What’s Involved in Owning a Website?

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There’s a very common misconception that picking a web address and building a website on top of it automatically means fortune and fame are secure thanks to this newfound worldwide reach. The potential is there, of course, but, just as it is for brick and mortar storefronts, people have to be made aware of your presence. And too, like a physical location, there’s basic maintenance involved as well. Let’s take a quick look at the realities of owning a website.

So, you’ve decided on a domain name and are ready to stake your claim. For this first step of registering your domain name we recommend visiting GoDaddy.com for the simple fact that they’re amongst the cheapest and also have excellent phone support. Of course, you should be aware that GoDaddy will try to up-sell you on a lot of other products you don’t need, but if you stay focused you should come out having spent only $10.00 to reserve your domain for the year. Also, we highly recommend you sign up for auto-renewal; we’ve seen many clients lose their domain address as the renewal deadline passes. There’s potential for someone to buy it at that point to either build their own site upon it or hold it for sale – regardless, if you are able to get it back it will very likely cost more than the $10.00 you’d have spent otherwise.

Step two involves finding a host for your website. Essentially, this is where the information for your site is stored, generated and accessed. Thermo Studios is happy to offer hosting to our design and marketing customers through the highly reputable Rackspace data centers. Secure, reliable and easy to use, this no-nonsense hosting solution is one that’ll keep you happy by simply keeping you from having to think about it.

Visual Design
The look and design of your website is more than mere formality, this is your opportunity to show your professionalism and build trust with your style. Even beyond the all-important first impression, it’s crucial to consider that the layout and structure of your site is truly the pathway visitors take to your end goal. We build with this in mind, this guiding hand making navigation easier and more pleasant for visitors, ultimately resulting in happier clientele and a higher return on your investment.

Just as pleasant design and well-mapped navigation supply enticing and easy pathways for visitors to navigate, professionally-written content supports the literal call to action that nudges visitors into and on through your sales funnel. When properly coupled with design, you not only make it easier for customers to find what they’re looking for, but to also meet your intended goal, whether it’s in the form of a purchase, filling out a form, or  even a simple phone call.

Content Management System (CMS)
Your content management system is where the customizations of your site are made. We at Thermo Studios build with WordPress, as it’s cost-effective, full of important features and search engine friendly. You’ll have the ability to keep your content fresh with the user-friendly interface, making updates accessible and uncomplicated.

Your site analytics are more than statistics on how many people have visited your home page, at your disposal is insight into trends and patterns that you can take advantage of to improve your site’s conversion rate. Your “conversion” is the aforementioned goal you’ve established for a visitor of your site, and with this in mind you can sift through analytics to see whether these goals are being met, and further, where they aren’t. How helpful would it be to know what keyword phrase a visitor used to find you, their geographic location, and what pages on your site are the most popular in both traffic and time spent on the page?

To keep your site up and running there is some basic, and essential, maintenance to keep up with should you choose to do it yourself:

  • Domain renewal: As mentioned above, neglecting this can result in the loss of your domain name or, at the very least, paying out more than the $10.00 renewal fee in your effort to buy it back.
  • Hosting renewal: Considering this is where all your site information is stored it’s a good idea to find a reliable hosting service and keep current on your invoices. There are many quality services out there with competitive pricing, and we proudly include ourselves as well.
  • Hosting backup: What would you lose if your site went down? Without backing up your site and database you’re unnecessarily risking downtime, information loss and, of course, financial costs.
  • Software updates: Just as web browsers update, so will your CMS, and should you not keep up with the times you run the risk of your site’s performance degrading along with potential security issues.

Amongst the millions upon millions of websites out there, how are people to find yours? What is your plan to drive traffic to your website? There are a myriad of marketing solutions that can be customized to benefit the smallest to largest businesses, and there are also some things you can do to help yourself – in fact, depending on how web-savvy you are one of the first questions to ask should be, “Should I hire an outside professional or try this myself?”

Whatever you choose it’s best to create a sustainable plan, and ideally, have it prepared before even building your website so you can have search engine optimized content installed from the start. Going forward, it’s also good to consider maintaining a blog on your site, which both gives search engines the fresh content they crave along with serving as “link bait”. Links to your site from other websites that contain related content help validate you to the search engines, and in turn, you rank higher and higher as your backlink profile expands.

How Can We Help You?
Altogether, these are merely a gloss of what it takes to keep your website running. Should you have any questions, we invite you to contact us today. Thermo Studios can help get you started and support you and your website as you adjust and expand into the future.

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