Let’s first talk about why do you need a website? The number one reason is, it adds credibility to your business. Where do people look for a product or service these days? The internet. If someone recommends a product, service, or business, where do people go to check them out? The internet. They do a search to see if your business comes up in the search. They read about your business and they read the reviews. Most of the time, this is what they base their decision on as to whether or not to do business with a company, is by what they find online.
When you set up a website there are certain things that need to be a part of a basic website. Many people think they want a flashy website with lots of graphics, showy photos, videos, etc. But before you invest in all of that, think first about what will get results. Sometimes for a small business simple and basic is better, if everything the prospect needs to know is there and easy to find.
– Home Page – Description of business – Simple and to the point and easy to understand.
– About – This is about you the owner. Who you are. Why you started this business. How long have you been in business. Your passion, your mission, and your goals for satisfying your clients and customer’s needs.
– Services – Again, simple and to the point. Prices if appropriate.
– Hours of operation – On the front/first page
– How to contact you. I always suggest for most businesses if you want the prospect to call, put your phone number in plain sight in the header at the top of the page. Also have a contact page. In case, they just want to ask a question or two.
– Every website these days needs to be mobile compatible because 60% of searches these days are done via a mobile device. A couple of years ago Google said they would not index websites that were not mobile compatible. That’s why I like WordPress. Most all WordPress themes are mobile compatible.
– Social Media links. The more places they can find you the more it legitimizes your business.
– A way to build your list. A way to collect names and emails for your database of prospects. Not everyone may need your service today, but they want to keep in touch for when they do and you want to be able to keep in touch with them.
The above list is for what is visible to your website visitors. Now let’s cover what a website needs to make it work for you.
– Your Website needs to be found – When I set up a website for a client I suggest that they need to have at least 5 different URLs/domain names for their website. Even though you may have your business name as your main URL, it may or may not include the words that will help you get found in a local search. Think of alternate domain names as directional road signs on the internet that can be pointed to your website. Think in terms of how people will search for your business and then purchase those domain names. They can be forwarded/pointed to your main website.
o For example: My business is Painted Lady Enterprises. The domain names that I have for my website include:
All of these domain names go to the same place – My website. To search for possibilities for your site, go to DomainsMadeEZ.com. Sometimes you have to get a little creative. If you are a local business in a certain geographical area, (i.e. city, state, county) then you want to include that in your domain name. If you offer an array of services/products, then also consider a domain name for each. You can have as many domain names as you want. Just point them all to your website. Remember, if what the person is searching for is part of the domain name, you will come up higher in their search.
– Security – Everyone wants simple and easy, but when it comes to security, simple and easy is not the best route. So, in choosing a username and password, make it difficult. Don’t use things like admin for a username or password for your password. Especially for your password, use a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. Make it difficult for someone to hack your site.
– Backup – You want to back up your site often. The more often you make changes to your site the more often you want to back it up. There are a couple of ways to do this. Depending on your hosting service, you may be able to set up an option to back up the site through them. I also use a service call Updraft that works with WordPress that you can set how often to back up a site and it sends the backup to Dropbox. So, if for whatever reason, you must revert back to a former version, you have the latest version and don’t have to start from scratch.
– SEO/optimization – These are you keywords and meta tags. There are some good WordPress applications that help with this. All the keywords/meta tags can be set up as you build the site and as additions are made so that it gets your site indexed and ranked higher a whole lot faster.
– Engagement – Used to be, you built a website and unless you had to change something, products/prices, etc., you never did anything else to it. That is not recommended these days. Again, Google wants to see active websites. They send out the bots/spiders (whatever you want to call then) to check websites and if they don’t appear to be active, the website will fall in their rankings. So how do you stay active? One way is to add a blog to the site and post on a consistent basis, i.e. once a week, once a month, etc. Post about your industry, interesting news about your business, specials, promotions, etc.
– Maintenance – Just like with anything else, you’ve got to check to make sure things are working. Sometimes for whatever reason things just stop working. Log in and make sure your backups are being done. Your social media links are working. Make sure all the plugins are updated to the latest version. Most of the time the reason things stop working, is because something has been updated and you don’t have the latest version. However, before updating anything, make sure your site is backed up. Sometimes an update won’t work and may cause problems with the site.
One last and very important thing to consider before getting your website is to make sure your hosting account and your domain names are in your name. So many times, I see a business get a website set up by someone or a company only to discover later that if they are unhappy with their service, they are held hostage because the
person/or company holds the account for their hosting and domain names and won’t release them. So, the business owner either must stay with them or start from scratch. When I set up a website I always have the hosting and domain name account set up in the client’s name. I tell them that when I win the lottery and disappear, they have all they need to have someone else to edit/manage their website.
That covers most of the basic ingredients for a good functional website. I hope you found this information helpful. If you would like more information about setting up a website please let me know. Your feedback and comments are welcomed and appreciated.
‘Helping My Clients and Their Business Look Good’