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Does Your Website Pass the Test? How to Evaluate Your Status

Does Your Website Pass the Test? How to Evaluate Your Status

We all know that websites play an important role in any business today. But the majority of us only know we need them, maybe what we want them to look like or say. It’s another thing entirely to understand how to do that properly...in a way that will deliver the results we need.


That’s why you hire experts to do it for you, right? Well, it’s still smart to know the basics so you can pick those website experts even more wisely. And know what to watch out for.


SIDE NOTE: My experience with websites extends back to 1999. I started playing around with search rankings in the early 2000’s and ran an Internet marketing company for a few years (we specialized in building websites and marketing them using SEO, SEM and VSEO). I say all that to say this: I’ve learned some things along the way and I believe in sharing! So here it goes...


Choosing Your Domain Name

If you already have a website, you have a URL that looks like www.myurl.com. You can purchase these on Godaddy.com. A quick, easy way to get them cheap is to first search for “cheap domains” and click the Godaddy ad for $0.99/domain.  


Whatever you do, don’t let your website provider purchase your domain. They could get bought out, go out of business or, worse, keep your domain if you try to leave them (sadly, a common practice in some industries). It’s not a good choice, and I wouldn’t recommend it.  


Finding Your Host

After you have your domain, you need to find a hosting company. Hosting typically costs about $10/month.


If your vendor is building your website on their content management system (CMS), then you will probably host it on their servers. Ask questions like “what’s your up time?” and “what’s included in my hosting package?” Up time and speed are the most important.  


8 More Tips for Building Your Site

When you’re ready to build your website, pick the company or person very carefully. Here are eight points to keep in mind when evaluating your current site and/or those possible providers:  


  • Know the importance of a clean code (and having it checked). Your website’s code is basically what makes your site act and look like it does, and small errors can negatively impact your SEO and user experience in general. Make sure your provider takes this seriously! (Check your website for errors here: http://validator.w3.org/) or in your Google webmaster tools.

  • Stay away from frames and iframes (inline frames) because they usually aren’t mobile friendly. The use of frames is still common with but not recommended.

  • Look into a responsively designed website. This will make your site easily accessible on any device used to access the Internet, including tablets and all sizes of mobile phones. A good mobile user experience is something you can’t ignore: 30 - 40% of your website traffic is mobile and growing!

  • Make sure the CMS used will allow you to update your website easily. You should be able to change images, update content, add videos, etc. (or at least have a plan to make quick updates as needed).

  • Get experienced help to take advantage of keyword research, especially long tail keywords and everything needed to stay current with Google’s latest requirements.

  • Don’t discount content. Have you heard the phrase, “content is king”? It’s true when you consider how it can play into your SEO results and provide prospective residents with the information they need in a professional, friendly manner.

  • Along with good website copy, don’t forget about blogging. It may not seem like a big deal to you, but fresh content is key to your SEO success and blogs are a great way to do that. (Hint: Think of a blog like a form of social media and don’t make it all about you!)  

  • Optimize your website to convert website visitors on both desktop and mobile. A decent amount of  conversions (calls, chats, texts, emails attributable to your website) is about 1 - 5%. Key to maximizing this percentage is making it super easy to take the action you want visitors to take: Make the call to action prominent, add click-to-call numbers on your mobile website (and click-to-text options, especially for millennials), etc.


Above all, hook up with a company that has interest in your success. Obviously, they have to pay their developers and, no matter how big or small your request, it takes manpower to get it done. That said, your website provider, designer and/or developer should be willing to work with you to meet any special needs. You are the customer after all.

As a vendor myself, I expect to be held accountable for my product and the support of it. I think every vendor should be held accountable to the same standard of excellence and integrity...so good luck and choose wisely!

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