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Let’s cover all the essentials here.
1. SECURITY. As so many people use website building tools to create their website, hackers know where to log in to your website back end, they then use little evil bots to try and guess your login details and if your website is out of date or you have an easy login username then this can make it easier for them to hack
The main reason hackers want to access your website is to hijack your website traffic, by adding code that links back to their own websites. Read through my blog post Website security for WordPress and check out our website maintenance packages to help keep your website secure.
2. SPAM PREVENTION. If you have a contact form, a blog or allow comments on your pages, products etc then you need to have a good Antispam plugin. This is to prevent random spam comments.
Some businesses try to divert your website traffic to their pages, so they might add a comment like “Great post, check out…….” And they then link it back to their website. This is called black hat SEO and can lower your search rankings as well by having links to non-suitable websites.
Using an anti-spam plugin adds a hidden field that will recognise if the comment is from a real-life person or a bot and filters out bad bot comments. I recommend any WordPress users use Akismet or anti-spam by Webvitaly plugins.
3. SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION. It’s all good to create a website or have one created for you, however, if it’s not optimized for search engines you will never rank in the first few searches for your keywords. For WordPress users, I recommend the Yoast SEO plugin. Also make sure your website is linked to google search console. Once this is done your website will then be submitted to Google. You can do this through the Bing search engine tool as well.
4. WEBSITE ANALYTICS. To help improve your website sales you need to monitor your website visitors. This can be achieved through setting up a google analytics account and linking it to your website. For WordPress users, I recommend Google Analytics for WordPress by Monster Insights so you can monitor your visitors from your website dashboard.
5. WEBSITE BACKUP. Most hosting providers back up your website on either a weekly or monthly basis. However, if something happens to their backup you will want to have access to a backup yourself. Plus hosting providers often charge to restore a backup – another reason you should already have a backup ready. For WordPress users, my personal favourite plugin is UpdraftPlus Backups.
7. TERMS & CONDITIONS. There are 2 different Terms and Conditions agreements you need for your website. Both i believe are essential so I highly recommended that you develop at least one of them and add it onto your website. Emma is a lawyer from 'The Remote Expert' that I recommend to help you get set up with your Terms.
The second one is called 'Sales Terms and Conditions' (or Service Agreement, Business Terms etc) go further than your website terms and actually regulate how a customer must comply for when they buy your products or services. So if you sell good or services through your website then these ones are required and help you be protected. Including protection against damages from clients, copycats stealing all of your intellectual property and ideas, Privacy, Consumer Law, Complaints Policy etc
Need help with any of these Terms? Complete this form and I will connect you with Emma my amazing Lawyer friend.
8. FAVICON This is that little icon that sits on the internet address bar. It is normally a smaller version of your website or the image icon. Favicons are great for people who have multiple website tabs open or who have bookmarked your website, as it helps to identify your website’s brand.
9.COPYRIGHT Using the copyright symbol, the date and the phrase ‘All rights reserved’ was formerly used as a notice to protect a publisher’s copyright under copyright law. For example © 2013 Janie Doe. All rights reserved. Though including this is no longer required for parties to the Berne Convention of 2000, it is still a useful reminder to others that the work may not lawfully be copied by others.
10. LICENSING. Have you checked that all your fonts, media and images are either free to use or properly licensed for use? Also, ensure you have not copied any website content directly from any other websites or books.
11. BLOG Even if you are not a blogger, all websites need to have a blog. You can call these ‘articles’, ‘news’, ‘information’ etc. It helps to keep your website up-to-date and fresh and to encourage visitors to returnto look for more information and potentially buy your products or services. Also, importantly, the more site visitors you have the better your website will rank in search engine rankings. We can help you create blog posts to improve your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
12. LOCATION Even if you work from home, having your location listed is essential. Why? This is part of your local SEO and will help you rank in search engines for your town. It’s also easy to start local - most people trust and prefer local businesses. This doesn’t mean you have to include your full address, but do list your town, state, and country. If you are a location-based business then make sure you include a map that links to directions, so people can easily find you.
13. SPELLING I was terrible at English and I still am. To help check your website for grammar and spelling errors, I use a program called Grammarly. Grammarly holds my hand and corrects any misspelled words and incorrect sentences, whilst editing a Word document, website or any other file.
14. SSL CERTIFICATE. Having an SSL certificate is one way to tell if the website you are visiting is secure. It means that rather than having the http:// in front of your domain name you will have https:// to state it is a secure and trustworthy website. Having an SSL certificate is essential for your website - it is then more likely to rank higher in search engines. Talk to us about arranging for an SSL certificate for your website.
15. SPEED You need to check your website is running fast so your visitors don’t become frustrated and leave. Check your website speed via free services like GT Metrix or Pingdom. They will not only tell you your speed but also what might be causing your website to run slowly, e.g. large images.. If your website is running over 8 seconds and you have optimized everything (We can help you optimize your website speed) then you may want to consider changing to a faster, more reliable host such as Siteground or our own website hosting services.
16. SOCIAL LINKS & SHARES. If you are not on Facebook then you’re definitely missing out on potential clients, but that’s for another day! I know I like to stay connected and remember businesses so I always follow and share them on Facebook and Instagram. Other customers might prefer platforms such as who Twitter or Pinterest. So make sure you have at least one social media account for your business that is linked to your website and that potential customers have the ability to share your products and services to all social media platforms. It becomes more free advertising for you if someone shares one of your products or services in this way.
17. OPT IN/ CALL OF ACTION/ NEWSLETTER/ EMAIL FUNNEL SEQUENCE. A lot of people don’t buy from you the first time. They might look at your website, remember some awesome products/services, but then leave. 6 months later they think about that product or service but have totally forgotten your business name. They search for your products/services but they come across a similar item online and buy from that source instead. That could have been your sale! If you have an opt-in/call to action button for them to get a 10% discount for first-time buyers, or other ‘carrots’ such as a free guide etc you can then regularly send them newsletters through an email funnel sequence. This means your business will keep popping up in their head so when they are ready to buy that product, they know exactly where to find it.- your website. I personally recommend Mailerlite as email marketing platform.
18. TESTIMONIALS Having testimonials on your website is a great way for a potential customer to read what clients already think about you, while givingthem more confidence to buy your product or service.
19. SEARCH TOOLS- If a person can’t find what they are looking for then they are more likely to leave your website if you don’t have a search tool on your site. A search tool allows customers to use keywords to search for what they want.
20. CONTENT–Having a clear focus of who you are, what you do and how you can help your ideal customer is essential so your website visitors can judge if you can meet their needs. Make sure your website content talks directly to your ideal customer.
21. ABOUT PAGE.Yes, it’s scary as hell to put yourself out there. I have spent over 9 years being hidden away, not wanting anyone to know my name or what I look like. But if someone connects with you then they are more likely to use and recommend you in business. So add a photo and include some personal information on how you started the business, your experience and even some details about your hobbies, fave food etc. Since doing this, my own business has doubled.
22. GENERAL SETTINGS. Check all your settings are correct (WordPress users click on Settings and General in their dashboard) from tagline, email address and time zone settings. Also under Settings and Readings make sure ‘Allow Search Engine Indexing’ is unticked.
23. PERMALINKS To make sure your website is user and search engine friendly it’s best practice not to use numbers or dates in your page and post URLs WordPress users can go to Settings and Permalinks in their dashboard and make sure the common setting is set as ‘post name’.
24. CLEAN UP. To save clutter remove all pages and posts that are not being used, e.g. sample and demo content, as your sitemap will otherwise be filled up with unnecessary pages and posts. Check and remove unused images as well, as this will help to clean up the disc space of your website. Also go through and disable and/or delete unused plugin functions as this will also help to speed up your website.
25. MOBILE FRIENDLY. Test that your website is mobile friendly and looks good on different browsers. Google has a free mobile-friendly test available at https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly and using a tool like Browsershots is very useful.
26. MONITORING. It’s good practice to set up an uptime monitoring service. This basically alerts you when your website is down. No hosting provider can guarantee 100% uptime so once in a while they may have a glitch meaning that your website is down for a few seconds. downnotifier.com offers a free service to monitor your website.
27. BROKEN LINKS. We often change page names and links so it’s a good idea to check for broken links. Google Search Console will alert you of these but I also love using https://error404.atomseo.com
28. FORMSYou should double check that all your forms work properly, from contact forms through to booking forms and shopping carts. This helps to avoid frustrated customers.
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