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You've completed the website-build phase and your website is now live. That has to be a great feeling. At this point, you can do things such as:
Normally, that would seem like plenty of things that you were unable to do beforehand. This is one of the reasons why having a website for your business is so essential.
There are other things to consider. Some could be categorized as “must haves” while others are personal preferences. We have created a handy list of things to consider or check off, now that your website is live.
It's the difference of your URL appearing from this: “http://www.etc..” to “https://www.etc..” It also displays a small “🔒” icon next to your URL. This is a symbol of “secure and safe.” This is what people want to be assured of when visiting anyone's website, especially if they are making a purchase, filling out a contact form, or any other sort of communication with the company.
Meaning that Google has openly announced that websites that are not secured with an SSL Certificate will unlikely be recommended by Google inside of Google searches.
To get an SSL Certificate, you have to sign into your hosting account. That is, wherever your website is hosted. This is not to be confused with where your “domain” is hosted. (although sometimes your domain and hosting are all under one roof, which is fine). Your hosting company should offer it.
Most hosting companies offer one for free for the first year, and usually comes packaged with a new hosting account. Some don't though. Either way, after the first year, you're looking at around $98 a year.
This should be left to a professional, if you want it done correctly. Many things can go wrong if not done correctly, such as having a “mixed content” error. This is when half of your site is protected, but half of it is not. If you need assistance in setting up your SSL Certificate, see our package here.
Inside of your hosting and/or your domain account, you will want to make sure you set your products to renew automatically every year. This will give you peace of mind, as you won't have to ever worry about your products expiring. This could lead to not only your website going down, but to losing your domain, which would make it available to the public.
It's also a good idea to set a reminder to update your credit card information on your account anytime your card is due to expire.
While you're inside of your account, go to your account settings, and just make sure you have the option enabled to receive important notifications regarding your account. With this option activated, you will receive PLENTY of warnings before something expires.
A lot of business owners are still using emails such as “Gmail” or “Hotmail” or “Yahoo” for their business email. An example of this would be: “email@example.com.” Where it could now be something like: “firstname.lastname@example.org.” See the difference?
It's just not a professional look and it could be the difference of you being able to charge more for your services. Sounds like a stretch, but it's true. This is because you appear more established and professional. Below are some reason why some business owners are not willing to let go of their personal emails in exchange for one ending in their own domain, followed by a solution.
I couldn't tell you how many times having a backup of my website saved my life, not to mention my time. There are so many things that could go wrong, so having a backup shouldn't even be an option. It should be mandatory. We tell you how to go about this below:
If your website were to go down, how would you ever know it? How bad would that be for business? More importantly, how unprofessional does it look when a client has to call you and tell you that your website is down.
I've seen cases where a website has been down for weeks, before the owner caught it. No lie. Another negative impact it makes is that Google will make sure to stop showing your website in search results. This is because they do not want to bring their searchers to websites that don't work. Below is an easy way to avoid all of this.
UptimeRobot is the easiest way to monitor your website for downtime. Registering is free. Simply create an account. Once logged in, enter your website and adjust the settings to make sure it knows how or where to notify you should your website go down. Here is the link.
Once you get an alert saying that your website is down, it's time to figure out why it's down. Contact your website designer or your hosting company to get it resolved.
If your contact forms weren't working correctly, how would you know? Funny things can happen to websites. Sometimes doing maintenance updates on your theme, on WordPress or on your plug-ins can cause conflict with your contact form plug-in. When this happens, your contact form may no longer be working properly.
Take the time to visit your website, and fill out a form. Be sure to check that you received it. If you haven't, be sure to contact your website designer so they can troubleshoot the issue.
Your website looks great and you are proud of it, but have you checked it on your mobile phone? Did you REALLY REALLY check it?
Most people are now finding your website via their mobile phones. Just because your website looks great from your laptop, it doesn't mean that the mobile experience is just as great. As website designers, we have to make sure that things “break down” properly once the screen size goes down. This is known as having a “responsive” website. Meaning, the website is responsive to any screen size.
Visit your mobile website and go page by page. Click on buttons, navigate to other pages, fill out forms, click on buttons. You may just discover that something is not working as it should. Put yourself in the shoes of a customer. Is it easy to get the information they are seeking? Are the words easy to read? Are the images fitting within the screen? All these things can have an impact on your customer's experience.
It's an everyday threat, and the weakest of websites fall prey to Malware. Malware does not discriminate, it has no idea who you are. It just goes from site to site hoping a website lets them in. Once the website is injected with Malware, you are unlikely to know right away.
Malware can create new pages on your website filled with spam, and you will never know it. Malware can cause things to break, and detecting or fixing it can become very difficult once the damage has been done.
For a yearly fee, your hosting company may offer a Malware protection plan. This plan offers a worry-free service, by monitoring for Malware, creating backups, and eliminating harmful files injected into your file folders.
Plug-ins such as Wordfence and Jetpack are great options to take care of your website. If you have reason to believe that your website is already infected, such plug-ins can scan your files for you and find them. The last thing you want is to have to deal with a virus in your website, believe me.
If you have a WordPress website, chances are that there are a number of plug-ins that were used to build the site. Plug-ins are great. They solve so many problems and can really enhance the website experience for your viewers. But plug-ins are updated by their creators regularly, which means in turn, you have to update them once the creator has made changes.
A lot of the updates that are given to WordPress users deal with site security. Since hackers are always finding ways to break into your website, developers have to find ways to prevent it. By not updating your plug-ins, you are leaving your website vulnerable to hackers and malware. The same goes for the theme/template used to build your website and for WordPress itself- all offer regular updates.
Your website designer may offer affordable monthly maintenance plans, where they can make sure your site is always updated, amongst other things.
A large misconception is that once your website goes live, Google (And other Search Engines such as Bing and Yahoo) will somehow magically discover it and decide to bring your website to their search results, making it easy to find your website. It doesn't work that way.
Many, many things have to be done just to get your foot in the door. There are so many things, that I will explain it all in another article. What's worse, a lot of website designers are not skilled in this area. Their main focus is on the design and layouts of your website. So you cannot leave this up to them.
Another misconception is that optimizing your website should go hand in hand with building the website. Wrong again. Search Engine Optimization (or SEO for short) is a science all in itself. Therefore, it requires a lot of work that is completely unaffiliated with the website build.
As the saying goes, “What good is a website if no one can find it?”
After your website is completed, find yourself a reputable SEO agency or technician who has at least 5 years in the business. Make sure to ask them for examples of their work, and be sure to read their reviews.
Stay away from agencies who offer contracts only, as you do not want to be locked in with an agency who does not deliver.
Finally, be sure to understand what all is involved, how long it takes to work, and what the process is like. SEO is not an overnight service. There is no “instant gratification.” Your competitors took many years to establish themselves before they got to be number 1. You'll have to start where they did. If you have a reputable SEO agency on your side, you may get there faster than you think.
Learn more about our Search Engine Optimization Services.
Recently we had a business owner reach out to us because the number of phone calls they were used to receiving suddenly took a nose dive. It was something they were aware of, but it took them a long time to actually do something about it. Since they never set up analytic tracking on their website, they were unaware of the cause and blamed the lack of business on other things, such as their marketing and customer service.
They then decided to do a Google search for their business and to their horror, nothing showed up! For many years, they enjoyed good search rankings and perhaps took it a bit for granted. Now that their focus was on the subject, they were looking for answers and solutions.
We took on the case and began monitoring the website to find deficiencies. From the outside, everything seemed fine. The website was there, it was running and everything seemed to work.
We then began monitoring the site for a period of 10 days, checking for any kind of activity. By doing so, we discovered that the website would “blackout” every few hours or so, but very consistently. As an example, the website would crash (go offline). It would go down for about 15 minutes, then it would go back up again. After we pulled our reports, we were surprised to find out that the website would crash, and come back on, about 30 times a day!
This kind of problem is hard to detect, because at any given time, you can visit the website and see that it was working. But when you weren’t on the website, it would be easy to miss that the site would go offline, then back online, multiple times a day.
With so much disruption, it was no wonder that Google eventually caught on, and decided not to list the website into their search results. After all, Google only wants to show the best websites to their searchers. If a website is flawed, or is causing errors, they leave it up to you to fix it, but in the meantime, they will blacklist you until you figure it out.
We reached out to the website hosting company and found out that their servers were having problems which they thought they resolved, but apparently forgot about our client. After some time, they were able to resolve all the issues, and the site was no longer having disruptions.
If you are not monitoring your website, things like this can happen to you. Your website could be down for a few days, and you may not even know it’s happening. We were eventually able to get the website back to good ranking positions on Google searches, but a good lesson was learned.
There are tools out there that help monitor your website. But even if you discover that your website is down, you most likely wouldn’t know what to do about. At Webstuffguy, we can take over the burden of making sure your website is always running at 100%. We offer monthly maintenance packages that include online monitoring, as well as upkeeping your website with plug-in updates and much more.
It’s the warning sign that makes your heart skip a beat, especially if it’s your website showing the warning. What is an SSL Certificate, why you need it and what you should do about it.