Designing a website is only the first in many steps required to get your business listed in the Google search engine results pages (SERPs). In an article we wrote up some time ago now (December 2014 in-fact) the question asked was "Does Google Put Web Design Beyond The Reach Of Small Businesses" and to some extent I truly believe it does.
You have a business to run, clients and customers to service and inventory or products to manage. Not forgetting staff, suppliers, accounts and all this before you get to work on the luxury of marketing your business.
So, I can appreciate that you're busy and with that in mind I'll be as brief as I can. Here are a few simple things you can do to check your online business has a good solid foundation to be optimised and ranked in the SERPs.
It's a fairly simple question but one most businesses fail to answer.
Who looks after your local search results? Who do you turn to when you need to be found in a specific location? Who's that one person you use as a source of information and help when it comes to being found in a specific area for your products and services?
Local search is on the rise, there's no doubt about that. In 2012 Search Engine Land reported that 43 Percent Of Total Google Search Queries Are Local and then in 2014 that 56 Percent Of “On The Go” Searches Have Local Intent.
Unless you live and breath web design and web hosting it's unlikely you'll even know what VPS is so here's a brief summary of both shared and VPS web hosting and the differences between them.
It should help you make a decidion on which is best for your business.
Shared web hosting is just that. Shared. It's a little bit like renting out space in a garage or apartment block. You have access to a small part of that space to do with as you like (within certain limits of-course).
A VPS service is more focused and is allocated to your website or business.
As mentioned, shared web hosting in its simplest form is a space on a computer hard drive, a bit like a folder on your computer. Your website resides in this folder and is accessible to the world.
This kind of web hosting is perfect fo rthe small start-up that doesn't require a humungous amount of space or specific resources such as the ability to send out newsletters but comes with some limitations.
The biggest of these limitations (in our experience) is performance. If your website is particularly busy or receives a high amount of traffic due to a publication or social media campaign it's likely it will load slowly.
Also, just like the shared apartment space if one of your neighbours is receiving a high amount of traffic this can also impact upon your website.
As you are sharing space it's unlikely you'll be able to scale up the hosting. In-fact it's not just unlikely but pretty much impossible and here's why: If you were to be scaled up, say more RAM or a faster CPU then everyone would get this on the server so you'd only benefit ever so slightly from any enhancements applied.
VPS stands for Virtual Private Server and is basically a dedicated server that is, well, "virtual". It's what we use and have done for years as it provides us with the ability to scale up, or down, allocate more or less resources to a group of clients and if needed allows us to provide dedicated allocated resources to one specific client or website should the need arise.
VPS servers are typically faster than shared. As an example, the page you are reading now is sat on a VPS and was delivered by our servers in around 1.5 seconds. Now that may seem fast but it isn't. This website is huge in comparison to some of our clients' websites and they deliver in .3 - .9 of a second !
Just today we upgraded all accounts on our servers and all it took was a few button clicks. If needed we could upgrade specific accounts to provide more resources and even more processing power should it be needed.
Some of our clients start out with no requirement for a newsletter so they might start with our base package, the Starter Web Hosting package. Even this comes with a modest allocation of mails per hour (set at 500 per hour) and currently costs just £4.99 per month.
If a client needs to grow, say for example they need to put a large number of image galleries on their website or send more mails per hour then they simply upgrade. No need to move servers or providers.
One of the great things about using VPS servers is that there is no limit to how high you can scale up. If you reach the limit of the available resources you have then you simply upgrade.
Check out our pricing and get started today with what's sure to be your last web hosting solution...
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Some time ago we posted a Blog article up asking "Does Google Put Web Design Beyond The Reach Of Small Businesses" which has incidentally become our 5th most read Blog article recently.
It's possible that your website loads OK and that users can easily view the content but when was the last time you checked? When was the last time you checked on mobile? And when was the last time you checked on mobile with a poor connection?
You might not need a website that loads fast on mobile, perhaps you do. That's what we'll cover briefly here.
Social media TRULY can make or break a business online these days and that's never been truer than when one of your staff, or you, gives a customer particularly good (or bad) service.
Imagine the scenario...
You own a bakery (No, not Amy's Baking Company which closed down I believe due to a social media campaign that seriously backfired after Chef Ramsey visited), or a small restaurant. Now let's say you've just served the best cake and coffee in the entire world to a new customer.
Customising content by location can make your article or post much more specific to the audience you are speaking to.
For example, there could be a legal or shipping reason that restricts access to your product or service to a specific location (or indeed exludes these locations for other reasons).
For that reason, and many more, providing very specific information to your website visitor may well be of use to you.
You've probably hired a web designer in the past and been bitten, haven't we all? Even we have hired designers who simply weren't up to scratch and we did our research so we can empathise if you're reading this because you're in a fix and need a web designer pronto!
There's an old saying... “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.” There's also a great one from the UK which goes “A fool and his money are soon parted.”
Now I'm not calling you a fool if you're reading this after being stung by a “so called” web designer. Quite the contrary, I'm hoping you're thinking of hiring a web designer and would simply like to furnish you with a few probing and pertinent questions that we hope will help you make a more informed decision...
Most web designers do indeed do other things. For example, I call myself a “web designer” when I meet people simply to give them a handle, something that can help them identify what it is I do. In reality I'm a developer. I take a concept and I, well, “develop” it.
This might mean creating a fairly straight forward brochure style website. We might also create the social platforms and a marketing strategy or we might entirely hand code everything from scratch.
The point is this though: Websites, that's all I do. I don't do it part time, at weekends or squeeze it in. Web design is all I do. If your web designer is doing it part time and your website supports your ONLY source of income then you might like to consider that prior to contracting their services.
Now in fairness I have met some good designers with just a few years under their belts. However, after over 20 years working in technology I would like to think I have made as many mistakes as it's possible to make. Thus: I have learnt.
Also, as mentioned above, as web design is all I do it's safe to say that I spend a lot of time researching new ways of working and streamlining what I deliver.
The chances are if you are looking for a particular style of design for a specific product or service that your designed has designed something similar, or (at the very least) designed something with similar functionality.
It's rare that someone comes to us with a new concept and even then the design construct will be similar to something that's gone before or already exists.
This kind of leads on from the previous point and although we have a diminutive portfolio it exists purely for this reason. Our portfolio was non existent for many years. Primarily because Indian developers would call our clients posing as us and offering their SEO services.
So, if no portfolio exists it doesn't necessarily mean they have done no work, just that perhaps they'd prefer to keep their clients and the work they have done to themselves.
This might not seem like such an obvious question but it's very important to understand what is included in the pricing and what isn't.
For example... You might need a shopping cart and you could have 5,000 products on hand. Now let's be conservative and say a web designer charges just $10 per hour for their time and it takes an average of 15 minutes to add an item into the cart. You can see how the costs can easily spiral.
Now let's add on the design and marketing fees to set-up the social media channels. You can see how expensive that project might be...?
Typically with a project like that we would load at least one product from each category, fully configure the shopping cart and then train the client on how to add more while providing support and video tutorials to guide them.
For that and other reasons we refer to “investment” in web design as how much time you can invest in your project reduces the web designer's time ergo: The overall cost.
I hope the above was of some use and if need any help with your next project just get in touch...
Now before we start I'm going to ask you to think of a budget. It's not important how much that is but it has to be realistic. You need to have two budgets in your mind:
Now, with these figures in mind we're going to go through a brief (and by no means complete) list of some of the typical elements that might be included in a web design project.
The figure you will arrive at when you've finished with this process is what's referred to as the TCO or (Total Cost of Ownership) for your website project.
If you're one of the hundreds of people who look for "Restaurant Web Design" each month then sit back and relax.
The long days and 7 day weeks running your own restaurant can take their toll. You’re busy, you already have too many things to do, and the last thing you need is “create a website” on your “To Do” list! But you know you need one, because the restaurant down the street is busy, when your restaurant isn’t full.
For that reason I'll be as brief as possible so that you know what you actually need to create an effective online marketing strategy that brings diners to you. What’s more, all the information here is free so sit back and grab a glass of your favourite tipple while you read.
I'm a small business owner myself, I too have experienced the frustrations of finding new customers. Especially in a tourism driven market like Tenerife. It’s not easy and I know. The juggle of finding new customers (in an affordable way), and keeping your customers happy at the same time as dealing with the million and one demands of running of your business.
The overview page is more than likely where you'll end up when you visit Google Analytics for the first time.
Some of the terminology use may be a little technical and that's OK because we'll explain ecah in detail before moving on. It's important however that you gain an understanding of these terms as they'll be used throughout the articles we write up relating to Analytics and search in general. It will also help you be less "dazzled" by web designers trying to blind you with technical terminology.
We're starting a series of articles and a dedicated Blog category for Analytics Insights which will in fairness also touch on Google Search Console (AKA: Google Webmaster Tools) as you can't really look at one without using the other.
Yes, there are other tools out there such as Bing and we will touch on these from time to time also.
The majority of the content you find here will be free and available. However, in certain cases a subscription to our Members Content will be required for access to videos and more detailed information such as tutorials and in-depth guides.
We hope you enjoy and if you have any questions at all please feel free to get in touch.
To be fair they all have their own uses. We focus more on Google Analytics simply because it's the industry standard and as Google executes the vast majority of searches around the world why not use their platform.
That said however, we do also use server logs, Bing's Webmaster tools and custom tools of our own from time to time to help gain a deeper understanding of a website's traffic and usage.
Let's face it... SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) can be an absolute minefield.
That said, in the right hands, your SEO can be made so much simpler and easy to understand.
Anyone who's designed websites for more than a few months will probably know what a Call To Action (CTA) and user or sales funnel is so I'm going to assume that you're in a position where you've designed your website and created a funnel that works well and you simply need more organic traffic.
The method that's outlined here is simple, easy to follow and if used allows you to spend more time attracting the right kinds of followers in order to engage with them through social or other mediums and convert them through your website.