How To Set Up A Website - Beginners Guide

Bookmark and Share

Go to content

FAQs - Questions about setting up a website

These are a selection of questions recently emailed to me....

 Answers on how to set up a website

How do you identify high search volume keywords?

The one Spearhead uses nearly every day and is totally free is Google's Free Keyword Tool:. You key in your keyword choice and it spits out tons of useful info, such as how many people search on that particular keyword per month, on a global level and on a more local one (i.e. local = UK not Manchester). We only set the search to "Exact" not "Broad" or "Phrase", Exact shows the proper number of people keying in "Manchester decorators" exactly, whereas "broad match" for example would pick up all kinds of rubbish such as "Manchester cake decorators" as long as it has Manchester and decorators somewhere in the search term. When you go to Exact match you'll see a significant drop in numbers, sometimes to almost nothing when all the junk is removed, can be very demoralising. It also tells you the search pattern for that particular keyword throughout an entire year, this is great as it gives you a good idea if there is sustained interest in that particular keyword, whether it is a seasonal search term etc. I find it quite revealing sometimes, I get an idea in my head for a new keyword, have a look on this tool and find out that no one actually searches using that keyword at all! If that is the case for you then you are better off dropping that keyword and move on. No need to worry though, whatís great about this keyword tool is that it also gives you alternative keywords to the one that you keyed in and sometimes the tool's other suggestions are far better than the original keyword that you were thinking about anyway. There is also lots of other handy info supplied by this brilliant tool, the best thing is to do is to go and have a play. Enjoy!


What domain name should I choose for my website?

Remember to try and get the main keyword in the domain name if you want to get high on the Google search engine. If for example a person did travel photography across the UK then the best type of domain name to go for would be something like If on the other hand you are targeting local customers only, you want a geo targetted domain name like (Hyphens are better on such a long name, easier to read, Google won't penalise you either). Having keywords such as Travel photography or Manchester in the name will definitely give you a bit of a lift in the rankings over a competitior who might have a non keyworded domain like

2 Domain approach:
What Seventh Heaven have done (I wrote their site last year) is to go for a 2 domain approach. This first stage of the plan was to buy the domain to pull in the valuable Google search engine traffic, which has proved very successful, she is in the top 3 most of the time, getting nearly 30 hits a day and 3-4 new customers a day from it! But the second part of the plan was to show on her brochures a different domain,, which is more memorable, doesn't need to be loaded with keywords and doesn't look so weird in print.

Go to my free checker to Check Domain Names that are available.


Which website software do you recommend?

You donít say if you are looking for free web design software or not? I can massively recommend WebsiteX5, I think they are an Italian software company? This program is designed for total novices to use. Very cheap for what you get at about $50.00. It doesnít have the steep learning curve that you have to go through with other programs such as Dreamweaver, I personally donít have the patience or time for that. Whatís great is that you donít need to do any boring Html coding, itís all basically copy and paste concept and writing content into text modules, like using a word document. I have put some FAQs about Website X5 on my best web design software page. Definitely worth a look.


Who do you use for web-hosting? Is there anything I should be paying particular attention to?

I have used quite a few hosting companies, and have found 1& to be the best that I have used so far. I have about 20 sites hosted with them now (Such as and They provide a good mix of reliablility, cheap deals and are very helpful explaining things like how to set up a website within their control panel etc. The most important thing to consider is the size of your hosting, i.e.webspace. If you are intending to upload loads of piccies then you should go for their bigger hosting package such as the £4.99 pm deal (which includes a free domain name at the time of writing!) If you are only uploading say 20 or so you will be OK with the £1.99 pm deal as you won't need as much storage on their hosting. Bandwidth isn't such an issue when you first launch a website as you won't have any traffic to start with. You only need to go for a larger bandwidth once your traffic increases significantly to your site, it will take a good bit of time before that will become an issue. If you have more users than your website's bandwidth can cope with it will slow down or judder, Youtube is a good example of this problem, when they have a too many users online the videos seem to stop and start a lot more, that's bandwidth not coping well.


Do you know anything about creating flash websites?

I am looking to set up a travel photography website, I need the website to be very visual in order to inspire confidence in potential clients and flash seems to be the way to go. I know I can get templates from the internet for around £70, but am thinking about trying to find someone to design a site for me, but I need to find out how much I'd be looking at spending in order to do it. No point spending too much money until I know that I'm going to get some business - but I can't get the business without a website - catch 22!

Word of warning with flash websites, I have kept well away from them because Google doesn't like flash very much when it comes to deciding who goes on the first page of the search engine. If you are hoping to be found at all you are better off sticking to simple keyworded text written in html and stay away from flash.
Flash websites work differently from html sites, the text a human is seeing on the screen is mainly invisible to the Google search program. How Google works is by reading the text on a page to decide whether you are a related company to that particular search or not (i.e. Manchester Photographers), no good if they can't see the words! Flash websites are also costly and complicated to change, that gets very scary when you have several sites on the go, the costs would go through the roof! This is a big issue for me as I am updating my sites weekly with new content! The websiteX5 software is £50 quidish, a flash website will cost you 10 times that with a half decent web designer, not a cost you want when you are just starting a business.

Have a look through the Photography section in Website X5's galleries to see how nice you can make them. I have put 2 links below that I picked out at random from their site.:

>>> Feedback To My Answer

Thanks so much for your email - that has actually really helped me a huge
amount!! Given I am website-design illiterate I had been struggling to
understand what the best solution was going to be for me - I was thinking a
flash-site as obviously with a photography site I need it to be visually
impressive - but having seen the second of the 2 examples that you sent
through to me and I think that is pretty much what I am looking to
achieve - certainly in the short to medium term..... and as you say flash
sites are sooooo expensive it is ridiculous and until I know how my site is
going to do I don't want to spend too much money. It just doesn't make
any sense (I'm only looking to do photography part-time so don't want to
spend a bomb on the website).


What do you think about hosting company's free website software?

I would forget the hosting company's website software, it seems very convenient in theory but they are in the main veeery basic and are usually not good for optimizing (SEO) which is very important if you want to be found on the net. I was in the same position as you 2 years ago, where I didn't want to pay mega money per page to a web designer, I didn't have enough money in the pot for that. So I came to the conclusion that to just get myself up and running with a website, I needed a DIY website writing solution that I could use at home and that doesn't cost me everytime I write a new page. As I was a complete novice, the 4 important deciding factors for me were that the software had to be:
1. Cheap, my total budget was £50!
2. Easy to use (no fancy HTML code to write, just drag and drop)
3. The finished product looked pro.
4. I could fully optimize them to help me get a high ranking in Google and other search engines.
I'm glad to say that I luckily chose the perfect program, Website X5 after doing a lot of research into pros and cons and I am still using it 2 years later. I love it so much that I have written specific FAQs about it!


Do I need to apply full SEO to my new domain if I have redirected my old one to it?

You will definitely have to put some time into SEO for the new domain if you have totally removed the old Url's website and are now just redirecting to the new domain.The benefit your new domain would receive from the older domain with the great SEO will be short lived. The search engine spiders revisit websites regularly to check for any changes and will discover that there is no longer a functioning website at the old domain and will drop you down the search results no matter how good your previous SEO was! You might benefit in one way from the redirect though and that is the extra traffic that it might bring from the old domain if it previously has loads of backlinks feeding in to the website before it was removed. This traffic will obviously all bounce over to your new site automatically with your redirect in place Depends what you are trying to achieve I guess, but in my mind traffic is just as important as fantastic SEO.


Questions answered on how to set up a website

Can't afford a web designer?

Read our in-depth review of the best web design software for complete beginners on a tight budget.

Back to content | Back to main menu