Top Five Reasons Why Your Website Is Failing

#1. It’s so slow.

Half of your website visitors expect your site to load in less than 3 seconds and will actually just go somewhere else if it takes more than 3 seconds.

#2. It doesn’t work on my phone.

60% of “visitors-from-searches” (people who don’t know your website address, but found it in a search) are on their phone NOT a desktop PC.

#3. I can’t find what I’m looking for.

Poor menu structure and confusing language are responsible for most “bounces”.  According to Google Analytics, “a bounce is when a person leaves your website from the entrance page and doesn’t interact with the page”.  These visitors don’t click anything, they just go away, usually because they don’t see what they want in their first glance.

#4. I can’t find your address or phone number anywhere.

Phone books don’t exist anymore! The #1 and #2 reason why someone would Google your business is to find your address or phone number.

Also, the best way to build on-site trust is to show you have an off-site real-world existence. Most visitors (and shoppers) will feel more comfortable if they see that you have an actual street address and phone number.

#5. The most recent comments are from last year.

If visitors see that your content or comments are out-dated they will immediately start to question your website – Is this your old website? Do you have another one somewhere else?

Honorable mentions…

  • It says “Copyright 2012” at the bottom of your page.
  • Your links don’t work.
  • You have annoying pop-ups.
  • You have a spelling mistake.
  • I can’t pay online?
  • You don’t have an online contact form.
  • I don’t see any links to your social media pages.

If you need help fixing any of these issues, just contact a Freelance Website Manager here.

Does my website need an SSL certificate?

Yes.

Google has started favoring websites with SSL certification (websites with “https”) over regular websites (sites with “http”) in it’s search results.

SSL certification shows that your website is using encryption to protect users and their personal information.

By January 2017, the Google web browser, Chrome will treat all regular “http” websites as non-secure.

With this in mind, yes, I suggest you add SSL certification to your site.

The actual SSL certificate costs about $150/yr (based on a single medium-size website) or $300/yr for an e-commerce website. You will also need some help from a website manager to ensure the certification is handled properly.

There’s no rush on this, but it is something to consider before 2017.

Common mistakes that small-business websites make

My take on some points made in the article “These Website Mistakes Are Costing You Money” from entrepreneur.com.

  • Poor SEO – “I can’t find your website on Google.”
  • No mobile  – “I can’t see your website on my phone.”
  • No social media links  – “I can’t share your website with my friends.”
  • No website manager – “Your website is a security risk, it also looks outdated or unattended.”
  • No metrics / analytics  –  “Without analytics you won’t know what’s working and what’s not working.”

I think fixing the SEO issue should be #1 on your list, if no one can find you, none of the rest matters.

Mobile is #2, more than ever people are looking for you with their mobile device and your website must support that.

You don’t need a big budget to fix these mistakes, most can be fixed quickly and inexpensively with a good freelance website manager. – Mike

How much does a website cost?

How much does a website cost?

The name: $25 / year

The name: The name of your website is the ‘domain name’. Your domain name should be something that is easy to remember and easy to spell (and your name should explain who or what you are).

My domain name is “FreelanceWebsiteManager.com”

A domain name must be registered and managed by a hosting company. Expect to pay about $25 per year for your name.


The host: $120 / year

The host: The host of your website is the place where the actual files that make up your website are stored (hosted). The hosting company will also provide ftp and email services for your domain name.

Expect to pay about $120 per year for a shared hosting plan. A shared hosting plan is good enough for a personal or small business website.


The site: $50 + $500

The actual website: There are many options when it comes to designing and building your website. I recommend using a Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress or Joomla.

Customizing an existing WordPress theme is the most cost effective way to build a website.

A WordPress theme will cost $50-$75 and customizing the theme could cost anywhere from $500-$1,500 depending on the complexity of the site.


The management: $50 / month

The management: Now that your website is up and running, someone needs to watch over the site and keep it up to date and safe.

To keep your site secure, your CMS (WordPress theme) and plugins will need regular updates.

This type of freelance website management can cost as little as $50 per month.


How much does a website cost? 

$695 to start, then $745 per year.

Good luck with your website! If you need any help or advice, feel free to contact me .

What are my options for setting up an on-line store?

Short answer?

Get a PayPal button!

paypal_logoAssuming you already have a website, adding a standard-account  PayPal button can be a simple solution for basic transactions and invoice payments. PayPal is considered safe and legit by most on-line shoppers.

For a more robust on-line store (with shipping, invoicing and tax options) consider a PayPal Business account.

  • Upside: A free standard account is a simple, small scale do-it-yourself solution.
  • Downside: No real check-out or shopping cart functionality without an upgrade to a business account.

Cost: Free. A Standard account allows you to accept Visa, MC, AMEX… etc. No monthly fees.

Add $10/mnth for customized check-out (Advanced account) -or- $35/mnth for the Pro package!  Fee details.

Transaction fees: 2.9% plus .30 per transaction.

Try Shopify!

shopify-defaultYou don’t even need an existing website. You build your on-line store from the templates available and you’re ready to sell. Shopify will even register and setup your domain name. Shipping and tax options are built-in.

  • Upside: Easy to use. Built-in POS.
  • Downside: Cost. Less flexibility.

Cost: $29/mnth (for a Standard account). Spotify is pay-as-you-go, so you can cancel anytime.

Transaction fees:  2.9% plus .30 for credit card transactions (2.7% for in-person transactions).

WooCommerce

woocommerceIf you already have a website running on WordPress, setting up a your store, invoicing and shipping options can be done pretty quickly (with a little WordPress knowledge – or – the help of a Freelance website manager).

  • Upside: It’s “free” and it’s all yours! The store, the software, everything is on your site.
  • Downside: Regular maintenance and updates are required to keep things running smoothly and securely.

Cost: WooCommerce is a free plugin, however special shipping, invoicing or taxation add-ons can cost anywhere from $19-$129.

Transaction fees: Regular credit card fees apply depending on which payment method you choose (example: Paypal  = 2.9% plus .30 per transaction).

Ecwid

ecommerce-plugins-ecwidTake a look at Ecwid  (pronounced as “eck-wid”, short for “e-commerce widgets”) to instantly add a store to your existing website. Ecwid ingrates really well with WordPress, Joomla and Wix. Store pages (shop, cart, check-out) are created inside your own site. Ecwid also integrates well with your Facebook page.

  • Upside: Ease of use. Lots of built-in invoicing, shipping and taxation options.
  • Downside: Cost.

Cost: A starter “Venture” account (up to 100 products) is $15/mnth (plus 12.50/mnth paid yearly).

Transaction fees: None.


Things to THINK about…

  • Start small. Start with just a few items and grow your store over time.
  • Don’t just sell. Your store should offer more than just your products, you should also provide information about your products, how-to videos, customer reviews and comments.
  • Just having a store won’t bring customers, you will need to advertise (Facebook, Google, YouTube… etc).
  • Be descriptive about your products to improve SEO. Search engines read words not pictures.
  • Hire someone (like a freelance website manager) to keep your store secure and manage updates.

Should you put money into SEO or SEM?

To successfully stay at the top of search pages, you’ll need both SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) working together.

sem-seo-example

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) covers the paid listings that appear at the top of most searches.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) works at getting your website to show up in unpaid search results (organic listings).

In this example, someone searching for a ‘freelance website manager’ would see two paid listings and then the organic listings below.

Paid listings are usually sold at a “cost per click” rate.

Organic listings are determined by a website’s SEO score. Your SEO score can be improved by managing your website with the following considerations:

-have relevant and valuable content
-have no impediments to searchers
-be built for sharing (on Facebook, Twitter…)
-be built for mobile (Google loves responsive websites)
-have a functional layout (easy to find what you want)

If you need help (or free advice) with either SEO or SEM (or both), contact me here.

For more on the difference between SEO and SEM, check out this link at Webopedia.

Looking for a social media policy?

If your organization is looking for a social media policy, take a look at “The Common Sense Social Media Policy”… [source – Sociallogical.com]. It’s a few years old, but still very relevant.

Common Sense Social Media Policy - sociallogical.com
Common Sense Social Media Policy – sociallogical.com

#1, #2 and #10 are points we talk about all the time (we call it ‘being a good friend’). When someone invites you into their social circles, you can’t go all hard-sell and expect they will keep following you. Be nice, be a person (not a company) and just be yourself.

Read the whole article and I think you’ll agree, this might just be the perfect social media policy for any organization.