There’s no way around it – if you want to have a website, you need to have a web host.
It seems simple enough at first – after all, aren’t all web hosts created equal? They all do roughly the same thing – right? Won’t any web hosting company do?
Turns out, it’s not quite as easy as that.
It’s true, there are so many options (and so many killer hosting deals) that you may be tempted to make your choice via an entirely unscientific method – solely based upon price, a friend’s recommendation, drawing a name from a hat, or perhaps, the old standard for difficult decisions – “Eeny Meeny Miney Moe”.
But your website is important – in fact, it likely represents a significant portion of your revenue, and attracts your best new customers. Simply put, your business depends on your website – you can’t afford to choose an unreliable host.
Luckily, we’ve summarized 10 of the most important criteria into a handy checklist that you can use to make this decision a whole lot easier.
The first rule: Know what you need.
Before you begin researching potential web hosts, be clear about what you need. You won’t have a generic site, and you don’t need a generic host.
Answer the following questions prior to starting your research:
- What kind of website are you creating?
- What is your expected traffic?
- Will you need multiple add-on domains now, or in the future?
- What sort of email needs will your company have?
- Will your site have other specific needs or requirements (such as blogging or e-commerce)?
Web Hosting Checklist
1. Server Uptime Record
As an entrepreneur, there are few things worse than knowing you are losing revenue because your website is down. When choosing a host –verify their uptime record – the percentage of time that you can expect your site to be up and running smoothly – expect 99% or higher. Some of the best hosting companies boast an uptime performance guarantee of 99.99% or greater.
2. Get Technical
Be sure to learn the technical specifications and limitations of any host you are considering. Your host needs to have the processing power to deliver your website, and all of its content, to your visitors. Crashing sites, slow page loads, and downtime can be incredibly costly to your business.
3. Specialty Needs
Will you be running an ecommerce platform or blog from your site? Be sure your host supports easy one-click installation, and use of the scripts, security features, and needed software.
4. Account Suspension
Do the hosts you are considering have specific CPU limitations or rules that may lead to the suspension of your hosting? Be clear on these before you sign on the dotted line.
5. Service Level Agreement
Be sure to thoroughly read, and understand, the Service Level Agreement (SLA). Ask questions about anything that seems unclear – this is a great opportunity to test out the speed and helpfulness of support staff.
6. Site Backups
In the online world it’s inevitable – things go wrong. Systems crash and technology fails. Your data is only as safe as your backup system. Make sure to learn what your host’s standard backup practices include.
- Are regular automatic backups a part of the package?
- Can you create manual backups easily from your control panel?
- Can you restore your site easily on your own, or will that require time consuming and costly technical support?
7. Keep an Eye on the Future.
Regardless of the size of your business, choose a host that will grow with you in terms of processing power, memory, storage, and security. Be sure that upgrades are easy – transferring hosts is no small thing.
Levels of hosting:
- Shared Hosting/Individual Plans: Most affordable and typically only provide a single domain with limited features, bandwidth, and data. Best suited for new websites without special needs. Shared hosting is like renting an apartment.
- Virtualized Private Server (VPS): Think of VPS hosting as owning a condo – though external property is shared – you own resources that are solely your own – your website lives within a partition of a dedicated server.
- Dedicated Server: A dedicated server account is analogous to home ownership. Your site is hosted on a dedicated machine, and nobody else can access or share that space.
8. Support Is Everything
Issues with your site may not pop up during normal business hours. Support should be accessible quickly, at any hour of the day, and on weekends and holidays. Test before you buy – ask each customer support team some common questions to gauge the level of knowledge and helpfulness.
9. Reputation Matters.
Learn how current or former customers feel by seeking out detailed reviews. Use Google to search blogs or check out the host’s social media hashtags. Make sure to visit dedicated review sites and read up on reviews of all the hosts you are considering.
10. The Bottom Line
For most entrepreneurs, budget is an issue. But when it comes to choosing a web host, it should not be the most important one. Only compare pricing after you have determined that a host meets all of your requirements, and has the reputation, support, and security you will need. Don’t forget to consider renewal costs, subscription periods, and refund policies.
Making a decision this important on cost alone is one that many small business owners have gone on to regret. Though your overall budget cannot be ignored, your web host should never be chosen on price alone.
Your website is the cornerstone of your online business – make sure to thoroughly research all options, and make a choice that best fits the needs of your business, and your future website.
Google recently announced that it would be adding website-mobile friendliness as a ranking signal. This means that websites that are not responsive to mobile devices will be penalized and lose their search rankings.
But don’t fret just yet. This algorithm change will not start until April 21st.
In the meantime, here are 3 simple steps to make sure that the Google hand does not come down on your website:
1. Take the Mobile Friendly Test. Google created this simple test that not only shows you what your site looks like on a mobile screen, but also gives you a report of how to improve. Find out if your site makes the cut!
2. Figure out if your website is on an outdated platform. When was your site built? When was the last time it was updated? The reality is that the web is a constantly evolving ecosystem and if you’re not prepared to keep pace, your site will likely suffer— health-wise and in rankings. Don’t have an unhealthy site, and don’t lose traffic.
3. If you find yourself too busy to stay up to date with the ever-changing world of web standards and Google algorithms, it may be time to explore how an expert can help keep your business stay on the leading edge.
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO) JUST ISN’T ENOUGH TO SUCCEED ANYMORE!
As a high-paid and highly-educated medical professional, you have plenty of doubts as to the recent benefits of your SEO and online marketing campaigns. You have seen your rankings drop, your frustration rise and you are left with the concerning though of:
WHAT DO YOU DO NEXT TO KEEP UP AND KEEP THE NEW PATIENT CONSULTS POURING IN?
Want to Know Why Your Business Isn’t Getting the Results You Want?
– You must have a strong and visible online presence.
– You must identify your ideal customer and know how to reach them.
– You must have digital integration and synchronized performance.
AND I WILL SHOW YOU HOW TO GET THERE!
Our Programs are Designed for PLASTIC SURGEONS LIKE YOU Who Want to:
– Know how to find and become ENGAGED with their IDEAL AUDIENCE.
– Learn the EASY TACTICS behind running your own online advertising campaign.
– See QUICK RESULTS as your ideal customers begin to spend money on your product or service.
As a web marketer for over 15 years I know the benefits of good SEO, Social Media, Conversion Optimization, and Content Marketing campaigns. The number of businesses who have succeeded by implementing solid web marketing campaigns is beyond numbering. But not every business that places a heavy emphasis on SEO succeeds. SEO can NO LONGER save your business, only you can!
DISCOVER HOW TO FIND YOUR IDEAL AUDIENCE AND START GENERATING CONSISTENT CUSTOMERS NOW!
ONLINE MARKETING THAT ACTUALLY WORKS … OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN!
I have taught and implemented a lot of Facebook lessons to both novices and pros. The most reoccurring ‘aha’ I’ve heard is, “This is easy! This works! I can actually do this!”
AND NOW YOU CAN TOO WITH OUR RESULTS-BASED SOLUTIONS!
Stop feeling overwhelmed and stop making excuses. ANYONE can do this! You don’t need a marketing degree or have to be tech savvy to see REAL RESULTS.
WHY AREN’T YOU USING THE WEB TO YOUR FULL ADVANTAGE?
-Do you think it’s too confusing?
-You don’t know where to start?
-Think online marketing no-longer work?
– Don’t have the time to figure out the tactics?
STOP MAKE EXCUSES. START MAKING CASH!
Facebook has the largest base audience of all social networks
95% of U.S. online consumers have a Facebook account (via Factbrowser)
You can target your specific niche, and add new contacts to your email list!
You CAN start seeing an increase in traffic within 24 hours
You have the opportunity (right now!) to get an easy, step-by-step guideline that will lead you straight to the results you crave!
STOP BOUNCING AROUND TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHAT WORKS AND WHAT DOESN’T.
STOP WASTING YOUR PRECIOUS TIME, ENERGY AND MONEY.
Are you ready to find your audience and start making cash?
HERE IS WHAT I WANT YOU TO DO NEXT …
CLAIM YOUR SPOT NOW! COMPLETE THE FORM BELOW AND LET’S TALK WITHIN THE NEXT 48 HOURS!
Websites should do much more than just look pretty. … They should PERFORM!
Which means, strategically generate additional sales, leads, form captures, and profits.
What good is a new website when all it does is look better than the previous one but doesn’t actually do anything else other than that? Pretty, nicely-designed websites do a great job of appealing to our egos and desire to look good but I would argue that egos aside, it feels much better to make money from a website than just look good.
The best part is that HIGH PERFORMING websites can still look awesome too! (i.e. have cake, eat too! YUM!)
As web designers and developers, we often overlook the performance purpose in exchange for how great it looks and to this I say, “NO MORE!”
Recently I was interviewed on the topic and my passion to change our approach and what do you know, it got picked up by a few sources including CNN and SMALL BUSINESS TRENDSETTERS.
GOOD MORNING WEB WORLD … time for change!
Make Sure Your Business Gets Seen with Web Design in Salt Lake City
If you haven’t already jumped on the web design and SEO (search engine optimization) boat, you might want to start rowing to catch up. Luckily, at Local One, we offer cutting edge solutions for your business to help it flourish and compete with everyone else on the internet marketing ship. We don’t want you to get left behind, so let one of the top SEO companies in Utah design a strategy that works for you.
What Sets Local One Apart as an SEO Company in Utah?
Many search engine marketing companies in Salt Lake City don’t put their customers first. They have more than they can handle with clients, so they don’t provide the best quality service. Local One is different. Our search engine optimization in Utah is designed around what is effective for you, and you won’t get stuck in a one-size-fits-all solution to internet marketing.
We understand that every client needs a unique internet marketing strategy, just like a client would with a physical marketing strategy. With that mission in mind, you can trust that our web design in Utah will be everything you need to jumpstart your business.
Starting at the Beginning with Efficient Web Design
If you don’t have a website or have a website that isn’t doing you any good, Local One can help. Not only do we have the tools and skills to create an appealing website for you, but we know what your customers are looking for. We can optimize your website to get you the traffic you need.
Once you have a website that is amazing and begs your customers to pay attention, then we can get started with search engine optimization for your Utah company. Before you know it, we’ll get you more customers than you’ve ever had before. And, if you’re not making back more than you’re paying us, there’s something wrong.
Call Local One today to find out what we can do for your company!
Local-One Internet Marketing
10138 S Jordan Gateway, Suite 15
South Jordan, UT 84095
We know that you are busy being business owner. It can be easy to overlook a pay per click campaign in your search engine marketing strategy. Although it actually vital to your success, and here’s why: PPC Campaigns can get you immediate results, as well as a steady flow of traffic for very specific keywords that drives customers to your site.
A PPC campaign can be a nice complement to your SEO strategy and vice-versa. For example, Google AdWords. When this product is used as a part of your marketing strategy, it can do great things for you. You have a wide range of tools at your disposal, including those that let you see right away which of your keywords are getting the most clicks. Another tool like PPC allows you to analyze the probable keyword variations that are working for your business.
The Best Time for PPC
When you’re just entering the marketplace of online strategies, PPC can be a critical element of your campaign, because you don’t know which keywords are best early on in your campaign and as we know most businesses don’t have unlimited budgets to spend on marketing. Our goal is to make sure we create a strategy that effectively targets the best keywords. In addition to helping you figure out which keywords will get you the traffic you want, PPC can also help you to assess which of those keywords will result in the highest conversions.
For you business owners who are ready to find the reliable marketing return you’ve always been looking for.. PPC can give you the most bang for your buck of any online marketing strategy. By simply running your ads to the right target audience, we help you have a much higher chance of finding that new customer. And the best part about PPC is that you only pay when someone clicks on your site which means you get traffic.
Patience Is Key
Setting up a PPC campaign can mean waiting until a good ROI is achieved. It simply isn’t enough to run a campaign for a month and then end it, and our expertise is only a part of what is needed to achieve the results you want. We review campaigns everyday and make the much needed tweaks on a regular basis so that traffic can be increased while keeping costs as low as possible.
And that’s exactly what every PPC company in Salt Lake City should be doing for you. If they aren’t, perhaps it’s time to see what the other companies near you have to offer. Here at Local-One Internet Marketing we are dedicated to not only getting you search traffic, but getting you in front of customers who are willing to become your devoted fans and tell everyone about you.
If you are ready to tell the world you’ve arrived, we look forward to hearing from you. Give us a call at 1-800-282-2434, for your FREE web site analysis.
SEO, PPC, SEM and SMO were all acronyms that I had not heard of until a few weeks ago when I started working here at Local-One Internet Marketing. I recently made the jump from the world of retail sales into this crazy world of Search Engine Marketing. Having just worked for a small business owner, I saw first-hand how time consuming it is trying to stay ahead of the curve with your own product let alone trying to learn all the latest Internet marketing strategies. Trying to understand the ever-changing trends and varying rules and regulations was a nightmare for the business owner and employees at the retail store I worked in. In the short time that I have been here at Local-One, I have learned so many simple things that could have significantly helped the small retail store I worked at. Small changes in your internet marketing strategy can go a long way to generate more business.
The small retail store that I worked in was kept in business for over 30 years mainly because of word of mouth. Over the past few years we began to see a gradual change in how people heard about our business. It went from “I overheard at a dinner party” to “I read it on Facebook”. Furthermore our customers admitted that if they did hear about us from a friend, they had still looked us up online, looked through our website, and knew what they were looking for before they decided to walk in and shop. So the fact that we were not updating our website with all our newest lines and designs, and making sure our information was consistent on all the different search engines was most definitely costing us business. When people were searching on their mobile devices or computers for us, our listing was not coming up on page 1 of the search engine results.
As more and more people are using the internet to find the products they want, it is so important to have a local listing that is accurate. I know that personally when I am looking to buy a product, grab something to eat, the closest spa with the best massage, I just grab my iPhone (shout out to Apple) or I jump on the computer. When I want good sushi near my house in South Jordan, I get online and search “good sushi in South Jordan, UT” and then I look at the top results, read the reviews and then make my decision.
The one thing that I didn’t realize before I started working here is how exactly and why exactly the places I see on page 1 of the search results are determined. How businesses get to page 1 of search engine results is not by chance and staying on top is not random chance. There is a formula that goes into how these listings come up. A Google science, if you will. Here are a few simple steps to help you with your Google Places local listing:
Make sure your listing is complete and accurate.
Make sure your business location is entered correctly on the map so users can find you easily. You can drag the map marker to your exact business location. List your authoritative and official business website on your Places listing, since Google uses information from your website to help improve search results. Include images and videos to help your listing stand out. Add information such as opening hours and payment types to help users choose among search results. Of course, be sure that your business name, physical address, and phone number(s) are correct.
Choose the most appropriate, specific categories for your business.
Pick a category from the list of suggestions to help Google to show your business for the right searches (although you can always enter your own category if Google Places doesn’t suggest one that fits your business). Don’t be afraid to choose specific categories instead of broad ones. The important thing is that the categories are accurate and describe your business well. Google’s search algorithm makes sure that users looking for “Book Stores” will see businesses in more specific categories like “Used Book Stores,” “Comic Book Stores,” and “Rare Book Stores” too.
Establish a strong, accurate presence on the web.
Google improves search results by aggregating information about your business from all over the web. Make sure information about your business on third-party sites is accurate, and try to contact the respective site directly to correct any inaccurate information. Encourage customers to leave online reviews for your business.
If you have questions about your local listing or would like to discuss any of the marketing services we offer in greater detail, please feel free to call our SEO Company in Salt Lake City and make sure you ask for the “new girl”. I’m standing by to help!
The small business owners that we work with are often shocked to see how many website visitors they receive. Mostly, they are shocked because so few of their website visitors are turning into profitable customers. Our answer to this quandary is really quite simple: you likely used a website designer instead of an internet marketing expert. Your website may look good and it might be exactly what you asked for; however, if it is not converting visitors into customers, it needs to be changed.
Here are a few, very simple changes that make big impacts when it comes to creating customers out of website visitors:
- Product & Service Accessibility – You know how to quickly access your products and services because you designed your website, but can the average person find the information easily? If not, they will likely go back to one of your competitor’s websites. Make sure the average user can find your products and services quickly.
- Data Capture: Is there a contact form or page that customers can use to provide you with their information? If not, you are losing out on very valuable data. If you don’t have a way to capture the names and email addresses of your website visitors, you should begin collecting that data as quickly as possible.
- Incentives: Is there an incentive to fill out an existing contact form? A free pamphlet, entry into a drawing for discounted services, exclusive coupons, etc? Entice your website visitors to provide their contact information. Future email marketing campaigns will turn this data into sales!
- Images: Does your website feature clear and related images? Plain text websites are often skipped over – nobody wants to read a page full of text. Split text blocks with fun pictures that help explain not only what it is that you do, but also what it is that you want the customer to do (i.e. “click here”, “buy now”, “book online”, or “call today”).
Does your website need a tune up? Do you need help turning your website into a sales tool? The website design team at Local One has had a lot of success helping business owners just like you. Let us help you turn your website into a profit center! Call (800) 282-2434 for a FREE website analysis or Click Here to provide your information and a member of our team will call you back with our suggestions!
Customer Reviews & Google Rankings
Do reviews help your business rank better on Google? If I get a negative review, should I post a response? As the New Accounts Manager at Local-One Internet Marketing, questions about online reviews are some of the most frequently asked questions that I receive. The truth is that reviews do play a significant role in determining your overall rankings on Google and other search engines and as a business owner, getting online reviews should be an important part of your search engine optimization strategy.
The quality and quantity of online reviews can dramatically impact where your business ranks. Since there are so few factors that you can control as a business owner, taking ownership of online reviews is a great way to sneak ahead of your competition. You may have noticed that some business listings have a star rating next to their name and others do not. Google’s star rating displays the average consumer rating when there are a minimum of 5 online reviews. To receive a star rating from Google, your business needs to have a minimum of 5 online reviews. Studies indicate that this threshold is also the point that reviews begin to have impact on your rankings. If you do not already have at least 5 Google reviews, you should work quickly to get them.
When it comes to online reviews, there are a few things to remember:
- No Fake Reviews – Google is a billion dollar company with huge teams of people whose sole job is to identify spam. You won’t outsmart Google. They are tracking your IP address, the names on your Google accounts, the frequency in which the account is accessed and how often reviews are left by users, etc. If you create a Google account to leave a fake review for your business, chances are good that Google will catch it and remove it and it is possible that you will receive a ranking penalty in the process. At best, the review will display on your local listing and your potential customers will read the over the top fake review and see right through it. Don’t post fake reviews. The potential penalties outweigh the benefits.
- The Devil is in the Details: Just as Google comes to your website to read the content of your site, Google is extracting words from the reviews that users leave for your business to help determine what products you sell or services you provide and in what area. A review that states “Jackie was great” does not help Google understand what your business does whereas a review that says “Jackie’s Flower Shop is the best in Austin. She always has beautiful flowers.” contains both “flower shop” and “Austin” which helps your business rank better when people are searching for keyword phrases like “Austin Flower Shops”. This means that when it comes to reviews, quality is more important than quantity. Encourage your customers to leave reviews and be specific. They should talk about the exact product or service they purchased, what they liked about it and what they like about your company.
- Don’t Sweat Negative Reviews: Not every customer will be impressed by your business and that’s okay. Potential consumers actually expect to see some degree of variance when it comes to ratings and reviews. If you get a negative review, the worst thing you can do is ignore the negative review and the second worst thing you can do is to post an emotional response back to your customer. It is a good idea to respond to every review that is left for your business on Google, especially if that review is negative. When writing a business owner response to a negative review, it is important to remember that old adage: “The Customer is always right” no matter how wrong they actually might be. Write a sympathetic response thanking them for their patronage and apologizing that they did not get what they were expecting. If possible, offer to correct the situation. Remember, you are not writing this response for the sake of the angry customer. You are writing this response so that future customers can see that you are willing to make it right if a problem arises. If you need help crafting a response to a negative review, our local internet marketing team would be happy to help you.
If you are struggling to get online reviews, call us and let us suggest some ideas that have worked in the past. If you have found success in getting online reviews for your business and want to share your tips and tricks with other business owners, let us know and we’ll feature you in our next blog.
Go Forth & Get Reviews!
New Accounts Manager
Local-One Internet Marketing
I Have Money, How Should I Spend It?
“Which one of your services will give me the best return for my money” is one of the most common questions that I am asked by my business owner friends once they find out that I work for an internet marketing company.
The foundation of internet marketing is a good website. You can spend a lot of money on advertising and get very little return if your website is not designed to convert visitors into business. For this reason, the best use of your money may be to invest in web design services before any other advertising services. Throughout the years, we have made small changes to websites and have seen dramatic improvements. Recently, we have been working with a business owner that built a landing page that combines the worst brown with the most awful split-pea green that I have ever seen. The sole purpose of this website is to sell a product and yet the only photo of the product as well as the option to “buy now” were both “below the fold” of the page, which means you had to scroll down to see the product, the price and to make a purchase. If your website was designed to sell a product, users should not have to click or scroll to find your product or to make a purchase. Your product should be front and center, always! Using a pay-per-click campaign, we were able to show the business owner that the website was causing the conversion problems. We re-designed the landing page with whites and light blues, moved the product and the “buy now” button to the top of the page and voila – a dramatic and immediate improvement to the conversion rate.
Local One, a Utah Web Design company, brings something to the table that many other web designers do not. Our expertise is rooted in marketing your website, in converting website visitors into paying customers. Designing a website solely for aesthetics can be great, if you don’t ever intend to have it found by search engines. But if you want a website that not only looks nice but is designed to rank well on search engines when potential customers are searching for the products and services you offer, you need your website designed by a company with a marketing brain. When we build your website, we structure the pages in a beneficial way, use specific keywords based on popular searches; Local One makes sure your website is a sales tool rather than a pretty paper weight.
Our agency has built websites for businesses in a wide array of industries on various website platforms. From WordPress to Joomla, we have the experience you need and expertise you can trust. Website pricing varies based on what specifically you need from your website. We are happy to provide a free, no obligation quote for our web design services. Simply call us at (800) 282-2434 and provide some basic details and we’ll let you know how our Utah Web Design team can help make a dramatic difference in your business today!