Going To 11 Web Designs

Empowering the small business on the web

Does my business need a web site?

The obvious answer for you is YES. Let’s look into WHY a web site would benefit you:

  1. Constant advertising – a web site is always on, so anyone on the internet can find you. As you build a presence, search engines such as Google or Bing  will include your site in search results. The great thing here is that when someone searches for a place like your business, and yours is returned as a result, you have an automatic lead – you the person is interested in a business like yours. It is a targeted advertisement that does not break the budget.
  2. A constant calling card– when you get a web site up and running, you usually get email with it. This gives you a way for others to reach you with your web site’s name. It’s always on, too.
    • One web site fundamental page is the contact page – there is typically listed all the contact information for your business – phone number, postal address, and email addresses.
    • Also on this page is typically a contact form – a section of a web page where you fill in information, and the web site will do something with it. For a contact form, a site visitor will fill out the form, and send an email with all of the info they typed to the email address you choose. This can be your personal email address, or  an address like info@yourSite.com
  3. Automation – when you set up your web hosting with Going To 11, or any of the hosting companies listed in my Web Hosting starter article, you have access to several open source programs to help automate many of your business processes. Open source means ‘mostly free’. With a typical hosting setup, you have the option to install and run over 100 different applications without additional cost. Some of these free to use applications include :
    • WordPress – This web site is run with wordpress. An amazing platform for building web sites.
    • Vtiger – this is a customer management program. I have been using this for a few months, and it is VERY useful. I mainly use it for workflow management wehn I set up new clients and sites. It also has a great “Trouble Ticket” system where you can keep track of customer requests and issues.
    • Lime Survey – It enables users without coding knowledge to develop, publish and collect responses to surveys.
    • phBB – used by millions of people on a daily basis, making it the most widely used opensource bulletin board system in the world. Whether you want to stay in touch with a small group of friends or are looking to set up a large multi-category board for a corporate website, phpBB has the features you need built in.
    • FrontAccounting is an accounting system for small companies. It is web based, simple, but powerful, system for the entire ERP chain.



Starting a web site – part 1

Setting up a web site is both easy and hard. I recommend the following steps/setup:

  1. Determine your domain name (such as goingto11.net) using various domain registrars. These are companies that keep track of the domains on the internet. Expect to pay between $10 -15 per year for your domain that ends in .com or .net.  You can also get a .co if you cannot get the .com, but they run anywhere from $30 per year and up. I have one (goingto11.co), but am still on the fence as to whether it is better than a .net Some good registrars are:
    • namecheap.com
      • Namecheap.com has very competitive priced SSL certificates in addition to good domain name prices. If you do any kind of e-commerce, or need a secure communication with your web site, For as low as $9 a year. An SSL certificate has recently been around $50 a year to start. This is definitely a site to check out for your domain names.
    • netearthone.com
    • godaddy.com
  2. Find a web hosting company. This was the hard one for me – be careful with the smaller companies. Do research on their reviews. I have been with a couple of companies that did not work out well for me in terms of support. If you just need a basic starter web site, you can get exactly what you need from a larger company with good support and expertise, for under $10 a month. This is just fine for lower traffic sites.
  3. All of the above hosting companies provide a control page, called CPANEL. This is a common web site administration application, so documentation is easy to find.
  4. Set up email addresses. See my email address article
  5. Set up web site. I recommend a wordpress site. There is much more to this step, and I will cover this in a later article.

If you have a website with your own domain (such as goingto11.net ), you should also have the ability to create a number of email addresses within that domain. If you can, then a good practice is to make sure you have at least a personal email address for each person in your business, and also a few ‘general’ email addresses. If you are the only one that would need an email address, then you can at the minimum set up an email address for yourself, such asjohn.doe@mybusiness.com . If you are currently using an email address for business purposes that is NOT part of your business name, ask yourself  the following :

Which appears more polished and professional – an email address like wilson883@aol.com, or wilson@mybusiness.com?

In most cases,the business email address is more professional. And it is very easy to set one up, and still use your personal, or favorite email address. You can create the ‘professional’ email address, and have it forward all mail to your personal email address. So a supplier or potential client  sends email to to wilson@mybusiness.com , and you can receive it on your gmail account.

Even if you are a small shop, you can look bigger, and also prepare for when you are bigger. For example, consider setting up the following email accounts:

  1. sales@mybusiness.com
  2. support@mybusiness.com
  3. info@mybusiness.com


You can then set up your email to forward all of these to your email address, or split it up between other employees ate your business. With role-based names, you will never have to change them – only change the final recipient.

Most hosting services allow you to set up unlimited email accounts for your domain. Use that to your advantage.

Google Analytics provides amazingly detailed information about your web site, which in many ways is superior to your typical web log analyzer. It has an easy user interface, and you can also easily share the information with others in your company.
After an initial setup, you are up and running!

Cpanel Web statistics

Typically when you have a web site, you have a Cpanel with your hosting provider. With the control panel, you have access to web log analyzers, which list visitors, pages visited, data downloaded, etc. This is valuable data to see for your web site. These tools read the log files on your web site’s server. However, it is not easy to share the data with other people.

Google Analytics

Google analytics is a similar type of tool, with many advanced features, which make it well worth setting up for your sites. The advantage of using Google Analytics over the provided web statistics in your hosting package is that it has much more detailed information. It does not rely on your web server’s log file.

So how does it know anything about your web site’s statistics without reading the web log?

It collects its own data for each page with a code snippet that talks to Google, and is unique for each site. The hard part about using Google Analytics is the initial setup, which entails:

  1. Registering your web site in your google analytics account.
  2. Created a specific html file that proves you are in control of the site.
  3. Adding a snippet of javascript to each page you want included in the analysis.

This last part of adding javascript to each page seems daunting. But if you have your site setup with a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, DotnetNuke, etc, it is very simple with a plugin.

I have two features that I like the most:

  1. You can share the data with other people in your company – they can do the same interactive exploration you can, or you can limit access as well, so that not all your site’s data is available to anyone who can access it.
  2. The visitor flow report.

The visitor flow  is a graphic map of all your visitors paths they take through your web site. Here is a image of a few days analytics for one of the sites I manage. It lists the pages on which users came to the site, and where they went after that. In this image you can see that the majority of the visits were coming in through the home page, and then moving to a directory listing, which is the intended typical flow.  This is just the tip of the Google iceberg. It is well worth exploring.




In addition to keywords, search engines also take into account how many places link to your site. This makes you visible. The work comes in getting links coming into your site. A quick way to start is by finding sites that are similar to  yours, and see what links to them. Often, many of the referring sites are directory listings, or sites that help you search for other web sites. Most of the time, you can register your site in their directory for free. But how to find the most visible directories?
One tool I have found for finding this is http://www.opensiteexplorer.org
You can type in a domain or web site address, and the opensite explorer will show you what is linking to that site.
  • To use this to boost your search ranking, you can look at a list, and note the sites that are ‘directories’. These are places you may want to register your site.
The PRO version looks like it is $99 a month, and it will also show you Facebook and Twitter postings that reference your domain.