You have the perfect colour combination and the striking photos. Your copy is concise yet catchy. Google must pay attention to your mobile-friendly, millennial-standard masterpiece. You are proud of your business website.
Whether you’ve recently built it from scratch or whether it’s had a 2019 facelift with every new design trend imaginable, it’s your online identity and you eagerly anticipate droves of traffic.
I have created over 400 websites for small businesses and personal brands, but my focus goes beyond design and development and I have seen my most creative websites fail and the simplest of websites occupy the number one spot on Google for over a decade.
Your online marketing success is dependent on factors that go beyond your grammatical finesse. Every online marketing effort may go to waste if you ignore what I’m about to share. It’s a quick checklist and your web hosting company should be able to address your concerns if needed.
Is your domain status active and being renewed on time? Does your domain belong to you or your website designer?
Any uncertainty on these questions will see all your online marketing efforts fail and your domain might be at risk of being hijacked. A domain name typically comes in the form of a .co.za or .com and this name is the unique identifier of your website.
Most domain names are registered for a period of one year and need to be renewed by a certain date each year. A lapsed renewal will cause your domain name to become available to the public for registration. Your domain name is usually registered by your web hosting company.
For local domains you can check the status of your domain at https://www.registry.net.za/whois/ or at https://who.is/ for any other domain.
Does your website display a padlock, typically green, in the top left corner? Having an SSL Certificate is now a Google requirement. An SSL certificate is the only way to ensure that your website carries the favoured green padlock. An SSL certificate provides a way for visitors to verify that the website they are on, indeed belongs to the associated domain name. As of June 2018, no SSL certificate means demoted Google rankings.
If a website is encrypted with an SSL certificate it is more complex for information to be intercepted. It is important to note that while a free SSL certificate would provide a certain level of encryption, you will just have a generic name on your certificate. If you do not see a padlock icon when browsing to your website, call your hosting company to arrange one for you.
Web hosting is your website’s home. It is the server and the software that allows your website to be accessible from anywhere in the world.
When Google looks for your website it needs to contact this server and send the results back to person looking for the website. A slow server response will cause your website to be regarded less favourably by search engines. The only thing worse than a slow website is an offline website. Should Google not be able to reach your website, you will slip down the rankings and eventually be removed. You can have a look at these tools to get a detailed report on your website’s performance.
As a website owner, it is important to be kept in the loop about your domain, website hosting and SSL certificate. Your most exciting online marketing efforts will be in vain if these are neglected.
About the author: Craig Fester is an Online Marketing Specialist at 1-grid, a website hosting company. With over 15 years’ experience in online marketing, Fester has driven many websites to the top of Google search results. On 1-grid’s blog, he uncovers the value of the critical technical aspects of websites and combines it with solid online marketing techniques that make a website an online success. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.