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Well, since you asked…

When your website service provider starts talking about hosting, domain names, and possibly (probably) WordPress, your eyes may start to glaze over. What does it all mean? Is it important? Why are they speaking in a foreign language? And most importantly, you may be asking yourself whether you really need to know any of it.

We’ve got you covered. Take a deep breath, step away from the panic button, and read on:

To understand what hosting is, it’s easiest to explain a bit more about websites and how they work.

Domain names: This is the web address. So, when you type in “cloudzendesigns.com,” you’re typing our domain name which then takes you to our website. The cost of a domain name is usually around $5 to $15 per year.

Some companies buy several domain names that are similar to their main domain name. The only difference may be the extension (.net, .com, .org, and so on), or the difference may be more substantial. For example, we could purchase a domain like weareawesomewebsitebuilders.com.

But why? Well, any number of domain names can be purchased, and then your website manager can set up those sites to redirect to your main site. So, we would set up weareawesomewebsitebuilders.com to redirect to cloudzendesigns.com. This allows one company to own multiple web properties, thereby expanding their reach. Companies commonly purchase domain names that are actually common misspellings of their actual company name, so anytime someone mistypes the domain into the navigation bar, they are still directed to their intended destination.

Okay, you’ve got a domain name, maybe several, but how do you attach a website to it?

Here’s where you build a website. There are a number of interfaces used for this, but a common one, and the one we use, is WordPress. WordPress is essentially a dashboard that allows you to create pages, blog posts, install widgets, and more. It’s an overall management system for the back end of a website.

But, the thing that connects your domain name and the website you’ve built is your hosting service. Think of a hosting service as, literally, a host. The hosting company is the digital space where your website lives. Hosting plans come in all sizes and all costs, depending on how much space you need and what, if any, add-on’s you’ve opted for.

Steps so far:

  • Purchase a domain name.
  • Build a website (or, you know, have us build it).
  • Purchase a hosting plan.

Once you’ve completed those steps, you’ll need to provide some information to your host that connects all the dots. The information you’ll provide will connect the hosting plan and the website you’ve built to the domain name, so when users navigate to your domain name, your website will appear.

Great…but why is a hosting plan important?

There are several reasons a hosting plan matters (okay, the linked article is several years old—but the advice included is still solid). There are dozens of dozens of hosting companies out there, but despite the level of competition in the market, there are still companies that offer less-than-stellar service and features. It’s important to consider the features your host will provide and determine whether they are comprehensive enough to provide the service you will require.

A few important-to-consider features include:

  • Downtime
  • Ease of use (including how easy it is to leave the host)
  • The differences in shared versus dedicated servers

A host is literally the place where your website lives—so you want to make sure your website lives in a home that is securely guarded and where the power is always on. Similarly, you’ll want to consider whether your website is small is enough or simple enough to warrant being comfortable with a roommate or if your website will be more comfortable living in its own house (shared or non-shared servers).

CloudZen Designs offers the best hosting on the market. Aside from over 99% server uptime and great customer service, we can easily upgrade your storage space as your business grows. If you’ve already got hosting, we’d love to chat about switching you to our service. If you’re building a new website, it’s easy as pie to set up your site on our servers from the beginning.

After building your website, if you decide to use CloudZen hosting, CloudZen Designs will set it up at no cost. Got questions? Contact us today and let’s chat.

This entire post is about why you should have a website and a Facebook page. The simple answer is this: to make Google like you more. When Google likes you, good things happen.

Over the last year or two, I’ve noticed a trend. Because Facebook has become ubiquitous—that is, most of your customers are using it—some businesses, particularly new businesses or businesses only recently embracing their online presence, have decided they only need a Facebook page.

That couldn’t be further from the truth.

But Facebook Is A Great Tool

A Facebook page is great, and I would argue, all but necessary. It allows customers to develop relationships with businesses in a space they’re already comfortable with. From the businesses’ perspective, Facebook is a great way for existing customers to recommend services to their friends, making it awesome for increasing referrals.

And, let’s face it, people are less and less likely to pick up the phone. Facebook allows customers to connect with businesses without having to make a call. Instead, they can turn to the messaging feature they’re already using. And, it’s a great way for businesses such as restaurants to advertise daily specials. It’s also regularly used for everything from communicating inclement weather closures to reminding customers about upcoming events.

If Facebook is so great, why can’t you use it exclusively?

Glad you asked:

Facebook is only intended for sharing basic information about the business.

When visitors go to the “About” section of your businesses’ Facebook page, they are taken to a page detailing when the business was founded, its hours, location, and phone number, and hopefully some basic information about the mission or goal of the business…but that’s about it.

If your customers want to know basically anything beyond what Facebook allows for with their limited space and one-size-fits-all layout…you’re going to need a website.

A well-developed website is more customizable.

Because of that customization, clients and customers can more easily navigate information, and businesses are able to share information in a more organized way.

As noted above, Facebook, understandably, is one-size-fits-all. A Facebook page is meant to be simple, straightforward, one and done. A website, on the other hand, can be customized to suit your wildest dreams. Want your landing page to have a singing animated video? Done.

More realistically, do you want to provide online shopping and automated inventory tracking with shipping notifications to customers? We can help with that.

Do you want to passionately explain why and how you do what you do? CloudZen Designs can definitely help with that.

A website is necessary for search engine optimization (SEO).

This is possibly the most important point of the three. Without getting into the long explanation, search engine optimization means optimizing your web presence so your business shows up higher in search rankings.

This is important.

When customers go to their favorite search engine and look for, let’s say, yarn shops, a list of yarn shops in their area populates at the top of the search engine’s results. Usually, the list of top hits is a result of strong search engine optimization combined with being listed as a business on Google. A significant number of reviews doesn’t hurt either, but that’s a topic for another time.

If your search engine optimization is lacking, you may not show up on that list—or you may be at the bottom.

Perhaps you carry an item or brand that the person would really like to know more about. Maybe you’re the closest option. But none of that matters if you don’t have a website with good SEO that’s caused your business to be highly listed. And if you don’t have a website, guess what? The person looking for your services is going to go right on down the list. I bet fewer than one out of ten people will call a business to find out information that should be on a nonexistent website.

Facebook + Website = Where it’s at

If you take away one thing from this article, let it be this: what’s awesome about having both a website and a Facebook page is that Google can tell they are connected. When a business has both and makes it a point to be active on each one, Google likes it. When Google likes what you’re doing, they rank you higher. The higher you are in search results, the more customers can find you. It’s as simple as that.

Developing a new website might sound difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. CloudZen Designs can help streamline the process and get you into a site that suits your needs.

And hey, if you need social media maintenance help, we’re happy to chat about that, too.