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  #1  
Old 11-24-2004, 10:58 AM
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Up North Up North is offline
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is a website worth it?

I have some questions concerning websites:
What's the general concensus on having a website?

Is it worth the investment?

How many actual customers have you gained via your website?

Do people in your area just stumble upon your website or are most of them directed there via advertising of some form?

What kinds of costs are involved...set up, updates, on-going costs?

Information on the website...what your company does, testimonials, pics of your work, tips, methods your company uses, what else?

I'm sure there are other questions I should be asking but that's what's on my mind for now. I'm having a difficult time convincing myself that a website is a good idea, especially in my area. Seems most customers are aquired via word of mouth or advertising and not sure a website would make much of a difference. Convince me otherwise if you have a good arguement. Thanks!

Buck
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Old 11-24-2004, 05:11 PM
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tiedeman tiedeman is offline
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I personally don't feel it is worth it, but that is my experience. I had a website for 6+ years and only my current customers would browse it now and then. Maybe if I was lucky about 2 to 3% would look at it. I never got customers from it, and I feel that it was just a waste.
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Old 11-24-2004, 09:37 PM
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Up North Up North is offline
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Tiedeman, that's kind of what I was thinking. Anyone else with any input on this?

Buck
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Old 11-24-2004, 09:43 PM
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GreenMonster GreenMonster is offline
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After I look at a potential customer's job, I tell them to check out my web site while I work on the quote. Maybe stimulate some ideas, or find something they like.

Mine is geared more toward my hardscape stuff though.
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Old 11-24-2004, 09:45 PM
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turf9 turf9 is offline
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When I was in the yellow pages last year i got a few call's cause of the on-line directory they put me in for free (promo). But it was by no means a web site.Come to think of it I got more calls from that than the actual pages.
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Old 11-24-2004, 10:41 PM
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It's more than worth it for certain reasons. And my reasons make it worth it.

One of the first things I wanted, was a place to place advice for my customers. Like suppose I planted for them; instead of explaining over and over ideas about watering - I just write it once on the website and tell them where on the site it is so they can read it.

I have one page on safe woods for birds, that it's the best on the whole darn internet. There is no bird society or avian vet that has a better list for safe and toxic woods for pet birds. The result is that that page self-propagates itself. When I look at the STATS pages for my website, I find that people are posting my URL on parrot forums, cockatiel forums, bird forums, bird breeder websites and even chinchilla sites. All those URL back-links are votes for my site in Google's eyes.

Oddly enough - being an arborist and designer - that woods for birds page generates more links independently than any other part of my website. Most other back-links I had to ask for.

Now, last spring and summer, I was getting about 4 contacts from the site per week, of which I would get or take 2 customers.

But I must add that I succeeded in getting my site ranked fairly high. But I will say that I'd be glad to have the website even if minimal work came in. It's a great place to list a phto archive of work. Suppose I show my photo album to a husband. If his wife is not home, he can take her to my website to point out photos - photos I would not want to leave laying around their house.

If you click the caption under the deer on my home page, it will take you to my page that shows several off-site albums.

That's one other way someone can have their site link to an album if they want to keep their webmaster costs down. That album - the separate one - can also be displayed to appear as if it's on my site. That album is very easy to load pictures on and only costs $25 per year for up to about 1500 images. I prefer to pay for an album space to avoid unsightly ads. The bandwidth is basically unlimited at that ImageEvent.

Also - here's an option. Suppose that ALL a landscape wants a site for is to display work, and they plan for people to get there by direct word of mouth or business card. In that case, they could skip a website and simply put up a photo album like I use along with my site - only they could use it alone.

For $25 on that Image Event, I can have many, many albums. The several you see, all fall within the $25. Easy to upload, easy to caption. And they can be open to all within the gallery, or accessed more limited, even to the point of needing a password.

Image Event offers a free trial for about 10 days for about a dozen images.
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Old 11-25-2004, 12:01 AM
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kootoomootoo kootoomootoo is offline
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I just checked yearly stats 5 mins ago. I have 25786 hits this year.
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  #8  
Old 11-25-2004, 12:32 AM
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mdvaden mdvaden is online now
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Just for fun, I checked my stats too, for November from the 1st to today (24th).

It's:

51,813 hits

2913 visitors to the website

5435 page views

2448 unique visitors - meaning over 400 were repeats.

226 page views per day

:blob3:
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  #9  
Old 11-25-2004, 08:03 AM
Randy J Randy J is offline
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Seems to me a lot would depend on your target market. If you're doing $35 mow & go, then I don't think a website would be as beneficial. However, if you're doing large yards and estates, those people tend to be better educated and access the www more. Or, if as greenmonster you're doing more landscaping/hardscaping work, I think it would be greatly beneficial.
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  #10  
Old 11-25-2004, 09:10 AM
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JustMowIt JustMowIt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Up North
I have some questions concerning websites:
What's the general concensus on having a website?

Is it worth the investment? Yes

How many actual customers have you gained via your website? 176 this season

Do people in your area just stumble upon your website or are most of them directed there via advertising of some form? Many people now go the the web instead of the phone book. We have spent the effort to be sure that if they search for "Lawn Service" with the city name, we are on the top of the results. The people that stumble into it, are usually competitors. And yes, many go to the phone book & then go to the website, but that is just an extra advantage.

What kinds of costs are involved...set up, updates, on-going costs? If you hire a website created & managed, it is expensive & it gets as stale as an old magazine in a doctors office. I spent a winter learning how to create, promote, & manage myself. You can spend about $300 for the software, $60 per yr. for hosting, $9.00 for domain plus your labor is the cost! You can update as easy as posting on Lawnsite!

Information on the website...what your company does, testimonials, pics of your work, tips, methods your company uses, what else? Personally, I think a very simple site that sez who you are, what you do, & about what you charge is all you need, & an easy way for them to tell you at any hour they wish to talk with you. The main item is to be on the list when they search for a provider in their town, & not be the needle in the haystack where you can not be found.

I'm sure there are other questions I should be asking but that's what's on my mind for now. I'm having a difficult time convincing myself that a website is a good idea, especially in my area. Seems most customers are acquired via word of mouth or advertising and not sure a website would make much of a difference. Convince me otherwise if you have a good arguement. Thanks!

Buck
MJ JustMowIt.com
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