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Web Dude
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153 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Full Disclosure:

I am a web dude. I make my living helping business owners make money using the internet. I’m writing this from as much of an unbiased perspective as I can, but I also want to educate you. Hopefully you learn something in this article that will help you grow your business.

Now that we have that out of the way, I’m probably going to shock you here so sit down.

I strongly urge you to get a pro website done.
Bet you didn’t see that coming.


But here are some reasons why:

You will spend less time getting it up and going, getting results faster. (results = money)
How long do you want to dedicate to your day learning HTML, CSS, PHP or a CMS, or whatever other geek speak I could spew at you.

I promise that’s the last time I will use geek speak in this article, but think about it. What else could you be doing with your time? (The correct answer is cashing checks baby! Or meeting new customers, networking, building my business)

A web person has already put in the time to learn this stuff. What may take you an hour to get going, he is banging out in 15 mins. How much is your time worth?

Depending on how much content your site has, it should be up within two weeks, from concept to completion.

If you know a CMS (damn, another quarter for the geek speak jar) your updates are incredibly easy to make.

You want a new page added?
Boom.
Done.

Your site will get indexed faster. SEO is a pain in the nuts, but if you know what you’re doing it goes smoother. Don’t let anybody tell you SEO isn’t important. The only time SEO isn’t important is when you don’t want new business.

If a website crashes and no one is around, does it make a sound?
Ya, it’s crying. Like your bank account.

It won’t (hopefully) look like someone threw up on the screen. Or look like someone decided to hold the annual convention of ****ty graphics and moving backgrounds on your site.

Another thing I have heard clients say is, do I need it to look that good? I mean I heard content is king, so why do I have to pay for design too?

Here’s a test. Go to this site – completely safe for work- and tell me how the content is. Gatesnfences . com

I have no idea. It hurts my eyes. Never mind Kenny G wailing away softly in the back. This is a site that sucks. This is the best part from the site- Copyright Protected 2004-2008 - L. A. Ornamental & Rack Corp. All rights reserved. No part of this site can be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, or otherwise without prior written consent of L. A. Ornamental & Rack Corp. Who’s gonna steal anything from this place?

Your website doesn’t have to win any awards for design. But it should be clean, reflect your goals, and super super usable. Good looking websites make more sales than less than stellar ones. The gates website from above, it looks like the guy does some pretty nice work. But I don’t think he’s getting calls from his site.

Your money is invested not spent. Huge difference.
Mega difference here. Don’t spend your money on a website. Invest it.

DIY is cheaper upfront, absolutely no contest from me at all. But how much does it end up costing you?

Let’s say conservatively you spent $500 bucks to build a site yourself. Domain, hosting, and software. Sites up. But you get no calls, because you weren’t sure how to drive customers to it. Maybe you have tons of visitors, but nobody calls. You’re not sure how to convert them to customers.

To me, that’s $500 beans right down the crapper.

Now let’s say you spend between $1500 and $3000. A lot of people I talk to initially balk at a price like that. But let’s again say that now, because you listed high in Google, you have a clean, attractive, usable customer oriented website, 10 people cal that month. Doesn’t sound like a lot, but of those 10 people, three of them want a kitchen completely redone, and two want a bathroom, and one wants siding. The other 4 aren’t ready to buy yet, but since you have a way to capture their information, you can call them up and stay on the top of their mind.

Do you think the profit for a single kitchen or bath job would pay for the yearly costs of a website? Invest your money in things that will return value for your business, don’t just spend because it’s cheaper.

PS. That $500 bucks could be used to set up a system where you wouldn’t even need a website that would crank up your sales. There is 100% truth that business live and die by their lists.

You still want to go it on your own?
Even though I was pretty doom and gloom about DIY sites, you can succeed. Remember these things, and your results will improve.

Research your keywords

Find out what people are searching for. If your keywords are your company name, but nobody is searching it, guess what? No traffic. Tip: -Insert Local Area Here- Contractor/roofer/bathroom guy/tile guy/drywall.

Whatever you do, go after local keywords. Rifle market, not shotgun.

Design the site so that it’s about your customer.
DO NOT MAKE THE SITE ABOUT YOU.

You go out on a date, and all the chick does is talk about herself. Asks no questions about you, doesn’t show any interest in knowing you. Also she doesn’t have too rocking of a body, so you can’t over look a small thing like a personality. I joke, I joke. Mostly.

Same thing goes for your website. Nobody wants to hear about you. They want to know what is in it for them. Talk about how a new renovation is going to change their living quality, how a new bathroom is so nice to come home to after a tough day. Ya dig?

Do not underestimate the key point in web strategy.
You are not going to sell someone on your website. There I said it. I’ll say it again, but in a different way.

NO ONE IS GOING TO PLUCK DOWN THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS BASED ON A WEBSITE ALONE!

If you hope that someone is going to call you up and say “Hey man, I just saw your website, and I really like it, and I want to have a $60,000 kitchen done from you guys, can you start tomorrow?” You’re high. Like super high man.

Go into web design knowing what your goal is.

Is it to get them to call you, so you can schedule a meeting?
Is it to get them to order more information, so you capture their details?
Is it to educate them, so they think of you as an expert in your field, and automatically think about you when they want the work done?


Whatever your goal is, make everything on your site work towards that end. And only that end.

You can’t sell a trade on the net my man. But it is a powertool for your marketing. Sorry for the corny joke, it just fell out.

After writing a small novel, I think that’s about it for right now. Basically, get a web dude. And if you really can’t swing it, remember the key points I just stated. The web is a great equalizer, but you gotta use it right.

Time for the gym, enjoy fellas.
I’ll be back later to field any questions.
 

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You should probably put a link to your website services in your signature.:shifty:
You should also mention how much more important a great web presence is in locations where there are many other contractors from which to choose. In my area there are few so the web presence is little more than a yellow pages entry however getting a good placement in a local search seems to take more than just being listed. It needs to be listed first in the search. How is this done?
 

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It did better than I expected but its free. I'm not in the local yellow pages so I wanted a place to put a phone number. Up till this year I didn't care. Now I'm starting to look for ways to help find new customers. I have a crappy web site but need to get it more visible. I don't think I've had any hits other than the hits on an alaska outdoors forum. I don't think I'll get to many hits from this one.

oh sorry i'm getting confused...my name is sullivan also.
 

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Web Dude
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153 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Haha get outta here, you're a Sullivan too? Right bro, right on.

Google maps is a great way to get a high ranking, although it doesn't really help your organic search. How close is your business address to the center of your area? For instance, if you want to rank high for LA, but you live in Boston, not gonna happen. Proximity is a key point in Google Maps. What's your web address?
 

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In regards to local business and organic search , this works hand in hand. Even if you are not ranked on organic searched yet, the backlinks will help your local business rankings. As time goes by and if you're still plugging away, your organic search results will have improved depending on your competition.
 

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Helping You Go Green!
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46 Posts
it makes sense to pay someone to do it for you

and I say this after doing mine myself

SEO is a bear, and it takes tons of effort. Effort you are probably better off not doing yourself, but instead in your trade. Now if you are slow..... maybe a different story. To me it might be like me trying to be my own mechanic. I'm probably a $0.50 an hour mechanic based on production......so in other words, it's not worth my time. Better to hand it off to the pros.
 

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I like the idea of doing it yourself. I manage my company's website using a content management system installed on a server. I like it better than coding (which you still can't escape during initial set up) but now I mostly focus on content creation and let the CMS manage that content for me, especially the blog part.

The downside is even with a CMS, you still need to maintain the software updates, twiddle around with the plugins (which I can't see living without).

I'm starting to gravitate towards the idea of using a CMS which is "cloud based" meaning I just use it like blogspot/blogger or wordpress.com. The software and plugins are maintained in a system of computers that you can't see, "the cloud", and you just use the service. Of course this limits customization options although there's some services who are getting better at this, allowing you to use some of your own themes and are flexible with plugins.

I'd checkout out Blogger and Wordpress.com first, see if you can use it. Wordpress.com would be better if you'd like your site to look more like a traditional website instead of a blog exclusively. You can set a "page" in Wordpress.com to be your homepage and the "blog" can be a secondary page.

If you're still with me, check it out, if not... start looking for someone to hire :p but really... check out wordpress.com
 

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Computing in the "cloud is the wave of the future". Microsoft is spending money on computing in the clouds, Google has their apps in the "cloud".

Heres one for military people go to McChord AFB Home Site ,, this is site was revamped and is a CMS type of site. Yes, it is a blog!

I have seen many sites that use the cms platform to give info, sell their product and services without looking like a blog.
 

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Computing in the "cloud is the wave of the future". Microsoft is spending money on computing in the clouds, Google has their apps in the "cloud".
Agreed, and the busier you are with other things in your business, the more attractive cloud computing is. Why have to spend money and time upgrading to the latest version of MS Office when Google does it for you, for free, and you just use it. Of course if you really need the power of a desktop application then you're stuck at the present time but web applications are catching up fast.

As I've read through many posts I see this community has a good following of Google Apps users. We just need to keep it up and keep an open mind towards what other computer routines and applications we might be able to do online at a cost savings.
 

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Non-conformist
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You should probably put a link to your website services in your signature.:shifty:
Since no one else commented and J didn't respond, this would be against forum rules. Unless the member does construction of some sort, sig links are not allowed (building businesses does not qualify as "construction" either). I'm sure an admin or mod could have said this, but I just saved them the effort.
 
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