Tips and Best Practices for Building Your Web Presence

HostGator LogoChoose the Right Domain Name

Choosing the right domain can be one of the quickest steps to getting online, but make sure you take a moment to make the right selection. Having a URL that is short, simple and easy to say and understand aloud is critical. To that end, avoid punctuation, unnatural abbreviations or phrases. Keeping your domain name as close as you can to your business name helps. And don’t forget to spend time online looking for businesses and sites with similar domain names and adjust yours, if needed, to avoid confusion and potential lawsuits. If you’re building a social presence, as well, it’s also worth looking at whether your domain name is available as an account name in the social media channels you’ll use since consistency across all platforms is important.

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Take a Mobile-First Design Approach

When it comes to websites, consumers do judge books by their covers and visitors will decide at a glance whether they want to stay on your site based on its appearance. With roughly half of all web traffic coming from mobile devices, making sure your site looks good on mobile is key. Google’s search algorithm even boosts mobile-friendly sites. Things like a responsive site design that automatically displays your site properly on whatever type of device a visitor is using, readable fonts, touchscreen navigation and compressed image sizes for faster speeds go a long way toward optimizing your presence. You can quickly see whether your site is mobile-friendly by checking out Google’s quick test.

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Pick a Web Host That Gives Your Site Room to Grow

When first getting online, website owners often pick host packages based on what they need now, as opposed to thinking ahead to what they might need to accommodate future growth. If you have a small site without plans to grow, shared hosting might be right for you. But if you plan to scale your business, you’ll need a host that can keep up. Cloud hosting or a dedicated or managed server might be right for you.

When making your selection, think to the future and look for a host that can support your traffic and resource needs without dips in performance, especially if you’ll be supporting e-commerce. Another factor is support. Having a support team might not seem like a big deal until you’re experiencing a server issue that impacts your business results or online sales. In those cases, good support is something you’ll want, even though you hopefully won’t need assistance very often.

Avoid High Bounce Rates with Quick Load Times

Speed not only impacts visitor experience, but whether visitors even make it to your site at all since page load time is a factor in Google’s search results rankings and visitors’ patience. More than half of people will abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load, meaning lost sales and conversations if your site is too slow. PageSpeed Insights is a great tool to use to check the loading speed of your site. It will also make suggestions on ways to enhance your speed, if needed. Things like enabling caching, removing plug-ins and add-ons, optimizing image size, minimizing code, and using a CDN all help.

Don’t Wait to Protect Your Website from Hackers

Sixty-one percent of small businesses have experienced an attack and 54 percent have experienced a data breach, according to a report from Keeper Security. Many small to mid-sized businesses might not think about website security until it’s too late and that’s what makes them vulnerable. Simple steps like ensuring your website is protected with an SSL certificate are table stakes in web security.

This one step can help you retain data integrity by preventing bad actors from modifying the communications between visitors’ computers and business servers or even injecting unwanted content into sites. It also encrypts data so it cannot be stolen. To boot, an SSL certificate helps authenticate your online presence to consumers and can even help boost your ranking in Google search results. Other nice features to have are additional layers of security via tools like SiteLock, along with regular server monitoring.

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