Essential Advice When Setting Up A Website for First-Timers

Essential Advice When Setting Up A Website for First-Timers

If you’re one of those people who thinks that designing a website from scratch is a difficult thing to do that requires coding and design skills, then think again. Content management systems (CMS) have created user friendly website-building that can be accessible to everyone, even when you don’t have the technical knowledge. There are many tips to make your business more professional and one of these is to have an attractive website to entice new customers or readers about what you have on offer. But, where do you start? Here’s some advice for first-timers thinking of starting a website.

Which CMS and hosting company to use?

Your first decisions are going to concentrate on which CMS and hosting company you should use. There are many to choose from but undoubtedly, the most popular is WordPress. Although all of them offer the possibility of setting up a website with your own domain name for a few dollars, WordPress is one of the easier website-builders to use: templates are fully customized and yet you can adjust them to suit your style and needs accordingly. Once you’ve decided on a template of which many designs are free and varied, and domain name, your next task is to select a WordPress hosting provider to use. Try not to be overwhelmed by the basics of web hosting and choose a faster provider for an enhanced performance.

What are you trying to achieve?

Now that you have a website name, CMS and hosting provider, you next need to plan how you intend to convey your information, images and products, if you have any. By setting out a plan of action, it will be easier to clarify the goals of your website as you delve further into your design. Are you building a website for business? Or a blog site for pleasure? Who do you expect your audience to be? When thinking of the layout of your new website, these are the kinds of questions you should be asking yourself so that you have a clear idea of what message you want to convey to your target audience. Put yourself in the shoes of the individuals who will be likely to click on your website and try and determine the priorities that people want when visiting your site.

How are you going to plan your pages?

This aspect of website building should incorporate a fun element as you create and plan the content of your pages. Think about whether you want to impress your visitors with beautiful images on your homepage, or if you more concerned with providing them with detailed information about what your site is about. Look at other websites who offer a similar service or product and get some inspiration around designing your pages. Remember that once you have uploaded images and information, you can tweak them along with background colors, fonts and sizes until you reach the precise look you are going for.

Creating a website doesn’t have to be a complicated or daunting affair, and once it’s completed your next step is to get it out there for people to see your marvelous creation.

7 Ways To Make Your Site More Exciting

If you’ve recently started to look at your website and think that it just seems so boring, then it may be time for a change. On the one hand, this may be because you’ve just gotten used to it. So you’re more bored with it than anything else. But, it may also be because the website itself is actually boring. And when that’s the case, you may have to worry. Because if you’re finding it boring, the what are your customers thinking? Either way, you don’t have to just leave your website as it is now – you can really change things around and make it so much more exciting.

Sometimes, you just have to get yourself into a position where you’re bored with your website to then be able to change it. Because you’re not always going to be able to see what’s wrong when you’re not looking at the same old things. But, even when you know that something isn’t quite right, you don’t always know what will make it better. And that’s where this post comes in. Even if you quite like your site as it is now, you may take something away from this that can take it to the next level. Because we’re going to walk through seven different ways that you can make your website more exciting.

Do A Complete Redesign

Of course, the very first option you’re always going to have is to do a complete redesign of your site. Because when you think that the site is boring, or it’s just not really giving you the results that you want, you need to shake things up. A great way to do this is to make sure that you’re taking your analytics and really honing in on the elements that need improving. When you do, you should find that the end result not only looks great, but it much more suitable to what your customers want functionality wise too.

Change Your Branding

Sometimes, you’re not going to have to go to such drastic measures to make your site more exciting. If you love the layout and the functionality is perfect, maybe it’s just the branding that needs to be changed. From your logo to the fonts and colors used, sometimes you just need to shake up the visuals you have to make them more suited to your brand identity.

Start A Blog

From here, you’re then going to want to think about starting a blog on site too. If you have a blog already, then maybe you need to refresh your content or start a new series – both can be incredibly influential to your customers and viewers. This should also become a huge part of your marketing too. It can be a lot of extra work, but if you put the effort it, it will pay off.

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Launch An App

How are you doing on the mobile front? If you’re not optimized for mobile at all, then this should be your first change. Even if you don’t know an awful lot about it, you can work with the software companies that do. By launching an app, you’re going to be adding a new dimension to your offering and even be able to target a new segment of customers too.

Use Video

Next up, you should give video some thought too. A lot of customers prefer video to imagery or written content. It can often get information across in a much more engaging way. So definitely think about what you can do with YouTube or onsite content going forward.

Create A Members Area

If your feel like your site is just the same, and that it’s not really offering anything exciting to your customers, you’re going to want to up your game with a member’s area. Not only is this exciting for your customers, it gives off an air of exclusivity. It’s somewhere that you can engage your customers more, and interact with them more – which has a huge benefit to both parties.

Focus On Interaction

Finally, you’re also going to want to make sure that you’re interacting with your customers as well as possible too. And you can definitely use your website to do that. With a great live chat offering, you can often add to the customer experience and make sure that you’re doing everything you can to keep your customers happy, and even improve your conversion rate too. It’s a great way to not only get feedback, but stop customers from dropping off through the sales funnel too.

Online Services That Can Boost Your Small Business

Starting up a small business can be scary! After all, there are a lot of big business out there that have been doing it a lot longer than you have. However, it is important to remember that you are not alone. In fact, there are loads of experts specializing in the areas of business that you may need that can be employed on a job by job basis or by subscribing to an online service without even leaving your office. Read on to find out more.

Graphic design

A very popular service for small business that is available online is graphic design. This may be used for branding purposes, product packaging, or even illustrations and animations for official websites.

Also, due to that fact that most small businesses don’t have the resources to employ a full-time graphic designer, it can be very convenient to pay for an online service project by project.

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Financial planning

Financial planning for your small business is essential, not only so you can’t take stock of where you have come from, but also so you can work towards a cohesive plan for future.

It is also something that you can get by subscribing to a planning and budgeting service online. You can find out more about this by reading posts like this Learnvest review so you can judge whether this service is right for you. Also, you can expect such services to offer an analysis of the issues in your company’s finances, as well as a summary financial plan to guide you on how to rectify these.

Something that for the reasonable fee involved can be a great investment if it helps your company to become profitable.

Marketing

Marketing is another area in which you can subscribe for a small monthly fee and get a professional to complete the job for you. Obviously, the fees included do depend on the type of marketing and the volume that you need.

Online marketing services can be used to god effect to boost your business.

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However, you can expect to have a specialist deal with and manage a single social media channel for around $50 a month. Not bad considering most business view online marketing as the best tool for getting their product in front of the right people, even over traditional forms like TV adverts and direct mailers.

Copywriting

Copywriting is usually an online service that is done on a job by job basis. Small business clients usually pay by the word or a fixed fee for a certain length of article, and you can commission a single piece or a more comprehensive project.

If your small business is looking to engage a copywriter online, then there are two main options. The first is to work with a well-recognized freelancer. One that has their own website and portfolio.

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The other is to use a copywriting company specializing in SEO that has a bank of writers on their books and can usually find the right voice for the piece. Although, do bear in mind that because of the overhead costs of being an independent freelance writer, this option may cost more.

How To Protect Your Site From Hackers In 5 Steps

As an online business owner, you need to make safety one of your top priorities. Hackers are more likely to target small online businesses since these businesses cannot afford extensive cybersecurity solutions.

There are steps you can take to make your website safer, protect your customers’ data, and educate your visitors about online safety. This is especially important for customers who aren’t tech-savvy, such as senior citizens.

Set Up Best Practices And Stick To Them

You need to have a clearly defined safety policy that includes a set of best practices. These are some of the practices you should think about adopting:

  • Determine who needs to access sensitive data and where this data will be stored.
  • Enforce strong password policies for employees and visitors. Make sure passwords are changed regularly.
  • Think about using two-factor authentication.
  • Reset all passwords if you suspect that a security breach occurred.
  • Don’t use form auto-fill if you sell products online.

Updates

Updates typically become available when a flaw is found with a platform, a script, or an app. Some updates will be installed automatically, but you should regularly check for updates and install them.

Keep Your Backend Safe

There are a few things you can do to protect your backend from attacks:

  • Hackers often target admin directories. Make these directories hard to find and change the default passwords.
  • You can make your server safer with a Web application firewall.
  • There are other free or affordable security applications that you can install on your server.
  • Add a Content Security Policy to the headers of your pages. This element will tell browsers not to execute scripts from other domain names. Hackers might try to add malicious code to your pages to execute harmful scripts, but a CSP will tell browsers not to execute these scripts.

Use An SSL Certificate

You can easily obtain an SSL certificate and install it on your server. This certificate will encrypt all the data requested by visitors as well as the data shared with your server.

Once your SSL certificate is installed, visitors will see a padlock icon next to your URL. Depending on the certificate you install, there might also be a green section next to your site name.

An SSL certificate is an important feature since it prevents hackers from intercepting sensitive data when visitors fill out forms or make an online purchase. It also protects their privacy.

The padlock icon, HTTPS in the URL and the green section in your URLs are signs that Internet users know they should look for.

Transparency Is Important

Internet users care about security and particularly seniors need reassuring that they’re safe online. In fact, 85 percent of US Internet users said they wouldn’t visit a website if their browser told them it wasn’t secure. Some users will know they should look for a padlock icon, but others such as senior users won’t know what to look for. This is why you need to talk to your customers about the steps you are taking to protect their data.

If a breach occurs, you need to talk about what happened and the measures you took to prevent more incidents.

Security should be a priority if you own an online business. Take security in your own hands and remember that transparency is key to earning the trust of your customers.

 

Author, Jenny Holt, is a former HR executive turned freelance writer, who now spends more time with her young family and aging, but ever eager Labrador, Rover.

Are You Promoting Vehicle Safety?

Whether you build cars and trucks or sell them, driving home the message of vehicle safety never gets old.

How do you make sure consumers are aware of the different safety features you offer? Even more important, how do you entice them to use such features?

Although you do not want to put fear in the minds of drivers, you do want them cognizant of potential dangers.

So, are you promoting vehicle safety?

Using Your Website to Drive More Business in Your Direction

Pre-Internet, builders and dealers relied on ads and word-of-mouth marketing to make sales. Although those still work to this day, the web changed how making and selling vehicles works.

For example, do you know how backup camera systems offer more safety in the vehicles they ride in?

With such a system, drivers are able to do the following:

  • See other drivers – Even a small fender-bender has potential to cause problems. Not only is there damage to one or both vehicles, but injuries can occur at slow speeds. The backup camera system allows the driver going in reverse to see oncoming vehicles.
  • See pedestrians – It is not uncommon for pedestrians to dart in and out of traffic. This is especially the case when they are in crowded parking lots such as stores and malls. The backup camera system assists the driver in locating those that he or she may otherwise miss.
  • See stationery poles and other objects – Stationery objects can present problems too. Hitting a pole or other such object backing up can cause more than a scratch or two to your vehicle. That backup camera system will show you how close you are getting to the object before hitting it.

In using the Internet to promote the brand of vehicles you make or sell, be sure to have a website that offers:

  • Easy maneuverability – If your site is hard to maneuver around, do you expect visitors to stay long? Review your site to make sure you do not have broken links, pages that load too slow, and copy that is as free of errors.
  • Contact info – There is a good chance some visitors to your site have questions about a vehicle and safety. As a result, be sure that you provide them with easy to find contact information. Nothing irritates an online visitor more than when they have to hunt for information.

Socializing the Vehicle Safety Experience

You also want to be sure that you do not miss out on all that social media offers your brand.

Whether a vehicle maker or one selling cars and trucks; use social media to the fullest extent. This will allow you to reach out to the millions of consumers spending time on social media sites.

Among some of the best ones to drive forward with:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Google+

You should also incorporate images and even videos into your posts.

If promoting safety like lane-departure warning systems, include a link to a video. This helps potential buyers of your brand can see how the system can help prevent accidents.

Last, don’t be afraid to interact with consumers when they leave feedback or question on any of your pages.

By having dialogue with consumers, you are more driven to make sales.

 

How to Successfully Market Yourself as a Freelancer

With social media evolving so fast and with the internet changing in the rate it does, it is practically a business suicide not to have some kind of marketing strategy prepared for your business. However, without a steady paycheck and with the constant pursuit for new clients, dealing with the issue of marketing may seem difficult. Marketing yourself as a freelancer may be a bit tricky, but if you focus, plan and organize ahead, you will soon realize just how far a good marketing strategy can take you.

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Create a Strong Online Presence

You cannot simply wait for people to find and hire you. You need to get out there and expand your reach. There is an abundance of industry-specific forums, blogs, and other communities which are great for developing your marketing skills and growing your freelancing network. Engage in social media and try to leave comments on different blogs, or answer questions on forums. Be helpful and and do not spam the users. When you engage with the community in such a way, you help build credibility for yourself and consequently expand your reach.

Do not Neglect the Social Media

Use social media platforms to build a public profile for yourself. Potential clients and employers will have much better chances of hiring you if you are present and active on social media. Having a detailed LinkedIn profile can significantly boost your client rates; using Facebook or Twitter for self-promotion can help you distinguish yourself from others and build a serious freelancing business. Make sure you are out there if you really want to expand your business and market yourself properly.

Build a Team of Freelancers

Try connecting with other freelancers as often as you can. This may not seem important from the marketing aspect of your work, but as far as networking goes, it really is. When you are engaged with numerous freelancers, the number of potential opportunities skyrockets. With strong connections with freelancers in different areas of expertise, you can take numerous projects and expand your client base significantly.

Focus on Referrals and Outsourcing

Referring clients to other freelancers is an amazing practice, and it both helps create a connection between freelancers and helps them expand their businesses. You can even get freelancers to outsource a project for your client through you and vice versa, so you can understand how a strong freelancing team can be very important when it comes to promoting yourself and your skills.

Incorporate Modern Web Design

If you do not have a website in the today’s market, it is as if you don not exist. This is especially the case for freelancers. But simply having a website does not necessarily mean that you are on track to become extremely successful. You must understand your focus group and you must address their needs. In order to do this in the best possible way you need to incorporate great web design.

Mix Marketing With Web Design

When it comes to web design, it can make or break your business. Good web design can really help you step up your marketing game. Whether you’re a genius web designer or someone who doesn’t know anything about it, there are some simple guidelines that you should follow. Keep your website simple, use responsive web design, test everything meticulously and ask for feedback from everyone. These tips have proven to be extremely efficient when it comes to marketing aspects of your website.

Think About Growth Opportunities

Think about the services you provide as a freelancer and think about the clients you have already worked with. Think about what they would like to see, and consider how that fits in your idea of a website. Do some research and check out what other freelancers from your branch of work are doing. With platforms like WordPress and with the power of Google you can soon understand how the world of web design works, or you can always consult a professional and still achieve what you’ve wanted all along – a better way to market yourself.

Put the Thoughts Into Action

Expanding the business is hard, and finding the best marketing strategies may seem like a nightmare, but all you really need is a bit of time and patience. Focus on building your online presence, and try to engage with others as often as you can. Think of the ways how you want to build your career, whether as a successful individual freelancer or as a member of a freelancing team of experts. Don’t be afraid to promote yourself and your skills, but do it professionally.