- Own your domain name: Domains are cheap and even if you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re better off to own your domain name and have someone else manage it. Note: make sure you alone have access to the “password change” email to ensure you cannot be denied access to the domain (if you need to quickly switch web folks for whatever reason).
- Own your web hosting account: Same rational as mentioned above. You absolutely need full control and access to your hosting account… you might give someone a spare key to your home, but you still need to be able to change the locks!
- Use a large, well known, web hosting provider like GoDaddy: I learned this lesson about 10 years ago when I had a hosting account with an unknown, but very cost effective, hosting provider. They actually served my needs well for years and, without warning, my sites went down one day and the message boards were lit up with angry customers who lost their data and were struggling to get back online. I was fortunate to have owned my domain name so I could quickly switch to a new hosting provider and get my sites up quickly. I’ve been with GoDaddy ever since and, while I’ll admit that their UI (user interface) is cumbersome and confusing, I give them major kudos for their 24/7 tech support which is always prompt. Anyone you might hire to build or maintain your site can certainly work through GoDaddy or any other large provider. Let them gripe about it, I also advise against using small or unknown hosting providers and I highly recommend not using your “web service person” for hosting services.
- Advertising tip: If you’re a plumber – phone book and basic website… if you’re a bar, drop the phone book and build a website that rocks. Then go crazy with social networking!
- Blog “off your site:” using WordPress or Blogger (for example) you will increase your name & business ranking in Google because blogs show up higher in search results and as an added bonus your blog will now get marketed by the host you’re using (WordPress, Blogger or whomever) through all the other blogs as “related articles,” popular tags, etc. You will also link heavily from your blog to your main site helping to build your linking credibility.
- Avoid an “all flash” website and big flash introduction: Although flash sites are now “searchable” most are not up to date and therefore may not be searchable which (as a small biz owner) should send you running. Flash won’t show up on many mobile devices, will take too long to load and many flash sites are often filled with unnecessary distractions such as sound effects, transitions, etc. Unless you are also running an identical mobile site, have an amazing product selection that requires an all flash, you’re a flash designer or you’re really really really confident I’m wrong… avoid the “all flash” website. I’m not saying don’t use flash components, when utilized properly flash can be an amazing asset for your site! If you have an all flash site, see the previous tip!
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