Ready to Create your own website?
Choose and Purchase a Domain Name
The first step in setting up your website is to choose and purchase your domain name. There are many domain providers such as GoDaddy and IONOS. I recommend IONOS because their package includes free Domain Privacy Protection.
What Is Domain Privacy Protection?
When you register a domain name, your personal details are saved in a publicly available database called WHOIS. Domain privacy protection is basically an ‘add on’ service you buy to protect your personal data and keep it hidden from the rest of the world.
Select a Host and Purchase a Hosting Plan
It’s not always advisable to get your hosting from the same company as your domain name because it’s easier if you later decide to move your site and it’s also more secure. Hosting costs around 60€ per year and I personally recommend SiteGround. They offer excellent support and all their packages include an SSL certificate.
What is an SSL Certificate and why do I need one?
SSL Certificates are small data files that digitally bind a cryptographic key to an organization’s details. When installed on a web server, it activates the padlock and the https protocol and allows secure connections from a web server to a browser. Typically, SSL is used to secure credit card transactions, data transfer, and logins, and more recently is becoming the norm when securing browsing of social media sites.
Create professional email addresses
When you’re running a business it’s important to maintain a professional image as well as keeping your customers’ trust and appearing credible online. Routing your email through your business’s domain name shows that your business is well-established and genuine, and is likely to make customers feel more comfortable dealing with you.
How to create a website – for online service providers
Websites act as your store window and stores can be costly to run. If you have an unprofessional website, people will think your work is unprofessional too. I really cannot emphasize how important it is that your website looks and reflects the caliber of the online service provider that you are.
There are 2 ways to go about it.
1. Get a good Web Designer and keep them happy
You’d (hopefully) never wire your own house so hire someone who knows what they’re doing and who’ll do a good job. A Web Designer can install and check for all sorts of things that you don’t even know exist. Some Web Developers/Designers can often be unreliable and hard to get hold of, so be clear about what you want, the timeframe and the costs – and know what will and won’t be included in those costs.
2. DIY WEBSITE!
Decide on the design
Can the reader find everything they need or are they bombarded with superfluous information? Does it have a good User Interface (UI) and is it easy to navigate? Is it clean, uncluttered, easy to read across multiple devices? Does it reflect who you are, what you do, and for whom? Is it branded well? Basically, is it easy to navigate and does it look good?
Divi by Elegant Themes takes WordPress to a whole new level with its advanced Visual Builder Technology. It is my personal favorite and have been designing websites using Divi since it launched in 2008.
Decide on the content
You can write the content for your website but hire a Copywriter to check it over so that you are confident that the grammar and spelling are all correct – it’s very easy to miss something when it’s your own site.
You can choose to display your fee schedule or keep it on a hidden page on your website. Personally, I wouldn’t buy anything if I didn’t know how much it costs, but it’s up to you.
These are essential. If you don’t have any then get some by doing a few hours of free work or skill swap with another business owner to get some. You can have an entire page of testimonials or decide to add them to a Rotating Quote Widget instead as it looked nicer and freed up a tab that could be used for something else. It also means that you can break long testimonials into snippets which makes it look like you have a lot more.
Add Social Media
If you use social media well or offer it as a service, then your own social media needs to look awesome and you should definitely have Follow icons on your site. Monarch plugin offers this option and is part of Divi by Elegant Themes. I personally don’t like Twitter Feeds on website home pages. They look messy, they confuse Google and someone might get the wrong idea of you just by seeing certain tweets that you’ve posted. Also, don’t link to social media accounts that you haven’t updated for ages as you’ll look bad.
Make sure it’s search engine optimized (SEO)
There’s no point in having a website if Google doesn’t know it exists and it doesn’t come up when someone searches for your business either in your area or niche. I use a free plugin by Yoast SEO that lets you optimize each page and post by writing your own meta descriptions.
Think about adding a Blog
You don’t need a blog on your website but it does drive traffic and Google loves them. You can write how-to articles that demonstrate your expertise and include case studies so potential new clients can see what you do for people similar to them. If you use social media then post a link to your blog or website each day along with other content that your target market will find useful.
Assess your stats
Remember to add Google Analytics to your site so you can see how people are finding you and what your most popular pages are. Connect your analytics to your Search Console too. There many plugins out there and just so you know, my least favorite one is MonsterInsights.
Don’t let it stagnate
Regularly make sure your site is up to date with your current services, rates, testimonials etc. Check yours every three months or so.
There are many different ways to get traffic to your website when Google doesn’t yet know you exist.
Stay tuned for the next post for the best ways to get traffic to your website.