EP 2 – What is a website?
Martin Mills: [00:00:01] Hello and welcome to the online concept podcast. I’m your host Martin Mills and this is your regular dose of everything online websites and technology. Please stay tuned for our latest podcast. And don’t forget to like us on Facebook or join our Facebook community to keep the conversation going.
Martin Mills: [00:00:18] Welcome to Episode Two of the online concept podcast. In this episode we’re going to look at things like what is a Web site how you go about getting one and things to look out for when you’re getting a website built.
Martin Mills: [00:00:30] So your website is a collection of related web pages including multi-media content typically identified with a common domain name and published on at least one web server.
Martin Mills: [00:00:40] So there are several components that go into making a web site. The first one is your web pages. So these are all of your written content and audio visual components such as video and audio. A page is the space that displays this content to the world. A Web site is the collection of these pages. Think of it as the house your business lives in online.
Martin Mills: [00:01:02] Next up we have a domain name. Think of your domain name as your web site’s version of a postal address. It is your web site’s unique address on the Internet. There are more than 1500 types of domain names available. In Australia your most common domain name is .com.au or .net.au. If you are a not for profit organisation it may be .org.au but there are also a whole pile of generic names, so our parent company Conceptual Creative use a .design for their domain name. There are photographers that I know of that use .photography for their domain name. There is lots of options available to you and it really comes down to choosing the best domain name for you and your business.
Martin Mills: [00:01:49] So the next thing we need to have in order to have a web site is a web server. so keeping with the analogy of a domain being your web site’s postal address then the web server is the block of land that the house is built on. So there is a lot of things that you need to look for when you’re looking for a web server and we will cover that in a separate podcast because it is really quite an in-depth topic and there are so many different options available to you.
Martin Mills: [00:02:16] Finally and the most recent addition to this list of things that you need as part of your website is an SSL certificate. Recently Google and other big companies started aiming for a safer online experience for everyone. This forced website owners globally to secure their websites better with SSL certificates. An SSL certificate in the scheme of things is the guard dog protecting your business online. So there’s lots of different types of SSL certificates and we plan on covering that topic as well more in-depth in a different podcast. Because there are SSL certificates that might be suitable for just a small business web site. Then you’ve got different levels of SSL certificates and different levels of validation and all it boils down to really is the type of data that you’re wanting to protect on your Web site and how you plan on protecting that data, and whether you’re going to protect it effectively or whether you’re just going to cover the basics. So obviously we’ll look into that in more depth later so stick with us and in a second we’re going to talk about the key website types available to you as a business owner.
Martin Mills: [00:03:28] There are many different website types available but today we’re going to talk about the three most common website types the three most common types of websites are blog style, Business style and e-commerce style.
Martin Mills: [00:03:43] We are going to discuss these a little more in depth so that you can sort of think about which type of website is going to best suit your needs. So blog style, this style website is all about regular content so the whole basis for the website is about providing regular consistent content around a specific topic. Your blog might be about your travel adventures your recipes and cooking prowess or it could simply be about your business and industry. A blog style website is a great way to build credibility and to position yourself as an expert in your field.
Martin Mills: [00:04:18] The next type of website we’re going to look at is a business style. The most common style of website for a business is a business website. Typically this is a website made up of between 5 and 10 pages that are all about the business and what it does.
Martin Mills: [00:04:33] Traditionally business websites didn’t have a blog. However as the need and thirst for regular content has grown this has changed so many business websites now have a blog style web site partly incorporated into the main website.
Martin Mills: [00:04:50] So the next type of website is e-commerce style as traditional shopping has changed at such a drastic rate smart business owners are looking to the internet to fill the shortfall. This has seen a rise in e-commerce solutions online. Many conventional brick and mortar stores now sell more products online than through their shopfronts. This style of online selling has caused big companies like Myer and David Jones to change their strategies. So an e-commerce style Web site may suit your business depending on what market you’re in. So in a service based industry typically you wouldn’t need an e-commerce style web site unless of course you had a mixture of service and products.
Martin Mills: [00:05:33] But an e-commerce style Web site can be great for people even authors, For example where they have a book that they want to sell, or it could be a bricks and mortar store that currently sells computer parts they might need to branch out and start selling computer systems and parts online. So an e-commerce style store can be a great way to increase the revenue into your business and it also has the benefit of it is open and available for your clients to come and purchase from you 24 hours a day seven days a week. So even when you’re asleep your business can be generating revenue.
Martin Mills: [00:06:11] So the most common style as we said before is the business style and that incorporates a blog. Now one of the biggest tips if I can give you this right now is to make sure that if you’re going to incorporate a blog, it doesn’t matter whether you release an article daily weekly or even monthly. What is important is that it’s consistent. So don’t start a blog. If you don’t plan on making sure that you’re putting content out regularly.
Martin Mills: [00:06:41] Just the other day we put out a bonus podcast about 10 things to watch out for when you’re getting your website built. So what we’re going to do here is I just want to go through those 10 things real quickly with you, but I highly recommend if you get a chance to jump on to the website at www.theonlineconcept.com.au and check out that podcast but my top 10 things to avoid when getting your website built.
Martin Mills: [00:07:10] 1. Not delivering your message clearly. So make sure that whatever message you’re trying to deliver through your website is clear and easy to understand.
Martin Mills: [00:07:19] 2. Not having a mobile friendly Web site, currently more than 50 percent of all visitors to your website are likely to be on a mobile device of some form whether that’s a tablet or a mobile phone. So you need to make sure you cater to them otherwise you’re going to be leaving money on the table.
Martin Mills: [00:07:37] 3. Slow load times. Everybody hates getting to a website and waiting and waiting and waiting. Scientific facts and tests show that the longer somebody waits the more likely they are to leave your website and not purchase from you.
Martin Mills: [00:07:53] 4. Using two smaller font size is number four on the list. And we all know how hard it is to read really fine print when it’s on a website. Just make sure that the font sizes are all a good easy to read size because not everybody has perfect vision.
Martin Mills: [00:08:10] 5. Opening too many links in new windows. I understand it’s important that sometimes you’ve got a P.D.F. file or if you’re a cafe you might have your menu done on a P.D.F. and it always works out better if you can open it and print it out as a P.D.F. file in a new window. But please make sure you’re not opening links in new windows just for the sake of it. Because on a mobile device it’s a lot harder to find where the previous window you were on is and that could mean that people are leaving your site without finding the information they came to get.
Martin Mills: [00:08:43] 6. Driving traffic away from your Web site. It’s very easy that if you put your links to social media or other things up in the top part of your website that people are going to click those and go to your Facebook account or your LinkedIn page and then they’re not going to come back to your website, and your website is where all the information is so why are we sending them away people. Just be careful and make sure that people can’t easily just click to leave your site and not come back.
Martin Mills: [00:09:15] 7. Hiding your navigation it’s all the rage to have the little hamburger menu that’s the three little lines up in the corner which is for mobile devices. So you know when somebody comes to your website on a mobile device they’re not seeing all your menu running down the page they just click the little hamburger menu and up comes the the menu and the navigation but it’s become a bit of a trend lately and look personally I don’t like it. Some people might like it and those people are putting that as the main navigation on their website and it just doesn’t work. You know people are used to clicking it on a mobile device but on a desktop you’ve got all that screen real estate guys use it.
Martin Mills: [00:09:54] 8. The next one is using small links and buttons. I don’t know whether you’ve been to these types of sites or not but a lot of classifieds sites have hundreds of links down the side of the page and whilst they are fine and dandy on a computer screen because you can guide your mouse over them and click them if you’re on a mobile device it becomes almost impossible so you may as well just hit five random links in one finger press and you know it’s pot luck as to what you’re going to get there.
Martin Mills: [00:10:21] 9. On the list is not using headings correctly so Google reads like we do. It comes along. It looks at a heading and it says okay the next few paragraphs of text that I read are going to be to do with that particular heading. So if you have a page of text and it’s 700 odd words long with no heading Google’s going to think well I guess the whole lot belongs to the one page and the one topic and it’s not going to rank your Web site as effectively as it could. So if you’re going to use headings make sure that you use them effectively and make sure that you use the right heading for the right scenario.
Martin Mills: [00:11:00] 10. Finally and as we covered in the first little section of this podcast not having a security certificate in this day and age ninety nine point nine percent of hosting comes with an SSL certificate for free and you can always upgrade to a better quality SSL certificate for a few dollars a year. So make sure you’ve got a security certificate available.
Martin Mills: [00:11:26] Okay so in the last segment we talked about the Top 10 Things to avoid. Now I’m going to tell you my top 10 keys to the success of your website so listen carefully because I’m only going to say them once.
Martin Mills: [00:11:37] 1. Number one improve and measure your load times. If you’re getting a website built make sure that it is speed optimised to load as quick as possible. Did you know that more than 60 percent of people surveyed expect a website to load in 2 to 3 seconds. On another point did you know that more than 80 percent of the world’s websites load in more than 8 to 10 seconds. So if you could optimise your website down to 2 to 3 seconds you’re instantly doing better than most of your competitors.
Martin Mills: [00:12:15] 2. Optimise your images and media. So if you’re going to have lots of images on your website make sure that they’re compressed appropriately. This will also make sure that your load speeds are quicker. If you’ve got video or audio on your website embed them from a platform such as YouTube for video or any of the podcasting type media storage places because they are optimised to deliver that content in a fast and timely manner.
Martin Mills: [00:12:47] 3. Write good engaging and lengthy content. Typically Google looks for good quality content that needs to be written well it needs to be engaging and it needs to be human. You can’t go stuffing it with key words and things like that. But ultimately if you want to get a good decent Google ranking for your page you need a minimum of 350 words. But hey I’d recommend going for 700 plus, the more words you’ve got, Yeah, Don’t go too long because people are going to go well I don’t really want to read it but if it’s good quality content people will read it no matter how long it is.
Martin Mills: [00:13:25] 5. (oops I can’t count) So the next thing we’re going to look at is number five track your visitors with analytics. So make sure your web site is hooked up to Google Analytics and any other types of packages that can collect that data for you.
Martin Mills: [00:13:39] 4. And i just realised I skipped over number four which is really important and that’s right content for your target market. So if your target market is mature age people over the age of 50 who are looking at re-entering the workforce don’t be writing content for 18 year olds they’re not going to understand it and it’s not going it’s going to miss the mark so that’s going to affect your targets your close rates all those things.
Martin Mills: [00:14:06] 6. Okay back onto six use the data you collect for marketing so we’ve just talked about tracking your visitors with analytics. So if you realise that by looking at your analytics that people are visiting your site at certain times they’re looking to their background data is saying that they’re interested in particular topics how can we tie that in to your content to make it appeal to them more. Another good thing about it is if you’re collecting those analytics and your content is missing the mark you’re going to see that you’re getting a lot of connections from people who aren’t in your target market and you’ll be able to look at that data and go right. I need to adjust this to make it make more sense for the client that I’m actually aiming for.
Martin Mills: [00:14:51] 7. Capture, nurture, convert, and close. We need to capture leads, we need to build a list and we need to nurture them all the way through to conversion and then finally closing the sale. So you need to think outside the box. What is the best way we can capture somebody’s details what can we give them for free, that will make them want to give you their e-mail address and their name or if you need a phone number their phone number, and then how are we going to get them through all the way through to closing the sale.
Martin Mills: [00:15:27] 8. So the next one, Number eight own the lead and save your money so a lot of people run the mistake of jumping onto Facebook and paying for advertising. You know I’ll just go boost this post for twenty dollars that’s useless to you if you’re not collecting any data from it. If you boost a post and people go and then sign up to your list on your Web site well that’s okay because once they’ve signed up to your list it cost you nothing other than your e-mail list software to be able to reach out to those clients again. And if you’re just starting out like many of the people listening to this podcast are jump on to MailChimp. It’s not our favourite platform we prefer active campaign. But MailChimp does have a free tier so it’s always a great place to start out and then later down the track if you need something more advanced. You jump onto something like active campaign or there’s a few others out there.
Martin Mills: [00:16:22] 9. So the next one. Number nine website maintenance is your key to success. So we are really firm believe is that people should be using platforms like WordPress as opposed to Wix and Squarespace and there’s a whole pile of them out there. The reason we suggest this is because those platforms if they decide to turn their servers off tomorrow. Where’s your website. You don’t own it. They do. You might have put hours and hours and hours of work into it and they can just go bankrupt tomorrow and your website is gone. So we always recommend building your own web site. Getting it done through a professional and then making sure that that Web site is maintained regularly. Think of it this way when you purchase a website for your business you’re investing in your online marketing and the future success of your business. So imagine you go out and buy a brand new car do we drive it off the lot without buying insurance. Well website maintenance is kind of the insurance for your website. You can do some of it yourself and you know that that’s all good. We do recommend having a look at companies that can provide a web site maintenance package where they take all the risk they do all the updates and you get your website maintained and finally choose the right platform for success.
Martin Mills: [00:17:39] 10. We touched on this a little there but I mean seriously if you if you really need to go down the path of platforms like Wix and things like that just remember those platforms. Are not necessarily here to stay. You do not own your own web site when it’s on there and not the biggest one. Later down the track when you outgrow that platform your website will need to be completely rebuilt into a platform say like WordPress or Joomla or any of those because platforms like Wix and Squarespace are completely incompatible. With mainstream platforms that aren’t drag and drop on line builders.
Martin Mills: [00:18:22] So there you go. That’s my 10 tips to success and I’d love to know if you can think of any more please put them in the comments below the podcast on our Web site. And we’d love to hear from you.
Martin Mills: [00:18:37] Okay so quickly let’s just cover off. How you go about getting a website so there are quite a few ways you can DIY build it yourself and use platforms like Wix or Squarespace and I know there’s others out there. You can build it yourself on wordpress.com or you can build it on self hosted platforms like WordPress and Joomla. Now many people don’t know there are actually two versions of WordPress. So for example you’ve got wordpress.com which is a pay by the month subscription service where you can jump on there and build your own WordPress web site with limitations. Obviously some of those limitations get lifted the higher the plan that you’re on. But overall if you’re going to go down the path of using an online pay by the month system that’s the pick of them.
Martin Mills: [00:19:33] Jump onto wordpress.com and utilise WordPress itself because at least it’s far more compatible with other things even though at this stage I don’t know. I’m not a hundred percent sure on whether you can convert that over to a self hosted WordPress site but otherwise my suggestion is to get yourself some decent hosting and install WordPress on it. Do a self hosted WordPress where you’re free from those limitations. It’s just as easy to use as the other WordPress and with WordPress’s new Gutenberg editor starting to come out. Now you’re getting a lot more of that drag and drop functionality that was missing from earlier WordPress versions.
Martin Mills: [00:20:19] Now in my opinion Gutenberg’s not 100 percent ready we’ll cover that in another podcast at some stage. But hey it’s a great step forward and it’s going to be a really good editor. Once it’s you know, had a bit of fine tuning and a bit of a bit of time for people to play with it. So that’s how you go about getting a WordPress Web site.
Martin Mills: [00:20:40] So in this episode we have covered off on what is a Website, We’ve covered key Web site types, We’ve looked at 10 Things to avoid when getting your website built and we’ve looked at my top 10 keys to success and finally how you go about getting a website. My other suggestion is if you have any questions and you’re unsure or hey look, I’m sure you know exactly what you’re doing with your business and I’ve always been a firm believer in, you know, what you do best and if what you do best is build websites then go ahead and build your own website. But if it’s not, hey look, it’s an investment in your business future so why not reach out to a website designer or developer. Shop around, Get a decent price if you need too, but you’re going to get a better product in the end and it’s going to be more beneficial to your business then building your website yourself, in saying that look one thing I’ve always said is to DIY a Web site even using a platform like wix where it’s drag and drop and Fairly simple you’re still looking at 30 to 40 hours of your own time to build that. So my question is how much is one of your hours worth and multiply that by 30 to 40 at a minimum and that’s how much you’re going to be paying in your own time to build a website, plus your subscription fees and you may well find that you can actually get a professional website designer and developer to build that Web site for you for less. So that’s the end of this podcast and I hope you’ve enjoyed it and if you have any questions please reach out to us because we’d love to hear from you.
Martin Mills: [00:22:28] This episode of the online concept is brought to you by our sponsor Conceptual Creative. If you’re a business owner looking for a WordPress website or your existing WordPress website maintained please contact Conceptual Creative. Learn more by visiting www.conceptualcreative.design or call them on 1800 776 463 that’s 1800 776 463.