I am thinking about buy I have getting a new website and the current website address I have is great. I'd really like to keep it - is that possible or do I need to buy a new one when I have a new website built? Also, what will happen to the Search Engine Optimisation efforts from my current site?
The quick answer is yes! If you have a website address (domain) that you want to keep, then you can - that's not a problem. Websites can be built on other platforms. All you need to do is re-point the settings to the new platform's servers.
In order to do this, you will need to have access to the domain account, rather than your current web provider. If your website was created and set up by your current provider and they have access to your account, ask them to transfer it over to you.
So how does it work?
Think of it a bit like moving home. When you move house, the shell of the property changes (this is your website platform) and when you want mail to come to you, you give everyone your new address (this is repointing the DNS settings on your account).
Then, hey presto, the move is complete and people can find you in your new home.
What else might you want to consider when creating or updating a website?
If you are going to the effort of redesigning your website or creating a website from scratch, now might be the time to check that your company name and your domain are still a good fit for your business. Read one of our previous blogs on domain name registration – 3 tips to getting it right, which is about how to choose your company name correctly.
The world of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) can be hot topic, with opposing views on what the right approach is for your website to climb to the top of search engines. Google is continuously evolving its algorithms, so what might be the right approach today may be different tomorrow.
While there certainly are benefits of having targeted words in your domain, they are not as important as they once were for SEO. However, spend some time thinking over the following points to help you decide on an appropriate domain for your business.
Things to consider are:
These days there are many new domain endings available, but where possible, we recommend our clients to buy a .com or .co.uk extension (where relevant for their business).
Is your domain memorable?
If you over complicate it or have unusual spelling of your company name, it will make it harder for clients to remember you so keep it simple!
Keep it short
Websites with long or confusing names can impede you. It is recommended to use one or two words in your domain. Try not to abbreviate words as only YOU will remember this.
Should you choose keywords or build a brand name?
What business are you in? Consider whether the inclusion of location and business keywords related to your business is better than trying to establish a brand name. Will your brand name resonate with your business, or will it get lost and forgotten?
Does it sound professional and authoritative?
Are you attracting your ideal clients with your name? A name that doesn't fit in with your business could prove costly. Think about what your customer will be attracted to.
Will I lose my existing SEO when I change platforms?
If done properly you shouldn’t see any impact of changing your website to a new platform.
These are some key points, as recommended by Digital Marketing Pro:
Setup the new website on a temporary URL
Test new website and make sure that everything is working and there are no broken links
Create a list of all pages from your old website
Create page by page 301 redirections to redirect old urls to new urls
Switch to the new website (all at once)
Make sure that the new website is verified with Google Webmaster tools
Use 'Fetch as Google' to check that Google can properly read the new website
Resubmit sitemap to Google and Bing
Monitor your rankings
You can read more here about the considerations to be aware of when switching platforms on an existing domain.
Talk to your web designers about any concerns that you may have and ensure that they are following all the recommended steps to ensure that everything transitions smoothly.
Now you can see that changing platform, but keeping your existing domain and SEO, is a straightforward process.
At Perfect Layout Digital Marketing we are always surprised by how many small businesses still don't have a website in this deep-rooted digital world.
Just because you are a small business, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t think and act BIG. The only things stopping you from growing are your own limitations – believing that you don’t need a website until you are bigger or more established is not the right way to look at it.
How many times do you pick up your phone to look something up on the internet? How do you find what you are looking for? After a few searches you find a website that matches your needs. So ask yourself now, by not investing in a website, how many customers could you be missing out on because people who are looking for your services are going to your competitors? Are you mentally kicking yourself? Did you know that a year ago it was found that mobile devices accounted for 51 percent of organic search engine visits?
This is how most businesses communicate news with their customers, most popular to least popular. Which do you do?
Advertising on TV and radio requires a lot more money, so it’s understandable that not all businesses can support that additional spend. However, there is no excuse that the rest aren’t on your marketing radar.
If you are making excuses in your head against doing any of these, you are limiting the potential of expanding your business.
I get all of my business from word-of-mouth.
This is great and well done for building up trust and confidence from your existing client-base. But if you have quiet periods throughout the year, wouldn’t you rather have those down times busy? And if you are flat-out busy and have a small team, imagine what could be possible by getting a new website and having more customers. You could expand your team and concentrate on the tasks you like doing and employ someone to do those other tasks. How nice would that feel?
If nothing else, create a simple website that can act as a business card or CV. This can be an easy way to get started.
It’s OK, I’m on social media
Social media is a wonderful platform to use, but like anything these days, it doesn’t maximise your potential alone. Social media enables people to connect with what they are familiar with and like. But what if your business is a one-off purchase, or something that they are not passionate about? Unless you are spending a lot on social media advertising, you are unlikely to reach those people who are looking for your service, but don’t know that you exist.
I’m a technophobe
Perhaps you don’t know where to start and all this technology is a little bit scary. That’s perfectly OK. No one is capable of doing it all, and frankly there aren’t enough hours of the day to fit everything in. So concentrate on what you do best and find the people who understand this type of thing inside and out (like Perfect Layout Digital Marketing!).
Building a website is something I cannot afford?
Try not to think about what you can or cannot afford. With this mindset you are thinking of it as an expense instead of looking at it in terms of what value it could bring to your business. A website is an investment, so what is that investment worth? What would it take to recoup those costs?
If for example if you were a cake maker and each cake is worth between £60-£100 , if your website costs were £150 per month, then getting two more orders per month would cover this investment. How easy do you think you could generate two more cake leads? What if the website brought you in 10 new orders per month? That would be an extra £600-£1,000 per month of revenue, thanks to the website.
Does that now look attractive?
Also consider that if your cakes are beautiful and tasty, how much repeat business might you get from these clients who found you because of your online presence? Map out these trends now from your current clients and how much repeat business you get from them and then do a quick scaling up of the potential. I’m sure that £150 per month in investing in a website doesn’t seem such an outlay now and maybe you have butterflies in your tummy as you see the potential of what your business might be able to achieve.
If you are going to dip your toe in the water with a website, now is the time to also think about your social media presence, if you don’t have one already. Social media is equally important and can easily help support the website’s rankings. As of 2017, daily social media usage of global internet users amounted to 135 minutes per day, up from 126 daily minutes in the previous year. (Statista)
You don’t have to be on all of them, find out what each one does and how you might engage with customers. You will soon realise that some platforms are perhaps not a great fit for your business. Here is a useful article outlining Ten ways small businesses can use social media to generate leads.
So to answer the question above, regardless of the size of your business, or even if you are just starting a business from scratch. In today’s world, it is vital for your business to have an online presence, and that includes a website, social media and more. Want some advice on how to take the next step, give Perfect Layout a call on 01708 578 015.
Location, location, location - does your business need to be found outside of your registered address?
If you’re a business with offices in Emerson Park, how do you get seen online in other Essex areas like Romford, Hornchurch, Upminster and Chadwell Heath, or further afield like Brentwood, Chelmsford and Loughton? Read on as branching out may not be as difficult as you first thought.
Will I get more business if my website name reflects the area I’m working in?
Yes and no. For businesses that are looking to service one area only, putting the location in the domain name may help get you more customers. For example, Website Designers Essex is okay if Essex is the only location to be serviced. However, if your long-term plan is to seek clients in London, Kent and other home counties, making your business name broader (i.e. Perfect Layout Digital Marketing) would be more beneficial.
If I have more than one website to represent other areas I work in will this bring in more customers?
There are many companies that use this method and whilst some yield results, it isn’t the most productive use of resources. The more sites a business has the more marketing input into each site it will have to make. Duplicating content is hugely frowned upon so each site would again need individual attention to ensure that it’s unique. If your business is cited on business directories it’s important that the name, address and phone number (NAP) being listed appears on only one site. If not, search engines like Google and Yahoo, will become confused and their confusion may negatively affect your rankings.
How can one website be designed to incorporate all the areas where I want my business to be seen?
A website designer that can’t create for you a site that reflects multiple business areas is not doing their job! Along with the usual page headings there should be an areas we cover page that lists the services offered in an original format, including naturally interweaved keywords to get each page found.
What this goes back to is having a plan. Having a strategy helps your business focus and maximise what you already have. Well designed, optimised city pages may be the breakthrough you’ve been looking for to beat your competition.
So how far does your business go geographically? Are you missing out on being visible in these areas?
1st Aspirations came to Perfect Layout requesting that their website be revamped. It was on a website platform that we don’t normally use, but our professional website designers were easily able carry out the requested work.
By liasing closely with the business owner, we were able to write content and source images that reflected the services of the business. We used our expertise to ensure that the nature of the business and services came across clearly to prospective customers.
Our varied packages meant that 1st Aspirations was able to keep ownership of their newly designed website with future changes carried out by us at our competitive hourly rate.