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03-01-2001, 03:38 PM
One of my employees keeps bugging me to do a website. I'm not sure if it would get me anything in return. Do customers really look? Does it help increase sales? How much time would I have to put in to keep it fresh? (Like any of us has any extra time lying around).

JML
03-01-2001, 07:20 PM
i get a great response off my website. http://www.jmurray.com customers do look at it and i get a lot of e-mails from my customers. i get even more e-mail off the site from potential customers. the only problem is about 75% of them aren't in my service area..

Stonehenge
03-01-2001, 07:31 PM
Well, I'll take a shot a few of those questions....


I don't know how big your company is, and therefore how much time you have to spend on your jobsites (for me, I'm out there almost 100% of the time that work is going on). If you can spend a lot of time in the office, then it won't take too much to 'keep the site fresh'. Now, our core biz is hardscapes and softscapes, with only a few pruning projects here and there, so having a fresh website isn't as important to us (they'll probably only look a few times before they decide to go with us, adn after that probably never again).

You'll see that our site is clean and simple - I wanted ti that way because I like the look, but I'm also a novice website builder, so I didn't want to try to go all out and have a garbage finished project - I used Microsoft Frontpage2000 - it made the process very easy. You can get as complicated or as simplistic as you want with that software. But do be prepared to commit a couple days completely to building the site - with photo scans, writing copy, layout, it'll take that long.

Do the customers look? Too soon to tell. But I am promoting it on every marketing piece I have, and I'll have the address lettered on our trucks. My hope is that it will serve as a place where people can get some info about the company without a sales pitch. If they like us, they'll call.

The nice part about all of this is, after the cost of the software (about $150), and the monthly fees for the website (about $14 for me, you can even get it free. But the free ones tend to be on slow servers and most don't accept frontpage server extensions), it's no more than 2 months of yellow pages ads, or 2-8 column-inch ads in the paper. And it's there year-round.

Another nice thing, you can get it up as a simple site right away, and build on it. I plan to archive newsletters there, post pics of proud customers and their projects, and add pages for new service offerings, etc.

capital
03-02-2001, 07:51 PM
We use a small web page. The thing we noticed last year in its first year was that clients would want to know when we would be posting their jobs/landscaping on the site. We also get lots of emails from our clients when they are coming or going out of town to let us know. So thus far we have been happy with it.

gusbuster
03-03-2001, 03:28 AM
Once your site is picked up by a couple of major search engines, get plenty of calls from it.

You can go the cheap route by using a free service, just to try, like http://www.bizland.com. As was said earlier, can't use Microsoft front page extensions, but a lot of the free sites have simple and easy templates to get you going. Down side of free sites are banners.

If you ever decided to go full bore, for building your website, Microsoft Front Page, one of the best and most supported progams on the net. As for a site to host your web site, there are so many. Cost involved:
web publishing software...free to $500
web hosting.....$12.95 to $15 a month for a basic account.
registration fo your own domain name, about $35 a year, but can get it cheaper.

Setting up your own web sit is easy, but little bit on the time consuming size if you do not have a vision of what you want.

My free site is:
http://curutchetlandscaping.bizland.com/Home.chtml
My current site:
http://www.jlclandscaping.com

John