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View Full Version : Who here has a website?


ConPro
01-23-2003, 10:58 PM
I'm having a couple bids proposed to me next week. What should I ask for or look for in my website. Also, how much should I spend?:confused:

AGLA
01-24-2003, 06:46 AM
You need to decide what it is that you hope this website will do for you. Then you have to seriously ask yourself if a website can really do what it is you want.

Content is everything. Don't worry about having every bell and whistle. There is no reason for a person looking to hire a landscape company to equate to simplicity of their website to the nature of their work.

Go for good content of information and pictures. Both of these you have to create rather than a website designer. Remember to put your location in the page, many professionally designed pages forget this because they are used to web based business that does not need to connect to a specific place.

The important thing is that the page can be found by the potential client in a search engine. You have to have an idea on what that client is going to type into the search engine so that you pop up near the top of the list. (ie,. lawn care, nampa, idaho). You have to get those key words in to the meta-tags of the webpage so that the search engines will pick that up.

The page can be plain text with a few nice pictures that support what your message is. That is far better than a general message with nice pictures of things that don't matter with custom buttons and links to supplyers, football scores, and the weather channel.

1. It must be found by those that you are targeting.
2. It must have good concise information in it.
3. They have to know where you are and how to get in touch with you.
4. The rest does not matter much.

ConPro
01-24-2003, 04:14 PM
Thank You, what should I have to pay for what you described?

AGLA
01-24-2003, 06:11 PM
I don't know what the going rate is because I have always done my own. You do need a web hosting service. Some are free, but do not allow "commercial" sites. What excatly they mean by that might be a little sketchy.

I have read other 'scapers having spent $500 -$1,500 and then $40-$60 a month for web hosting. I think that is probably not worth it for a smaller landscape company because I don't think it generates business in a big enough way.

I have had resumes on web pages rather than one for getting business, so I have used free sites and made my own. I have had people ask if I could do landscape plans or jobs for them, but they all seemed like they were living in cyberland. The commomn theme was they were looking for free or cheap ...like download a landscape.com or something.

The fastest best way to get clients is word of mouth. They see something that you did that they like or a person recommends you and you have the job half sold before you open your mouth.
If you are thinking that this is going to get you a lot of clients fast, I think you better be cautious about commiting a lot of money to it.

Has anyone had very positive sales results in landscaping from web pages?

http://www.geocities.com/agla1247/

kermit
01-27-2003, 04:05 PM
I live in a very tech savvy area. The first place a customer looks for information is the web. The customers I want are well off, smart and looking for the best work they can find, cost is not their prime concern. Although we advertise in the yellow pages, I think the better customer comes from the web. We have a web page that functions as our brochure, it helps presell our work to the client and has produced some of our best profit jobs. My wife is a techie so she does all my web work, so I don't know what the cost of a good web designer would be.

grshppr
01-29-2003, 10:29 PM
I made my own website with Microsoft Publisher. I'm not very computer literate, but it on;y took me a day, and I feel it turned out half decent. Check it out if you want www.vernongrasshoppers.com. I don't really get a lot of business from the web, that is why I didn't want to pay someone to make it for me (plus I haven't had much snow to plow so it gave me something to do!) I've heard of other guys spending $500-1000 on their sites.

AGLA
01-30-2003, 06:43 AM
Grasshopper,

I think your web page is fine. It loads quickly and gets the message out that you want to get out. No one cares how many frames or animations are on a page - they want the information and everything else is a distraction. Good job and you don't need to sell an extra $200 worth of work each month to break even on it.

Scape Sculptor
01-30-2003, 03:12 PM
Grasshopper,

Who do you have as your Web Hosting?

grshppr
01-31-2003, 02:49 PM
I have a friend of mine who works for a computer company. He hosts it for me, I think it is Okanagan.net.

JimLewis
02-04-2003, 04:39 AM
Not me. I think they're a huge waste of time! ;)

JimLewis
02-04-2003, 05:04 AM
I am with Kermit. I think the web is one of our most effective marketing tools. Maybe it depends on the area you live in but I think to ignore the web is to ignore a HUGE amount of potential business.
I don't really get a lot of business from the web I think that's true of a lot of companies. But you have to realize two things;

1) Your website has two purposes. First purpose is an extention of your other advertising. It gives the client a lot more information. You can only put so much on a business card, flyer, truck, etc. But you have endless possibilities with a website. So the trick is to put your website on ALL of your other marketing and use it as a secondary place for people find out more.

For instance, check out this page from my webstats section.

Webstats Page 1 (http://207.228.228.117/webserver/stats/guest.php?Opened=Referrals&Command=from&Year=2003&Month=01)

Notice that MOST of my hits came from iinside my own website (which doesn't really count) and the second most came from a Direct Address. That is, the viewer just typed my website in their browser. How did they know to do that? They saw one of our trucks, flyers, business cards, email signatures, etc......

2) The second thing you need to realize about the web is that once the site is up - people won't just automatically start flocking to it. It's not a magnet. And unless people know it's there, they have no way of finding it. The biggest way to let people know it's there (other than #1 above) is to get listed on the major search engines on the internet. Google, being the most important. When people are looking for a service online they usually go to a search engine or their SEARCH button and type in something like "Portland lawn care". If I don't come up somewhere in that search, people are never going to find my website. So I make sure that I am indexed in all of the major search engines using certain key words and terms. That's a difficult process. But it's worth learning. Your competition is or will be doing it. And it pays off.

Now, in addition to getting indexed in the major search engines (if you want a lot of business) you should check out advertising on the web. I HIGHLY recommend Google's "Ad Words Select' program. You only pay when someone does a search for words that YOU select and only when they actually click your ad! It's a great deal. For more info, go to Google.com and click on the "advertise with us" link at the bottom. If you decide to do it, feel free to email me. I've become quite a pro at it and it's tricky to figure out.

Google is important because it's the most used search engine and IMO the best. AOL uses google now for all their searches (that's like 25% of the users right there) and so do a lot of other places.

Check out this next page from my webstats page;

Webstats Page 2 (http://207.228.228.117/webserver/stats/guest.php?Year=2003&Month=01&Opened=Referrals&Command=search)

Notice that I got 247 hits from Google alone last month! And each of those hits were a result of some sort of search term the viewer used that I had specifically indexed for my page (e.g. "portland lawn care" or "portland landscaping") So these are targeted hits. Of course, a lot of these came from my Ad Words Select ad on google. But still, even before I had that ad, I was getting 50-100 hits per month from Google.

Some really good tips here. For those of you who are willing to create a great website and draw people to it, the rewards are definitely there. And they keep increasing and doubling each year as people become more familiar with the internet.

The good thing is it's still early in the game. 98% of LCOs and Landscape Contractors don't know about this stuff and are totally ignorant about the fact that it produces great results. So it's a way to be ahead of the crowd. I want my company to be the premeir company on the web for our area. And it's working!

JimLewis
02-04-2003, 05:14 AM
I've heard of other guys spending $500-1000 on their sites. I've paid more than that for my site. But it's been well worth it. In January, the deadest time of the year for us - especially on the landscape construction side - I just landed a $4500 installation job. The customer found us by doing an internet search on Google. IMO, the money and time we've spent on our website has more than paid for itself.

paponte
02-08-2003, 02:14 AM
Making a site is pretty easy, you just need someone to host it. Usually will run about $30. per month. My site is cheesey, but gets the point across. Makes the whole company look more professional.

Equipguy
02-08-2003, 08:34 AM
You might try cking with a local community college or tech school that offers web design classes. Often times you can find a student to design and build for a very reasonalbe price. Also Yahoo offers web hosting starting@ $11.95 per month. Good Luck!

menchhofer
02-08-2003, 12:40 PM
Web hosting 9.95 month.

Domain register 85.00 for 5 years

bruces
02-08-2003, 12:49 PM
I just signed up with www.ipowerweb.com. $7.95 per month and domain registration is included if you pay for a year up front.

They also have design templates, so creating a site is fairly simple if you use their templates.

I'm in process, so we'll see how it goes.

It seems ok so far.

LawnsRUsInc.
02-09-2003, 03:40 AM
My uncle owns a web hosting company so he did mine and he does all web hosting for free and i have all my copmuters hooked up through our office server. Web pages are a good plus we do more than sell our selves on our page we allow customers to pay us look and ask ?s about lawn care. I also sell lawn and landscaping books on my site. And i get a cut of that every month. Its not always to sell yourself and show your beautiful services but an information site. Thats how we run ours maybe just some ideas for you guys?