Decide on a good domain name
Sometimes it’s better to get a domain name that best describes your business or hobby as opposed to the name of your company unless it’s already a big established brand like Prada or Nike.
I own a website that offers horse riding in somerset west, horse riding lessons, wine tasting etc. I could have bought a domain name for the farm on which we are situated but it would not have been nearly as effective as this domain name for which i am basically ranking everywhere now with regards to horse riding in the Somerset West area. www.horsebackriding.co.za.
This domain name describes exactly what we offer and most importantly, it consists of two very important keywords that definitely assists me in ranking well. (horse and riding)
Think about your domain name carefully before you buy one. You don’t have to get a descriptive domain name at all, but it will help you rank for your precious key terms. Use this website to check for the availability of .com domains, or this one for .co.za domains. These are very useful tools!
Another good idea is to buy expired domains or “2nd hand” domains that have been around for a while – do some searching at www.godaddy.com/. This could mean that you would not need to start right from scratch as these domains already have some history and search engines already know about them. This could get you a running start.
Get good affordable hosting
There are thousands of hosting companies out there and they offer very similar services or packages. In 2009 and 2010 you shouldn’t be paying more than R60 per month for your hosting. You don’t need Gigabytes of disc space or 25 email addresses at all, just a sound Windows or Apache Server and Bob’s your uncle.
Use good HTML
Use WordPress for your platform or use plain good old HTML if you can. This is probably the easiest and you can’t go wrong. You could use wysiwyg editors such as Frontpage as these programs do succeed in helping you build pretty sites but they create way more unnecessary code which you can do without and you are pretty limited in functionality.
Submit your site to Google
Do not submit to directories,farms or lists. You don’t even have to submit to any other search engines. Google is your daddy and your hero from this point onwards. Once you have built your website and it’s up and running, submit it to www.google.com/addurl/ – that will suffice.
Google Webmaster Tools
This is the dashboard or control panel of your website as Google sees it. You can virtually see everything that is happening on your site, from crawl errors, where you rank for which terms, top search queries and even incoming links to your site. Create an account at http://www.google.com/webmasters/
This is what the dashboard looks like:
This is the fun part where you can see exactly from where in the world your visitors come from, how many visitors you get per day, how long they stay, which are your top pages etc. Create an account at http://www.google.com/analytics/
This is what a snapshot of your traffic looks like:
Get others to link to you
Easier said than done but Google needs to see that your website is an authority on a specific topic in order to rank you well. The more websites “talk” about you or link to you, the more Google perceives you as a legit and great site. You cannot be one of a thousand other gardening websites out there. You need to have an engaging and special website that offers much more than your competitors do.
This is turn will attract visitors to your site who might even mention you on their blog or website and voila! there’s your incoming link!
Use Twitter and FaceBook
Mention your website on Twitter. Get people to visit your site. Offer them something worthwhile, engage them. Same with FaceBook. Mention new updates to your website or new additions on these social media sites and it could well spread like a wild fire!
Update your site frequently
There’s nothing worse than finding a site that interests you only to see that the article is 2 years old! Keep it fresh. Google also love fresh content as it sees that your site is active and that people are browsing it often. The more frequently you update your site, the more frequently Google will crawl the new content, which is exactly what you want.
Has Google even indexed my site?
After being live for a few weeks, go to Google and type this command in the search box. (site:www.yourdomain.com) This will show you exactly how many and which pages have been indexed by Google. Indeed a very nice exercise to see if Google indeed acknowledges your meager existence
Check who is linking to you!
Last but not least, go and see who links to you! Select the Inlinks button. You might be pleasantly surprised!
Again, this article serves as a guide to help the newbies out there.
Go and have fun guys!
Cheers till next time.