PDA

View Full Version : Web sites (How many of you really profit from them?)


leeslawncare
10-04-2000, 05:31 PM
Hey guys i've been kicking arouind the thoughts of getting me a web site made ,but i've also wondered how effective they really are?Like to hear some for your comments on cost to have them designed an do they really pay off? Thanks

KirbysLawn
10-04-2000, 07:26 PM
Do a search and you can find a lot of info. FWIW, I think a web site is the best value for advertising and dispalying your service for the $. I did my own web site and pay $8.25 a month for hosting.

Ray

landscaper3
10-04-2000, 07:33 PM
Our web site was done including the domain name for a liitle more at $24.00 month. It pays run ads in local magazines and put your web address on it. With the world with computers running almost everything time to stay with the times! Its worth it

Eric ELM
10-04-2000, 07:51 PM
Here is a good thread for website information.
http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?threadid=4496

When you do a search for this subject, search for Website and Web Site to find them all and do the search for subject.

turfquip
10-04-2000, 08:34 PM
More and more of your customers are using the web routinely and feel comfortable doing so. Including your web address on all your printed material is a great idea ... but <U>what will they see</U> when they get there? Most of your customers have a good idea what services you perform; and a laundry list of services you do indeed perform is a staple of every landscaper's site I've seen so far.

But still there is something missing. Does your site need motion? More interactive features with an <U>emphasis on learning</U> ... you know, sort of teaching them about services they may not know they need? How about a <U>seasonal special</U> promoted only through your site? That may help guage it's effectiveness.

Anybody can build a site. And nearly everyone has. You guys talk about who is getting this service or that service for less ... but what are you <U>giving up</U> with el-cheapo server space? What is the real cost. Do they stick a banner at the top of your web page promoting someone else's site? Do they put it on the bottom? With every email, do your customers read an advertisement from yahoo, aol, or somewhere else. Sometimes these distract from, even <U>subvert your message</U>.

Two thoughts.

1) Ask others to critique your site. Tell them to hold the fluff and really let you have it. What looks good...what needs work. Seems like anytime somebody <U>breaks wind</U> here on LawnSite ten or fifteen guys follow up with an attaboy, good job. I've seen some landscaper sites recently using frames that are just plain BAD.

2) Think about how to make your site more engaging...more interesting...so your customers like to go there <U>on their own</U> from time to time. Think about how you can teach them something...like a need they have and don't realize it. You've heard the saying "create a need and fill it", the internet is the ideal medium for doing this because of a) it's low cost relative to other mediums and b)it's interactivity capability

Putting a ten dollar web page on someone else's server does not - in my opinion - mean you're set for bear.



[Edited by turfquip dot com when deemed necessary]

KirbysLawn
10-04-2000, 09:25 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by turfquip dot com
Anybody can build a site. And nearly everyone has. You guys talk about who is getting this service or that service for less ... but what are you <U>giving up</U> with el-cheapo server space? What is the real cost. Do they stick a banner at the top of your web page promoting someone else's site? Kirby-No Do they put it on the bottom? Kirby-No With every email, do your customers read an advertisement from yahoo, aol, or somewhere else. Kirby-No Sometimes these distract from, even <U>subvert your message</U>.

As I said, I pay $8.25 a month for the same service others charge $25.00 for. Very good deal, for $8.25 I get:


45 MB Web Server Space
Unlimited data transfer, uploads, downloads
Remote FTP Access 24h/day
1 POP E-mail account
Unlimited e-Mail forwarding
Server Side Includes (SSI) support
My own cgi-bin directory
CGI and image library access (via password)
Java Scripts library access
Free maintenance software download and setup instructions
Supports Microsoft® FrontPage 2000
HTTP streaming audio supported


Ray

[Edited by KirbysLawn on 10-05-2000 at 01:34 AM]

UrbanEarth
10-04-2000, 11:26 PM
A question to all of you with web sites - How much business/customers have they attracted?

Alan

landscaper3
10-04-2000, 11:57 PM
Just started ours but our proposals, contracts, flyers, and all advertising we do have our web address on them so they can see what services we offer and to just check us out. Its always nice to see something about a company.

turfquip
10-05-2000, 06:23 AM
Kirby,

Your site looks good ... I don't want to get into a pissing contest with you, but to clarify a point. On your site, is the banner for stamps.com supplied by you or your server? What about the banner for unlimited web space...your's or inserted by the service? Nevermind, I just checked. Your source code reveals that in return for the low monthly rate, you are obliged to run a banner by some operation called servicebfast.com, and another by associates.com ... you know, the one that says 'webmasters click here'.

My point is that you [may be] enslaved by that low monthly rate. What if either of these changed the banner they feed you to a Scott's Lawn Service banner or similar ... don't say it can't happen.


[Edited by turfquip dot com when deemed necessary]

KirbysLawn
10-05-2000, 06:32 AM
Originally posted by turfquip dot com
Nevermind, I just checked. Your source code reveals that in return for the low monthly rate, you are obliged to run a banner by some operation called servicebfast.com, and another by associates.com ... you know, the one that says 'webmasters click here'.

My point is that you [may be] enslaved by that low monthly rate. What if either of these changed the banner they feed you to a Scott's Lawn Service banner or similar ... don't say it can't happen.
[Edited by turfquip dot com when deemed necessary]

No pissin contest needed. However you are incorrect in the above statements. I placed the banners on my site myself. The "webmasters click here" is a link to http://www.icom.com, my server, if you click there and sign-up for hosting service I get $50.00 each time that happens, so that banner is there by my choice. The http://www.stamps.com banner is the same story, I get paid everytime someone clicks that banner and signs up. I have got paid several times from ICOM link and I just put the stamps link up so we will see.

So, as you can see I'm not "enslaved" to anything. Our local association's web site is http://www.thecgma.com and is also hosted by ICOM see any banners there?

Ray

turfquip
10-05-2000, 07:10 AM
Very good. I stand corrected.

jaclawn
10-05-2000, 08:21 AM
I don't think that there is a more cost effective advertising vehicle that the internet. Dollar for dollar, you can put more information on a website than any other advertising.

The whole key is getting the right people to your site. Currently, I don't think that folks go to a search engine to look for a lawn care company, it is just too frustrating. Perhaps in the furure, there will be a better directory system, and people will look to the net for a local lawn service.

So, you have got to attract visitors. Displaying the address as often as possible will help. On your letterhead, invoices, flyers, ads...

The whole point of advertising is to attract more business, whether a new customer, or a sale to an exisitng customer. So, you have got to tell them what you, why you do it, and why they should have you do it for them.

Your website is like your own little store. You want them to visit, and visit often. THe more they visit, the more likely they are to buy something.

You will need something that is constantly being updated, to keep their attetion. Maybe a monthly garden newsletter, monthly specials, write some articles on an interesting subject...

THey don't want to log on to see a pic of your new mower. You can have pics of your equipment, but don't go overboard. Just show them that you are equipped.

Consder doing a case study. Take pics of a lawn before during and after a renovation. Explain the process and benefits. This can ba a valuable sales tool. "my lawn looks like that one, can we really make it look that much better?"

I hac one fr out company, but took it down because I didn't have the time to update it, and in June, people were reading about snow removal. I hope to get some more time to play with it soon.

gusbuster
10-05-2000, 08:27 AM
Have I profited from my web site? 100% yes yes yes. It is only natural for me to have a web presence, especialy since I live in the heart(Silicon Valley, San Jose\San Francisco Bay Area) of the computer industry. It help shows that I'm keeping up with what's new in the industry. To be truthful, anybody that says they know everything, is a liar. The business life is always about learning.

I've been able to tell clients that want to check out my work, go to http://www.curutchet.bizland.com and my photopoint.com site to check out my work. Saves them some driving to my job sites, or makes them go to the job site to actualy check out the work.

I'm using a free web hosting service for now, but as I get more results,that may change. I always did like the sites of elm and kirbyslawn.

KirbysLawn
10-05-2000, 09:42 AM
Jaclawn, I think more people go to a search engine looking for lawn care than you might think. Here is the data from my site this year so far. Remember, I registered my site with each search engine myself, paying for some one else to do it is a waste of money.

Hits from search engines:
yahoo 1273 (52%)
altavista 735 (30%)
excite.com 168 (6%)
goto.com 108 (4%)
lycos 52 (2%)
go2net.com 34 (1%)
hotbot.com 28 (1%)
go.com 12 (0%)
northernlight.com 4 (0%)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Here are the last 10 "keywords" used to find my site:

Last 10 queries :
great dane commerical mow
lawn maintenance
lawn maintenance
"Great Dane" + mowers
"Great Dane" + mowers
great dane lawn
lawn maintenance
Lawn Maintenance
Lawn Maintenance
Lawn Maintenance

Click here for the screen shot: http://albums.photopoint.com/j/View?u=797437&a=5796254&p=29978897&Sequence=0&res=high

So, a properly registered web site using good keywords and remembering local cities gets very good results.
Ray

[Edited by KirbysLawn on 10-05-2000 at 01:54 PM]

turfquip
10-05-2000, 10:06 AM
Pay attention to your meta names and descriptors. Since you are not interested in traveling regionally to cut grass [with few exceptions] get used to the idea that the typical landscaper's site has a LOCAL <U>sphere of influence</U>

That's why it's safe, even strongly recommended to use your city name, state, abbreviations, neighborhoods and affluent subdivision names; include frequently mispelled versions of same in your <U>meta tags</U>

Customers in your market will go to an engine and do this for example: landscapers mowing services "louisville"

When folks use the engines in this way which <U>is logical</U> you have the greatest chances of a higher ranking with the proper tags.

Here is a <A HREF="http://www.websitegarage.com" ALT=Web Site Garage">helpful site</A> I use quite often.



[Edited by turfquip.com often for no apparent reason]

KirbysLawn
10-05-2000, 03:30 PM
Turfquip, good advice and 100% correct, that's why when you go to Yahoo.com and type in "lawn maintenance Charlotte" I am the only company that comes up. I have not thought of the neighborhood idea, will get working on that this winter.

Thanks, Ray

jaclawn
10-06-2000, 07:32 AM
Interesting stats, Kirbster.

HAve you "sold" any jobs via the net? I mean, did someone just do a web search, happen upon your site, make contact with you, and you get the job, without them finding out about you from other mediums?

I was also intrigued by the number if people that came to your site looking for Great Dane info.

Who provided those stats to you?

KirbysLawn
10-06-2000, 08:54 AM
Jac, I use TheCounter.com for my counter and it keeps those stats and more. Yes, I have got plenty of business from people doing searches and finding my site. The best one is a customer I have now that moved here from Cleveland. While up there she did a search to find a lawn service and found me, sent me an email and requested me leave her an estimate. When she arrived here in Charlotte the estimate, along with a brochure, and a nice ink pen were waiting on her. She did have 2 other companies give bids also, she said one never showed. The other one was a friend of mine, I had bid $15 more per month but still got the job.

I have 11 customers currently who are a direct result of having a web page. I have not figured up the number of customers I have got for aeration, spraying, and other small jobs.

I have a local dealer who I plan on doing a web site for, he keeps putting it off, I told him how often I get "great Dane" inquiries. He or Great Dane needs to get with the 90's and get a web site. :)

Ray

turfquip
10-06-2000, 09:44 AM
I've suggested to Chuck in the past that a <U>web developer's forum</U> for lawn guys be set up here at LawnSite. I again renew that call because there is a lot I could learn from you guys. We all could benefit. It would advance our industry tremendously if we, as a group were known for having <U>modern and dynamic</U> web sites.

Lets acknowledge that <U>image is everything</U>. Sites need more than bells and whistles. Since much of what a quality landscaper does is art, the web site can with the right programming reflect uniqueness and character.

And let's appoint another moderator for this one if we get it going, how about it Chuck? Eric the Great does a fine job but doesn't he have his hand full?



[Not edited yet, but I'll let you know]