Looking forward to the new year? Building a new website? Here are 3 things NOT to do when building your site. This will also help you understand which products to choose and which products to avoid when choosing hosting, selecting a URL and building a website.
Avoid Free Hosting
One of the first decisions you need to make is where to store, or host, your website. The files which make up your website need to be stored somewhere. There are really just 2 possibilities;
- Free hosting (e.g. Blogger, WordPress.com)
- Self-hosted (pay a 3rd party)
- Buy your own server (not really feasible for most of us)
Blogger and WordPress.com offer free hosting. You can set up an account, choose a URL and start creating your website right away.
Advantages of Blogger/Wordpress.com are that they are free. You don’t have to worry about any maintenance issues with your website as the Blogger and WordPress.com will maintain the servers for you, etc.
The disadvantages of free-hosting sites, however are; you don’t have control over your content, there are limited design options and limited function. Most importantly, these websites are more difficult to optimize or perform SEO. Hence, it will be difficult to rank. You also have to take some extra steps, or pay, for a fully customized URL (without the words “blogger.com or wordpress.com” in the URL).
Avoid Free Website Builders
To add to the complexity of your decision, there are services offering free website builders along with hosting. Some may charge for hosting.
Wix and Squarespace offer website building and hosting…for free. These “ajax’ systems are quite versatile with regard to designing a website, but, unfortunately, they are limited in the ability to be optimized, and therefore, to be ranked with Google, Bing and Yahoo.
There are at least two reasons why indexing these types of sites is difficult. First, there are simply fewer options to optimize your content. Second, webpages are not easily indexed by the search engines. Your ability to get your website ranked with these builders becomes tougher.
In general, these website builders have a heavy emphasis on design and very little ability to be optimized (hard to perform SEO), thus, they will not rank as well as a website built on a WordPress.org platform.
WordPress.org is the only platform which maximizes SEO and offers customized themes.
Don’t Pay Ransom
Many of our clients have been trapped in a situation where they have paid for a website to be designed and then are leveraged for a hefty monthly fee to “maintain and host” the website. Almost always, the website ranks poorly and the doctor has no perceptible benefit for this monthly fee.
It gets worse.
In addition, most of these sites are built on proprietary software (i.e. unique website builder software and can’t be run by any other company) and it is impossible to move the site to another hosting company because the programs used to create the site are unique.
Similarly, avoid situations where a company offers to build a “free” website, but has recurring service fees.
We wish you the best for 2016 and all the best to moving your optimization project forward. If nothing else, think of ways you can improve your website by improving the content. It’s the content that will get you the website rankings you want.
If you don’t have a website, then take steps to move forward. In this modern age of communication, your patients now expect you to be found online.
All the best.