Episode 21: Starting from Scratch
Podcast Episode 21: What to do when (re)Launching your Website. Listen to the full episode about SEO for Photographers at MeredithsHusband.com
Meredith's Husband 0:24
Alright, so what do you do? If you are starting from scratch? Oh, gosh, if you have, I guess that could mean a few different things. If you have no website at all, no, no website, maybe you have a website, you're just starting. Maybe it's super small, maybe a couple pages. Maybe you're struggling to figure out what to put on your website, which is never ending, by the way, you'll be Gosh, tell me about it forever.
How long has it been?
Meredith's Husband 0:49
How long has what been?
working on my new website? I don't know. I don't serve as good example.
Meredith's Husband 1:01
Well, yeah, you didn't you need to schedule time. But anyway, yes. Okay. What do we do? We're starting from scratch, what do we do? If you're in that situation? You're you're just trying to get going, and you're stuck. So first, if you don't have one already, you need a domain name, you need a website name. Right? Right.
How do you go about getting one?
Meredith's Husband 1:19
You can get them at GoDaddy. If you don't, if you're buying domains, I actually recommend Google domains. Okay. Just because they're, they're a little bit cheaper. They're like, they're $12 a year, whereas GoDaddy is gonna be like, 1499, or whatever, and these other sites, but I like Google, because this is not their main business. Like Google is not in business to make money off of domain. Oh, I see. I see. So they're not, they're not going to be trying to upsell you. You know, when's the last time you bought a domain name on? On GoDaddy? For example, how many screens? Did you have to cycle through saying, No, I don't want that. No, I don't really I don't want that. So Google is just like, it's just your domain name. Here it is. It's 12 bucks, they're always 12 bucks. That's great. There's no intro year. So the first year might actually be more expensive, but they're very solid, it's Google, they're not going to get hacked. Or it's very unlikely that they get more unlikely that they get hacked than somebody like Google or other some other domain seller. So then, you need a website. So you need to have your domain name, you need the actual site. So if you're just starting, I recommend just going with Squarespace. Ah, and it's gonna be quick. It's gonna be it's gonna be super quick. So first, I've always said like the benefit of WordPress, is all the flexibility. Yeah, there's in the SEO. If you're just starting, you just need you just need a page online. Right? Right. And it has and you want it to look good. You start with Squarespace. It's going to look good. You're not going to have to worry about the technical issues. Can I ever have to worry really about any technical issues? They're going to take care of it? It's going to look professional, it's going to work on mobile devices. There's lots of help. Super quick. Yeah, it's super quick. You can have you can have a site online by tomorrow. Wow. Well, well, with Squarespace.
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Right. Right. Yes.
Meredith's Husband 3:07
If you're starting from scratch. Yeah, true. True. True. So so. So really, if you're if you're just starting, what what do you need to put on that site? So you need like, technique, like, really? You need you need your name, your business name, your address? Yeah. And maybe if you don't want to maybe like, like you, you don't have a studio, like your your business address as your home, you work at your clients location, then you don't want to put your actual address, then just put your, you know, put your address, but instead of your street number and name, say your neighborhood, and state and zip code, and your phone number,
which should be you should have your own business phone number. I do. Yeah,
Meredith's Husband 3:47
it's Vironment. But if you if you are operating on your head, a lot of people do this. It's it's personal preference. I like having a business number and my own personal cell phone number. Yeah, separate. Yeah. I don't most a lot of people don't care. But I don't want to associate my personal cell phone with my business because I already get spam calls. So I guess it doesn't matter. But I just I just I just you know, what, if I want to sell my business someday, I don't want it to be tied to my it's just I keep them separate. Yeah, yeah. So that's what you need. You need your name, your address your phone. Technically, that's all you if you're a photographer, you probably want to have an image, right? At least one image like this is the bare minimum, right? So it's Meritus dinner photography, a show at least one image family photo and then your contact info like technically that's, that's what you need to get started to then take the next step. So now you need to take your, your website you need to effectively get it in the phonebook. Okay, you remember like in the in the ad, you know 20 3040 years ago? Then Oh, right. If your business If your business was not in the phonebook, it didn't exist. So you need to do the equivalent getting your business in the phonebook. So what does that what does that mean? Now? There's a there's a, it's very different, but it's kind of the same concept. Number one, Google My Business. I'll drop a link below and on how to do that if you don't have this already, get Google business my set up. That's like, probably, essentially, the biggest phone book on the on the internet is all the businesses live in within Google's business directory. Isn't it crazy
that now when we think before when we, before the internet, when we say, Oh, this is one of the biggest things, you just you literally think context and you imagine, like a huge, huge thing. But now that's all on the web. And so it's it's only in our imaginations the size? It's not something, you know, I'm saying it could be any shape.
Meredith's Husband 5:54
Yeah, physically, it's not? Well, I mean, visit, they have data centers, they have servers, they have hard drives, racks and racks of hard drives, which, you know, it's a thing in Google's data centers are bigger than Yahoo's data centers, you know, so there's kind of a thing, but yeah, compared to the Empire State Building, they're, they're probably not big.
Right? So um, sigh? That's just my observation. Yeah, it's
Meredith's Husband 6:16
it. Yeah, the world is all data. Now. Everything is data. Anyway, so you need to get into Google My Business, that's I would call it the largest phonebook online, although it's not technically a phonebook. Yellow Pages does exist, right. But it's, you know, there's there's actually 1000s of websites that act as his business directories.
And so literally, you're saying, go into Google, and put in Google My Business, or the link,
Meredith's Husband 6:46
because I'll have a link below. Or you can just type in Google My Business. And you'll go to that front page. And they have pretty good instructions there on how to get that set up. Now, you might, if you're, especially if you're doing this for the first time, you may need to verify your business, which is going to mean, you're going to need to upload your address and phone number. And then they will mail you a postcard and then you need to take a code from that postcard, go back and verify.
Yeah, to make sure that you're real, right. Yeah.
Meredith's Husband 7:13
And people have tried to abuse this system to no end. So they need, so they need to confirm, oh, this is an actual legitimate business place of address lookup address. They used to do it by phone, but even that got too easy to work around. So while you say do that, and while you're waiting for that postcard to arrive, you want to go out and get into some of the other phone books that are out there. Now, you do this for for one main reason. When when you do a Google search, and especially for a local business, and you see a map and you see three buildings, yeah. business listings, listings? I probably did. Yeah, that's when Google is determining what businesses are going to be listed there. One place that it checks is all these other phone books, places like yellowpages.com, super pages.com. Busy, you know, there's 1000s of them, Yelp, etc. So you need to grab some of those links, okay? To make it look to Google more legitimately like your real business, because because you because you verified with Google and they send you a postcard, you said I got the postcard. Okay, so that's that's one thing. But the next step for Google is saying, well, they are they is this business elsewhere on the web? Are they these other hundreds of business directories? If you are, that's a that's a good sign for you, you know, look more legit to Google. And that's, that's the goal.
So how do you get on them?
Meredith's Husband 8:43
So couple that I mean, you can do it manually, which is I think we've we talked about this in episode like five you can you can submit to all these directories manually, which will take four and a half lifetimes. Or you can you can, you can buy a suit, you can use a service so service it what's there lots of services. I like the one white spark white Spark, white light white Spark,
white strokes, white stripes, white, white
Meredith's Husband 9:13
Spark, let's, let's call it white spark on the link below, but what or Okay, another one is Yext. yahoo.com. This used to be X but with a Y, right? Like, like I, I always confuse it with Yelp. But yeah, place the URL with a x. Yeah, but yeah, you they probably thought of they named it because they want it to be next but maybe with a Yahoo beginning, I don't know. Oh, yeah. So what they what they do is you sign up this is a service and these are pretty common. Now you sign up for a service you enter your business information, and it goes and it puts all your it creates listings for you and all the local business. Oh, that's great. And you pay Yeah, he's gonna say how much does the cost and you pay? Yeah, I used to use Yext all the time. I stopped using it because it's not cheap. It's like 500 600 bucks a year? Oh, yeah, the benefit is they're, they're really well connected to all these directories. And they can get you listed really fast. The problem is that you're essentially renting those listings because when you stop paying Yext, right, who knows what's gonna happen to those listings? Might not disappear. But
that's recurring every year.
Meredith's Husband 10:23
Every year. It's a year. I mean, you're paying monthly. Yeah, no, it's not cheap for something so simple. So the one I like is, is white spark. Because you give them your business info, they go create all the listings, and they, they do it manually, and then they send you a spreadsheet, here's all your usernames and passwords. And so you pay one time, so much better. So so much, so you
just pay once it's not on you. You just
Meredith's Husband 10:49
pay once. Do you know how much? It depends on how many you can? You can? No, it's It's probably like the cost of one year Yext, but that's it. Yeah, own it, and then you own it. And if you ever change, like, let's say you change your phone number, or you move to a new address or something like that, they will update those, I think for like half price of something. That's one of the disadvantages of owning it. If you change something, then you have to, you have to change it. But they if you've already created those listings with white Spark, they'll update them for a reduced price.
And you trust them with your name and passwords that you provided.
Meredith's Husband 11:29
Oh, yeah. No, you don't provide them with any passwords, they will they create the accounts, username and passwords to you. And then go in and you can go change them if you want, but who cares? Like one of the back to YECs, for a second. One of the advantages there, if you change your phone number address on Yext, you can go and update it on your dashboard. And it will literally change in all the other directories like overnight, super fast, and there's no extra fee. But remember, you're paying so you're paying forever. So another one that is like Yext, but a little bit cheaper is SEMrush. SEMrush. Does this too. You love your sem rush. I love my sem rush. Yeah, you can go to I'll have links to all these below. We actually have a 10% discount at White spark. Right, but sem rush I think I think it's it's 20 bucks a month and it does, I don't know, 20 or 30
years. It seems to do everything that you Sorry, I talked right. Does
Meredith's Husband 12:30
everything. Yeah. No, sem rush does every it does everything. Like I'm on SEM rush. Literally. I'm logged in 24/7. No.
It's not called yeah, Rush.
Meredith's Husband 12:43
No. Yeah. Could be. You know, some, some, you know, Sam stands for
Sam. It sounds for sensually ergonomic news.
Meredith's Husband 13:00
Oh, you just missed it. It's a marketing, search engine marketing. Oh, my God, like SEO. S. There's in the world of search engine. Marketing, there's SEM, which usually refers to paid, or it's kind of an umbrella term that would include paid ads on Google and SEO. So SEO is under the umbrella of SEM.
Hmm. And then rush just, like, just get it done?
Meredith's Husband 13:27
I don't know. Yeah, man. That was the catchy
part. I guess. Wasn't there a movie called rush? You're just a band.
Meredith's Husband 13:34
There's a band called rush. Yeah, there's yeah, that's, that's what they sounded like.
It's incredible. I am so good. At impression, okay.
Meredith's Husband 13:47
I know. Okay, so let's get back to your website. Okay. So now so now your business is kind of on you online anyway, is looking more legit. You got a domain name, a website with your contact info, you get your business info in Google? Yeah, you've got your local links, Google knows you're a legit business. Those also help to start your SEO because they're inbound links, but you're looking like a legitimate business online. You You have just
excited for your new business.
Meredith's Husband 14:19
You have what I would call a minimum viable product. So minimum viable product is like what is
So you've got what you need to move forward now. So I would say net so now you probably want to go back and make your your site a little more robust, right, maybe put on some more images. Yeah. But what do you really need? You need to same thing you need your business name. You're gonna need to show your, you know, your product, your images, you need to show people what they're going to get. So you could you could do this to be to begin you could easily do this just all on one page. If your business name, you have a little bit of text about what you do, you know the headlines, a family photography, kids photography samples, a way to contact you, I would say that you want to for SEO purposes you, you're going to want to try to put some words on that page you want to have, ideally, any page that you want to have rank in Google, you want 350 words or more, I would say there's a hard minimum of 200. If you don't have 200 words on a page, it's gonna look very thin to Google.
How do you is there a thing that counts the words? Or do you have to? There's got to be a thing that counselor 247
Meredith's Husband 15:42
Yeah, you take just take a pencil and above every word 1234? No, yeah, any word processor is going to have up word count feature. Okay. Google Docs, Microsoft Word, um, somewhere in there, you click something will tell you how many words, okay, so you've got your business name, your contact information a little bit about what you do via your text, and images, you want to have a way for them for people to contact you. And when people contact you, you want to have what they call a confirmation page. This is ideal. I know, if you're tying your site, if you're integrating it with something like 17 hats, it might give you a form to plug in onto your site. And when people fill out that form, it just says, you know, success or Message received. Ideally, you want to go to a thank you page. So you know, when you when you finish a checkout, you go to a page that says it's like, hey, confirmation, Here's your order number, whatever. That's a confirmation page. And the reason you want that is because the only way that people can get to that page is by taking an action contacting you. Yeah, it's the call to action. If you if it's ecommerce, they bought something that gun. Yes, they got it. So what happens is, then you next you're going to go to Google Analytics. If you don't have Google Analytics, I'll drop a link and how to install that on WordPress and Squarespace. You want to set up a goal in Google Analytics? I'll drop a link to that below to goal. Like a goal. Yes, yeah, yeah, goal. It's often called a conversion. But if you log into analytics and try to set it up, it'll, it'll say goals. Okay. And then when you're looking at reporting, it'll say, goal completions, that's conversions is another way to say conversions. But the reason you want that is so that you can go back later and look at Google Analytics and say, Okay, this is how many people visited my site. Great, but how many people actually clicked? It's how many called me or sent me an email or bought my stuff or whatever it is. So it's easy. It's it's the, it's the best way to do that. Right? So
stop by and look at it. It's people who stopped by look at it and go, I'm going to take an action.
Meredith's Husband 17:59
Yes, I'm gonna do this. I'm gonna contact Meredith
can I do? Yeah, yes, you are.
Meredith's Husband 18:05
Then once you have all that, that once you have that information and Analytics, you can then see, okay, the people who contacted me, did they come from Yelp? Did they come from Google? Did they come from Yahoo? Did they come from Instagram that where am I getting? So this is you kind of see UGL? Did I say Google? No, I guess that's the Yahoo and Google combination, a wide front of everything. So you can start to see you.
Welcome to our life,
Meredith's Husband 18:39
you can start to see where you are actually getting your business like Where? Where would if so because the next step is you're going to want to go out and start to get traffic. So hopefully, if you have any traffic at all, you'll be able to start to see hey, where am I already getting traffic? How can I get more, or maybe I'm getting traffic from this website over here. But I don't get any conversions. From there. I get fewer traffic from this site over here, but I get a lot more conversions. So you start to see where you should put your effort. massive effort where you're actually getting the leads.
I also love that this is the only place where you want traffic. Usually you're like I don't want I don't want to leave there's traffic. Oh, I got stuck in traffic. Traffic, but now you actually want traffic. You want everything you ever had you ever thought of that before? Nope. Welcome to Meredith's husband's podcast
Meredith's Husband 19:37
you do you really don't need very much if so, like, and I see this often people get really stuck on the building a website portion. Like over the years, I have seen some truly horrific sites, looking sites do really fantastically well for businesses. And I've and likewise I've seen some really fancy See, Kashi websites that cost a lot of money and a lot of time a lot of effort do just absolute miserably, right? So yeah, so just get the get the basics. And Squarespace will work until you get a site that has, you know, more pages and more content and you want to maybe dig deeper into something else or more features or add flexibility your site then then you can move it over to WordPress, but for now, if you're, if you're if you're in that phase and you're struggling with this, just use Squarespace. It's very quick and easy. Thank you. Alright, thanks, everybody. See you next time.
He's shaking his head
Meredith's Husband 20:45
okay, I hope that helped. I hope that helped your website. I hope that helped your business. I hope that helped give you a little bit of confidence that SEO is not this convoluted, cryptic, crazy thing that nobody can understand. If you did like it and you found it helpful. Please share with a couple of your colleagues. Tell them what you like or more importantly, tell me what you liked. Let me know interview leave a review on Apple. Tell me what parts you like and I'll try to do more of those parts. Again. Thanks for listening.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai