For over 13 years now, I have been helping small to medium sized businesses succeed in the world of online marketing and branding. While this little list is not fully comprehensive, I believe it can give you a head start in a highly competitive and confusing world.
What is that, anyway? If you were to think of your website as a house, the web hosting would be the land that it sits on. A HUGE common mistake when choosing a web host is opting for the cheapest package. I am here to tell you that not all web hosts are the same. You have a number of factors to consider. Things like: How many people do I expect to visit my site at once? Will I be using WordPress, Joomla or another CMS builder? Does this web host meet my requirements for the software I want to use? What is their customer service like? Will I actually own my web site?
There are several other factors to consider here, but the point is, while I am all about saving a buck (who isn’t?), you should never sacrifice quality for a “good deal”. And honestly, if it seems too good to be true, it probably isn’t a very good deal at all.
Let’s continue with the whole house analogy, shall we? If your website is a house, your domain is the address. And unlike actual plots of land, your address points to a tiny spot in the middle of millions or more other addresses and you want your customers to find you there.
Take a breath. This is not too complicated. When you pick a domain, just remember that OTHER people need to remember what it is. Also, don’t make it a mile long. Keywords are indeed a factor in SEO, but let us be honest here, people are lazy and assuming they are trying to find you, they are not going to want to type some 50 character web address. That is why my web address is not superawesomewebmarketingbyrobynhodgdon.com …..
The internet is full of all kinds of predators and hackers. The last thing you want is for your business to be associated with some poor guy getting a virus and losing private information. It happens more than you might think, and there are things you can do to prevent these issues. Not only will it hurt your reputation with customers, but Google does not look to kindly on websites that are not taking precautions to protect their visitors. A good start is ensuring your site has an SSL certificate. Being cautious about links, affiliate content and plugins if you are using CMS, are a few other ways to keep your site a friendly place for people to visit. Keeping with the house analogy, look at it like making sure there aren’t electrical wires hanging from the ceiling and rats in your kitchen. Ew. Ok, maybe a little far, but it makes the point.
You have to. I know, you may not want to. There are tools that make it a little less painful for those of you that don’t want to deal with it. I highly recommend an app called Buffer. They even have a free version to try. Consistently posting is key, or your just wasting your time. Depending on your market, there are different kinds of social media that will boost your business. That is a different post for another day.
This concept is simple but often overlooked as a second thought. Before you even begin production on a website, ask yourself: what do I want this thing to do? Make a list (admittedly, I am a list nut). You can use a piece of paper, a Word Doc, or even a handy checklist with Google Docs.
Don’t D.I.E. by D.I.Y.
Yes, I am a web designer and I want your business (I just say things how they are). That being said, there are indeed some people that can pull off a beautiful website all on their own. I would say those people are a lot fewer and far between than most think. Templates, site builders and all that can make your site look pretty, but also slow and rarely optimized for speed and SEO.
If you have your eye on someone, ask them what access and rights you have to your files (I have rescued many a client and they had to start from nothing because they paid some company a monthly fee for their site and now it is gone forever). Who owns the domain and web hosting (needs to be you)?
As for those of you with a techie nephew or cousin, just keep in mind the value of your business. I wouldn’t take my car with transmission issues to a family member with some tools and a bit of YouTube training. Just saying.
A pretty website that can’t be found gets you nowhere. There are some DIY strategies you can do to improve the visibility of your site, and I will even cover those in a later post. Things like alt tags, links, social media and optimized content will help you move up on Google. Registering for Google Webmaster Tools is a great way to get a head start on your own. Bing and Yahoo are also to be taken into consideration, though Google corners the search market at about 75-80% of web searches depending on who you ask. Fortunately, these search engines want quality sites to be found, and they offer a lot of free tools.
Stay Up To Date
The average life of a website’s relevance is 3 years, and that is generous. Factors like modern design, mobile optimization (making it easy to use your site on mobile devices), and SEO are just the beginning of the long list of reasons to keep your website up to date. Want to check yours? I have a checklist for ya’ as of 2018 here.
It is my hope that this little list gives you some tools to get off to the right start in your web marketing efforts. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me and I will get back to you as soon as possible.