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4 Key Ways to Expand Your Website or Blog

Hey, I'm Nick, and I specialize in website managing and marketing. If you have any questions, I will try answering them the best I can!

There are lots of things your website/blog will eventually need to expand, but the most important things are a top-level domain name, web hosting, SSL security, and marketing. In this article, I will be going over these things and how they affect your website's traffic, reliability, and appearance to the public.

Anyone can put up a website, but only the one who knows how to manage it will be able to keep it

— Niclas Bergman

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1. Get a Top-Level Domain Name

Getting a full domain name will make your website address easier to remember and will make it appear more professional.

A domain name is your website address, and getting a full domain is significantly better than a sub-domain.

An example of a full domain would be www.yourwebsite.com.

An example of a sub-domain would be www.yourwebsite.wordpress.com.

It Increases Your Visitors

Getting a domain name will make your website appear easier in search results on Google and Bing, etc., because a domain name is SEO friendly. This will help readers find you and and increase the number of visitors appearing on your website—a boon for anyone who wants to establish their website's identity on the internet.

A Domain Name Is Easier to Remember

A pretty obvious thing is that a shorter, more professional-sounding web address will get stuck in a visitor's head easier than a clumsy sub-domain name. This could make a larger amount of your visitors return to your website. This is a great way to establish loyalty and create a bond with your visitors.

You Will Appear More Professional

A full domain name will make your website appear more professional, and it will be easier to establish trust between you and your visitors. To some visitors, someone who spent money on their website trying to improve the user experience means that person is legit, and therefore they might feel comfortable enough to give you their contact information or maybe even make a purchase if you own an online store.

Domain Names Are More Important for Some Than Others

You can already tell that getting a domain name is a huge benefit to the most websites, although some types of websites need a domain significantly more than others. If you own an online business or ecommerce store, then a domain name is pretty much a must-have. Otherwise, the majority of people just won't make a purchase or feel comfortable enough to leave their contact information with you.

On the other hand, if you own a blog, it's not quite as important to have a domain name since you are already blogging in your niche and can establish an internet identity for yourself without the need for a domain name. Also, most blogs don't ask for people's private information.

If you want to buy a domain name, I recommend doing so on the most popular domain name service, GoDaddy.

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2. Get 24/7 Web Hosting

A key feature for your website or blog is getting professional web hosting from a hosting company like Bluehost or Hostgator.

Web hosting allows your website to stay up 24 hours a day and allows you full access to all the records and backup files. If you are creating your website on a website-builder platform like Weebly or Wix, then this hosting issue might apply slightly less to you, although it could still be a step up toward professional hosting instead of sticking with the platform's hosting since you don't get access to everything on there.

You Get More Bandwidth

Many hosting services provide infinite bandwidth when purchasing any of their web-hosting plans. What this means is that you will be able to receive any amount of traffic to your website at one time without the site crashing. Many free website builder platforms don't offer unlimited bandwidth, like WIX for example. If you would like to get infinite bandwidth from them, you have to upgrade your plan.

Everything You Work on Can Be Saved

With paid web hosting, you can constantly arrange backups, effectively saving versions of your website in case things are not going the way they were planned or if you get hacked/ddosed. You can often get the backup files e-mailed, and this gives you a sense of security in case you lose your precious work.

It's Cheap

Honestly, hosting a website is about as costly as buying a cup of coffee each month. About $4 recurring monthly is something I think the most people can afford, and it is without a doubt worth it.

If you want to try out web hosting, I recommend Bluehost, one of the world's leading web-hosting companies.

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3. SSL & DDOS Protection

SSL stands for secure sockets layer, and websites with an SSL certificate encrypt all user-submitted information and personal information. This is vital to have if you own a website that collects sensitive information like credit card numbers, telephone numbers, or passwords. So websites like ecommerce stores and membership sites absolutely need a certificate.

Get an SSL Certificate

Protects Against Hackers

A certificate will protect you against hackers trying to steal your users' information on the site by using top-of-the-line encryption to secure all sensitive information. With a certificate, your website will just appear to be a huge no-go for hackers, and they will probably just move on to a site that has looser security layers.

It Builds Trust With Your Users

More and more people are becoming aware of their security online, and today, not many of them would want to buy from a website that doesn't encrypt their information. You could lose potential customers, and lots of them, if you don't have an SSL certificate. This is why it's essential that you have one if you are selling items online. With SSL, you will appear more trustworthy to your customer, strengthening your bond with one another.

It's SEO Friendly

Search engines like Google, Bing, etc., will rank secure websites higher. They are more friendly to Google's crawling bots, and with an SSL certificate, you will appear much more secure. The encryption on your website will be appealing to search engines, and this could yield a lot more visitors. You can expect to climb Google's rankings long-term and receive an increase in visitors, which might mean more conversions.

DDOS Protection

You might have heard of DDOS before, or Distributed Denial Of Service attacks. These are attacks that hackers send to your website to crash it by flooding it with fake traffic. Every website has a limit for how many visitors can visit it at one exact moment (even ''infinite'' bandwidth websites). If the traffic amount gets high enough, the DDOS attack could get big enough to take down a large website. This is a definite threat to any site that could be getting rivals.

Here are a couple of reasons why you absolutely should go for DDOS protection services.

Guarantees Uptime

When using a form of DDOS protection, you will survive attacks of various scales. For a website whose uptime is vital in order not to lose money, DDOS protection is necessary. When receiving a DDOS attack, all the pings will be taken care of. Cloudflareis a company that has claimed to be able to handle huge attacks of up to 400Gbps. If you do not have protection against these attacks, your website will go down and be rendered unusable for any visitor during the attack.

Makes You Less Attractive to Hackers

If you ever get hacked you will be protected, although it may not even come at all. A website that has DDOS protection will be super unattractive to any hacker looking to cause chaos. That, combined with an SSL certificate, means you are pretty much good to go. Very few hackers have the will, knowledge, or time to hack or DDOS a website with these security precautions.

If you feel like your website might need DDOS protection, or if you just would like to try it out, I recommend Cloudflare.

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4. Advertise Your Website

A lot of great, unique websites just don't get noticed or seen online today. The internet world is massive, and your website is just one in hundreds of millions. This causes many websites to shut their doors. This is why it is important to know how to market your website and invest in reaching the right visitors.

But isn't advertising expensive?

No, it doesn't have to be. Marketing your website using the right tools and knowing how to target your audience can help you reach out to visitors/customers and keep a low budget (for anyone who doesn't have thousands of dollars to spend).

Use Facebook Ads

I really cannot stress enough how good this method actually is—it's cheap, allows advanced targeting options, and provides results!

You create your own ad with your own text and images on Facebook, then promote it to users who will see your ad and click if interested. The pay per view is very low, and hundreds of people could see your ad for only a couple of bucks. You could get a lot of clicks out of this, depending on what you are promoting.

Let's say you were promoting an affiliate link, and you know the website you're affiliated with has a sale going on—you could promote that sale and make users click on your ad to be directed to your affiliate partner. This way, you can get conversions, and advertising could actually be beneficial.

You Will Be Recognized and Get a Name for Yourself

Once people have actually seen a commercial from you, there is a chance that your name or ad will be remembered. This means that the next time a person who has already seen an ad from you before sees another one, they might click out of curiosity. If they find the content interesting, you might have just gained yourself a loyal and returning visitor.

Advertising has been proven to be beneficial if it's done right and can earn you lots of money. If you want to know how to maximize the efficiency of your ads, I recommend Facebook's official Ads Guide: https://www.facebook.com/business/ads-guide.

If you would like to try marketing your product/website on Facebook, try them at https://www.facebook.com/business/products/ads.

I hope you enjoyed this article and learned something new about things that could make a big difference for your website.

What have you learned from this article?

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. How does SSL security protect sensitive information?
    • It encrypts it, making it harder for hackers to access
    • It hides it in special locked files on the website, safe from hackers
  2. If you buy a domain name, does it affect your rankings on google?
    • Not really, although a domain name may be easier to remember it doesn't have an effect on google rankings
    • Yes, Google ranks top level domain names higher in their index.
  3. When you receive a DDOS attack, what could happen if you don't have protection?
    • Hackers could steal my passwords and sensitive information
    • The attack may cause damage to the layout and elements of my website
    • The attack may cause my website to go down and be rendered useless during the attack

Answer Key

  1. It encrypts it, making it harder for hackers to access
  2. Yes, Google ranks top level domain names higher in their index.
  3. The attack may cause my website to go down and be rendered useless during the attack

© 2017 Niclas Bergman

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