Building a website can often feel like a one-shot deal – you build it, and it’s done. However, the online world is in a state of flux and taking shortcuts can lead to all sorts of problems further down the line. Read on to learn how you can spare yourself major headaches years later by taking a few simple steps early on.
1 – Make Sure You Have Full Control
If you’ve hired a third-party web designer to build a site for you, make sure that when they’ve finished their work, you have complete control over everything. This means the domain name and hosting should be registered in your details, you should have all the passwords for everything and possession of all the files created during the web design process.
If you don’t have all of this, making future changes to your site will be a lot more difficult than it needs to be, especially if you lose touch with the original web designer.
2 – Be Sensible With Your SEO
The desire to rank highly in Google can lead to people engaging in search engine optimisation tactics which will backfire in the long run. Before you do any SEO work at all, read Google’s webmaster guidelines to make sure you understand what is and what isn’t unacceptable.
In recent years, the search engine giant has been increasingly proactive in clamping down on those sites which engage in practices which breach its rules and sometimes removes sites from its results all together. Recovering from one of these penalties is notoriously difficult.
So looking for a quick SEO boost might work in the short term, but if you’re looking for long-term growth then you need to take a more sensible approach to things.
If you’ve got the budget, look at hiring a reputable SEO agency. If you haven’t, then learn to do SEO yourself or focus on other areas of marketing.
3 – Find Suitable Web Hosting
Finding web hosting can be complex and confusing – there are plenty of top website hosting companies out there and the whole business can get incredibly technical. The web hosting package you choose should be carefully aligned with your business goals and your growth expectations.
If you’re starting off small and targeting steady growth, then you won’t need to worry too much about dealing with a huge influx of visitors.
However, if you’re looking to establish buzz and then launch a ground-breaking product you need to be sure your hosting package will be able to cope with a rapid influx of visitors. If it can’t, you can expect your site to go offline and that’s never good.
Work out what you need and, if you need to, consult with an expert to make sure you get it.
4 – Test as Much as Possible
How would you feel if in five years’ time you were to discover that your ecommerce site’s profits could have been ten per cent higher every month if you’d changed the colour of the checkout button from red to green?
It’s an exaggerated example, but if you’re not testing how users are interacting with your website, then this is exactly the kind of insight you’re missing out on.
Look into implementing A/B and/or multivariant testing on your website as quickly as possible because without it, you’re missing out on amazing conversion rate optimisation methods which could boost your income.
5 – Future Proof Your Website – Back up Everything!
Getting into the habit of backing up your website whenever you make a change is vital. If something goes wrong and your site is compromised, a recent back up can mean the difference between being back online in hours and having to start again from scratch.
Backing up your website on a regular basis might not feel like it’s important right now, but it certainly will if you face major problems.
Guest post by Will Stevens of 123-reg. The company is the UK’s largest domain name registrar and has just launched a new line of cloud servers.