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Blog post: Do you need to move web host if you change web designers?

Do you need to move web hosts if you change web designers?

The nature of web design means that your web designer can be here today, gone tomorrow.  What happens to your website when you move on from your web designer to another?  Do you need to move web hosts if you change web designers?

Is this a trick question?

One of the questions a client asked me was if they needed to move web hosts if they change web designers.  They had been chatting to someone in the web business who had advised this.

I, quite frankly, was appalled.

Why?

The client in question owned their domain name AND their own hosting.  The only support they needed was for their website to be updated regularly in terms of content and the website software they were using.

To answer the question above – no, you do not need to move web hosts if you use a new web designer to help you out with your website.

Questions You Need to Ask Yourself

If you’re feeling bamboozled by the techie jargon and feeling pressured to move your website by a potential new web designer, here are a few things to take into consideration.

  1. What type of help and support are you looking for with your website?

    Why are you moving web designers in the first place? Are you looking for help with maintaining your website in terms of updating the software, plugins and themes? Do you need someone to update and add content for you? Both of these?  Or are you looking for a redesign of your website?

    Get crystal clear on what support you need before talking to a potential new web designer – and stick to your requirements!

  2. Figure out where your hosting is currently situated.

    If you pay for your own hosting of your website, say through a company such as TSOHost, SiteGround or GoDaddy – then you DO NOT need to move your website to a new web designer! It would be like handing over the whole shop, the contents and the keys.  As the adage goes, don’t leave all your eggs in one basket.  Question why they are encouraging you to do this.

    That said, if your website is hosted by your current web designer and you’re moving on, then it may be the right course of action to move hosting.  If this is the case, then I would advocate that it’s time for you to buy your own hosting package. You would then hire a web designer to help you move your website if this is something you are not confident in doing yourself.

    Which leads me nicely too…

  3. Don’t hand over ownership too readily

    When you pay for your own hosting – you hold the keys and the content of your website. You get to decide who you give the keys to. If you hand your hosting over to a web designer you are leaving yourself at their mercy.  If they are a small outfit, how readily are they available if your website goes down?  What if they go out of business or missing in action – what happens to – and how would you access your website?

    By paying for your website’s hosting, you are in control of who you give access to your cPanel.  What I mean by this, is that you get to decide who you give your FTP or account details to be able to set-up, move and maintain your website – and when to revoke that access.

Make Sure You Own THE WHOLE OF Your Website

For something as important as your website, I would strongly recommend you are the one responsible for paying for your hosting. You mitigate the chances of losing access to your website should the relationship end abruptly or your new contact does a disappearing act.  The same premise goes for your domain name.  Make sure both your hosting and domain name are in your name or that of your business!

Setting up your own website? Read more about building a small business website.

 

Is your website hurting your business?

Ah, there are so many platforms demanding your attention as a small business owner these days.  Whether it’s being told to post on Twitter ten times a day to make sure you get that pesky newsletter out once a week. That’s on top of all the other stuff you need to do to run your business.

It’s enough to make your head spin and you can see the task of updating your website sinking further down the to-do list. However, could neglecting your website be hurting your website?

What hurts a business website?

How frustrating is it though when you come across a business or brand you love, visit their website and leave feeling wary because of the state of their main online platform?

Out-of-date Content

One of the most frustrating of websites is coming across one that has out of date information, old pricing and a business blog that hasn’t been added to in over 6 months or more.

Out of date content, old pricing and services make you look unprofessional and will leave people wondering if you’re still in business.

Think of your website as your digital shop front window – you want your best wares on show to reflect and show you are a professional outfit.

Inconsistent Content

There’s nothing more frustrating than seeing a website where the content is inconsistent and doesn’t align with the brand or core message of a business.

This could be ill-formatted copy, long-winded copy that makes no sense or is delivered in a way that is more about the business rather than solving the tasks of the potential visitor.

Broken navigation and links

Making it difficult for visitors to find what they are looking for is a sure way to reduce the chances of earning custom and business.

Whether it’s broken links that send you to 404 Not Found pages to menu links that link to pages that no longer exist, trust in your business will be diminished and that potential client will go looking elsewhere.

Getting to the root of the problem

While it’s understandable that you can’t always give your website the attention it needs, neglecting to maintain your website will ultimately hurt your business, especially if you market yourself predominantly online.

While it’s understandable to concentrate your digital marketing efforts where you have the most engagement, it’s incredibly important to have a website that is current.

A website is never a done and finished thing and it’s a business task that is as important to keep on top of as your books or other marketing efforts.

If you’re struggling to keep on top of your website, the next thing you need to do is identify and figure out your main stumbling blocks.

Time

Along with running your business, working with clients or fulfilling customer orders, marketing, keeping on top of the books, running your own business means a never-ending to-do list.

Ask yourself, do you genuinely not have the time to update your website? Or is it a task that you are able to book into your diary on a regular basis? You can update your website on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis.  If you don’t have the time – then perhaps it’s time to outsource to a VA or a content professional, such as The Content Alchemist.

Budget

Ah, but that’s an expense I can’t afford I hear you say.  If this is the case, it may help to think of it in terms of sales. How many products or how many clients could you build or see in the time it would take for you to update your website? The time you spend on the actual bits of the business you love could pay for someone to take the task off your hand, giving you peace of mind that the job is done.

Skills and Confidence

Perhaps you’re not feeling as confident as you like to or the website system feels like rooting around an alien spaceship. Either way, it takes an assured business owner to admit they need help.

Here you need to decide if your lack of skills in this area is something that is not your forte or a set of skills you are willing to acquire.

In the case of the former, and if budget permits, you could look at outsourcing the task.  If you’re in the latter camp, then it’s time to look around at training opportunities – either through local business groups or online, depending on how you prefer to learn.

Your website needs an audit

The final issue may be that you are well and truly unhappy with your website.  You know it’s out of date, you know it needs an overhaul, but you’ve become overwhelmed by the amount of work it looks like it will take.

At this point, you need to bring some order and structure to the process of sorting your website and this can be achieved by conducting a website audit.

A website audit takes an overview of your website. Highlights the issues and shows you the ways to improve your website so that it is in alignment with where you are in your business now and in the months to come.

Your next step

Acknowledging you have a problem is the first step, getting to the root of the issue the second, the third is to take action.  Tell us below or on Facebook what’s the main thing holding you back from updating your website.

Before you go…

The Content Alchemist - 30-minute free website audit for small businessesThe Content Alchemist is offering a FREE 30-minute website audit to small businesses.  Sign-up here to start yours.

If you’d prefer to do your own audit – download the Website Audit Checklist.

Grab your free Website Audit Checklist from The Content Alchemist

Unhappy With Your Website? You Need A Website Audit

I’m guessing that you’ve had your website for a while now and are feeling rather discontented with what you have. Or perhaps you’ve just had your website built, and you’re not too happy with the results. Maybe you and your business has evolved, and you feel what you have online no longer reflects where you are now.

Help is at hand.

Just like it can be overwhelming to get started with your website, it can be just as challenging wondering where on earth to start when you want to take a look at it again.

Why do you need to audit your website?

The thing with websites is that they are a living, breathing entity – just like you and your business. Your website needs to reflect these changes. You see, a website is never truly finished.

It’s like a garden and needs to be tended to and maintained to keep it looking fresh and professional.

You need to make sure the content and information you have on there is still up to date and relevant to where you are in your business today. It needs to work and easy for your visitors to navigate to complete the task they set out to do – to buy from you!

How does a website audit help you?

Auditing your website enables you to take a holistic overview of where you are online and in your business. Your website will more than likely have grown since you’ve last taken a good look at it. Pages will have been added, information and content may no longer be relevant.

An audit helps you figure out if you need a website redesign or if you need a content refresh. Taking the time to conduct an audit will provide you with the momentum needed to get those niggly little bits that have been annoying you sorted, to helping you decide if your website needs a complete overhaul.

How often should you review your website?

Checking in on your website needs to be one of those regular business tasks, like doing your books and updating your social media.

This ensures that content is kept current and potential customers aren’t left scratching their heads wondering if you’re still in business. This could be because you haven’t written a blog post for 6 months, or say, your contact details are out of date.

Regular reviews need to take place on a monthly basis. However, the auditing side of your website needs to take place roughly every 6 to 12 months. This will help you keep track of how well you feel your website reflects your business.

Who Conducts A Website Audit

There are two ways you can conduct a website audit.  Firstly, you can hire a professional (cough, ahem, me) to do the website audit for you. Secondly, you can do the task yourself.  To help guide you through the audit process, I’ve created a handy website audit checklist for you to use.

Grab your free website audit checklist from The Content Alchemist

How to use the Website Audit Checklist

Firstly you need to download, print off, and familiarise yourself with the checklist. Next book yourself an hour in your diary, grab a cuppa and the checklist, your favourite pen, breathe …and begin.

Over to You – Any Good?

Once you have used the Website Audit Checklist, I’d love to hear if it has helped you. Leave a comment below or let us know over on our Facebook Page or on LinkedIn.

Also, make sure you visit The Content Alchemist blog for tips and guidance on maintaining and making the most of your website for your business.

Wishing you the very best on your website journey.

Steph

4 easy steps to tidy up your website

4 Easy Steps To Tidy Up Your Website

It’s on your to-do list. It’s in the back of your mind that it really really needs sorting out. You’re wondering whether you should hire someone or finally get around to hiring someone to do the work, and would it be a web designer or a VA that you get help? …and how much would that cost?

And the questions keep going around and around in your mind for days, weeks, maybe even months and you still haven’t got around to tidying up your website.  Meanwhile, you’ve got a stale and stinky front window that doesn’t do you or your business justice.

Frustrating, right?!?

Get in the right frame of mind

Well, worry no more. Tidying up your website is a bit like tidying up your house. You have to put yourself in the right frame of mind to even start. Like most things, when a task seems insurmountable, it’s best to break it down into manageable chunks of time or tasks, and these are outlined below.

The Website Content Tidy Plan

Step 1: Don’t panic!

Breathe, seriously, take a deep breath. Acknowledging that you need to sort out your website and have the intention to do so is actually the most important step. It puts you in the right frame of mind to tackle the job even if you feel like you’re rattling around in the dark.

Step 2: Identify what you want to achieve

At this stage, you need to think about what you want your website to do for your business goals and clients. Break this into two columns. What things do you want your website to achieve for your business in the next few months? What does it need to reflect where you are in your business today and in the next few months?

This could be new packages, products or courses you want to promote. From a client perspective, think about how you want them to interact and be able to buy what you are selling. Will they be looking for blog posts to get a feel for what services you are providing? Or want to buy what they are looking for and then leave?

Step 3: Do a Web content audit

Here you need to take stock of where your website is today. To do this you need to conduct a website content audit. A web content audit allows you to evaluate the pages and how relevant your current content is.

This then shows you where you need to make changes. In simple terms, these tools help you keep a tab of what needs taking off your website and also what needs adding to your site.

Download your free web content audit worksheet to get started.

Step 4: Make a date with your website

Once you have conducted steps two and three, this step should be relatively easy – it’s time to make the changes.

You need to set aside time to do the work. Go on, open your diary now and put a date in to tidy up your website!

Ok, I understand, you’re possibly breaking under the pressure of trying to keep the rest of your business going. That’s fine – but block 30 minutes in to look around and get in touch with a few VA or content writers (cough! Me!) and ask them how much they charge for updating your website.

If they ask you how much work is involved, you’ll be able to tell them because of the web content audit and the list of changes you want to make.

TIDY UP YOUR WEBSITE DOESN’T NEED TO BE DIFFICULT

Tidying up your website doesn’t have to be a difficult task. Yes, it can seem overwhelming, however, following the 4 steps outlined above you’ll be able to figure out the amount of work needed to be done and also where your skill set needs improving.  Importantly, you will be able to decide if and where you need an hour or two of hands-on support.

Your website is your front window on the Internet. Imagine what you would think if you went to a website that was out of date. You wouldn’t be impressed. You wouldn’t be as quick to buy from them or connect.

Your aim for you is to keep your website fresh and reflective of your business of where it is today. You don’t always need a branding refresh, a new WordPress template or redesign of your website.

What you need is a content refresh.

Updating your content will gain your business more clients and customers. Updating your website content on a regular basis builds your reputation. So make a date with your website and get it sorted.

Sermon over.

Bonus tip – Book Your Website Tidy Up in Every Month!

To keep the website gremlins at bay, here’s a top tip to keep your online presence up to date. Like you would timetable in when you do your books or marketing, book a day and time in your diary for each month to go over your website. You’ll be amazed how much it will make you feel like you’re on top of the job.

The Content Alchemist provides a website audit service for small business websites. If you would like to talk about refreshing your content or need help with planning your website content – let’s chat about how we can work together.

Blog post: Do you really need a website for your business?

Do You Really Need A Website For Your Business?

There are so many platforms to choose from to market and promote your business. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, newsletters and of course, having an online website presence.

It can feel overwhelming trying to keep on top of all these different platforms. Perhaps you are thinking that the website is the most difficult and expensive to maintain and you are considering letting go of or not having a site at all.

In the age where Facebook, Twitter and co, are changing algorithms on what feels like a daily basis, meaning it’s harder to gain visibility in the shared space. Having a website means you are in control of what content you put out into the world and who can see it.

It feels like too much effort.

At first, perhaps, when you’re building your website. Here’s the thing, you can make as much of your website as you want. You could have a three-page website where you share your services, about you and how people can get in touch. Or you can have an all singing, all dancing website with a blog that you maintain on a regular basis and take bookings and payments for services, products and courses.  It depends on your circumstances.

Identifying time and budget needs

Websites evolve. Always. Your site isn’t a done article once you’ve finished building it, or your web designer has handed over the keys. No. The brilliant thing about having your website is that you can make it a central part of (or not) to the marketing of your business. You have full control over how much effort you want to put into it.

If you’re still umming and ahhing about the cost of the website, there are many options out there to get started. While I strongly don’t recommend going for a completely free sit. There are options out there to get you started for as little as £40 a year for a simple website. If you’re thinking, well I can’t afford a web designer or don’t have the skills to build your own – check out the create a business website page for tips and guidance.

Not everyone is on social media!

Gasp! In this day and age, it’s easy to presume that everyone has a Facebook account or is present on one of the many social media platforms. Nope. I know a good handful of people that are not and don’t intend to be anytime soon.

I’ll tell you a story. Recently I asked for recommendations in a Facebook networking group for mobile hairdressers and make-up artists for a friend who is getting married. All of the people who responded shared their Facebook Pages. Of those, about 80% didn’t have a website for me to be able to send my friend too. One person who contacted me personally told me they’d got rid of their website when they had closed their bricks and mortar. By not having a website, the person received no business or referral as they only had a Facebook Page.

I understand though; there is so much information out there about how effective social media is, that having a business website may be seen as old school and not worth the financial outlay, time or commitment. However, it’s still an incredibly important part of your marketing mix. It’s your digital storefront window that enables people to stop by and look at what you have to offer regardless of their social media use.

Do you still need to have a website for your business?

In one word, YES!

Even if it’s a one-page website with your services and contact information, you’re still miles ahead of the next business, showing your clients that you take your business seriously and professionally. Having a website builds trust in your business and also your reputation.

Looking for help with your website? The Content Alchemist has a range of tools and services on your journey to online success.

To your business success,
Steph

Blog Post: 4 must have pages on your business website

4 Must have pages on your business website

Isn’t this a bit 2007?

You’d really think the days of these types of blog posts were banished to websites circa 2007.  However, if you’re a woman starting out setting up in business, you may find yourself with a shell of a website or staring with creeping panic at a blank screen wondering what needs to go on your website to market your business.

Sounds familiar?

Signposting in the right direction

A refresh is needed to signpost those who are either building their own website or for those scratching their heads wondering what do for the best for showcasing their business online.

Websites can have as many or as little pages as you want them too. I’m quite taken with the one-page sites with scrolling sections at the moment, but this type of solution doesn’t always work well for businesses who have a few different strands. Or where a website is to being used as a client and customer-generator, rather than a billboard.

The trick is to optimise the number of pages your website needs

The trick with a small business website is to have the optimum number of pages to represent your business. Too few can leave a potential client wondering what you’re about. Too many will have others reaching for the close tab button quicker than you can say ‘cross’.

4 Types of Pages Your Website Needs

However, if you have a service based or product based website there are a number of pages that can make a visitor feel they can gain a greater understanding of what your business is about.

These are:

1. Home Page

The front face of your business. You need to be succinct and to the point about how you help people with your services and products. Use the space effectively to guide visitors to where you want them to go next.

2. About Page

Strangely, your about Page isn’t actually all about you – ouch! This is your chance to tell your visitors who and why you help your ideal client or customer. It’s the chance to outline the ethos of your business, then you get the opportunity to talk a little bit about yourself – always in the context of your business and how you help your clients.

3. Contact Page

Also an essential page. Now, this is your chance to set boundaries about how you want to be contacted by potential clients and other interested visitors. You don’t have to put lots of ways that people can get in touch unless it is applicable to your business situation. It’s understandable that a freelancer working from home may not wish to give out her private address. However, if you own business premises like a shop, then make sure people know where to find you.

4. Blog Page

This isn’t the same as an individual blog post, which some areas of t’internet like to call a blog (confusing, right?!). It’s a list of your current blog posts that visitors can skim through to get a feel for a) if you’re posting consistently b)  to see if you know what you’re talking about.

5. Ok there’s a number 5 – it’s your service or products pages.

This can be a “Work with…” page or a “Shop” page if you’re a product based business. This page is usually more than one and is specific to the type of business you have.  It’s where you sell your services and encourage potential clients to book an appointment with you or buy a product.

So what are your thoughts? What pages do you think are a must on a small business website? Do you think a website needs more or fewer pages?  What’s been your biggest challenge when deciding what pages to have on your website?

Share your experiences in the comments below or share your thoughts on the Facebook Page.

Blog Post: wait what you have to plan your website

Wait, what, you have to plan your website?

Ah, I know what it’s like… you’re starting a new business or perhaps you’ve been established a few years and someone keeps nagging you to get a website.  You start looking tentatively online to see what all this marlarky is about and before you know if you’ve heard terms like ‘domain name’, ‘web hosting’ and ‘SEO’ and probably a few more terms that makes your head spin.

However, I’d like to introduce to a strange concept – when you first start thinking about your website – you don’t need to buy anything!  That’s right, nadda!  Wait, what?!? I hear you cry, someone might snatch my business name from me. Possibly. But can I ask you to take a deep breathe for a minute.

Don’t waste your money

First up, if your business name hasn’t been taken by the domain gods that be at this point, it’s probably still going to be there tomorrow unless you’ve shouted from the rooftops that you’re thinking of buying the damn thing.  Secondly, you need to have a bit of time to reflect on what your business needs from a website rather than trying to fit it into the solution being rammed down your throat by the well meaning biz people, website software gurus and the likes.  I don’t mean to be flippant or facetious here, but there is a lot of noise out and web designers vying for your hard earned pennies for you to just hand it over without planning and thinking about what you need.

…and the way to avoid costly pitfalls?

First and foremost you need to come up with a plan for your website-to-be.  You need to sit and think about what it is you want to achieve online for your business.  You know those ideas you’ve got whirring around in your head about how you want to promote and connect with your clients – get those down on paper.  These become your website requirements.   These requirements will guide you in your decision-making when you start building your business website.  It help you decide if you need x, y and z or help you determine if it’s just some bright shiny new tool that looks cool, but serves no purpose in helping you achieve your business goals.

…and the upshot is?

You need a plan for your website! Seriously, save yourself the headache, the time and the making of unnecessary purchases by writing down what you want you website to do to help your business become visible and shine the best way you can online.

Need help with that?  I have just the service over here »