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I Have a Website – Now What?

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Have you ever thought about this? “Ok, so now I have a website, I’m good. Check!”

Over the years I’ve noticed a lot of the same thoughts going on with clients I have helped. Many are surprised that their ideal client isn’t flocking to their website looking to hire them or buy their product. Most are confused at the word “maintenance” – that a website must be taken care of once it is built. In fact, there are so many aspects of an online presence that people just do not think about and that is totally understandable.

Most of the time, we just don’t know what we don’t know.

So let’s go over some of the basics.

Domain Name

This the name that you own for your website – your website ADDRESS. Mine is mindyiannelli.com. I also own mindyi.com, short and sweet to use for my email address.

YOU must OWN this name! Not your website designer / developer, but YOU or YOUR COMPANY. If anyone tells you otherwise, run the other way! Fast!

dotcomdotnetetc

You can register this at a number of places and it does not have to be registered at the same place you host your website. For instance, you may register your domain name with GoDaddy and host your website at Siteground.

(Please note that while I am totally fine with registering domain names at GoDaddy I am NOT, and most likely will never be, ok with hosting your website with them! But that’s another blog…)

Some developers I know actually recommend keeping the domain name registration and website hosting separated.

Domain registration should run about $14.99/year or less. You can register a domain for one year or a hundred years! (Don’t laugh, I actually know someone who did one hundred years!)

Hosting Service

This is where your actual website will live (that is the files that make up your website). All of your content for your website, as well as the programs that allow it to function properly, will live on a computer server at your chosen host. My preference is Siteground – and yes there are major differences from host to host. Some are as slow as molasses and some are about as secure as a Barbie house.

Now what?

You’ve registered your domain name and secured your web hosting. Now you need the actual website.

“Oh, I can just build it myself, they have all these drag and drop builders out there. Why spend money on a website designer?”

Indeed. Why? Well, that too, is another post in itself, but I’ll ask you this question: Do we really judge a book by it’s cover? The answer is yes, as clearly pointed out in this article on Huffington Post.

If a great design has gut-level emotional appeal and the power to entice readers, a poorly designed cover can be a real turn-off. A book’s description is the “first and foremost concern” of the blogger and book reviewer known as “The Picky Girl.” Still, she thinks twice before accepting or buying a book with a bad (or cheap looking) cover. “I wonder what other areas lack quality and refinement,” she says.

So, just like you can use one of the many programs out there to create a cover for the book you’ve just spent the last two years writing, you can use a website builder or pre-designed template for your website. But will it convey the message to your prospective clients that your book/service/product is of the high-quality that it is?

Content

Once you have found a designer that understands you – and your business – someone you can communicate easily with – it is time to supply them with the content for your website.

This is your story, your offerings, your why. What problems you solve for your ideal client.
This can be written by you or by a copywriter. If this is something that keeps getting transferred over to the next day’s to-do list then it may be time to find someone to help you.

Please don’t forget to add images. Images that convey your message, your personality, your brand. Bright, pleasing images to break up copy and catch the reader’s attention. I’ve written this post on using images in your website.

maintenance

Upkeep

Yes, that word “maintenance” again. Once you have created your beautiful online home you want to make sure it stays beautiful and functional and keeps attracting your ideal client. Regular backups, and plugin and WordPress updates are essential. It’s also a great idea to make sure you are monitoring your website so you know if anything goes wrong. You can use a service like UptimeRobot or StatusCake can help with this.

Keep

As in keep it! This probably shouldn’t be last because I would say this is the most important step.

Keep your domain name! 4 of my clients have let their domain names expire this year alone! Why? All of them said they never received the reminder email from their hosting company. So many emails are getting spammed these days and well, let’s admit it, the email overload is real! Things are bound to get lost.

While I’ve never missed an email from my domain service letting me know it was time to renew one of my many domain names, I have always relied on their reminder emails. It only took one of my clients calling me in a panic to make me change my tune!

I looked up all of my domain names and their expiration dates and put them in my Google calendar. Then I set the reminder to go off one month before – just to be sure!

I am now offering this as a part of my maintenance service to all of my maintenance clients.

In summary:

  • Register your domain names in your own name
  • Sign up for hosting at a good, reliable, hosting company
  • Find a professional website designer that you have a good relationship with
  • Create, or work with someone to create, content for your website that works with you and for you
  • Map out a plan to keep your website updated and monitored, or hire someone to do it for you
  • Put your domain and hosting expiration dates on your calendar

I’d love to hear your questions or comments below.

Mindy

Mindy

Mindy has been helping business owners with their online presence since 2010. Her passion for education (both learning and teaching) keeps her busy staying on top of the latest in order to best serve, and educate, her clients.

18 thoughts on “I Have a Website – Now What?”

  1. Very valid points. People seem to build a website and then completely disappear, forgetting all about maintenance and providing a steady flow of great content.

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  2. EEEEK!!!! I added my expiration dates in my calendar RIGHT NOW!!! I’ve not missed an email but doggone it, better to learn from others’ mistakes! GREAT info. Thank you!

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  3. All good points that most people tend to ignore. I’ve been using Google Calendar this year to manage all of my renewals and expiration dates for various things, and it has been SO helpful. Maintenance is a cost most of our clients don’t understand. However, we’ve made it mandatory for any sites we host since WordPress can be a nightmare without proper maintenance and updated plugins as you well know. Terrific tips that I hope people listen to!

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  4. This was really helpful Mindy. You have listed all that people need to set up a business. I have had my website for many years. The question I have is do you need to buy privacy and the other items when you buy your url?

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    • Thanks, Candess. Privacy is really up to each person. It’s not necessary, but some reasons for using the privacy option would be: if your domain is under your personal name/address and you want that kept private; you will most definitely get spam emails from people telling you to renew your name for $75… but I don’t find this to be as much of an issue as it used to be (most likely many wind up in my spam folder) and I just delete them.

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  5. this is a great roadmap for all of us out in the Social Media universe. My web site (which houses a shopping cart) and my blog site both have changed drastically over the years. I agree with you that this is the first impression many people have of us. The maintenance is another vital part of this process. I personally don’t have the time to check for broken links and upgrades. It is nice to know that someone else is taking care of these issues. I use GoDaddy for the domain names and they are really good (almost to a fault) at sending out several reminders for renewal

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    • Thank you, Alene. I’m thrilled you found this useful! Yes, GoDaddy certainly is on the ball with their renewal emails! And that bright green – can’t miss ’em! 🙂

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  6. That makes sense to put that domain name reminder in a google calendar. I have had such an incident that I have missed the email reminders. I am just glad I was able to claim my domain name back after a while at the same price.

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  7. Yes, yes, and yes! As I stare at 15 updates available on my wordpress site, I have to wonder how can we do it all. I’ll figure that out after responding to domain name reminder:) It is all essential, and thanks for laying this out so clearly.

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  8. WOW, Mindy! What a terrific idea to put all domain expiration dates on your calendar. I’m SO doing this. Up until now, I have relied on my hosting company to email me. Question for you, why do you not recommend Go Daddy for hosting? Inquiring minds want to know! Thanks

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    • Hi Tandy. Great! I’m glad you’re putting those on your calendar! Oh, so many reasons not to recommend GoDaddy. Horror stories from me and so many other developers. Slow, unsafe, hard to manage, charge for every little thing, no control over backups… I could go on and on.

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  9. I love these points! I had a friend whose domain expired and then MONTHS LATER when she got back “in the game” and went to go pay to renew it… It was already taken by a company that sells domain names, and instead of just needing to pay $12-15/yr, these folks wanted to sell her own name to her for over $1000!
    So, that was a huge lesson to me – I’ve got my reminders set and I’m never gonna let that happen 🙂

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