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An Easy Way to Secure Your WordPress Website to Avoid Catastrophe

An Easy Way to Secure Your WordPress Website to Avoid Catastrophe

Approximately 30,000 websites are hacked each and every day; one of my own websites was hacked multiple times. You need to secure your WordPress website. I’m going to show you a tool that I use to make sure that my websites are never hacked again. An Easy Way to Secure Your WordPress Website to Avoid Catastrophe secure your wordpress website An Easy Way to Secure Your WordPress Website to Avoid Catastrophe An Easy Way to Secure Your WordPress Website to Avoid Catastrophe FI 450x304

Disclosure: This article may contain affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product through such links, we’ll receive a commission. Don’t worry, the price is still the same to you, and you’re helping us continue to provide free content!

My business’ website was hacked – multiple times

One day I started receiving a ton of bounce-back emails saying that my domain name was listed on Spamhaus’ DBL (an email blacklist that a lot of companies use to block suspected SPAM). I quickly hopped on Spamhaus’ website and requested that my business’ domain name be de-listed.

Spamhaus gave me a link to the page on my site that was suspected of causing the SPAM emails to be sent out from my server. The URL for the page had random letters in it, but it did exist on my server. I quickly deleted the randomly-named file. I went ahead and updated all of my WordPress plugins and all seemed good – for a few days.

Another morning I woke up to another unpleasant flow of bounce-back emails that said that my domain name was once again listed on Spamhaus’ DBL. I went through Spamhaus’ de-listing process and found that a new file was causing the issue. The file didn’t exist a few days prior, so somehow a hacker was able to hack my business’ WordPress website a second time.

Website security from Sucuri secure your wordpress website An Easy Way to Secure Your WordPress Website to Avoid Catastrophe sucuri 300x250

I quickly deleted the file, and deleted files with similar names in older folders as well. I saw that there were over 100,000 emails in queue on my server, so I flushed out the queue to prevent any further damage (thankfully I limited the number of sends per hour or I probably would have been in even more trouble with blacklist providers).

Since my website kept getting hacked, I wasn’t sure what to do. I couldn’t afford to keep getting blacklisted, and I was fearful that my whole website would end up getting hacked and defaced. I started searching online for solutions.

I found the perfect solution and haven’t been hacked since

That’s when I came across Sucuri’s Website Firewall. Sucuri’s Website Firewall protects your website from hackers and network attacks.

Sucuri’s team continuously monitors security threats and patches vulnerabilities before they are able to be updated. My websites have not been hacked since I started using Sucuri’s services.

Sucuri also sends me proactive notifications when there are new major vulnerabilities (they patch these right away on their system without me having to do anything), and I can also see what hacks and attacks they’ve prevented for me in their dashboard.

When you use the Website Firewall, you can also do some cool things such as control which IP addresses can access your WordPress Dashboard, and enable site caching mechanisms that they have.

Sucuri also provides DNS hosting free with their Website Firewall service; I use their DNS hosting for Unordered List so that I’m protected from DNS attacks.

Save your website, too

If you’re serious about your business’ website, you need Sucuri’s Website Firewall. Their Pro package (which lets you use your own SSL certificate) is only $19.98 per month and is worth every penny!

If you don’t need your own SSL certificate, the Basic package is only $9.99 per month and includes a free LetsEncrypt SSL certificate.

Sucuri has saved me a lot of time, money, and headaches from day one. If I didn’t start using the Website Firewall for my websites, I would have kept getting hacked time and time again.

 

6 Informative Pages Your Business Website Needs

6 Informative Pages Your Business Website Needs

Many websites on the Internet are lacking pages and details that customers are looking to find. When customers can’t find what they’re looking for, they will move on to one of your competitor’s websites. If you are a local business, there are a few pages your business website needs to have to satisfy visitors and give them what they’re probably looking for.

1. Contact Us

It’s important to have a contact page on your website to make it easy for customers to get information such as your business’ physical address (if you have a storefront) and a good telephone number for them to call with any questions they might have about your awesome products and services.

Assuming that you have a physical storefront, it’d be a good idea to list your hours of business. If you have multiple locations, you should probably split up the addresses, telephone numbers, and hours of business per location.

As long as you’re up for answering emails from potential customers, you can also add a contact form to your contact page. Contact forms can make it more convenient for visitors to contact your business; however, you want to make sure that you’re up to actually answering emails before you place a contact form on your website – unanswered emails don’t put businesses in good lights.

Do you have Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn profiles for your business? If so, you should definitely link to them from your contact page! I also recommend putting the social media icons and links up in the header and/or down in the footer of every page as well.

2. About Us

An about page is your chance to give your interested visitors a chance to really get to know more about your company and its roots. It’s your chance to make them feel like they know you, and to help them feel like they really have a connection with your business.

No, not all visitors will take the time to read your about page, but it can make the difference between a sale and no sale for those who do. I recommend spending some extra time when building the about page for your business’ website to make sure that it captures your business’ essence.

Want to make visitors feel even more connected to your business? Adding pictures of your team can increase your conversion rate.

It’s important to include things such as your business’ history, vision/mission, leadership team, and anything that differentiates you from your competitors on your about page.

3. Products and Services

Your business’ products and services are your bread and butter, so naturally you must have a page that details what you’re selling. If you want to make sales using your website, you better provide some great, descriptive information on your products and services.

If you fail to provide enough information about your products and services, visitors will find their way to a competitor’s website who does. I would encourage you to list your prices on your website – I for one barely ever contact companies for quotes when their pricing is not available online. Instead, I generally seek out a competitor who lists their prices online. Not everyone has the same mindset as me, however, so do your research and see what works for your business.

Generally speaking, the more detailed you are, the more you will be able to sell from your website. If you have a physical product, include high-resolution pictures for all to see! If you have a digital product such as software, it might be a good plan to include a few screenshots, a demo, or a trial.

4. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

A FAQ page affords you the perfect opportunity to answer the questions that your website’s visitors might have, and to further help inform your visitors about your business.

Some potential questions that you might want to answer on your FAQ page:

  • What’s your shipping policy?
  • What’s your return policy?
  • How long do you take to respond to emails?
  • What number can I call to get some help?
  • Do you offer a warranty on your products?
  • What if I’m not satisfied with your service?

It’s okay if you repeat information that’s found elsewhere on your website, such as your phone number. Visitors enjoy finding answers to their questions in a central location. It is important, however, that you still keep the information in the other areas as well.

Of course, if you find that customers are asking you the same question over and over, you should consider adding it to your FAQ page.

Your FAQ page gives you the perfect opportunity to answer the questions that your visitors have, as well the chance to brag about your company. Susan Greene provides a great deal of direction when it comes to writing your business’ FAQ page.

5. Portfolio / Gallery

If you offer any type of service that produces visible results, you should definitely offer up examples of your work on a portfolio or gallery page!

A portfolio/gallery page allows you to showcase the very best of your work. This is the perfect place to really “WOW” your visitors. By the time visitors find themselves looking at your portfolio/gallery page, there’s a good chance that they’re teetering on the edge of converting (buying) or contacting you, which is why it’s so important to put forward your best work on this page.

6. Promotions / Special Offers

A study found that customers who received even just a $10 off coupon were found to display a greatly reduced level of stress when making purchase decisions. This is incredible and helps prove the effectiveness of coupons, promotions, and special offers – even small ones!

I recommend putting up a promotions/special offers page and featuring any sales that you have going on. A great trick to building out your email list is providing visitors with a coupon in exchange for their email address, which creates a win-win for both of you – the visitor gets a coupon and is less stressed about making purchasing decisions, while you’re getting a new contact on your email list and a potential sale.

While this isn’t a complete list of all of the pages that you should have on your business’ website (I assumed you have a homepage, for example), it does provide a starting point and gives you some ideas on what you should include on your business’ website. Naturally, every business and situation is different – some of the suggested pages might not fit your business’ style.

Be creative and use your imagination when creating your business’ website! Truly unique and well-planned websites can draw a lot of attention and help your business’ bottom line a lot quicker than a cookie-cutter site would – especially if you are starting a new brand.

What are some pages that you think are important to include on business websites? Let me know in the comments!

How to Pick the Perfect Domain Name for Your Business

How to Pick the Perfect Domain Name for Your Business

Picking a domain name for your business is one of the first steps that you’ll take when getting your business online – and it’s an important one. Make sure that you do your research and pick the very best domain name for your business so it can thrive online.

Selecting the wrong domain name can cause consumers to be unable to find your website, or cause you to not rank very well in the search engines; it can create a pretty gnarly situation. I’ll explain a few of the things that you should be aware of and look for when selecting a domain name for your business’ website.

Disclosure: This article may contain affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product through such links, we’ll receive a commission. Don’t worry, the price is still the same to you, and you’re helping us continue to provide free content!

Your domain name should be relevant to what your business does

It’s important to choose a domain name that’s relevant to what your business does. For example, if you own a business called Pete’s Pottery, you’d definitely want to choose a domain name that has a keyword relating to “pottery” in it. You probably wouldn’t want to choose a name like PetesStuff.com, as “stuff” is generic and a broad term and isn’t really relative to what you do, which is make pottery. It would probably be a wise decision to grab PetesPottery.com if it’s available.

Is your domain name already taken? If so, it might be a good idea to include your location in the domain name, especially if you only serve a small area. Let’s pretend that Pete’s Pottery is a local business and only serves the area of Scranton, Pennsylvania. If PetesPottery.com were unavailable, you’d probably want to see if you could pick up PetesPotteryScranton.com instead. This domain name would be relevant to both what your business does and its location.

Choosing a domain name that’s relevant to what your business does allows your domain name to be memorable.

Your domain name should be easy to remember

Once you have your website up and running, and have a good amount of traffic to your website, consumers will start recommending your business and website via word-of-mouth; this usually happens in passing. If your domain name is not easy to remember, consumers might not be able to find your website. One thing I recommend avoiding is hyphens; people are likely to forget all about hyphens when they hear your domain name verbally.

For example, if you chose a domain name such as Petes-Pottery-Scranton-PA.com, consumers who recommend your business will probably forget that there are hyphens in your name and simply recommend PetesPotteryScrantonPA.com instead – or worse, they might just recommend PetesPotteryPA, which isn’t even your domain name. They probably won’t take the time to recommend going to “Pete’s hyphen Pottery hyphen Scranton hyphen PA dot com” in passing because they won’t remember about the hyphens when on-the-go. Picking a domain name like Petes-Pottery-Scranton-PA.com is likely to cause confusion and frustrate potential consumers who are trying to find your business’ website but can’t seem to type it in the right way.

Your domain name should be relatively short

Going along with being easy to remember, the domain name that you choose for your business should also be relatively short. If your domain name is too long for customers to remember, that’s a problem. Domain names that are seen as too long by the search engines may also be penalized for looking “spammy” and not show up high in the search results.

It’s also a good idea to not use hyphens (or use them very sparingly) or numbers (except in the case of things such as area codes, or if your business’ name includes numbers).

Good Domain Names

  • PetesPottery.com
  • PetesPotteryScranton.com
  • PetesPottery570.com
  • 570Pottery.com

Bad Domain Names

  • Petes-Pottery-Scranton-PA.com
  • PetesPottery548789.com
  • Petes-Pottery-Scranton-570.com
  • Petes-Pottery-570-PA.com

It’s also very important to consider the domain name extension that you will use for your website.

Your domain name should have a good extension

If you’re located in the United States, you’ll definitely want to use the .com domain name extension if it’s available. When people hear about a business and are interested in going to their website, .com is the extension that they will assume that they need to type in.

If you’re located outside of the United States, it might be okay to grab an extension that is popular in your country, like .co.uk, which is popular in the United Kingdom.

I wouldn’t personally use new domain name extensions like .rocks or .ooo for your business’ website unless you own the .com equivalent so that you can forward over traffic that you would have otherwise missed, or if you are creating a novelty site where a new domain name extension makes sense (like icecream.rocks and im.ooo).

If the .com isn’t available for your domain name, it’s generally okay to use the .net extension as well, but I personally prefer to go through options until a .com domain name that I would be satisfied with is available. I also try to pick up the .net and .org extension equivalents just to make sure that someone else doesn’t purchase them and use them to try to steal some of my potential traffic.

How to check if a domain name is available

You can generally check if a domain name you’re looking for is available through your hosting provider. Some hosting providers, such as Bluehost, include a domain name with certain hosting packages for free.

If you don’t want to get a domain name through your hosting provider, I recommend taking a look on Name.com. I’ve used them before and haven’t had any issues.

No matter which domain name registrar you use, you shouldn’t really ever have to pay more than $20 per year for a .com/.net/.org domain name (unless you’re looking for enterprise-level service).

Choosing a domain name for your business is a decision you have to make; you should do take some time, do your research, and make sure that you purchase the best available domain name for your business. Migrating to a different domain name down the road isn’t always an easy process, so I always recommend making sure that you think you’ll be happy with the name you choose a few years down the road.

How did you choose your business’ domain name and/or brand name? Let me know in the comments!

Why You Should Use WordPress to Build Your Website

Why You Should Use WordPress to Build Your Website

There are plenty of tools and platforms out there to help you build your business’ website, but I consistently find myself recommending WordPress to my clients. While its true that there are several other platforms that are easy to configure, it’s hard to find a platform that’s flexible and easy enough to use now while also being easily expandable as your website grows. You should use WordPress to build your website.

WordPress affords you an intuitive, easy-to-use interface that helps you get started with building your website out of the box. With the use of a few plugins and a good theme, the entire process of creating your website with WordPress is simple. While it might take a little bit of research and trial-and-error to create your first website with WordPress, I believe that anyone could put together a decent website within a week or two using WordPress. There are many reasons why I recommend using WordPress to build your website.

Disclosure: This article may contain affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product through such links, we’ll receive a commission. Don’t worry, the price is still the same to you, and you’re helping us continue to provide free content!

WordPress is a tried and tested platform

WordPress has essentially been around since 2001; it is a mature and stable platform that runs a good portion of the Internet. Initially intended to be a blogging platform, WordPress eventually evolved into a full-fledged Content Management System (CMS). A CMS basically refers to a system that is used to manage a website’s content or a website in its entirety. WordPress does this very well.

A truly tried and tested platform, WordPress powers 26% of the web. There are over forty-four thousand plugins available for the platform, and the system has been translated to 56 different languages. It is incredible that one platform is powering such an enormous amount of websites on the Internet.

Most hosting providers support WordPress

It isn’t hard to find a hosting provider that supports WordPress on their systems. Considering WordPress’ large share of websites on the Internet, hosting providers understand that their systems need to be able to run WordPress without any issues. Most reputable hosting providers make sure that WordPress and popular plugins work well on their platforms, and will provide some level of support when they don’t. Many hosting providers even use WordPress to power their websites or blogs themselves.

More and more providers are beginning to offer one-click installations of WordPress on their hosting platforms. Bluehost is a reputable hosting provider that supports WordPress on their platforms; they even have a hosting platform that is dedicated to running WordPress websites. You will need hosting for your website; if you haven’t already chosen a provider, I would recommend taking a look into Bluehost. It’s important to do your research when choosing a hosting provider!

There are plenty of amazing themes available for WordPress

There are thousands of unique themes available for WordPress that can really help your website stand out and shine. WordPress has an easy-to-use theme searcher that allows you to easily preview free themes. There are also a plethora of premium themes available for WordPress that make things even easier for you.

I personally recommend choosing a theme such as Divi by Elegant Themes for your website. Divi is very flexible and includes an easy-to-use page builder tool that you can use to build each of your website’s pages. The system is easy enough to use that a beginner could put a good-looking site together (after reading through the documentation), yet advanced enough that developers are able to craft truly unique and inspirational websites from it. Unordered List uses a theme that is built on top of the Divi framework and uses Divi’s builder tool quite often.

WordPress is flexible and easily expandable

One area that WordPress truly outshines other platforms is its flexibility and how easy WordPress makes it to expand your website. Let’s say that you’re building a basic website for your business now. What happens in a few years from now when you want to add a blog, a customer community, and an ecommerce store to your business’ website?

If you’re using a website builder tool, it’s likely that you would need to migrate over to a platform such as WordPress to accomplish having a blog, community, and store on your website. If you used WordPress from the beginning, you would simply need to install some additional plugins (such as bbPress for a customer community and WooCommerce for an ecommerce store) and be on your way. Migrating between platforms is usually complicated and takes up a lot of time; this is a huge part of why I usually recommend using WordPress from the start.

WordPress is truly a unique platform in that it’s easy enough for a beginner to use to build their first website, yet advanced enough for web developers to use to craft some of the most unique websites found on the Internet today – as well as everything in-between. WordPress will give you the flexibility to expand its functionality as your business grows and expands its needs, and I continue to recommend WordPress almost every time.

Do you use WordPress for your business’ website? Let me know how your experience has been in the comments!

What Web Hosting Does, and Why Your Business’ Website Needs It

What Web Hosting Does, and Why Your Business’ Website Needs It

There are thousands of web hosting providers out there; perhaps you already use one of them. But do you really know what web hosting does, why you need it, what qualities you should look for in a hosting provider, and how important choosing the right provider is for your business?

In short, web hosting is what makes it possible for your business’ website to be online and available to everyone on the Internet. Choosing the right hosting provider is one of the most critical decisions you will make for your business’ website; after all, if your website is unavailable most of the time due to choosing a bad provider, potential customers will not find you online. If potential customers don’t find you online, they’ll probably stumble upon one of your competitors – not good at all!

Disclosure: This article may contain affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product through such links, we’ll receive a commission. Don’t worry, the price is still the same to you, and you’re helping us continue to provide free content!

What web hosting does

Web hosting gives you space on a server (basically a computer) that you can use to store your website. Hosting ultimately provides your business’ website a place to live online.

There are several types of hosting available, each with different use cases that vary primarily based on the amount of traffic your website receives. We’ll cover the three basic types of hosting: shared web hosting, Virtual Private Servers, and dedicated hosting.

The first type of hosting is shared web hosting (usually referred to as “shared hosting”, “web hosting”, or just “hosting”). Shared web hosting is likely the most practical type of hosting for your business. With this type of hosting, a single server is usually shared between up to hundreds of websites, with each website receiving a small share of the server’s resources. Shared hosting can also be clustered, which basically means that a pool of servers are used to serve websites hosted on the cluster; clustered hosting helps to provide redundancy in such a way that a single server (or even multiple servers) failing shouldn’t cause any websites to go down. Most websites with a smaller volume of traffic run perfectly well on shared hosting and shared hosting is usually recommended as the hosting provider provides server maintenance and should take care of most of the technical aspects for you.

The next type of hosting is Virtual Private Servers (VPS). A VPS is essentially created by taking a server and splitting it up into several virtual pieces. VPS are provided with a guaranteed amount of resources from the server, and each VPS is separated from the rest on the server, so VPS somewhat create a “private bubble” for your business’ website. Businesses with a higher level of traffic might find a VPS appropriate for hosting their business’ website; however, VPS may also be appropriate if your website needs to run applications or scripts that require features that aren’t available on shared hosting (hosting providers usually won’t modify server environments for a single or small subset of customers). A reputable hosting provider will be able to alert you when it’s time to upgrade your website to a VPS, as well as provide some guidance on how to upgrade. Unless you know that you need a VPS, you’d probably be fine with using shared web hosting for your business’ website. I don’t recommend choosing a VPS unless you either have experience with running servers or you choose a provider that offers managed VPS (which means they will configure everything for you).

The final type of hosting that will be covered in this article is dedicated hosting (also called “dedicated servers”). Dedicated hosting provides your business with its own server; 100% of the server’s resources are dedicated to your business’ website. Websites generally don’t require dedicated hosting unless they are receiving a high volume of traffic; even then, a VPS may suffice if configured properly. Dedicated servers can be configured to serve websites in a clustered manner; in other words, you can configure multiple dedicated servers to hold the same website. Clustering dedicated servers allow you to ensure that your business’ website doesn’t go down if one server fails.

While several types of hosting exist, small businesses usually do not need anything more than shared web hosting. In some cases, a VPS may be necessary; however, I always recommend starting with shared hosting – your hosting provider should let you know when it’s time to upgrade to a VPS (and help you with the process).

Why you need web hosting

In simple terms, you need web hosting in order to be able to put your business’ website online for the world to see. Without some form of web hosting, your website wouldn’t be able to exist online.

Web hosting affords you a way to not only get your website online, but also to build your website. With tools such as website builder tools and WordPress, getting a website put together for your business has never been easier! With these tools, you should be able to put together a professional-looking website within a week or two; it might take a little bit of research and trial-and-error, but what doesn’t? If you aren’t comfortable with the idea of building your own website or don’t have the time to work on building your business’ website yourself, many web designers are available to take care of the design process for you.

Even though it might seem like a good idea to jump on the best hosting offer that you find, there are certain qualities that you should seek to ensure the livelihood of your business’ website.

What qualities you should look for in a web hosting provider

There are several qualities that you should look for when choosing a web hosting provider. You want to make sure that your business and your hosting provider will mesh well before giving them your business’ website to host.

First and foremost, you want to make sure that your web hosting provider’s support team is pretty responsive. You don’t want to have to wait 48+ hours for a technician to look at your website if it ever goes down, do you? You want to make sure that your hosting provider will help or provide you with guidance when you experience problems with your website, right? If the hosting provider you are researching has a phone number, give them a ring and ask them about their average response times. If not, open up a ticket or live chat with them and ask. When testing out support and checking response times and overall customer experience, I recommend choosing the “support department” prompts/options as this is the team you will deal with in the future. It’s okay if your hosting provider only accepts tickets/chats as long as they’re responsive and you’re okay with “typing to them” instead of being able to give them a call. I prefer to raise cases via ticket instead of phone; however, that’s just a personal preference of mine.

You also want to make sure that what you can expect from the hosting provider is laid out in plain English somewhere on their website. What type of uptime guarantee do they have, and what happens if they fail to meet that guarantee? Will they help you if your website is hacked? Do they keep backups of your website, or are you responsible for making backups yourself? What would the space and bandwidth limits be for your website? What is their Authorized Use Policy (AUP)? Is there a money back guarantee? All of these things should be laid out for you to review; some things such as the AUP might be lengthy and contain some legal jargon, but I highly recommend getting familiar with it as it will tell you what you can and cannot do with your hosting package, as well as what happens if your website fails to comply with the policy.

It’s also important to take a look at the technologies that the web hosting provider supports on their system, as well as the tools that they include. Do they make it easy to install WordPress? Is there a website builder tool included? I usually recommend using WordPress for business websites (and it’s what we use here at Unordered List) – WordPress gives you unmatched flexibility and is fairly easy to use once you get going. With WordPress themes like Divi, creating a professional business website can be a breeze; it’s definitely a lot easier to build your own website today than it was even five years ago.

Naturally, this isn’t a full list of every aspect that you should look at when choosing a hosting provider; there are many variables that come into play that change on a website-by-website basis. What is important, however, is that you feel like you can trust your hosting provider and that you get a feeling that your website will be in good hands. I always recommend talking to a hosting provider before putting your website in their hands for this reason.

It is extremely important to choose the right web hosting provider for your business

Choosing the wrong hosting provider for your business’ website can be a catastrophic decision; I firmly believe that you should do a good amount of research before choosing a hosting provider.

If the provider you choose has a lot of downtime, your business’ website might not rank well in the search engines, or potential customers might get frustrated that your website is down a lot and move on to a competitor’s website. I recommend choosing a provider with at least a 99.9% uptime guarantee. Please note that uptime guarantees doesn’t usually include scheduled maintenance; check with the hosting provider to see when they usually schedule maintenance. Most providers should complete scheduled maintenance later at night during low-traffic periods. Uptime guarantees might also be called Service Level Agreements (SLA); you should make sure to check the provider’s SLA terms to see what the web hosting provider promises and how they compensate you when they don’t hold up their end of the bargain.

If you choose a web hosting provider that isn’t very responsive, you will regret it when there’s an issue with your website. If you open a ticket, you should ideally get a helpful response within a few hours – definitely within 24 hours at the very most (24 hours is pushing it in my book). If your website is hacked (I recommend Sucuri’s Website Firewall to prevent websites from being hacked) and you need a backup restored, you likely can’t afford to wait several days for a restore.

Choosing a hosting provider just because they’re the cheapest or have the prettiest website can be a dire mistake that costs you more in the long run. Please do your research and choose a provider that you can trust with your website and who works well for you. After all, every business needs a website, so why not choose a hosting provider that will give your website the best experience possible?

If you’re in search of web hosting for your business’ website, I would start by taking a look at Bluehost. Bluehost has some really solid platforms and offers a pretty big array of hosting options for when you need to upgrade, including VPS and dedicated hosting. They also have support available around the clock. Their systems also support WordPress, which is what I recommend as the platform to use for building your business website.

Have you had good experiences with your web hosting provider? Have any horror stories? Let me know in the comments!

5 Reasons Why Every Business Needs a Website

5 Reasons Why Every Business Needs a Website

Websites – the backbone of the Internet. Every business needs a website; on the small business front, websites give customers a way to locate businesses, find out more about products and services, and perhaps even make purchases that will be shipped right to their doorsteps. 5 Reasons Why Every Business Needs a Website every business needs a website 5 Reasons Why Every Business Needs a Website 5 Reasons Why Every Business Needs a Website 450x304

Most of us see the value and importance of websites as a whole, but some of you might not think that your business needs a website. I’m a pretty firm believer that every business needs a website, regardless of how big or small the business is. Without having a website, you’ll lose customers to your competitors, customers will get frustrated when they can’t find your address or phone number online, and people won’t be able to easily find out more about the amazing products and services that you offer from the comfort of their own couches or desk chairs. Not having a website for your business is pretty similar to driving on the highway and throwing money out of your window (metaphorically, of course).

To help showcase that every business needs a website, we’ve rounded up five major reasons for having a website for your business.

1. Customers expect your business to have a website

It’s becoming more and more common for potential customers’ first interactions with businesses to be online – whether it be through websites, social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, or even through talking to Siri on their iPhones. In order to remain relevant, businesses need to continuously mold themselves into whatever their (potential) customers are looking for; customers have shifted to researching via the Internet, so businesses who want to capture those customers must be able to be found online.

It’s even been found that 72% of customers trust online reviews just as much as word-of-mouth recommendations from real people. This statistic alone is outstandingly high and falls in line with what other studies have found – the web is very important for small businesses, and word on the web travels fast.

2. Your competitors already have websites

With the number of business websites continuing to grow every day, it’s probable that at least some of your competitors can already be found online. If they can be found online, but your business can’t be found online, you’re essentially losing business to your competitors each and every day that goes by.

Let’s pretend that you’re Larry from Larry’s Lawn Care. Larry’s Lawn Care doesn’t have a website, and doesn’t come back in the results of a “lawn care near me” Google search. However, Lee’s Lawn Care does come back in the Google search. Since Lee’s business showed up in the results, potential customers will navigate to Lee’s Lawn Care’s website and research Lee’s services and eventually give Lee a call. You, Larry, have lost the potential sale simply because your business wasn’t able to be found online. That’s not good for you at all, is it?

If your business doesn’t have a website, or at least some sort of online presence, you really are losing business to your competitors – yikes!

3. Websites are always available – 24/7/365

Another reason that showcases why every business needs a website is that it’s likely that your business is only open during normal business hours or perhaps even later on in the evening, and is probably closed for certain holidays. Websites allow your business to operate online 24/7/365. This means that potential customers can find out a whole lot about your business’ products and services, contact you with questions through channels such as email, and potentially even order products online (if you have an ecommerce store setup on your website) without regard to the time of day and without the constraints of time zone differences.

4. A website can pitch your products for you

How frustrating is it when you spend a boatload of time trying to get a sale from someone who isn’t sure whether they are interested in the product that you’re pitching, only to get turned down? If you have a website (and put it together properly), your website should pitch your products for you! Potential customers will be able to find out all about the products and services that your business offers on your website; by the time they contact you, your products would have a good chance of already “being sold” to the customer.

If your website handles pitching properly and accurately describes your products, you should be able to cut down on a lot of the sales pitch and follow up time that ends up going to waste – at least for those who find you online. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?

5. You can save time on customer service with a business website

If you notice that you’re spending a lot of time answering the same questions about your products and services, you can setup a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page on your website. Customers will find this part of your business’ website quite helpful when researching your products and services or troubleshooting problems (depending on what your business offers).

Some businesses or vendors offer warranties and require things such as claim forms; if your business has forms like these, you can accept submissions online and avoid having to have customers go out of their way to pick up a form from you – customers will be pleased that they can handle all of this online, and you’ll spend less time on the phone.

Do your customers ever call you asking about your sales or if there’s any coupons available? You can put a special offers page on your business’ website where you can list any sales or promotions that you have running. You can also do things such as offering a coupon in exchange for signing up for your business’ email list on your website. A study showed that customers who receive even just a $10 coupon are a lot less stressed when making purchasing decisions. It’s incredible how much something as simple as a $10 coupon can accomplish.

As I’m sure you can imagine, having a website for your business can save you a whole lot of time in the long run and help drive more sales your way. Websites are unspeakably effective for small businesses, and more and more businesses are realizing this and hopping on the bandwagon. Every business needs a website; go ahead and get a website for your business today!

Let me know how it turns out for you in the comments below!