Owning a website nowadays is actually not that hard to do. All you need is a few bucks to spend on a Domain Name, a few more bucks to spend on hosting your website and a worth while niche for your site.
You can be an award winning author, small business or a blogger looking to share their thoughts and ideas with the world. The barriers to entry no longer exist. The world is connected to the internet literally in so many ways. They call it the Internet of Things.
So I decided to write this article about 10 things you should do as a website owner.
The 10 Commandments of Website Ownership
- Know your Niche! – It’s important to know why you created the website. Who are you targeting? If your website is all over the place it will be difficult to gain any traction. Identify your ideal website visitor and cater your content to them.
- Own your Website and Content! – I’m speaking from experience here. I have more than one client that I have had to migrate out of that awesome low cost solution that says they are so easy to use with there drag and drop features. Yeah easy like a marriage to get into but hard like a divorce to get out of. I won’t name names but one Website Builder says hey if you want to leave us, you can have your content but your pictures, sorry, virtually impossible to take. Like I said, just like a divorce. My recommendation: Own your domain name, it’s only $10 bucks a year. Get affordable hosting that starts at $5 per month and if you want to build your website yourself, then choose WordPress, It’s Free. Oh and if you ever want to migrate to another service, it’s crazy easy to do since you get to keep all your content and your images.
- Keep it simple! – Your website should be easy to understand and easy to navigate. Sliders are fine, Photo Galleries are cool but don’t go over board with so many levels of functionality that it hurts the user experience. Keep pop ups to a minimum. People really don’t like them.
- Learn Basic SEO – SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. This is important because it’s how most people find websites. They Google a search phrase and then a list of 10 results comes up. People rarely go past page 1. SEO is a large topic in of itself but the basics are fairly easy to grasp. Have a responsive website that loads in under 2 seconds, blog often and make sure to use proper site structure. h1, h2, h3, alt tags for your images, site maps both html and xml etc. If you use WordPress then you’re off to a good start. Matt Cutts is one of the most respected people at Google and he uses WordPress, now that says something. Also make sure to use a good theme and install the Yoast SEO Plugin. And Blog often and provide quality content.
- Security is Vital – Remember, your website is a reflection of you. If it gets hacked and all of a sudden its defaced with expletives and content that is unbecoming of you, then you’ll probably be a little embarrassed. This means it’s important to keep all your systems up to date. I’m talking about your home computer, your routers firmware, your control panel for your server, your WordPress Installation, your themes and plugins etc. Choose a strong and unique password that is impossible for someone to guess. Use a password manager and two-factor authentication. Change your passwords at least quarterly. Use an anti virus application and never use free public wifi, it just might cost you your reputation. Free wifi is extremely easy to hack and gather all traffic making its way through the network.
- Backups, Backups & Backups – I have a crazy approach to this. I have backups automatically done and I still do manual backups. I have redundant backups on site and off site. Reason for this is backups can fail, so my backups have backups. Off site backups are important because what happens if there’s a fire in your house or a flood that damages everything. I recently spoke to a lawyer who had her practice in Long Island, then one year a little hurricane came by called Sandy. She lost all her computers and paperwork. I’m talking about over a decades worth of documents and information lost to the flooding waters that came into her office. So off site backups are a must. The cloud is safe, so you can always get a good cloud based backup solution. Just make sure to use strong passwords and two factor authentication.
- Social Sharing – Make it easy for people to connect with you on your social media pages and make it easy for people to share your content with their various networks. People find your website either through Google (SEO) or through Social Media.
- Email Lists – You should be working to build your email list from day one. Emails are still one of the best ways to keep people engaged with your website. Don’t ask them for a million pieces of information, just ask for what you need. Maybe you only need a first name and email address. Maybe you need the full name and email address. Maybe you need the number too. Just remember, the more information you ask from them, the less likely they are to complete the form.
- Your Main Pages – You should have at the very least a home page, blog page, about page and contact page. Don’t make it difficult for people to get the main information they need from your site. Also make sure to keep the information on your site current. If you change your number then update it on the site.
- If Needed, Ask for Help – Some people are natural Do It Yourselfers. Owning a website isn’t rocket science. You can pretty much google anything you need to know. BUT, do you have the time to do the research? If not then be open minded to working with a professional developer to get things started in the right direction or to get your site back on track. I hear this phrase spoken a lot. Time is Money. That’s kind of true except for the fact that if you waste a dollar you can always earn it back. Time you can never get back. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.
So this is my 10 Commandments for owning a website. Hopefully you found it useful. I could have easily made this a 20 commandment post but figured I’d keep it simple.
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