To kick off your web presence, first you need a space on the web. Where else will you store all your website files? You need a reliable space on the web. Get your own website space with a cheap domain name and web hosting service from www.xmediadigitalsolutions.com
WHAT IS A DOMAIN NAME?
A domain name is your website address that people type in to their web browsers. It can start with a www or it can just be an address like like ours, “xmediads.rocks” This comes down to preference. When choosing a domain name, be sure that it is not too long, otherwise it can be difficult for people to remember, type in to an address bar, or fit on to your stationary.
Our domain names start from $14.95 for all the common types like .com and .com.au whilst being cost effective for other top level domain names.
WHY DO I NEED WEB HOSTING?
A domain name will give you a web address that people can type in to their browser, but it needs to point to a web server that stores your website files. This is what website hosting is for. It gives you server space on the web to put your website files. No matter what type of website you are planning on building, whether it be HTML or PHP coded, WordPress or Drupal CMS, or something else, your will need a web server to store it on. There are exceptions.
If you plan on using a hosted service for your website, such as Shopify or WordPress.com you will not need to purchase additional hosting, just a premium DNS package. What this will do is allow you to point your new domain name to the hosting service such as Shopify, Wix, Weebly, WordPress.com, etc.
The best web hosting companies on the net are fast and secure, and host their services in state of the art datacenters. This is essential as up-time, reliability and speed are critical for websites. Major datacenters store their servers in quality rack storage, and the buildings have state of the art cooling systems, backup power and generators, fire systems and site security. This is the difference in dealing with a small web hosting provider, and one that has a professional and secure datacenter behind them.
Web hosting providers use multiple datacenters for both redundancy in case of a disaster like fire or a security breach. They also use different locations to ensure that different countries get served website files from the closest datacenter location.
WHERE TO BUY A DOMAIN NAME FROM
There are lots of places on the net to get a domain name from, although we recommend keeping your hosting and domain name with the same provider. This makes managing your account a lot simpler.
Xmedia Digital Solutions provides domain names and hosting, as well as add on products for expanding your brand. Some of these add on’s include SSL certificates, website builders, premium DNS solutions, domain privacy and more.
Buy from an Australian Domain Name Provider and Web Hosting Solutions
With pricing in Australian dollars and support from our Australian based support team, we make keeping your online presence simple and efficient. No need to wait for a call back from a call center in another country, or live chats to people you cannot understand.
Other advantages of buying a domain name or web hosting through Xmedia Digital Solutions include top level support, expand-ability options for future proofing, cheap domain names, global content distribution, and self managed admin panels where you can manage your products and settings.
Not sure if you have heard the news, but Google has confirmed it will be focusing on websites that work best on mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. Mobile devices are used for a great range of things these days from helping in-store decisions on purchases to getting ideas whilst doing something.
As for these new changes, there will be a Google search primarily focused on showing great mobile friendly search results. Although they will still have just one index, it means if your website does not work well on mobile phones and tablets, it will drop in rank for mobile searches. Here is what Google said on their blog:
“To make our results more useful, we’ve begun experiments to make our index mobile-first. Although our search index will continue to be a single index of websites and apps, our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results. Of course, while our index will be built from mobile documents, we’re going to continue to build a great search experience for all users, whether they come from mobile or desktop devices.”
Why is Mobile First Design Important?
Whether its a new or old website, you need to ensure your site is going to both look good and work on mobile devices if you want any chance at all of showing up on Google search results. With most searches these days coming from mobile and non-desktop devices, it is worth putting in the extra effort to get found on mobile devices. How often do you use your smartphone to quickly Google something, from directions, reviews or shopping?
SEO or search engine optimisation is about optimising your website and listings so they show up well in Google search results, preferably on page 1 of Google, because seriously, how many times have you dusted the cobwebs off page 2 of Google search? This change has been coming for a while now, and smart business owners have taken advantage of it by making their websites responsive to screen sizes, or creating a secondary site solely for mobile users.
A website on a mobile device needs to look and work differently to that of a desktop. Firstly, from a user point of view, the site needs to still be easy to read and laid out correctly. This means choosing appropriate fonts and text size. Secondly, most of these devices will be employing the user’s finger or a stylus as the cursor. Your site navigation needs to take advantage of this with appropriately sized buttons and link boxes.
Mobile devices is a broad term and covers many devices. This is why we recommend using a responsive WordPress theme that will change it’s layout actively to suit the different screen widths. Phones are all shapes and sizes, there are Apple iPads in a myriad of screen sizes and displays, as well as other tablets, kiosk screens, advertising monitors and boards, and so much more. Having a secondary site dedicated to mobile is one thing, although it primarily focuses on phone and tablet screens, whilst its desktop counterpart takes care of the big screens. Sometimes there can be an in-between size where neither of these sites look and work well on. Our biggest headache has always been the iPad mini screens. They can be difficult to cater for with some website designs, especially because they need to look good using the device in both portrait and landscape view. #webdevlife
How do I get a Responsive Website?
Depending on what you already have, it could be just a simple upgrade to some code. Other times, it could be worth starting fresh and transferring your website to a new platform, theme or design. We recommend either Twitter Bootstrap or a responsive WordPress theme like Divi from Elegant Themes.
QUICK SHOUTOUT to Divi builder by Elegant Themes. As part of the Divi theme, the page builder makes things super simple, and I prefer the user interface of it more than that of the popular page builder, Visual Composer. The latest version also allows you to build and modify on both the back end and through the front end. The other benefit worth mentioning is being able to modify the screen size view for each module of the page. Perfect when you are trying to get something looking just right on a device like the iPad mini!
Having responsive sizing means that it is coded in to the CSS or cascading style sheet, and your website will include settings for different sized screens. This will then actively change your website’s layout dependent on that screen size.
To do this effectively, we need to ensure that the main navigation, images and text content is easy to see and use on something small like an older touchscreen phone. We also then should check how it displays on something like the latest iPhone with retina display. Images need to look sharp and crisp on all sizes, text needs to be easy to read, and navigation needs to be simple to use.
A RESPONSIVE SITE IS NOT ALWAYS THE PERFECT RESULT. We have seem many WordPress themes that state they are responsive, but using them on a mobile device is woeful! Be sure to always test the theme out and don’t just rely on the package notes stating a feature. After all, you might as well just have a great desktop site that looks half decent on a mobile device than a mobile version of your website that does not work.
What about website size?
I believe that size will play an important role when it comes to mobile first website design, solely because everyone wants everything now, and waiting for a website to load is a waste of time. Attention span? Think Goldfish! You need to make your information accessible as quick as possible. No wasting time on page load or confusing navigation.
Secondly, if more and more people are using mobile devices and phones on cellular networks, the amount of internet data they consume is going to be a key factor. So keep that in mind and scale your images correctly, optimise how much content is on each page, and please…. test it out yourself on an actual phone!
Test your website right now
The first place to start before worrying and planning changes is to check how your site performs currently. Plug in your web address into this Google doo-hicky and it will output a result. More green the better people!
It is quite simple really. Google will have the one search index but will tailor search results depending on the device they are shown on. If your market audience spends 90% of their time on mobile devices, and your website is not mobile friendly, when they do a search for a product or service you offer, you might not get found. But that’s ok, how many people use Google anyways, really?!
Don’t risk getting lost on Google search results, make sure your website caters for both mobile and desktop users. We have been designing and updating websites for business clients across the Hunter Valley to ensure that their web presence is mobile friendly. Most online directories work well on mobile devices. It is no use getting found on these and people clicking through to your tired old non-responsive website. Web is important, and for many businesses, is your shopfront. Make it always look its best. If you need help, employ a professional. My business is always available to discuss your options, and see where you are currently at.
When it comes to good SEO practices and site usability, particular attention needs to be made for website navigation and header layout.
As a website designer, we need to consider these 3 things:
Ease of use on mobile and desktop browsers
Keyword specific labels for services or product page links
Simple to navigate without needing a GPS!
Lets expand on these 3 things and learn why they are important.
Browser and Device Compatibility
When we know that over 80% of people search for products and services on their mobile devices, we want to make sure that when they land on our website, it both works efficiently on smaller screens as well as being adaptable to standard desktop layouts. Consideration needs to be made towards button and link sizes as users will be navigating with their fingers. We can also incorporate mobile only options such as ‘call now’ and ‘get directions’ buttons.
Testing of your site needs to be done on as many browsers as possible. A recent WordPress plugin developer we dealt with only used Safari on his iMac and couldn’t troubleshoot or even acknowledge problems people were having with his plugin on PC desktops running Chrome or Firefox. Don’t leave yourself open to having a terrible looking site. Try all the main browsers like Google Chrome, Apple’s Safari, Mozilla Firefox and Opera. You might want to also try a few different versions, as some people will not have updated their computer to the latest versions.
On mobile devices, test across Apple, Android based and Windows based smartphones and tablets.
Keyword Navigation Labels, for SEO purposes
This is only something we have been doing recently ourselves. As search bots like Google and Bing come to index your website and it’s pages, the first thing they get to read is usually your navigation and header area. In this area, make sure your site contains primary keywords, opengraph and social media data, meta titles and descriptions, as well as links to your main pages.
For example, this site (xmediads.rocks) uses side slide navigation on desktop and mobile devices and rather than the word “services” as a label, you will find navigation labels containing keywords related to what we do. For example, DIY SEO and DIY WEBSITE links tell Google that we help with search engine optimisation and website repairs and builds. Avoid stop words in your navigation titles too.
Keep Navigation Simple
After all, this is why we have menus, to help people navigate our site. Make it as user friendly as possible!
Don’t make drop down menus too deep or ongoing. Make use of subcategory pages if need be. Once again, don’t forget that your menu needs to work well on mobile devices!!
If you have your menu layout all worked out, be sure to choose the colours and text appropriately. Last thing we want is something that looks pretty but is absolutely shit to use. Keep colour choice simple, and make sure there is good contrast, like black on white, or white on black.
Navigation is only a small part of your website, but can make a massive difference to the usability of your site. With people’s attention spans and tolerance levels ever decreasing, don’t let them give up on you from the start of your site. After site loading speed and find-a-bility on Google, navigation is the next most important step!
Getting found on Google Search means being at the top. No one looks at page 2, and with mobile searches getting even more popular than ever, people will not scroll to find you. The top 3 spots on Google search are prime real estate and you have to work hard to get there.
For the sake of this article, I am going to assume your website is optimised with tags, metadata, image sizing, speedy load times, etc. If not, check out this checklist.
What should my SEO Budget be?
There are many factors that go into working out a budget for your SEO campaigns, the main one being competition. The more competitive the search terms are for your product or service, the harder it will be to improve your rank.
We like to start with small and work on the idea of scaling. This also helps build up your search profile with new links, and content. In this case, we will be keeping SEO campaign spend below $2000 AUD.
For any business, it is vital to get found in your local area. This will help you get found on both Google map and business listings, and as you can see on Google search on your mobile phone, this shows up before most organic search results.
Step1. Include a location term with your primary keywords. If you are a plumber in Maitland, be sure to use “Maitland Plumber” or “plumber in Maitland” as your keywords. This will help Google establish where your business is located and the area it services.
Also ensure that your website has your business address listed. We will refer to this as NAP, or Name, Address and Phone.
Step 2. Build Citations and Directory listings. Getting found on Google search means appearing everywhere people look. This could include the map and local business listings Google provides, but also in local directories like localsearch, yellowpages and truelocal. That way, even without your website ranking at the top of the page, you are still able to be found and contacted.
We use our LOCAL SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION (SEO) PACKAGES, that start at $599. This is a one off fee to get started and includes GST. This price is accurate at time of writing, but be sure to get a quote first before planning to go ahead with this campaign.
The Local SEO campaign includes:
Up to 50 online directory listings and updates using consistent NAP
Update of Google Business and Map Listings
Photosharing on search and sharing sites with geotagging and linking
Up to 5 video shares for linking
5 social media submissions
You as the client get the opportunity to supply the images and videos we use, or we can organise this for you. We recommend this package to start with before you continue with link building, as it ensures your business is listed in as many places as possible online. It will also use the same NAP as your website which is important as far as SEO goes.
Building Trust and Authority
So after spending $599 over the first 30 days, we have our business listed across the web, and people can start finding you through local online directories and listings. We also include your map listings on Google Maps and Apple Maps.
To help improve your first month’s efforts, we recommend tacking on a Pay-Per-Click advertising campaign. This will help build some instant traffic to your website, which will both look good to Google, and bring you paying customers. Of course, your website will need good call to actions and usability to convert these into sales, but that’s another article.
Step 3. This is where we focus on content building and creating your authority in your field. To do this, we recommend having a blog on your website with fresh and helpful content, as well as the following link building SEO package, valued at $1900 per month inclusive of GST.
The link building SEO campaign includes:
Focus of campaign on 1-2 primary URL’s on website (homepage and services)
500+ word high quality press release with embedded links/keywords distributed to over 100 authority news outlets. Perfect for product information and updates.
Guest posts to at least 3 top level authority blogs, with links from 20+ social bookmarks & blogs
Drip feed to 50 private network posts over 30 days
5 articles with keyword/URL links and anchors submitted to niche related blog sites
5 new high authority links
50 extra posts on high ranking websites and blogs linking back naturally (no anchor text)
Monitoring of Google Webmaster tools for possible black flags and penalties
We also send all press releases to you, the client, every month for approval and to check the content. We use the primary keywords from your website on some of the external links. Note, we do not give all links to your site keywords as anchor text. On average, 10 percent of links will include your primary keyword in your anchor text, with the other 90 percent using natural link text such as your URL, business name, etc.
By using this method of linking, we help keep it natural and organic looking to search engines. With recent updates to the Google Algorithm, over optimisation of links and website content can work against you when it comes to building rank. The key here is keep it natural. Focus on content and usability for site visitors.
Guest posts on other websites related to your field will help build trust, especially if that website is already ranking quite well. We also recommend having a good mix of external links on your website, as well as these new inbound links. Manage your external links in the same way you would with internal links on your website. Use correct anchor text, with a proportion of them containing your primary keywords. Linking to sites related to your field, product or service will help make your site a hub of information in Google’s robot eyes.
When Jane Smith gets on her mobile and Google’s “find a plumber in maitland” she will get results including:
The key here is to be everywhere. By having the local listings, Google Business listing, Google and Apple Maps listings and a paid advertising campaign in action, you will at the least, show up for the top 3. Good content and linking created with our link building SEO package will then slowly build up rank in the organic results, bringing you a 4 out of 4 result.
Another great way of building your authority in Google search results is through user generated content, specifically reviews! You can tell everyone you are great, that’s a start, but when other people say that you are great, that can work real magic online! Be sure to ask for reviews on both Facebook and through your Google business listing, this can also affect the way you show up in Google’s business and map listings. (especially now when Google is only showing around 3 listings, as opposed to the 6 or more it showed before).
Consistency is Key
Step 4. When it comes to search engine optimisation, consistency is the key. Be across everything all the time.
Keep your local listings up to date
Build social signals by sharing content on your social media pages
Keep an active SEO link building campaign running every month
Ensure your website is up to date, fast and mobile friendly
Create fresh content on your blog or news pages
By doing all of these things, you will find your rank on Google improves as your site comes across as current, trustworthy and a good source of information. Exactly what Google is looking for.
Summary of spending:
Month 1 (First 30 days): $599 for local SEO campaign + any additional PPC packages
Month 2 (day 30-60): $1900 for link building campaign
Month 3 (day 61-90): $1900 for link building campaign
After 90 days/3 months of content creation, along with keeping your social media pages fresh and linking to your content, and building authoritative links to your website, you will definitely find your website will start ranking better, possibly even on to page 1 of Google! Will you get the top spot?!
We help clients get a better rank by doing an website audit to spot gaps and issues, creating a tailored marketing strategy, and by implementing Whitehat SEO techniques to build authoritative links. A recent local SEO campaign we an for Maitland Toyota, gave us a number 1 result for the search term “Toyota” in their local area. With so much competition from other Toyota dealers, this is giving them the edge when it comes to search results.
If you would like to know more about what we can do for your business, be sure to have a chat with us about your goals and big picture ideas. We love coffee, so a cafe catch-up is always nice, or perhaps just a phone or Skype chat. We’re easy to get a long with and keep things easy to understand and transparent.
note: Having a budget of $2000/month can do great things to launch your brand online. We recommend building traffic to your website organically over higher ad spends, as your reach and traffic growth will continue to grow, unlike that from your online advertising. Online advertising needs it’s own special plan of attack including target specific landing pages for each ad, and call to actions that offer both something free and a better than standard deal. The bottom line is, people want more for nothing. The more you can offer, whether it is discounts or information that will help them, the better the result you will get from online marketing. Think about your own online searches and what you look for.
Do you travel a lot? Whether its a quick weekend escape, or a trek around the globe, a journal of your adventures is a great way to share your travel highlights, keep in touch with friends and savor your memories.
Free isn’t always free.
A good place to start for many travel adventurers is WordPress.com and Tumblr. Two microblogging websites that provide free blog space for you to start filling up. This is a great start if you don’t want the hassle of monthly or yearly payments, and just want some space online to share your travel blog.
Just remember there are limitations including size of content and layout, links you add and the simplicity of expanding your website.
Many of our friends and family have created a space online only to discover they want to utilise it more, create even more content, or perhaps even moneytise their efforts. In this case, we recommend a self hosted blog rather than your free WordPress or Tumblr options.
The benefits of a Self Hosted Website from Xmedia Digital Solutions.
We set up the hosting on your own domain, or a free subdomain.
We install WordPress ready for you to start blogging.
You have access to email accounts to match your domain name.
WordPress is super flexible and expandable.
We can add Global CDN to make access in different parts of the world easier.
You can post by email to your new WordPress blog.
If the future needs a bigger website, you have options. Think SEO, Landing Pages, Affiliate Links and more.
Video and Images look great on WordPress, and there is an image editor built in.
Costs start as low as $15/month, depending on what extra features you want setup.
We are great to deal with, and you have 24×7 email support.
So think long term before you setup your travel blog for your next adventure.
Have you already got a WordPress.com blog site? We can discuss options to transfer it to a new self hosted site.
Expand your horizons today with a self hosted WordPress travel blog from Xmedia Digital Solutions.