How the web works seems to not be a priority for most small business owners. I dove head first into website design and SEO 2 years ago. I have been dabbling in it since 2012.
After speaking with hundreds of small business owners about their website and online presence in general, I have determined straight away that most people simply have no clue how websites or SEO works. 91.4%? OK. I made up the percentage, people like numbers in headlines…worked on you didn’t it!
In all seriousness, I am writing this article with the hope to save you time and money if you have a website, or are considering building your first. There is a lot of fraudulent activity that takes place on the web and the uneducated get taken advantage of on a daily basis.
Someone like myself, “in the know,” if you will, considers companies like GoDaddy to be at the forefront of the scams, or at least really sleazy business practices. 95% of the time when I start working with a client, they have already purchased their domain from GoDaddy. No doubt, GoDaddy is the best in the biz at marketing, but very possibly the worst at everything else.
The uneducated small business owner that is brave (or stupid? Is that too harsh?) enough to take on building their website and handling their domain setup, email, hosting, and more than that like website UX design and SEO, will almost certainly pay $300-$400 per year more than they should. The worst part is, since they are doing all of this through GoDaddy, they are getting the bottom of the barrel quality on each and every property or service.
How The Web Works
Are you uneducated when it comes to the web? Ask yourself these questions:
How much are you paying for your @yourdomain.com emails?
How much are you paying for your website hosting?
How much are you paying for your SSL certificate?
Heck, how much are you paying for your domain name itself?
My guess is a minimum of $350 per year if you set up everything yourself. If you are wondering what an SSL certificate is, please stop and hire a professional! Like I mentioned earlier, that is $350, probably closer to $400, for the worst of the worst the web has to offer.
Ethical Web and SEO Services Will Save You Money
We are kind of like good CPA’s. The problem is finding an ‘ethical’ web and SEO company is like finding a needle in a haystack!
If you had contacted a professional web service like Optimized, we could have set all this up for you at a yearly cost of only $175. I recently met a guy who is paying $30 for his website hosting alone, because he went through WordPress.com instead of WordPress.org. Even more recently than that and even worse, I met a lady paying VistaPrint $35 a month for her website. Needless to say, neither of these websites perform well by anybody’s standards and their design could use some help, to say the least.
How should you handle setting up your website on your own?
I’m happy to inform you that it’s not even that bad and will probably take a similar amount of time as compared to setting everything up with GoDaddy. I have no idea how to set up with GoDaddy, I only know how to migrate sites I work on away from GoDaddy! And, I am always aggravated when I need to do so as they make web developers like myself jump through hoops to migrate a client’s site away. No other domain registrar or host makes it half as difficult as GoDaddy.
Best place to purchase your domain name?
NameCheap.com. NameCheap is a well respected and very popular domain registrar. This is our go to for setting up a new domain and where 99% of our domains reside. As the name implies, the domain names are cheap! Why pay more for your website address than you have to? It just doesn’t make sense.
Best place to host your website?
Where is the best place to host your website is certainly an arguable subject! There are several quality hosting companies out there. We recommend most website owners that will only have 1, 2, or maybe 3 domains for websites that serve their local community to go with NameCheap for their hosting as well to keep things super simple. LiquidWeb makes it easy for a novice to get their website populating online and for a low-cost host, their performance is very good.
I don’t want to get super technical in this blog post but there are essentially 3 levels to website hosting available. The cheapest you see advertised all over the place is ‘shared’ hosting, the middle level is ‘VPS,’ and the best hosts offer dedicated servers. The price for each gets more expensive as it should because there really is a big difference.
This is not a sales pitch blog post, more like a PSA, but we do charge $175 per year for a domain name, website hosting (on a dedicated server), free SSL certificate, and up to 5 @yourdomain.com emails.
How to get an SSL certificate for cheap?
Super easy way, have us handle everything for the $175 per year and you get your free SSL in that package. If you are going to grab your domain and hosting from NameCheap, we recommend for simplicity to also purchase your SSL from them as well.
How to get an SSL certificate for free?
Let’s Encrypt offers free SSL certificates. Please note, you are trading your time for money using Let’s Encrypt for your SSL. It requires you or your web developer/SEO service to renew the SSL every 6 months to keep it active. It is a manual process that does take a little bit of time and know how to complete.
How to get free @yourdomain.com emails?
Zoho! Zoho has been my email platform for over 5 years now. They now have a robust suite of tools to help streamline business operations. Along with their free email plan having everything and more than I need, it is flat out the cleanest and easiest to use email platform interface I have ever used. It makes Gmail look like child’s play.
Intro To The Web Conclusion
I hope you found value in this. I wanted to wrap this up by inviting you to read the next blog in this series, 91.4% of website and SEO companies rip their clients off. I am sure that will go over well in the community!
But, before I go, I wanted to answer several questions I think a lot of people may have after reading this.
Can I host my website somewhere else if I already purchased from GoDaddy?
Yes, and there is no charge to do so. All you need to do is point your DNS to your website host. GoDaddy support can easily help if you can’t figure out how to do this using their help documents.
Can I move my website from GoDaddy to NameCheap?
Yes, and there is no charge to do so. This is referred to as migrating your domain. It does take a week or so to fully push through, but there is no cost to do this. All you need is to get your authorization or EPP code from GoDaddy to do so.
How can I tell if my hosting is any good?
Go to GTMetrix.com and use their free website speed testing tool. If your website loads under 6 seconds on their tool, you are OK. There are certainly technical and other factors that affect how fast your website loads, but if you are over 6 seconds using this tool, contact your host’s support and ask them what they or you can do to improve it.
What if my email is already setup on Gmail? (or anywhere else…)
No worries. Just like you can point your DNS or migrate your domain, you can set up your existing emails on any other platform, at any time, if you so choose. All you need to do is configure your MX records.
It is highly recommended to configure your DKIM and SPF records as well so your outgoing emails don’t end up in spam folders.
If you have your email tied to your website in any way, a common issue when moving your email is website form submissions may fail to end up in your inbox, be sure to test to make sure these are still going through properly. If not, use the Easy WP SMTP plugin if you have a WordPress site or find out how to configure SMTP settings on your website to resolve this issue.
How can I get in contact with you?
Do you offer consulting?
Yes. I get bombarded with people needing help with their website setup. I do my best to offer assistance using blog posts like these to share quality information at no charge. I am happy to consult, please just contact me, so I can get you a quote specific to your needs.