Updated: May 23
Most would assume that you simply buy your www.businessname.com web address and then you can start building your online property. But like most things in this adult life, it’s not that simple. Managing your web address online is much more complicated than you think. There are a few main components to be aware of. Let's clue you in on what you need to know about managing your website that most professionals don't like to share.
To have a website online you must have a web address bought through a domain host, a website content creator and manager, and to market and maintain earning site traffic.
Stack Strategies services educate on and recommend third-party providers to service your domain host and content manager. Through Stack Strategies services, we create your custom content that you can later manage.
Most technology companies ask why I operate this way. To them, it's a mistake. Other website companies would rather earn commissions on your domain and build your site through their server charging a few thousand dollars along the way. Plus, charge an extra monthly maintenance fee for service and SEO. That’s why websites are known for being expensive! Plus they could hold your domain and content as intellectual property of their company.
It's a mess if you ask me. That's not my style.
Because of my [Dezaree] background in marketing education, I prefer to empower small business owners with knowledge.
I host online or over the phone consultations so I can learn the business owners’ products, services, and processes. I recommend domain hosts and website manager tools and explain why those tools will work best. My services then demonstrate how to purchase online real estate and create an online presence.
Stack Strategies' position is to write, design, and customize the website, making it work the way we discussed in our consultation. Once we review the site and complete the project, the site becomes the business owner’s responsibility to market, maintain, and utilize. This is the Stack Strategies process because we believe that you should be in charge of your website components.
You just need some help lifting it off, right?
Here are some helpful hints about tools to help navigate these online territories to know ahead of project time.
When you’re starting a website, you can purchase a domain through an online domain host like GoDaddy.com. That’s the best and easiest way to buy a domain in my opinion. Start by searching your business name.
Side note for anyone whose web domain is taken or too expensive. This is because the keyword is taken or too popular. Try these domain-name alternatives out:
Try .us instead: businessname.US
Try a hyphen (I did this one): business-name.com
Try adding your state abbreviation: businessnameoh.com
Once you decide on your domain name, GoDaddy will look something like this:
To purchase a domain on GoDaddy starts at $12 per year. I like to purchase a few years ahead of time to save and for convenience.
Once you get to your cart, I recommend adding the additional protection for privacy and security measures. GoDaddy offers an Ultimate Domain Protection Package for $15 annually which is crucial if you're collecting/exchanging sensitive information. I also recommend adding the email plus to get Microsoft Outlook and other Microsoft tech tools. Side note for anyone following my instructions: uncheck the box for the website. I will explain later.
The total we're talking for the domain is $142 for three years. That's your domain, web security (seriously this shouldn't be optional!), email address, and Office apps on your computer and phone.
When you're ready to launch your website, your domain will need to be plugged into the website content manager. The domain is the address; the website content manager displays the designed site.
While I wish I could say every domain plugging in works perfectly on command, it usually doesn't. Most business owners need to call into their domain host when we're plugging things in during a project. To my future clients: please accept my apologies in advance if you have to make this phone call during our project.
Technology is tough, even for Stack Strategies, and we're marketing experts, not magicians. ;)
Website Content Manager
A website content manager is the place where you build the pages that display your website's content like images, words, buttons, and all kinds of cool things that make up your site. You can have this custom created, but for a small business, I wouldn’t assume you would want to pay for something like that. In that case, we use a website content creator and manager as a tool to create the site.
If you’re new to this game, and you want to get online without picking up a subscription, you could choose a free site like Mailchimp or Squarespace. BUT * cough, cough * the problem I have with those sites is that they do not provide an SSL connection which is a security layer that approves or disapproves of your website and domain. You can buy this layer through your domain host for about $90. You could be applying those monies to a paid website content manager.
That leads us to paying for a website creator and manager... I totally recommend it.
To be forward, businesses who aren’t online are capping themselves to only doing about 25-35% of their potential in production. Plus, it’s a business expense, which you can write off later. If you need a website, you should consider the investment.
My top pick for website hosts is Wix. It is a little more complicated to use, but the possibilities are endless. Plus, you have Stack Strategies to build your site when you invest in my services to launch your business.
Wix has the perfect features for someone who’s looking to use their site as a business tool and resource. Whether that means...
Featuring business specialties
Creating a blog
Building a store
Creating galleries of photos
Adding partner affiliate links
Adding tool integration like Zoom or Emailmeforms
...The sky is the limit.
I love that Wix emails me every time a new client subscribes to my updates. I also get weekly website traffic reports so I can analyze my visitors. And this information is also available to you through an app.
Wix costs about $23 per month for the upgraded account I opted for. There's an additional option for $18/ mo. You can receive 50% off when you purchase an annual package in advance for up to three years. If you’re not a math wizard (which I am not) that comes to $306 for three years. It’s worth it from my perspective.
I even upgraded for the email marketing option so I can email my database from Wix. That’s three years of business, job, and online security if you ask me.
I might choose to build an additional site, and they're even offering the same package for $108 for an extra site for three years. That's HUGE for you multi-business entrepreneurs.
My next top pick is specifically for travel agents on a simpler scale. Travefy is a new tool offered through their itinerary builder site. This type of website is more of a landing page in my opinion, but it really is awesome! It’s a great plus for travel agents because it helps assist with your proposal-to-booking processes.
The forms are simpler for clients and agent use. It can collect client leads for trip requests. It has an awesome digital credit card form tool. Don’t worry about mastering the ins and outs of building these tools up; Stack Strategies can create the perfect page for you using your Travefy account and tools.
To see this website as an example, you can visit this travel agent's site by clicking here.
Stack Strategies has experience with other tools like WordPress, SquareSpace, Shopify, Constant Contact, Mailchimp, Weebly, and the list could go on. They all have great benefits between the bunch. This is where a consultation for websites comes in handy to review all your business needs, pair you with the right tools, and develop a project plan.
While I may be great at guiding you with many aspects of these products, I must insist that I do not have the answers to all parts of these sites. Any specific how-to questions may result in a tech consultation with the website content creator product. Wix and Travefy have awesome support teams available to clients or potential clients, and they are quick and helpful with specific questions!
Marketing and Maintaining Your Website
After we complete a website and teach the business owner some simple back-end site navigation, the website is all theirs! It’s up to them to market and maintain it. What that means is to first plug it in so that visitors can find it.
Here are some great places to start plugging your website:
Social posts (Facebook link or on graphics)
And all future marketing pieces!
Just think – the more places you display your website, the more traffic you’ll get from it. So I love to talk up my site all the time. Plus, I'm super proud of it!
Here’s what I say when I share my website:
Don’t forget to visit my website to learn more about my services!
You can schedule an appointment with me online at stack-strategies.com.
If you want to sign up for my email updates, just visit my website!
You can share my information with your friends by giving them my website! Thanks for recommending me.
For more information, click the link in my bio!
Link in bio!
In marketing, we call these statements "calls to action." CTAs create results. To get great results after you build your website, you need to properly launch it.
Debut your website through a series of online social posts. You should also create a business launch email (another service Stack Strategies does) to call on your clients to stay connected with you and to ask them to visit you online.
By maintain, I mean that I empower my clients to make any updates to their own website. I demonstrate how to add a team member to your contact page. Or how to feature a special event or product. Outside of small updates, other things can need some major additions. My clients can call on me for updates at a discounted rate on their site, if need be, too.
Websites are tricky and I highly recommend finding a professional to help you with your online presence. While these may be my personal tips and tricks in the small business world, I find that these strategies offer the ultimate business solutions for my clients.