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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.

 

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

Blog Post: Are you suffering from bright shiny solution syndrome?

Are you suffering from Bright Shiny Solution Syndrome

Does this sound familiar?   An online coach encourages you to use a particular tool or service because they do, only for them to change it a few months down the line and you’re a good few money pounds lighter and their bank accounts fuller from affiliate ch-ching?!?

Where are the results?

No wonder you feel peeved off and wondering where are the results that were promised.

What you need to realise is that they are recommending tools and solutions on what works for their business – not yours. It might be the right tool for you now, or it might not. A particular tool might work for you when your business has developed to where they are in your business in 6 months time, or it may not.

I understand there is an element of risk when you commit to a new tool, solution or service. No one can predict the future so to speak, but what if you have not got the budget?  Or placing all your hopes and business dreams on a particular solution? You need to make savvy decisions that yes, will build your business, but will not break it or your bank balance in the process.

So how can you minimise a potential fall against the backdrop of wanting to expand your business?

Discernment, My Dear, Discernment

When you’re presented with a solution you need to come to your decision-making process with an air of discernment. Ask yourself the following questions…

  1. What other solutions are available to me that are within my budget and do what I need to them to do?
  2. Am I scared of missing out?
  3. Will this tool, solution or service really help me move my business forward or streamline an aspect of my business?
  4. Do I have the client or customer capacity that justifies the price tag?
  5. Does this tool or solution align with the business goals  I want to achieve within the next 6 to 12 months?
  6. Can I afford it now?
  7. Will I be able to afford it in six months time?

You need to be really clear what you want to achieve in your business rather than hoping the latest shiny object will deliver the results you think you are after.

To give coaches and internet experts their due, they are keeping up with what works for business and I imagine most do this with a genuine desire to help.

However, it is incredibly easy to get swept away with the hype and excitement.

Don’t.

When you are really clear what business goals you want to achieve for your business – now and what you want to implement in the next 6 months or so, your decision making about the latest shiny solution will be a lot easier and most importantly, informed.

Blog post: Why being a heart-centred business makes content creation easy

Why being a heart-centred business makes content creation easy

You’re a heart-centred businesswoman. You love to work with clients to help them to become their best selves.   You know what you want to do and you know who you want to help. You’re busy refining your message.

From all corners of the Internet it can feel like you’re being told you’ve got to write a bazillion blog posts,  do multiple Facebook Lives per week, write high-converting web pages, post 10 times a day (ok, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, right?!)  …and the list goes on and on.

With so many overwhelming, head-spinning tips, it can be incredibly difficult to figure out where to start and what is the best amount of content to create for your business.

However, being a heart-centred business owner puts you at a distinct advantage in creating content to help you market your business online.  How?

You’re Already Clear On Your Purpose

Well, you already have your purpose for helping people sorted out.  It’s a matter of getting your message across consistently.

If you are struggling to create content, go back and think about your why.  The core motivation for getting started in your business in the first place.   In Plain English, come from a place of who you want to help and why, and tell them how you do that – often.

At this point, it doesn’t matter what platform or content medium you want to utilise. We can all be fixated on trying to find the latest strategy for Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter, but first, you must put down on paper what message you want to get across.  Keep it simple.  A few lines.  Then think about the different ways you can say this and the topics you know that your customers will find useful. This will make content creation easier because you have a point of reference, your North Star and your motivation to hand when fire up Facebook or open Canva.

want to be more visible but don’t have the time?

At this point, you need to figure out if it’s content creation you’re struggling with or if it’s the lack of time, or let’s be honest, inclination.

The Content Alchemist can help you pull a simple digital content plan together.  Take a look at the ways we can work together.

Bonus Tip: Don’t focus on what you do, focus on how much better you can make people feel as well.

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: 4 tips for creating an e-commerce home page customers love

4 tips for creating an e-commerce home page customers love

 

Your home page is one of the most important pages on your e-commerce website.

It’s often the first place a potential customer will land. It’s the chance for you to showcase what you are selling and draw customers further into your website. But if a customer lands on your home page and can’t find what they are looking for, chances are they aren’t going to stick around and will be off to the nearest competitor.

The thing is, you probably love what you sell, you know in your head how fantastic the products are that you sell.  You need a little help making sure your customers find them and realise they love them too.

I understand though, you can get so involved in the setting up of the website. The important points that will make more sales for your business can be overlooked or not realised until you take a step back and reflect on what is and isn’t working.  You may also be scratching your head wondering what is missing.

The tips below will help you create a home page that your customers love… and brings in the sales!

1. Take stock of your home page

The first thing you need to do  – what’s missing? Is the home page really clear about what products you sell?  Can customers connect with your products straightaway?  Take 5-10 minutes out of your day and see what you feel is missing from your home page and what you can do about.

2. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes

Now, this can be quite a fun part of improving your website.

Set yourself a number of tasks that you want the customer to be able to complete from starting at the home page. These could be:

1. find a particular product,
2. make an order
3. be able to contact you.

Now imagine you are your ideal customer who has just landed on the home page of your website.

  1. Can you complete those tasks?
  2. What’s missing?
  3. What information could be added?

Doing the above exercise will help minimise the chances of visitors bouncing right off your website and you’ll gain a greater appreciation of what is called the ‘user experience’.

Always come from a customer perspective when adding content and information to any page of your website.

There’s nothing like being excited to find out about the lovely products your selling and then they land on your website and meh, where are the lovely products you were just talking about? Where are they?!

3. Add your products to the home page!

Which brings me nicely to… don’t t forget to actually add the products to the front page of your website.  I’m often surprised by how often I see an e-commerce website without images of the products they sell.  Don’t be one of them!  No point hiding your products away in the shop section! That’s what people have come to have a look for!

This is not the moment to be coy either! Don’t be shy about putting your products out there. Whether you are showcasing products from different sections or individual products, make sure to add them to the front page of your website!  Don’t forget to include photographs of your products that showcase them in the best light.  Not confident you can do this? Read this blog post about how to create great photographs for your business website.

4. Navigation

Customers are not psychic, you need to make it really easy for them to find what they’ve come to find.

To do this you need to have clear navigation that guides the customer to what they are looking for.  Navigation isn’t only for the top bar of your website.  Your home page is prime real estate in terms of promoting your products.  You can use the home page to highlight different products at relevant times of the year. Or highlight the categories with a photograph of the item you want to promote.

Keep Products at the front of your mind and your home page

Your website home page is your digital shop window.  Imagine how you would dress a physical shop window and then think about how you can emulate this for your website homepage.

The main takeaway should make sure you promote your products on your front page and be sure to keep the customer in mind so they can find what they are looking for easily.

Your turn

What tips do you have for creating an effective home page for your e-commerce website?