This is a general information article. The first half covers basic topics related to the steps and processes in designing, building, publishing, and maintaining a website. The second half of this email discusses some of the processes and tasks involved with making sure that your website ranks well and appears often in the search engine results from Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.
When thinking about your business website consider these facts:
1. The vast majority of companies do have a website
2. Your competitors almost certainly have a website
3. As of 2018, almost two years ago, (this number has probably increased since then), 93 percent of consumers search online for a product, service, or provider before they complete the buying cycle. This is even true when they are planning to purchase from a local provider, store, or business.
4. A website should be looked at as an investment into your business and not necessarily just a marketing spend. This is an investment that once paid, it will have a long term effect with a great return on investment.
Things needed for a website with description and associated expenses:
Domain name: This is the name of your website. This is the www.yourcompany.com that you are used to seeing. The Domain Name Servers are operated by many companies around the world. Once we determine what your domain name will be, we will go to a registrar and purchase the rights to use that domain. Typically, domains are purchased in 1, 3, 5, or 10 year intervals. The longer you purchase at once, the less expensive the cost. You can expect this to cost you around $40 per year, roughly. This is the “address” of your site.
Hosting: Hosting is the service that provides the computer servers for your website files to sit on. These are companies that provide 100% up and reliable servers with multiple layers of back ups. These are the computers that serve your website up to a visitor’s screen when they arrive at your website address. I sell this service $75/month or $720/year. I use a VERY reputable company for my hosting server that allows me to resell the service to you at a discounted price because I sell their server space often – that saves me and you both. My hosting package includes the following:
- Dedicated server space for your website to call home, optimized for premium WordPress site performance
- DAILY website back-ups, so if there is ever an issue, your content is securely available
- Daily malware scans to make sure no one has slipped bad software or tracking devices on to your site
- Monthly updates to the WordPress content management system framework of your site
- Monthly update to the plug-ins and accessories of your WordPress site
- The SSL security certificate to keep your site safe and healthy
- This is the BIG ONE …. One full hour of my time to work on maintenance or update of your website structure, files, DNS, security, updates, etc.
- These are all included in that $75 a month or $720 if paid yearly to save 20%
Security: All websites have to have a security certificate installed to overlay the file server called an SSL (Secure Site Lock). This prevents hackers from accessing the files of your site which would allow them to crash, take for ransom, steal information from your site visitors, etc. This is sometimes sold separately for about $100/year or $12/month. I actually include this in my hosting package that I sell as described above.
Your website itself:
This is a one time fee where I will do the following:
- Create and Install a file directory
- Install and configure the theme or overall layout
- Build 6 pages on the site (standard package)
- Includes 10 photos displayed, optimized, and uploaded to your site (you provide)
- Includes 3 videos displayed, optimized, and uploaded to your site (your provide)
- All pages created in search engine friendly method and environment
- Initial submission to Google for search engine indexing
- 2 hours of training to show you how to update, add content, make blog entries, etc.
i. Home page
ii. About us page
iii. Contact us page
iv. Products or services page
v. Photo gallery or products, services, or completed projects page
vi. A blog page to provide updates, news, gain followers. Etc.
Local Search Engine Optimization or Local SEO
Going forward after you have a website, you should consider search engine optimization. SEO is typically sold on a monthly basis. Most larger agency SEO providers require a yearly contract. We do not do that. We allow you to stay month-to-month as a customer. If you decide you want to stop, you are easily allowed to do so. After paying months 1-12 each year, month #13 will always be free.
SEO is defined as the practice, art, or science of doing things on the back end of your website, on your social media profiles (Facebook, IG, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Business, and Bing Places) to help give the right signals to the search engines to help you rank better and appear more often to more of the searchers that are in your target market. It is a complex process with its own introduction from me. We price SEO on a sliding scale based upon size of site, size of company, size of geographical coverage, etc. You will find good, professional, reputable folks doing SEO for $400-$1500 monthly. The ones that are doing $99, $149, $199 are usually very inexperienced folks that aren’t providing results, sub-contracting work to cheaper labor in other countries, or for some reason they are desperate for work.
We do things a little differently than many “agencies”. We are a smaller business. We do not “sell or sub” my labor to lower paid less accountable offices (many agencies utilize overseas subs for cheaper labor). We will provide a monthly SEO audit and a change log so that you can see what is being done on your site. This is a level of accountability that many SEO professionals do not want to provide to you.
Our invoices go out 10 days ahead of your monthly anniversary date of the beginning of your service. The invoice is due within those 10 days. Your invoice will come accompanied by the activity and change log, and the next month’s SEO audit to show your progress. If you decide during that 10 days to cancel, just let me know. You would not pay that invoice and we would stop working. In other words, this is a very low pressure month-to-month situation. We will not lock you into a contract and make it hard to get out or stop. Every 13th month is FREE!
Here is the detailed list of what we do for a monthly SEO client. Some of this will require more or less work depending on your particular site and situation. Every site and every business is a little different, but this is a good overview.
General SEO Audit:
We will look for things that are causing your website to perform or rank good/bad on particular pages, for particular keywords, in particular locations, etc.
• Current rankings
• Keyword research
• Link profile
• Social profile
• Page speed
• Mobile friendliness and responsiveness with page load speeds
• Inspect your XML sitemap and its index status with Google and Bing
On Page SEO:
These are the tasks that are completed directly on your website page. Most of them are invisible to the average website viewer or visitor. But, they are completed on the back-end of your website and they are very visible to the crawling/indexing bots for Google and the other search engines.
• H1, H2, H3, etc. page structure tags
• Meta descriptions of pages
• Minify the scripts and coding for page speed
• Minify and use caching for images and videos for page speed and mobile friendliness
• Add Rich Snippet data and coding
• Image alt tags
• Word count and readability of content on each page
• Keyword density and cornerstone content analysis
• Verify basic visitor friendly page design, especially “above the fold”, call to action, etc.
Off Page SEO:
These are the things that we do online that are not “on” your own page, but they are things that point back to your page. These things are EXTREMELY important to Google, Bing, and other search engines.
• Link profile building and expansion
• NAP (Name Address Phone) profile correction, expansion, management
• Social profile expansion, linking , and ongoing management
• Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram
• Create, expand and manage an off page blog with proper links back to main page
• Create, expand and manage the HTML and XML sitemaps
• Create, expand and manage the Google Business and Bing Places listings and ads
General Website Management:
These are the things that are important for website health, website performance, and website stability. Although these things don’t directly help with rankings, they do make sure your site remains stable and in good health. Reducing or preventing down time does help with SEO ranking.
• Monthly security scan
• Monthly update of main website content management system
• Monthly update of all related plug-ins, widgets, and accessory programs
• Install and manage Google Search Console, Google Analytics, Bing Webmaster Tools, etc.
You should look at SEO as an investment into your business, and not simply a marketing expense. Improved organic search positioning will help your business for years to come because it doesn’t “just stop or go away” like print or paid clicks advertising. In a sense, you “can’t afford not to” make sure that your business is doing well on the search engines.