The reason We Build Websites ever got off the ground

What do you mean?
Hidden extras on website build

As autumn begins to loom on the horizon and as today is the 2nd of the month, this seems a sensible time to update you on our news. You might notice that We Build Websites has had a modest facelift. This was brought about in part by the theory that ‘in marketing there isn’t just one solution’.  The good practice, that you propose a strategy, test a theory, analyse results and then tweak the strategy is a good habit to get into.  Let me explain:

The idea behind We Build Websites came from receiving many requests for advice. People would ask me for my opinion regarding their website and how it should look, and was there a way of having an online presence that would keep it in their budget? The truth is, yes, there are many affordable ways of having an online presence. If you are tech savvy – even vaguely so – you can probably pick one of the self-build options online and get started with your online website.

The result of these conversations sparked the formation of the company We Build Websites Ltd. What I wanted to avoid was all the ‘extras’ that keep getting added to the, so-called, ‘free’ website builders. You can have one page, but you get charged extra for new pages; a contact form; a gallery page and there is an additional charge if you don’t want advertising on your site or if you want your website on your own domain.

And the idea? To offer websites, professionally designed for you (rather than a DIY template) with a super easy editing function. Thus, all the technophobes and the busy people (who don’t have time to mess about) have an accessible website platform that can be updated easily and simply for a small monthly fee. The hard work is taken out of the process. You tell us what you’d like to end up with and we do the hard work. A website is designed, put online for you to add photographs and words.

We Build Websites Ltd, doesn’t only offer the simple starter-website package. In fact, most of the projects we undertake are bespoke websites. These sites have a more complicated Content Management System. This enables our customer to be in control of things like the management of a customer database or sales-lead tracker, Event booking, online shops (eCommerce) and Bookkeeping systems.

But for now, our entry-level websites offer an honest well-priced website solution. It looks good on a mobile device as well as a desktop screen and there is help when you need it for all you people who haven’t got the time to do-it-yourself. And we offer a money-back guarantee on our websites.

If any of you reading this are interested in the #smallbusinesswebsites offering you can find more information Introductory Offer.  If you are seeking a more advanced option then get in touch with me, we’ve created a variety of bespoke solutions for our clients. You’ll find that not much is beyond us!

The do-it-yourself SEO Journey

Following on from my last post, I am now making good on my promise to keep you informed with my SEO journey.  Like many of you I juggle with the day-to-day process of running two businesses and being company secretary on another, helping out friends and colleagues and generally living. Therefore, if you don’t outsource the SEO for your website and say you will do it yourself to save the money, what I’ve discovered is that you need to set aside time specifically for this task!  Running a business and looking after your customers is hugely time-consuming. Building up a substantial SEO profile is also time-consuming, an hour a week in the beginning is just not enough.

So, I sit and look at my very, very long list of keywords gleaned from the Google keywords planner. There are thousands! It would be silly to try to fit all of those keywords into the copy on the website, so I will try to identify perhaps three keywords/phrases that I will concentrate on and I decide to start on the homepage text. (Only another 26 pages to go after the homepage!)

Before I started, I decided to explore tips and tricks that others have used, so a quick internet search for “SEO tools”  This, in itself is a time-consuming exercise, and after an hour or searching from one forum to the next I hit upon I had stumbled upon this site the previous week and had read a brilliant article, so I decided I would stop here and work through some of the recommendations.

So, first things first.

I have a new website – lets audit it. By this I mean I want to have a benchmark of zero – new site, no back links, no ranking, but as I optimise the site I need to be able to chart my progress. I’ve downloaded FREE the Website Auditor –  I must confess, even with the free version, I’m instantly reminded that I’ve not paid enough attention to the onsite meta data. So for the next hour, I go back through the Content Management of the website in order to ensure that the Meta Data is in place. In an hour, I didn’t manage to finish all the pages. I think this is something that I need to keep addressing. This is a relatively large website and some thought needs to be given to this, so that each page contains relevant data. Two hours down and I still haven’t started crafting the copy on my home page!

Next on my list is to identify the key phrases for which I want to be found and then to take steps to re-write the copy to optimised the home page for these three phrases. Another hour and a half, continuously crafting the copy and then checking with the Website Auditor allowed me to see an improvement on my optimisation rate from 35% (which was extremely poor) to an optimization rate of 81.8%.

Because I’m not quite ready to launch We Build Websites on the world (we have to relocate offices which will result in downtime and I’m not prepared to leave clients without support for any length of time) I haven’t set up Facebook page, LinkedIn profiles or used any Social Media to promote the site as yet… quite possibly I might chart the pitfalls of this exercise in my next post!

Optimising websites to show up in Google searches

Being found in a Google search
The journey of being found by Google

We Build Websites is aimed at the busy entrepreneur and those who genuinely don’t have the knowledge to create their own site using free tools available on the internet. We believe there is a market for this product, but can’t be sure of that until we get a significant influx of traffic to the We Build Websites promotion site signing up for the product.

We Build Websites is in the same boat as your new website! This website is a brand new website, we want to go through the same journey that you are on. Not by paying vast amounts to an SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) company, but spending an hour per week (hopefully that is a realistic target) doing the housekeeping in order to get the website seen by our potential customers. (The chaps here voted me to do this as I have the least experience in SEO! Thanks guys!)

So, We Build Websites, is now live and can be seen by Google*, but now the hard work starts in ensuring that Google starts to display it when people type in certain search terms relating to the website.

This blog will provide a fortnightly progress of the steps we take to optimise the website to be seen by our potential customers. It will take into account

  • the keywords on which we want to be found
  • the online tools we use to measure our effectiveness
  • our analytics results (Google Analytics – a free tool which enables you to measure, among other things, traffic to your website and where that traffic comes from)
  • and, if all goes to plan, we can pass on the tips and resources that will help your website be found by your potential customers.

Wish us luck, the journey starts here!

*NOTE: I’m using Google as a generic term in this post. I do mean it needs to be optimized for all search engines (Yahoo, Bing, Ask, Lycos, DuckDuckGo etc). It becomes quite time consuming to write them all out each time. I’m also aware not every knows that Google is known as a ‘search engine’.

So, you’ve decided you need a website…

So, you need a website

Having just gone into your browser and searched for “free website builder”, “build your own website”, “website designers” “website builders” or any similar phrase (and believe me the list is endless), you begin to melt down. How do you even begin to pick someone from all the choice? Ask yourself a few questions. (When faced with a lot of choice, I tend to make a list of the different options so that I can compare – and so pick up a pen and paper or open up a spreadsheet and start taking notes!)

Price Actually, price not as important as you might think. What do you get for the money, now THAT IS important! Read on, what do you get for the money?

Do you get your website hosted on your own domain? (Tap HERE for a bit more information about Domains) Is linking to your own domain included in the price?

How many website pages does the price allow for? Are additional pages charged extra? Do you have to pay for additional functionality? (This could be things such as extra website pages, hosting on your own domain, not having advertising messages on your website. You might have to pay more if you need an image gallery or integration with Google maps or an enquiry form).

Can I update the words and images on the website easily? In my years of talking to customers about their websites, the biggest issue is that their new website looks beautiful, but they cannot easily update it. Reputable website companies will have a demo version that they can show you. Unbelievably, it is still common to find that you have to contact the developer to update your website and pay for the privilege each time. Alternatively, you are given access to update the website only to login in to the Content Management System (the administration bit) to be faced with technical jargon and no easy way to understand how to insert an image or update the copy. This is really important. Once the website is built you’re stuck with it, ask the question and make sure you understand how it will work.

I’m stuck, I need help! Will you have to pay extra to call someone to help you out? Or is there help at the end of the telephone or email advice? When I contact the company, do they come back to me when they say they will?

Did I like the person I spoke to, were they friendly, helpful and spoke in a language that I understood?

Do I have a money back guarantee if I’m not completely satisfied?

Will the company allow me to talk to other satisfied clients?

I’ve heard many stories from clients and potential clients who have chosen their website provider and not ended up with what they expected. It was more expensive than they were quoted, it didn’t work as they expected, the developer missed the go-live deadline and they were frustrated because their website provider didn’t talk to them when deadlines started to slip. Please don’t fall into this trap. Do the research, ask the questions and talk to your shortlisted companies. If, after all this you do have problems, I’m happy to chat to you (as I’ve done for a number of people over the past year or so) and give help and advice (without the need to tell you that you should use one of our websites!) You can get hold of me HERE.