In the digital world, a website is what an office is to the physical world. Every reputable business or institution has one or two, and even individuals also have their websites. For most people, one of the first things they consider when starting a business is to get a website and make their presence online. That is a good move, and it is the right thing to do in an information age.

Unfortunately, many people also seem not to derive any value from having a website. This is evident from the fact that most people only register domains for one year and do not renew them after that, letting them expire.

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Expired Domains

Let’s take the example of Kenya.

In May 2020, 4,261 .ke domain names were registered and an existing 4,209 domains were deleted. The deleted domains refer to those that had expired and owners had no interest in renewing them.

I understand that some domains are not renewed because the owners no longer need them, or they were bought in the heat of the moment when an idea showed up. However, there are still many people who buy domains, spend money to hire a developer to build a website for them, but after one year they are not interested in the website again. Never mind it costs almost as little as 25 dollars a year to keep a website online!

Many people don't derive any value from a website

Why then do people let their domain and hosting services expire?

After spending most of my time dealing with many things to do with websites, I have concluded that most people do not derive value in a website. One of the reasons for that is because people take the wrong approach when starting a website. For most people, a website is a one-time thing that you set up and you sit and wait, expecting that it will bring you the sales or the publicity you need. That is usually the first step in getting it wrong.

The example of real estate

A website is a form of digital real estate and has a lot of similarities to a physical space. If one is looking for a physical space for an office, there are many things to consider, and there should be similar things when you want to start a website.

If you are looking for a business location, you are likely to consider a mall because there is ready traffic. You will consider a busy street because you need people to walk in and buy from you. If it is an office space, one is likely to choose prestige when selecting the street, as well as other businesses that are there.

Other things to consider include the painting and display, ease of getting supplies, and accessibility by staff and customers.

If there are so many considerations when getting a physical space, why do people get websites without even thinking about it and expect to derive value from the same?

The truth is that for one to benefit from a website there are a lot of things that they need to do and keep doing all the time. Just like you have to clean your office every day, you need to keep a hand on your website.

Several considerations

Here are a few things that one can do to ensure you get value from your website.

Good Domain and Hosting

It all starts with a domain name and hosting. Getting these right at the beginning means that you are assured that your website is online all the time and accessible. It also means that you will get technical support when you need it, making it easy for web development and allowing you to focus on other things.

A good domain name should be short and memorable. If possible, let it be descriptive of your business or your brand to make it easy for people to remember. Hosting service can be scaled as a business grows, so one does not need to start with the most expensive and complex service available.

Website Design and Content

A website needs to look good and function as required. Amid many competing websites, how users experience your website is important.

A website should be easy to navigate and appealing to users. A visitor should be able to tell what the website is about at a glance. In terms of content, ensure that you provide all the information that your website users need to know. This could range from basic information like contact information to a detailed product manual.

Having all the important information about your business and products online makes it easy for users to find you and also reduces the non-essential contact you will have with website visitors because they do not need to call or email to ask for information. Your website should be the main authority in your business and brand online.

Search Engine Optimization

One advantage of having a website is that you can break physical barriers because the internet transcends all geographical barriers. Unlike a physical office, your website can be accessed from all around the world.

However, it is not automatic that one will benefit from this if they do not take deliberate action about it.

One thing that is needed is Search Engine Optimization. This is the process of growing the traffic of a website by increasing its visibility to the users of a web search engine. Optimizing your website to benefit from search engine traffic ensures that you are visible and you can be found by random users online.

Getting SEO right can be complicated. One thing a user can do is to get a professional to help them ensure that they get the SEO right.

Content strategy

A website is like a living thing or should be. This means that for it to be effective, it needs to be kept up to date and with new content regularly.

Planning for and creating content can be a hard task, but a website owner is the best placed to figure out the content that the website visitors would value. This can be incorporated in the form of a blog or just a post on the website.

Regular post is part of the SEO strategy. It offers something new for web visitors and this needs to be coupled with an analytics service that will allow one to see what content is getting visited. Keeping a website fresh with content should be one of the key things to ensure that one gets value from it.

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