I don’t know where to begin.
Don’t worry, you’re in the same boat as I was and the same boat that practically every business owner who has ventured onto the Internet was in. You’re going to need the following things (in the following order).
- A Domain
- A Hosting Service
- A Web Site (in our case, it’s a WordPress Web Site)
Now if all of that sounds like gobbledegook – well it is. Below I’ve listed what each of those things mean. Once you’ve read those bits, feel free to contact me and I can answer and questions you might have to clear things up – no charge.
What is a domain?
A domain is simply a name. So, for example, you’re on Blitzback.com which is the domain that I bought. If you were on Google’s web site, the domain would be Google.com. That’s all there is to it. For you to have a web site, you need a domain. Now there’s good news and bad news.
The Bad News
Be prepared for disappointment – chances are the name you want is taken (someone has already purchased it). So think outside the box and come up with a big list of possible choices. If your business is also your actual name, then you might be in luck, but if you’re a dentist and you want dentist.com – well, forget it. When thinking about domain names, try to be both phonetic (so people can’t misspell it) and short www.adentistinoakvilleandburlington.com might be available but who will be typing all of that in?
The Good News
A typical domain can be purchased for under $20 per year. It’s not expensive.
What is Hosting?
Hosting is the next step once you’ve purchased a domain. Think of hosting like a house.
The address of the house is the domain.
The actual house is the hosting.
So in order to welcome people to our house we need to give them the address AND have a house ready for them to visit. You’re visiting my website (www.blitzback.com) which is sitting on a server somewhere and accessible from around-the-world.
Costs vary depending on which host you go for. Some will charge you an arm-and-a-leg for a bit of space, others will give you unlimited space, but maybe not the fastest connection to the internet.
Expect to pay somewhere between $150 to $300 for an annual hosting service.
But Wait…most hosting services will throw in a few nice extras for you, including unlimited email addresses or maybe a coupon for Google AdWords (more about this further down). If we’re looking after your hosting, we’re responsible for finding the right host for your budget.
What’s a WordPress Web Site?
A WordPress web site, is just a web site that’s running on top of WordPress, which is a web site ‘development’ platform. If you create an Excel spreadsheet, you’ve just created a spreadsheet that runs on top of Excel. Same thing here. We use WordPress to develop your web site. WordPress is the #1 platform for web sites, with around 25% of all web sites in the world (so that’s millions…) running on it. And the best news…
WordPress is free
But there’s a catch.
WordPress provide you with basics to get started, you’ll probably need more. That’s where plugins come in, think of them as extensions to WordPress. If you need an online booking service for example, WordPress doesn’t provide one, but many other vendors do. These plugins cost money, from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars. You may end up paying for nothing extra, because WordPress provides everything you need. My websites probably cost me about $100 in ‘extras’ on top of WordPress because I wanted special features or a particular look-and-feel.
You might think,
Ok, hold on. I’ve got the domain name, purchased a hosting service and built my web site using WordPress. People can now visit me right?
So what more do I need?
OK. See you later.
Ah, if only everything was so simple. For a start, how are you expecting people to find your site? Presumably they’ll do a search on Google and, wait, where’s your web site? It’s probably on there somewhere but people might have to search through a few hundred pages of results before you show up. When was the last time you searched beyond page 1 of the results?
OK. I see your point. So what next.
Next, we work on streamlining your site, improving it, improving the mobile experience, optimizing it for Google’s search engine. The better we do, the closer we get to the first page of search results. Now people can find out about you without knowing anything about you.
And that’s SEO.
What’s Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is a who-what-where-when-how of your website visitors. For example, Google Analytics can tell you from what part of the world your visitors came from, what pages they visited, how long they spent on each page, which pages were the most popular and so on.
All very useful, but somewhat daunting. You’ve got a vast amount of data to sift through looking for nuggets of information. Once you’ve found those nuggets you need to act on them. This is something we can do or you can hire your original web developers to take care of.
Let’s say we find out that lots of your visitors are visiting one particular page but going no further. We can review that page, maybe insert a quick contact form or try and direct them better to another complimentary page. We can try different methods to keep them on your site longer and hopefully lead to a sale or a pre-sale opportunity. The data is there, we just need to know what to do with it.
What’s Google AdWords?
This one is perhaps a little easier to understand than Analytics. Do a search on Google, you’ll notice a bunch of results are actually advertising (typically they have the word “Ad” next to them in the search results). Those are Google AdWords adverts. Google has a complex way of determining which adverts appear for which search terms. Running a Google campaign is complicated though, finding the right words to bid against, telling Google about your target market and objectives, monitoring the daily clicks and adjusting your strategy…time consuming but if you get it right, Google AdWords can jump your website in front of hundreds of new people and help you gain brand awareness rapidly. It can also drive large volumes of traffic to your site.