Once your website is live, there are steps you need to take as the website owner to encourage people to find it and make sure it continues to work as it should.

Check it over

As soon as you are told your website is live, give it a good check over to make sure everything is working. Specifically, check that your contact details and social media links are correct, and if your website has any kind of enquiry form, send a test and make sure it comes through to your email. If you notice any problems, please let me know straight away.

If you have e-commerce set up, ask someone to complete a test order to ensure the checkout system works and that you get the payment and order confirmation.

You should check your website is working as often as possible, including email and enquiry forms, at least each week so any issues can be resolved promptly.

Promote it

Unless you are very lucky, its unlikely your website will appear top, or high on Google over night.

You’ll need to promote your website to be found online and get hits. This is called Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO. In short, the more effort you put in to promoting your website, the higher it will score on Google and the more people will find it.

The first thing you should do is make sure your business and website are listed on Google My Business . Once verified, your business details will usually be shown when someone searches for you, and customers will  be able to leave reviews for your business, encouraging new customers to visit your website.

Google scores websites higher based on the number of other websites and social media pages that link to it.

List your website on any applicable organisation sites you are a member of, (if possible) and set up social media pages for your business including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, adding posts as often as you can to encourage people to like, share and visit your website.

Getting listed on local business website directories can also give your website a boost too, such as Poole Business Finder and Yell.com , who both offer free listings.

Always remember to include a link to your website and a description including any important keywords you hope to be found for when someone searches.

Get reviews

Once you have your business and website listed on Google Maps and Facebook, ask your clients, (old and new) to leave reviews. The more reviews you have on Facebook and Google, the better. Positive reviews are a great way to encourage new customers to get in touch, and often Google will score a website higher if it has more 5 star reviews than its competitors.

Security

While not essential for all, having a secure website can re-assure visitors to your website that any information they provide via your website will be safe. Information sent via a non-secure website can be intercepted by scammers and used maliciously. A secure website is shown by displaying a padlock in the address bar, and the URL starting with https rather than just http.

To make your website secure, you will need a SSL certificate provided to you by your hosting company.

If your website hosting is managed by Dan Ashton Websites, you may be entitled to a free SSL certificate. This may have already been activated on your website. If not, please let me know. Free SSL certificates last for 3 months and must be manually renewed each time they expire.

To avoid your free SSL certificate expiring, or if you are not entitled to a free SSL certificate, (for example, if your website is hosted elsewhere) please contact your hosting provider and ask about purchasing a SSL certificate for your website. Paid for versions usually last 12 months, and will automatically renew, subject to re-charging your payment card.

Back ups

Having a back up of your website is important in the event of any technical issue or malicious attack, (or ‘hack’) on your website that cannot be repaired.

If your website hosting is provided by Dan Ashton Websites, then your website should be backed up most days automatically, and each back up saved for around 7 days.

If you have your own hosting account, check with your hosting provider if or how back ups are made. In some cases, you are required to back up your website manually.

Update

Keeping your website updated will help it stay active on Google search results. If your website includes access to update the content yourself, ask for your log in details and instructions for editing page content, adding new images or posting blogs, (if available). Try to update your website with something new as often as you can – but at least once a month. If you can’t do this yourself, ask me to do it for you. A small update charge will apply.

If you have any further questions or concerns about your website, please do not hesitate to email me.