I came across, no names mentioned, a company that approached a customer of ours with a report...
Domain hosting is an essential part of running your website, a service that is usually charged annually.
Once your website has been developed all the files that make up your website has to be stored somewhere, ready to be accessed by an internet browser. These files have to be stored in such a way that all the internet browsers can easy and quickly show the website content the viewer/s have requested. Simply put, stored on a server. All good web hosting companies have a variety of servers, often all over the world, making sure that if there is a technical fault with one server the web files are accessible by another.
Pricing varies, dependent on the services offered.
There is often some confusion understanding the difference between a search engine and online directory, but there is a clear difference and important to understand. The search engines like Google/Yahoo/Bing etc all offer an intelligent search facility to answer questions based on website content, while directories like Yell/Thompson Local etc can only offer business details of companies registered with that directory. The directories are just an extension of the yellow pages, while the search engines offer a complete and intelligent search facility.
Search Engine Optimization is the process of improving the visibility of a website on organic ("natural" or un-paid) search engine result pages (SERPs), by incorporating search engine friendly elements into a website. A successful search engine optimization campaign will have, as part of the improvements, carefully select, relevant, keywords which the on-page optimization will be designed to make prominent for search engine algorithms. Search engine optimization is broken down into two basic areas: on-page, and off-page optimization. On-page optimization refers to website elements which comprise a web page, such as HTML code, textual content, and images. Off-page optimization refers, predominantly, to backlinks (links pointing to the site which is being optimized, from other relevant websites).
The most commonly used term is ‘Google Ranking’, but really there are few search engines even though Google is definitely the most used. When a web user types a question in the tool bar, it is known as a search request. The search engine will then present a series of potential answers listed 9 per page and it is the first page or top 9 answers that are the most selected by the user. Search engine ranking is offered free for organic search results, what that really means is websites with content the search engines categorise as factual and relevant enjoy favourable ranking and benefit from the arriving website visitors.
Social Media like facebook/twitter/google+ is often viewed by local business as potentially bad for business, poor reviews or complains online exposing their business weakness to the whole world outside their control. There is no getting away from this trend as more people, even the traditionally ‘older generations’ are signing up and interacting on these platforms, it is essential for business to have a presence.
Good reviews, referrals are brilliant for business and even the odd complaint or less than glowing post can be turned into a positive. Responding to and making good on these is often more powerful than glowing praise, also visitors arriving at your website from social media links rank high with the search engines. Social media can be a very effective sales and marketing tool for local business.
Modern websites are often developed using a CMS (content management system), which makes it much easier for the website owners to update the content of their websites. A website user is able to login to the website, add content like news stories or make text changes to web pages. A certain computer software competence is required, but becoming more and more popular. We develop our websites making use of Drupal CMS.
Good question, perhaps not asked often enough. Google has a few really helpful tools designed for businesses to keep track and measure their websites performance ongoing, tracking website visitors and their activity. Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools provides all the information needed manage all aspects of the running of a website, including
- Number of visitors and sessions
- Bounce rate
- Landing pages
- Exit pages
- Content key words
- Search queries
- Visitor acquisition
- Site response stats etc etc
We offer a Free Help Consultation for local business, explaining these reports and how to act on the results (click here to check that out).
Of course as a local business you have gone to some expense to put together a fantastic website and probably reluctant to spend more on a smartphone/tablet ready version, but you should consider this carefully. We have seen, through monitoring the stats provided by Google analytics, that more and more web users are via mobile and tablet.
For example people will be able to make use of Google maps for directions to your location via their mobile phones or 3G tablets. Also using location technology on their devices people will be able to find your business via a search, make use of your mobile/tablet website version to find your business or simply shop.
Overall the cost to ensure your new website is mobile compatible is minimal compared to the potential benefits, well worth investing in.
An online directory is the online version of the traditional printed business listing, with free and premium listings on offer. There is some confusion about the difference between a directory and search engine, essentially the directories are not as dynamic in the search function as a search engine.
Typically a user would need to do a search for a company type within the directory itself, unlike a search engine that searches the whole internet a directory is limited to the companies listed in the directory only. Premium listing is sold by the directories, offering ‘top ranking’ on specific searches, but this should not be confused with the audience potential the search engines offer and very rarely worth the fee.
It is important to register with the directories, creating a digital footprint, but only the free versions.