshan. My Pro Web Design Course is the best way to start!

  22. Saroj Shrestha says:

    I am also interested in learning web designing from the basics please suggest me how to start it from beginning. please do me just a favour.

  23. Richard Cole says:

    Hi Ben i recently started your Pro Web Design Course and a couple of things i am not sure about are:

    On completion do you get invited to join the Pro Web Design Alliance, how does that work?

    I’m paying via the monthly option, and the course is estimated to take 6 months, although it has taken me a while to get going due to family and work commitments but now back on course and learning!! For how long do i have to pay the monthly option, till i am happy that i have completed the course? six months? 12 months?

    Great video buy the way and am enjoying the course by the way.

    • Ben Hunt says:

      Hi Richard.

      You can pay for as long as you need.. I’ll keep adding new content anyway, so you get all the new stuff too.

      The Pro Web Design Alliance Pro group is open to anyone, but you need to be an earning web designer or marketer to get the most value out of it.