- THE MAGAZINE
Last month we talked about your options for a cleaning Web site. Now we’ll talk about the specifics of what you need to get a site up and running. For those of you who don’t have a Web site, I’ll walk you through very slowly. And even if you’ve already had a site for years, you may pick up a few tips to help you further understand how Web sites work.
You can get a better Web site and better search engine ranking when you understand all this. Plus, your life will be easier when you know how to better use and market your site. Remember, your Web site is the core of how you market your business on the Internet.
Here are two requirements to get a Web site online:
Domain NameThe first thing you’ll need is a domain name. An example is www.mikescarpetcare.com. This is the actual address of where your site will be located. This is what people will type to find your Web site. It’s kind of like if you were building a new house, this would be your empty lot. It’s the location in which your Web site will exist. Godaddy.com is currently the place people buy domain names more than anywhere else. Their prices are great for domain names and their service is reliable. However, you can buy a domain name from most any hosting company. You can usually expect to pay $7-15 per year for a domain name registration.
HostingOnce you pick a domain name, you’ll need to have a place to store the information you’re going to put on that domain name. This is called hosting. It’s how your Web site gets up on the Internet. Some commonly known, reliable hosting companies are Hostgator, Bluehost, Lunarpages and Hostmonster.
I strongly recommend you avoid free hosting, as the service is often poor and your site potentially may not rank as well in the searches. You can expect to pay $4-15 per month for hosting.
Picking the Right Domain NameIt’s true that choosing a domain name with your keywords in the domain name will help your ranking in the search engines. For instance, the domain name www.carpetcleaningatlanta.com would be perfect for a carpet cleaning company in Atlanta, Georgia. However, the problem is most of these ideal domain names are taken.
But don’t worry! It’s not the end of the world if you can’t get a domain name with your keywords. Your site can still rank in Google without your keywords in your domain name. You could instead have your company and city name in your domain name. For instance, www.joescarpetcleaningatlanta.com would work well. Or you could even leave the city name out of the domain name. Like I said, it helps, but it won’t make or break your search engine ranking.
Once you purchase a domain name, go ahead and register it for a few years. This is not only convenient, but it also shows the search engines you are serious about the long-term success of your Web site. In some cases, this can slightly bump up your search engine rankings.
Will buying multiple domain names help you? It depends. If you are going to put up a Web site on that domain name, it will help. But if you are simply forwarding the domain name to a different site, this strategy won’t help your rankings at all.
Picking the Best HostingYes, there are good and bad hosting companies out there. Some aren’t reliable with keeping your site online. And others aren’t good with customer support. Most of the big companies have fairly good service with both support and reliability, but you may want to check some of their reviews online.
As we discussed last month, you should decide which type of platform you want your site to be based on. If you are hiring a Webmaster he will normally decide this for you. Currently, Webmasters will often either code the site with HTML/PHP or they will create the site in Wordpress. If you are creating a site in Wordpress, consider getting hosting that has a Cpanel. Hostgator and Hostmonster both have reliable Cpanel configurations. If you are not using Wordpress, any type of hosting configuration will work. See last month’s column for more details on these options.
How Do You Get Your Site Online?After you choose your domain name and hosting, you’ll need to create your Web site and get it on the web. If a Webmaster is creating the site for you, it will often be created offline and then uploaded via an FTP (aka File Transfer Protocol). This is what puts your Web site files to your hosting company. You can do this yourself too with a little learning. You can get the software free from Filezilla or Core FTP. That, along with your FTP log in information from your hosting company, will allow you or your Webmaster the ability to load your Web site files up on your domain name.
If you have a standard coded HTML or PHP based Web site, you’ll need some sort of software with an FTP in order to make changes to your site. However, if you have a Wordpress site, you’ll be able to easily make most changes without the use of an FTP. Make sure you explore both options before deciding which route to go with. If you are using a Webmaster you trust, he can help you with this decision.
Those are the basics of getting the site up and running. All you need is a domain name, hosting, Web site creation and software to get your site up on the Internet.