The tale I am about to tell is for anyone starting a new small business. Read closely so that you can swerve past these speed bumps with ease during your start-up. I built a little website for my resume over 4 years ago, even though I didn’t really need it and I wasn’t full-time freelance. I used iWeb and my .me account to publish. Over the past few years, I have tinkered with it to try to make it more professional, the closer I got to being full-time freelance. I created the company name and bought my domain this summer, then paid a friend to create a little logo and some icons to match. I did a major revamp on my iWeb site, and then I hit the first speed bump. iWeb sites have no search engine visibility because you cannot alter the HTML or install plugins or create meta tags.
While I was a little bummed, I saw this as an opportunity to maybe get my site even more professional looking, so I called my hosting service, GoDaddy.com and I signed up for Website Tonight. The people at GoDaddy are friendly, you can always get them on the phone and they are extremely helpful. However, website tonight is regimented, PC oriented and difficult to make the site a bit more creative. I suppose if you want to do nothing besides fill in the blank spaces, then you are good to go, but do not dare have a creative thought of adding something here or there, because it just can’t be done. I spent 2 months trying to get it to where I wanted, then speed bump number 2. I discovered there is no way to integrate a blog into the website, AND I still had search engine visibility issues.
Round 3. My friend Camille’s husband, Geoff, convinced me that he could really help me if I moved over to WordPress. He researched that GoDaddy does support the hosting of WordPress blogs/sites, so I wouldn’t waste the money I had already spent on hosting and I could have my domain name on my WordPress site. I had a site built-in less than 48 hours. I had it moved to my domain and tweaked within 6 days. I suppose I DO have all the files and content in folders by now, but I still consider that a record. Geoff put me in ‘Geoff’s website boot camp’ and I was happy to be there. Thank you for saving me Geoff!
Let’s recap on the necessary items to survive in this google centric small business development world, which is why I have rebuilt my site 3 times in 6 months.
- I now have Google Analytics providing me with all of the stats I need to know about site traffic.
- I have Google AdWords, which gives me so visibility and keeps me straight on my key words. Through AdWords, I actually know what people are searching, related to services I am offering, and I know what they click on and what they don’t.
- I have Facebook plugins for ‘like’ buttons and sharing options on my site. I also have a Facebook page which is linked to my site and vice versa.
- My blog posts also go to my FB page.
I can say I have learned a lot through this journey. You don’t have to spend 1,000’s on a website if you are a small business owner, but you do need a LOT of time if you don’t. Of course, if you read this first and head over to WordPress first thing, you can really save yourself some headaches. Overall, I have spent less than $500 with the logo creation and hosting services and through a series of non-monetary refunds at GoDaddy, I am paid up until 2016…seriously?