Alisha McFarland Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most important things you suggest business owners think about before they get started setting up their website.

Small Business Owners needs to think about the end goal of their website before they start setting up their website. I know it may seem obvious that the end goal is to promote your business but HOW do you want it to promote your business? Do you want it to be a static brochure? Do you want it to be a virtual Sales Rep that interacts with the visitor? Do you want it to be a source of information that compels people to seek you out as an expert? Do you want it to be a virtual store for your products or services? I always suggest to Small Business Owners that they honestly consider how a website can help them in a way that is DIFFERENT than anything they are already using to build their business. Instead of the website being a virtual copy of something they already provide to potential clients, it becomes a unique tool that helps them capture a new sector of potential clients.

How do you determine which WordPress platforms and plug-ins are best for a business owner’s specific needs?

When determining which platforms and plugins are best for a client’s specific needs, I first look at their skill level and second, I look at their willingness to learn. If their skills level is high and they love to learn, then I will suggest something that gives them more flexibility and functionality but is more difficult to master. If their skills are average and they are neutral about learning something new, I will suggest platforms and plugins that cover the basics of what they need and are more user-friendly. If they have no computer skills and no interest in learning them, I will usually suggest that they go with a platform that offers extended customer support and paid plugins that offer to do the majority of the work for them. If they still want to use a more complicated platform or plugin, I will suggest they hire a virtual assistant or freelancer that can do the setup and maintenance for them.

What are some other tips you have small business owners regarding an online store?

Small Business Owners need to consider how Google Analytics and Google Search Console are going to interact with their online store and utilize these resources as much and as often as possible.

Small Business Owners should make sure that the keywords they use within their online store – product titles, product descriptions, and image alt tags all match their intended audience’s potential search terms. Relevant keyword placement will improve their ranking in search results and get more visitors to their website and online store.

Setting up Goals within Google Analytics is a simple way of seeing how your customers are interacting with your online store so you can optimize their experience and calculate potential profits.

Setting up Google Analytics Goals helps Small Business Owners to think through the sales process and make sure that their online store supports that process so that customers complete the purchase.

Small Business Owners should make sure they submit their sitemaps and index their website with Google Search Console to maximize the SEO benefits from the addition of an online store.

Google can be a Small Business Owner’s best friend if they give Google what it needs to evaluate and promote their website and online store.

What is a Search Engine?

A Search Engine is a program that searches for and identifies items on the internet that correspond to keywords specified by the user.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” It’s a practice of increasing the quantity and quality of the traffic your website earns through the organic search results generated by search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

Which Search Engine is the most important?

Google and Bing are the biggest and most used search engines.

Why isn’t my website showing up in Google results?

If your website is new or doesn’t have a lot of content or links on it, Google may not have indexed it yet. If your website has been around for a while and/or has a lot of content and links, Google may be encountering crawl errors when it tries to index your website.  A poorly designed website that makes it difficult for Google to understand and index the information may also cause the exclusion of your website from Google search results.

How do I make sure my new website shows up in Google results?

For Google to remain one of the first places that people go to find information, it has to be sure that the information it provides people is available quickly and is relevant to their search. To do this, Google uses many criteria when evaluating websites. Not all of them are known outside of Google but there are some general rules you can follow to increases the chances that your new website will show up in the Google search results if someone is searching for what you offer. The first thing you want to do is have quality content on your website with links to other relevant and reputable websites. Second, you want to have a secure, logically structured and speedy website.  If your website’s loading speed is slow or the structure of your website doesn’t make sense or you do not have an SSL certificate on your domain, Google may put your website lower in the search results. Two other proactive things you can do to are to submit your website for indexing at https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/submit-url or through the Google Search Console and to submit your sitemaps to Google through the Google Search Console.

How do I find out if my website’s loading speed is slow?

Google has a tool called PageSpeed Insights that is helpful. If you want more detailed feedback across multiple page speed testing services, I recommend using GTMetrix.

How can I find out if Google can crawl my web page?

You can use the ‘Fetch as Google’ tool to see whether the Googlebot can access a page on your website, how it renders the page, and whether any images are blocked. The ‘Fetch as Google’ tool is available in the Google Search Console.

What’s the difference between ‘Fetch’ and ‘Fetch and Render’?

‘Fetch’ means that Google has found a specific URL in your website and displayed the HTTP response. It does not request or run any associated requests for images and scripts on the page. This is a relatively quick way to check or debug suspected network connectivity or security issues. ‘Fetch and Render’ means that Google finds and displays the HTTP response for a page but also requests and runs all of the additional resources. This is suggested if you are trying to find visual differences between how Googlebot sees your page and how a user sees your page.