Building a User-Friendly Website with SEO and Interactive Features

Transforming your website into a helpful tool for your business involves more than just having an online presence. It means optimizing your website’s design, content, and functionality to actively contribute to your business objectives. Here’s a more elaborate explanation:

  1. User-Centric Design: Ensure your website is user-friendly and visually appealing. A clean and intuitive design enhances user experience, making it easy for visitors to navigate your site and find the information they need. This promotes longer stays on your website, increasing the chances of conversion.
  2. Informative Content: Provide valuable and relevant content that addresses your audience’s needs. Whether it’s product information, how-to guides, or industry insights, informative content establishes your authority in your niche. Regularly updated blogs and articles can also improve your website’s search engine ranking, driving more organic traffic.
  3. Interactive Tools: Integrate interactive tools and features that engage visitors. This might include calculators, quizzes, or product configurators, depending on your business type. Interactive elements not only entertain but also provide practical value, keeping users engaged and encouraging them to explore your offerings further.
  4. E-commerce Capabilities: If you’re selling products or services, ensure smooth and secure e-commerce functionality. Implement user-friendly shopping carts, secure payment gateways, and clear calls-to-action to simplify the purchasing process. Providing a seamless buying experience fosters customer trust and encourages repeat business.
  5. Customer Support Integration: Incorporate chatbots, contact forms, or live chat options to provide instant customer support. These tools enable visitors to ask questions or seek assistance in real-time, enhancing customer satisfaction. Quick and helpful responses can turn potential leads into paying customers.
  6. Mobile Optimization: With the increasing use of smartphones, it’s crucial to optimize your website for mobile devices. A responsive design ensures that your site functions well and looks good on various screen sizes, providing a consistent user experience across desktops, tablets, and smartphones.
  7. Analytics and Feedback: Implement analytics tools to track user behavior on your website. Analyzing metrics such as bounce rates, popular pages, and conversion rates can provide valuable insights. Additionally, actively seek feedback from visitors through surveys or feedback forms. Use this data to make data-driven decisions, enhancing the user experience and your website’s effectiveness.
  8. Social Media Integration: Integrate social media platforms to expand your online presence. Allow users to share your content easily across social networks, increasing your reach and attracting a wider audience. Social media integration also enables you to engage with customers directly and build a community around your brand.

By turning your website into a helpful tool, you’re not only creating a positive experience for your visitors but also strengthening your brand presence, increasing customer satisfaction, and ultimately driving business growth.

WEB801 excels in user-centric design, SEO optimization, and interactive features. When you work with our team, your online platform becomes a powerful hub for engagement and growth. We’ll make your website one of your BEST employees. Book a free Intro Call with our team today!


Performance Goals vs. Outcome Goals

UPDATED: February 7th, 2023

I talk with clients all the time about ROI – Return on Investment.

One of my main objectives when building a new website & digital marketing strategy is helping the client SEE the ROI as quickly as possible.

Naturally goals come into the conversation.

To help a client set realistic goals, I ask questions:

Where are you now?

Where do you want to be in a year from now?

What’s your website doing for your business to help you get there?

If we do ___________, how will that affect ______________?

What does success look like for your business website?

These are all important questions we review early on in the Discovery Process.

When I think about goals, the Serenity Prayer comes to mind:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

I can’t always control everything.

Sometimes, no matter how much work I do on a project, the results aren’t coming as quickly as I’d like.

I have to make adjustments.

Making Goal Adjustments

I love sports.

I played a lot of sports as a kid. And I learned many valuable lessons that have helped me as a business owner today.

One of those lessons is that I can’t control my height.

Growing up I played basketball nearly every day. But no matter how much I practiced, that practice wasn’t going to change my height (something I couldn’t change).

Eventually I had to change my goals and focus on other priorities.

That experience, along with countless others in business, brings me to the point of today’s conversation: Performance Goals vs. Outcome Goals.

Performance vs Outcome Goals – What’s the Difference?

Have you ever heard of these concepts?

Performance Goals?

Outcome Goals?

Why are these types of goals even worth considering?

performance goalsWe all want outcomes, results, money in the bank.

But before that happens we have to take the necessary steps to get everything in place.

As I’ve studied about goals and goal setting, a couple terms kept coming up: performance goals & outcome goals.

The summary of the two goals is simple:

I CAN control a performance goal.

I CAN’T control an outcome goal.

In other words,

“Performance based goals can be controlled by the person who sets the goals while outcome based goals are frequently controlled by others…Performance goals focus on the person’s performance while outcome goals focus strictly on the outcome or result.”

This is really helpful when thinking about goals for a business.

What CAN I control?

What CAN’T I control?

Help me to know the difference!

The Danger of Outcome Goals

Goals based on outcomes are extremely vulnerable to failure because of things beyond my control.

For example, I might achieve a personal best time in a race, but still be disqualified due to a mistake by the judge.

If my outcome goal was to be in the top three, then I’m screwed.

However, if I set a performance goal of achieving a particular time, then despite the outcome or the decisions of others, I’ll have achieved the goal and can know I did my best.

Another example of an outcome goal is to make a certain amount of money.

In my Moller Mission Statement, I set some specific “outcome goals”.

But, in front of those outcome goals were well defined, written out action steps (or “performance goals”) that I committed to in order to give myself the best chance to achieve the final result.

If I want to make a certain amount of money, I’d better set specific goals I have control of that lead me down that path.

So here’s an important question:

What performance goals can I set that will help me achieve the outcomes I’d like to see?

The Power of Performance Goals

I have control of performance goals. They are measurable, things I can track.

In an online business, performance goals may be things like this:

  • I will write one article per week on Wednesday.
  • I will contact 2  businesses today in my target niche.
  • I will reach out to 2 podcasts today to offer to guest speak.
  • I will create 3 videos on Friday of this week & schedule them to publish.
  • I will record my performance on a spreadsheet.
  • I will report back to my mentor.

Do I have “outcomes” in mind?


But the outcomes are based more on my performance than anyone else’s.

It doesn’t say I will close 2 deals this week. But by contacting 2 businesses this week, I’m giving myself the best chance to make connections that will result in new business.

Here are some questions to consider when setting “performance goals” for your online business:

  • What do I need to do today to make a sale?
  • How many people do I plan to contact every day to build my network?
  • When I contact these people, what am I going to ask them?
  • What content am I going to consume to get ideas for help with my sales?
  • How many current clients will I talk to about their purchases and attempt to get repeat business with?
  • Do I have a “Plan of Attack” on what I’m going to do each day to increase the chances of making more sales?

How Do I Apply This Information Today?

Here’s a real example that I’m working on in order to implement the performance goal ideas:

I have a goal, maybe it’s an outcome goal, to use video more as a marketing channel in my business.

Ultimately I want to create online courses that help my clients grow their online businesses.

Video is an essential piece in that puzzle.

So I need to get going with video creation.

Where am I now?

I have two YouTube Channels.

One has 1,150 subscribers, 1,164,471 views, and was started on May 19th, 2013.

The other has 20 subscribers, 30,989 views, and was started on March 16, 2012.

The first one has all kinds of random videos: a funny dance recital video that has over 1 MILLION views, family stuff, DIY handyman stuff, a pool install, and some website tips and tricks. Not very focused or niche.

The second one has mostly just website tips, tutorials, & guidance. But obviously very little traction.

The first is currently titled VID801.

The second is currently titled Nate Moller.

My natural inclination is to continue to grow the VID801 channel. But in all my video research, there’s a lot of clean up that would have to happen.

And the majority of those subscribers are probably mostly interested in the funny dance recital – NOT digital marketing.

So, my decision is to work on the Nate Moller channel.

Here are my performance goals:

1.  I will have my designer create a channel style guide (banner background, icon, color scheme, logo implementation, etc.)

2. I will review content I currently have and create an editorial calendar, focusing on creating 3 videos every Friday.

3. I will watch 2 of the the 400+ Watch Later videos  every day and take detailed notes on what I’m learning.

4. I will IMPLEMENT those notes in my video strategy.

5. I will record my progress in a Google Spreadsheet.

So that’s my plan.

Sharing it with readers like you can be helpful.

Now that I’ve written it out, printed it, and put it on my desk, I plan to remind myself of it each day.

Let’s get your take on this.

What are “Performance Goals” you plan to set the help you get the “Outcomes” you want?

Leave a comment below! 👇

Can You Get Rich with an Online Business?

What’s your thought on the question?

Can you really get rich with an online business?

I’m sure most of you have heard of someone who got rich with an online business.

You may have seen someone do it on TV.

You may have even read about a “turn key” system to make money overnight.

But does it really happen?

And if it does, what’s held you back from jumping on that band-wagon?

I guess the first question I’d have for clients that want to “get rich” with an online business is this:

What does “rich” mean to you?

I recently came across an article that talked about wealth. Now, to me, wealth and rich are similar, but they’re not the same. I’d say professional athletes are pretty rich. But if you haven’t heard, some of them go bankrupt or back to the paycheck to paycheck status once they retire because they’ve never been taught how to handle their money effectively.

According to Thomas Corley, here’s how wealth is defined:

In my five year study on the daily habits of the wealthy and the poor I set the bar for the wealthy to include two things:

  1. An annual income of $160,000 and
  2. Net Liquid Assets of $3.2 million

So wealth is a little more than just getting paid a lot of money – it’s about net worth too.

My hope for people looking to “get rich” is that they take time to understand and define for themselves what “rich” and “wealth” really mean; then they need to map out a plan on how they are going to get there.

I used to work with clients all the time that were looking for the “get rich quick” online business. Luckily, I’d had quite a bit of experience working with truly successful online marketers and was able to direct them down paths that helped them succeed in different ways.

So my answer to the question: “Can you get rich with an online business?”



But it’s more than just the online business that will make you rich/wealthy. It’s the mindset. It’s the day to day habits.

This list is something you should print out and review daily to see if you’re on the right path:

getting-rich-with-online-businessThe Ten Keystone Rich Habits That Will Make Your Rich:

  1. Wealthy individuals have eliminated most of their bad daily failure habits and replaced them with good daily success habits
  2. Wealthy individuals set daily, monthly, annual and long-term goals. They understand the difference between a wish and a goal. See my Free Goals Report
  3. Wealthy individuals engage in 30 minutes a day of daily career-related reading.
  4. Wealthy people are healthy people. They exercise aerobically 30 minutes a day, four days a week and stay below their “caloric threshold” (This is the number of calories consumed each day that will neither make you gain weight nor lose weight). For men this ranges from 2,000 calories a day to 2,600 calories a day. For women this ranges from 1,500 calories a day to 2,100 calories a day.
  5. Wealthy individuals manage their relationships every day. Strong relationships are the currency of the wealthy. They employ certain strategies to grow their relationships such as: “The Hello Call”, “The Happy Birthday Call” and “The Life Event Call”. They use a specific strategy to help them increase their Rich Relationships and eliminate their Poverty Relationships.
  6. Wealthy individuals live each day in moderation.They eat in moderation, spend in moderation, work in moderation and play in moderation.
  7. Wealthy individuals complete at least 70% of the tasks on their daily “to do” list.
  8. Wealthy individuals engage in “Rich Thinking”. They are upbeat, positive and focused on achievement.
  9. Wealthy individuals save a minimum of 10-20% of their income and live off of the remaining 80-90%.
  10. Wealthy individuals control their thoughts and emotions, every day.

Poverty Habits That Are Keeping You Poor

  • You watch more than one hour of T.V. a day.
  • You spend more than an hour a day on recreational Internet use (Facebook, Twitter etc.)
  • You eat more than 300 junk food calories a day.
  • You drink more than two glasses of beer, wine or hard alcohol a night.
  • You drink more than 12 ounces of non-diet soda a day.
  • You don’t exercise aerobically a minimum of 30 minutes a day, four days a week.
  • Your relationships are on an “as needed” basis. You only reach out to your friends to socialize or when you have problems and need their help. You don’t call them just to say hello, happy birthday or to congratulate them or console them when something happens in their lives. In other words, you ignore them unless you need them for something.
  • Procrastination is the rule rather than the exception. You don’t maintain a daily “to do” list, or if you do, you don’t accomplish 70% or more of your daily “to do” list each.
  • You devote very little time to your career beyond working. You do not read a minimum of 30 minutes a day of career-related reading material.
  • You do not network or volunteer a minimum of 5 hours a month.
  • You do the bare minimum at work. You have “it’s not in my job description” syndrome.
  • You talk too much and don’t listen enough. You violate the ”5 to 1 Rule” (Listening for 5 minutes for every 1 minute of talking).
  • Oftentimes, you are putting your foot in your mouth and saying inappropriate things.
  • You are not generous with your time or money with respect to your relationships.
  • You are a spender and not a saver. You don’t save 10% of your net income every month. You violate the “90 % Rule” (Pay yourself first 10% of your net pay and live off of the remaining 90% of your net pay).
  • You spend more than you earn and your debt is overwhelming you.
  • You don’t control your thoughts and emotions on a daily basis. You lose your temper too often and belittle others too much.
  • You think a wish is a goal. Goals require a specific physical activity, otherwise they are just wishes and wishes don’t come true.

How are you doing on this list?

What do these tips make you think about?

Are you ready to commit to a more healthy and wealthy life?

Comments are welcome!

PODCAST: Protecting Your Online Reputation with Background Screening

Online reputation management is a big part of search engine optimization and social media marketing: if people are mad, happy, discouraged, or just plain lying, your company needs to know about it, confront it, and take care of it.

One part of brand management and awareness is dependent on hiring the right people. In today’s Moller Marketing Podcast, Nate Moller interviews Brent Ramey from

victig-logoGet answers about the following topics:

  • What’s the history of
  • Why background screening for a small business owner?
  • How do they take care of their customers?
  • How can I get in touch with the Victig staff?

Listen to the podcast and contact Victig today if you feel your online reputation is at risk by not hiring the right people.

Why is Background Screening an Important Part of Online Reputation Management?

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INFOGRAPHIC: What Should You Look for in Website Design?

I’m going to make this post short, sweet, and to the point.

If you want a really nice website that is going to work for your business, outsourcing it to India is NOT the best idea.

We’ve all heard the cliche, “You get what you pay for.” This couldn’t be MORE TRUE when it comes to quality website design.

I’ve been working in the industry of website design, programming, and online marketing now for over 7 years. I’ve seen a wide variety of website ideas. And this infographic pretty much sums it all up…


So, my challenge to you, before you decide on a website design firm to work with, is to really ask yourself what you really want MOST from your website.

If Cheap or Free is what you want, make sure you evaluate what you’re going to get based on this “oh-so-true” infographic 🙂 and best of luck to you.

If Great, Fast AND Cheap is what you’re desiring – welcome to the Impossible Utopia.

And by the way, your friend/neighbor/cousin/nephew/whatever isn’t always the best choice – trust me.


Why Should I Even Think About Starting an Online Business?

I’m not a politician.

In fact, I think it’s one of the shadiest businesses out there.

I have stayed up-to-date a bit more this year with the presidential election, however. I’m not sure if it’s because of the social media presence the election has, or if it’s because I worked (indirectly) with Mitt Romney in the 2002 Winter Olympics.

The question that keeps coming up, though, after listening to all the media coverage, is this:

Is starting an online business going to be a good decision in the future?

I started my first online business in 2004 and it’s still running today.

I started it as a way to monetize a hobby, and it’s turned in to a decent residual income for our family.

Since it was my first business ever, I didn’t really know what to expect; therefore, I made some new business mistakes.

The Small Business Mistakes I’ve Made

  • I set up an LLP instead of an LLC because it was cheaper.
  • I started with one accountant, didn’t like them, moved to another, didn’t like them either, then another, then another, and ultimately I’m back at the original accountant I’d started with.
  • I didn’t have a way to keep track of income and expenses.
  • I didn’t get a business license. I was told by one accountant that I didn’t need one as an online retailer.
  • I didn’t understand all the tax right offs that were available (not sure if I do now either but I do keep all business receipts and write who I was with and what I was doing on the receipt).
  • I didn’t have a bookkeeper.
  • I didn’t understand the benefits of setting up DBAs (not sure I do now either).
  • I learned this year that doing payroll is a pain in the A@#.
  • I learned this year that there are a lot of forms and paperwork the government requires if you are a full-time self employed person.

As you can see, there are a lot of things I didn’t know and still may not know as well as I should/could.

I recently read the infamous small business quote Obama shared with some of his followers. In my opinion, this quote could and SHOULD cost him the presidency. Here’s the quote:

The Barak Obama Stupid Business Quote of the Year

“You didn’t get there on your own,” Obama said. “I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.

“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.”


Did he just say all that?

Does he not realize that America is the land of opportunity?

Did he forget the concept of living the “American Dream”?

Granted, some of what he said is correct – none of us did everything on our own.

People Who Have Helped Me as a Small Business Owner

I would never be where I am today as a small business owner if it wasn’t for a variety of people and organizations. My mentor taught me a great deal of what I know about online marketing. My parents were AWESOME at keeping me committed to something once I started. My baseball coaches helped foster the persistence in me to push harder when things were tough. My wife reminds me all the time (without saying a word) that if I’m going to be a small business owner, I better bust my butt and provide for our family. I’ve worked at companies that have given me lots of hands-on experience of how to run a business (and how not to).

ALL of these experiences have helped me be able to run my own small business.

HOWEVER, ultimately I had to do the work and take the risks.

Ultimately, I had to make the phone calls and create the proposals.

The government had NOTHING to do with this.

The government is generally a thorn in my side when it comes to small business.

Here’s what one of my fellow online marketing entrepreneurs, James Zolman, has to say about the whole thing:

I didn’t want to join the whole “You didn’t build it” Obama debate…but, as an Entrepreneur and HEFTY tax payer, I say that MY tax contribution is MY money. Taxes are the money of the people, not the money of the government.

If taxes are the money of the people, how do we contribute to that “pool” of money that builds our infrastructure? By working. Where are the jobs? At a business of some type…that somebody started, probably got into debt for, risked everything for…and still contributed money into the pool of cash allocated to our government to responsibly (cough) spend on our behalf.

We control the government. The government should never control us. It’s our money in there. It’s hard earned money. Blood sweat and tears went into earning it and contributing it.

I understand the whole context of the quote by Obama too. He was saying “You didn’t build that infrastructure – the roads, etc.” Re-read my argument – the government didn’t do crap, WE did it. The PEOPLE did it. The ENTREPRENEURS and hard workers/employees of businesses everywhere contributed funds in the form of taxes to create jobs – the job for other people to build our roads and infrastructure. It all comes back to who earned that money or took that risk. It’s the people.

WE are the ones that build this country. Not our government. Government is not people, it is a strategy run by the people for the people. The strategy of government does not “own” me or anybody else. The government did not build my business. I did. You did.

Thank you.

So, I repeat my question from before:

Is starting an online business a good idea?

Will the benefits of running your own successful company still exist 4, 8, 12 years from now?

Who is going to give me a better chance to maintain my drive to be a small business owner – Obama or Romney?

I look forward to your thoughts on this topic.

If you have recommendations on things I can read about the mistakes I’ve made as a small business owner, share those too.

Independent Business Owner vs. Employee – Which is Better?

Have you ever thought about becoming an independent business owner?

I officially left “Corporate America” over a year ago and haven’t looked back. Today I found this cool infographic that really hit home. Pass it on!

Drop this infographic right on your site or blog, it’s easy. Copy and Paste the following right onto your website.

Post to Your Site and Share:

10 Simple Tips to Save a Web Design Company

This was posted on Dream Systems Media but we thought you all would be interested too.

We’ve worked with website design clients now for over six years.

We’ve had some great partnerships and what we consider a lot of success.

However, from time to time we get reminded, usually the hard way, about simple details that can make or break a deal.

This post won’t be long but is a heads up to all website design firms (or wanna-be’s) and also to all clients looking to have a custom website built.

10 Tips to Save Everyone Time & Money with Web Design

  1. PRICING PAINS: WARNING: the lower the price, the more the client usually “barks” or has unrealistic expectations. We’ve had clients who have paid into the $30 – $40,000 range for custom website design who have not complained one time. Sure, there is ongoing communication, but they understand that there are costs involved. Then we’ve had clients who paid less than $1,000 who have changed their mind, complained, wanted their money back, and so on… Why does this always seem to be the case in all industries?
  2. DETAILED DO’s and DONT’s: The more detail you put into a proposal and contract, the better. Listing ALL the things you do and then crossing off the things they WON’T get for the quoted price is a good idea. This way they know that there is more that can be done but that they only get “X, Y, and Z”.
  3. NOT YET, NO PROBLEM: If a client doesn’t know what they want, simply say “NOt yet. We use a website design preferences survey. We also share examples of work we’ve done. Make sure the client has a fairly clear picture of what they want before you sign on the dotted line.
  4. TELL SHOW ME WHAT YOU MEAN: Have the client show you specific examples of what they want BEFORE you quote a price for them. This is similar to #3 but is taking it to the “next level”. They may think they know what they want in their mind; if they can show you and explain too, that’s only going to help.
  5. CONSTANT COMPOSED COMMUNICATION: Take detailed notes and keep everything in writing. If you talk on the phone, record the details in an email and send to client right away to verify nothing was left out. Encourage clients to respond to all emails so there is open communication.
  6. COMPETITIVE COMPARISONS: Encourage clients to get multiple bids so they can compare apples to apples. Even though to some this may sound absurd, it’s always good for clients who have never had a site built for them before to “test the waters” by getting multiple bids. Not only will this give them an accurate estimation of the real costs involved, but it will also help them see that you are giving them the best “bang for the buck” – or it will convince them that working with you isn’t good for either party.
  7. TIMELINES = TRUST: Include timelines in the proposal, both for you the designer and for the client. We use a checklist format that details out what the client can expect and when. We also put a column for the client to see what we’ll expect from them. We’re adding the WHEN to what we expect from the client so that all are accountable.
  8. TIME WILL ALWAYS TELL: When in doubt, wait it out: if the deal is going to work out, time will only make it better. Sure, you want to get things finalized and moving forward, but if any of the above options have been rushed, it will come back to bite you later on.
  9. PROTECT YOUR PROPERTY: Have a clause in the contract that talks about guarantees, refunds, expectations, etc. Make sure it’s fair for all involved.
  10. READ THIS TIP FIRST: Realize that the client is not always right but that if you follow the above practices, nine times out of ten it will work out. For that one percent where it doesn’t work out, still follow the above practices.

We appreciate our clients and hope these tips and suggestions will show them that we’re not about “taking their money” and running.

We value quality work.

We value long-term business relationships.

We’ve seen the effects of companies who don’t follow these practices.

What are your thoughts?

What’s working for you?

Slide Show: How to Make Your PPT Presentation Stand Out

How many power point presentations do you share per month?

Have you ever caught someone at one of your presentations falling asleep?

Do you need some helpful tips and advice on how to make your next power point presentation the best one yet?

Luckily, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve shared hundreds of PPT presentations, both via online webinars and at local events, and yes, I have caught a couple people dozing off (although I never called them on it).

In an effort to make my presentations better and also help clients who use PPTs in their areas of expertise, I started doing research.

My research consisted of writing down some of the presenters I’d enjoyed in the past and then seeing if they’d shared any info on the subject. Conveniently, I didn’t have to look very long before I found an actual PPT presentation about Improving PPT Presenations!

Thanks to Rand and his team in advance for letting us share this PPT – ENJOY!

View more presentations from Rand Fishkin

The 6 Power Point Presentation Rules You Have to Keep

Rule #1:No Bullet Point Slides!
Rule #2:Make It Actionable!
Rule #3:Make the Content Fit the Audience
Rule #4:Craft a Narrative Arc
Rule #5:Speak from the heart.
Rule #6:Making fun of the English = OK

Other Tips for Presentations

Create Presentation Outline in Gmail
Build Empty Slides w/ Titles Only, Then Add Images, Screenshots or Text-Based Visuals
My Slides Follow this Format:

  • Branding
  • Large Title
  • Visuals
  • Callouts w/ Arrows(omg, this is so meta!)
  • Roger’s words of wisdom (or a link)
Put My Slides on Slideshareand Tweet the Link Just Prior to Getting on Stage
Create an easy-to-remember link and put it on the front and last page of the slide deck.
Re-use Presentation Content on the Blog
Never, Ever Practice
Wait Until the Last Minute to Make the Deck
Go Forth and Present!

Rand Fishkin is the CEO & Co-Founder of the web’s most popular SEO Software provider; SEOmoz. He co-authored the Art of SEO from O’Reilly Media and was named on the 40 Under 40 List and 30 Best Young Tech Entrepreneurs Under 30.

Rand has been written about in The Seattle Times, Newsweek and PC World among others and keynoted conferences on search around the world. He’s particularly passionate about the SEOmoz blog, read by tens of thousands of search professionals each day. In his miniscule spare time, Rand enjoys the company of his amazing wife, whose serendipitous travel blog chronicles their journeys.

To Host or Not To Host, Is It Even a Question?

I’ve talked with lots of clients about the benefits of having a self-hosted website.

To sum it up frankly:

  • Credibility
  • SERPs
  • Functionality
  • Ownership of Content
  • Credibility

Yep, one of the biggest factors, in my opinion, about having a free hosted website like is that you’re basically advertising for another company – in this case blogger. How can an online business really be taken seriously if they aren’t even willing to get their own domain name and promote what they are doing?

To help the “unbelievers” understand a bit more, here’s some hosting education:

What’s a Self Hosted Website?

“Self Hosted” means you pay a minimal fee (around $7.00 per month) for hosting and a domain name. That’s right, you get BOTH for that small fee.

The scope of hosting services varies widely. There are a few costs to a “self-hosted website”, but they are minimal for the benefits you get.

Here are a few details on specific self-hosted options according to Wikipedia: (I generally recommend the first option if you are just getting started)

  • Shared web hosting service: one’s website is placed on the same server as many other sites, ranging from a few to hundreds or thousands. Typically, all domains may share a common pool of server resources, such as RAM and the CPU. The features available with this type of service can be quite extensive. A shared website may be hosted with a reseller.
  • Reseller web hosting: allows clients to become web hosts themselves. Resellers could function, for individual domains, under any combination of these listed types of hosting, depending on who they are affiliated with as a reseller. Resellers’ accounts may vary tremendously in size: they may have their own virtual dedicated server to a collocated server. Many resellers provide a nearly identical service to their provider’s shared hosting plan and provide the technical support themselves. (BTW – I was compensated for the link in this paragraph.)

Hopefully you have a better understanding of what the options are out there for running a legitimate website.

Now the Pros and Cons:

Benefits of a Free Hosted Website

  • “Free”
    • Is it really free if you lose all your content and have to start again?
    • Is it really free if you can’t modify the look and functionality of the site very easily?
    • Is it really free if you can’t use affiliate links or ad space without permission or without paying a price?
    • Is it really free if the content you write really isn’t owned by YOU at the end of the day?

Downsides to a Free Hosted Website

  • Free blogs are not very search engine friendly.
    • Can’t customize Title Tags on all pages
    • Can’t add landing pages
    • Can’t modify friendly URLs
    • Sub-domains, like,rarely (if ever) show up high in search engine results
    • Often times, the home page is the main indexed page in search engine results
  • Free blogs use a sub-domain.
    • This hurts your credibility
    • All the content you’re providing is actually “owned” by the main domain ( or, meaning they could turn it off at any time for any reason (see Janet’s case study above)
  • Free blogs give you little to no online credibility.
    • How many big, professional sites can you list that use blogger or I can count them on one hand.
  • Free blogs limit what you can and can’t do.
    • In blogger, you have to be approved to use affiliate links within the Google Affiliate Network
    • In, affiliate links aren’t accepted. Here’s what says:
      • We have a feature called Ad Control that lets bloggers with a lot of traffic (generally 25,000 pageviews/month or more) and appropriate content turn on AdSense and Skimlinks for their blog and split the resulting revenues 50/50 with us. If you’d like to apply to try Ad Control, please use the form below to send us a message.
      • Adsense, Yahoo, Chitika, TextLinkAds and other ads are not allowed on free blogs. If you would like to run ads on your blog, one of these options may work for you:
  • Free blogs can be turned off at any time for any reason.
    • There’s really no way to back up all your information unless you understand computer hacking and exporting…

Benefits of a Self-Hosted Websites

  • Inexpensive: about $7.95 per month (all paid up front)
  • Free Domain Name for life
  • Unlimited add on domains
  • Unlimited email accounts
  • $50 worth of Google Adwords Credit
  • Unlimited 24 hour access support via phone and chat

Does this information help to clear up your doubts?