Sex Work and Sexual Health25/07/2020
My name is Carrie Carter and I am a companion in Birmingham and the West Midlands. I have, in a previous life, worked as a web designer and so it made sense to make my first post about this topic. This is not a hugely in-depth piece, but one which I hope will demystify domains, websites and SEO (search engine optimisation) to anyone out there for whom website talk may as well be in another language.
A major barrier to those wanting to earn money by working as an independent escort can be getting a website up and running. Websites are crucial to pretty much every business these days, and the escort business is no different. You can of course employ a professional web designer, but not everyone has the funds to do that (often being skint is why you’re here), and given the nature of the venture you may not feel you want to involve a third party.
I can’t teach you how to create a website with this post, but I can explain the components required as a starting point from which you can go off and do further reading. It will also mean you understand a little better what is required if you do approach a professional to build the website on your behalf.
In order to build your independent escort website, you will need 3 things:-
- A domain name – www address
- Website hosting – space on a server that you rent and store all your website files
- Website building software – I recommend WordPress as it’s well supported and universally used
This is your www address. If you are a UK based sex worker, it makes sense to buy either a .co.uk or a .com domain name. I buy my domain names from Google for simplicity: https://domains.google.com, but there are a ton of websites selling them. Some web hosting packages (more below) will throw in your domain name for free. If you do buy your domain name from the same company as the website hosting, it will simplify the set up process for you.
You will need to enter your name and address when you register your domain. Don’t panic: currently .co.uk owner details are automatically kept private due to GDPR, and while .com details are not, you can add a privacy option to hide your details from the public register (searchable on places like: https://whois.domaintools.com/).
You can also, of course, register your domain in a fake name / address. I have done this in the past without issue. It does however go against the T&Cs, and the domain name is an important asset of yours.
A space on a server, which you rent, and which connects the website you create to the internet. There are many web hosting companies out there at various price points. You don’t need anything crazy for an independent escort website, and a annual budget of £40-£60 should suffice.
If you’re going to build your website using WordPress, look for hosting that mentions its suitable to run the software – ideally with easy install. You’ll need a SQL database and an SSL certificate as well. These things should all be wrapped up in the web hosting package that you buy, and you won’t need to worry about them too much other than making sure they are included.
With the right hosting company, nowadays you can install WordPress with the click of a button or two. Installing an SSL certificate can be a little more tricky (this changes your website address from http:// to https:// and is an important layer of security) but the hosting company’s support will offer guidance as required.
Some hosting companies that I have used in the past are:-
Note – where possible, always buy your website hosting from a company whose servers are located in your home country. If you are a UK based sex worker, and you buy hosting from a company in the USA, your site speed and user experience will be impacted. Possibly your placement in search engines too. Shop local! UK server locations are perfect, EU locations are good. Not sure? Ask the hosting provider before you purchase.
Website Building Software
So you’ve bought your domain name and website hosting. You’ve installed WordPress on your website hosting, using your hosting company’s set up instructions. So now what? This is where you need to do a bit more reading. What I would suggest yo do is get yourself a book to work through like this one:
You might want to think about buying a theme/template for your website as well. These are essentially a new set of clothes to make it look pretty. The free WordPress templates are pretty basic, so if you do want to beautify things I recommend: https://themeforest.net/category/wordpress.
It’s useful to map your website structure out on paper before you start building. Typically an escort website would have the following pages as a basic structure. My advice is don’t over complicate structure because your customers will click away if the website doesn’t flow well:-
- More About Me
- Areas & Rates
In order to improve WordPress, there are many plugins that can be installed. These add different functionality and features to the website. Plugins I always use without fail:
- https://yoast.com/wordpress/plugins/seo/ (to help with SEO tasks)
- https://updraftplus.com/ (to backup my website before making any changes)
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
This subject is vast and ever-changing. Some basics to always adhere to though, are as follows:-
- Make sure your title tags and meta descriptions are completed for each page. Include your keywords. This will usually be your name, the term ‘escort’ plus any qualifiers such as ‘busty’ ‘independent’ and then the area you are targeting e.g. ‘London’ ‘Heathrow’. Vary the title tags and description for each page and make sure they relate to the content of the page as well.
- You’ll need a good amount of written content on each page which makes good use of the keywords you want to appear in Google for. Don’t overuse the keywords, make sure the text flows nicely for the reader.
- Use H1, H2, H3 tags correctly. H1 and H2 are particularly important.
- Make sure all of your pictures have ‘alternative text’ tags that again are written carefully to target your keywords.
- Add a blog to your website and update it regularly – once a month or so – write on topics relevant to your industry and geographical area.
- Obtains links from advertising websites and directories, slowly and consistently. Vary the anchor text.
If you’re wondering what I am on about, more reading is a must – something like the book below. And in fact the two books I have suggested for you here may be the best buys of your life, in terms of monetary return.
You can do this. When I built my first escort website many years ago I didn’t have a clue either, so I read, read, read, and I got it done. It wasn’t the best, but I started earning from it and I kept learning to make it better. The beauty of learning all this stuff yourself is that you really do then have complete control – you are not relying on a web designer to get things right for you. It’s my view that in modern life, web design and SEO skills are some of the best you can have, especially for the entrepreneur.