If you have a website, do you find it worthwhile??

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by GarPA, Dec 8, 2002.

  1. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Posts: 2,585

    I have been trying to decide if the design and ongoing costs for a website pass the cost/benefit test. This weekend I read another article that was hammering the benefits of people in our biz having a website...honestly I'm on the fence on this one...For those of you who have one, would you mind giving me your opinion on whether it has been a business booster for you?? Very very few lcos seem to have them but that is not necessarily a reason not to have one...I guess my concern is that a website is only effective after a prospect knows your biz name...but then I do advertise in various ways (newspaper, truck signage etc)....thanks for your perspective
     
  2. devildog

    devildog LawnSite Senior Member
    from sc
    Posts: 270

    Its worth it. It will pass the costs/benefit ratio for any biz, in many ways. Identify what you want from the site first to start. In most instances it will be best to have your local ISP, do the hosting. They will be most likely to provide you with reliable service. In most cases more expensive. Unless you have lots of time, its worthwhile to have someone else design. Shop it around (RFQ) and look at their work. Start simple its easy to add more pages as you see the need. Make sure they give some edit and pic update capability (admin pages for your use).
    Again the most important thing you need to do at this time, identify what you want from the web presence. Most web designers have little marketing experience, if you rely on them, your going to be unhappy with the product. Look at various sites, bookmark the sites you like and fit your biz. It will help the designer develope the site with you. With regards... devildog
     
  3. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Posts: 2,585

    Devildog...thanks
    My ISP does offer web design/hosting. My preference is to have them design it. I think there design charge is about $600 with a yearly hosting charge of , I think about $300. Sound about right to you??
    Would you mind being a bit more specific about why you believe a site for 'greenguys' is beneficial based on your actual experiences? thanks
     
  4. Equipguy

    Equipguy LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 370

    We've had a web site for just about a year now. Its been well worth the investment. We found a student at a local community college that did the design work for about half the going rate of quotes we got from commercial firms. We have yahoo host the site for $11.95 per month and have had no problems.

    We put the site name on all our brochures, cards, truck signs, invoices etc. We do a fair amount of condos and Home owner associations and find that property mangers frequently ck the site after we've made a sales call on them. Also, we've picked up 2 high end residential this past season from web site hits. It takes a litttle time but it works. Good luck!
     
  5. Sean Adams

    Sean Adams LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,597

    High end residential people "usually" prefer speed and convenience. They spend a lot of time in general on the web. If you can get your web address in front of these people, it is well worth it. Great way is on truck & trailer when in those type neighborhoods. Your web site is like a salesperson working for you 24/7/365 - and always on call. PRO Magazine in January is supposed to start offering "free" web sites, but I'm not sure how it works yet.
     
  6. devildog

    devildog LawnSite Senior Member
    from sc
    Posts: 270

    We've had our for 5 years, I can't remember a month since then we have not picked up biz off our web presence. And covers the range; irr / landscape / maint & garden center. Typically these are higher end customers as well, whom are accustomed and feel safe making decisions based upon site info because they are most likely heavy users in their biz or professions as well. Sure we get tire-kickers too, like you, can spot them a mile away. Its just part of "any" biz.
    600. is certainly reasonable, depending on what your getting? A page or two for that amount is not much, unless their doing alot of trick stuff (most don't care, their looking for info).
    300. seems a tad bit high, depends on what their doing for the buck (which in most cases is submissions to engines and the renewal fee for the domain). Unless of course your getting presence on the site, which is usefull if they are an info site within the community and have the community locked in because their the local ISP. With regards... devildog
     
  7. The Mowerdude

    The Mowerdude LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 372

    My website has been very good investment.

    It lends a lot of credibility and separates my business from the scrubs and lowballlers.

    It is a reference. For example, I may be explaining aeration to a customer. I can refer them to my website to see illustrations of the process and pics of us doing the work. Same with leaf removal. Many customers have no idea what a mower/vac combo really is. If I tell them that there are photos of our equipment on the website, they'll usually be eager to check those pics out.

    It showcases ALL of our services and helps us to offer "add-ons" to existing customers. This is especially true with hedge trimming.

    For me, the key to making it work has been to include my web address on EVERYTHING. That means my invoices, business cards, fliers, etc. I'm having new signs put on my trucks and they will include the address as well.

    My host charges 24.95 per month and gives me LOADS of bandwidth. Check out www.host4profit.com
     
  8. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 1,277

    Recent studies have indicated a trend in marketing (or rather, a trend in people's preferences) to have greater informational content. They want to know who you are, what you know, how you do what you do and why.

    If you intend to just have a one-page site that has 2 pics and your phone number, then I'd say save your money.

    If you're going to have some real content, then I'd say it's definitely worth it. I frequently get input from customers that they really liked being able to find out about us without the pressure of a sales pitch. We get some inquiries just from people surfing, but the biggest benefit is from people you've already made some sort of contact with, or who are augmenting their yellow pages search with a web search.

    A lot of this is about making a customer feel comfortable with you. You can go a long way toward that with a content-laden site.
     
  9. B. Phagan

    B. Phagan LawnSite Member
    Posts: 95

    Amen to green industry websites!!!

    If I were a shoeshine boy in Podunk, USA, I'd have a website...............my site was put up about 4 years ago....this, coupled with my "Business Booster Books" and credit card acceptance has generated no less than $35k per year, every year since. I think you'll be happy with the traffic you get.

    Were I still in the landscape profession, my site would include some of the following:

    * Testimonials from current and former customers
    * Pictures of me or family to personalize it
    * Pictures of my facility, bigger equip, employees
    * Before and after pictures of jobs I've done
    * A listing of all services we provide
    * A contact name and e-mail address for prospects
    * etc

    I strongly believe a website is the way to go and after the initial expense of $850 to $1,500, it's cheap....before I put mine up I checked with green industry sites and talked to the owners....one fella said his site created over 800 new leads per year....that's 67 prospective customers each month......we started building green industry websites some years ago so let me know if I can help you.

    Websites will provide you with a competitive edge, generate new biz and demonstrate professionalism and stability.......go for it!!
     
  10. turfmarketing

    turfmarketing LawnSite Member
    from Ohio
    Posts: 49

    The answer is easy...yes. Every business should have a web site. The hard question is...what do you do with it. Anybody that says a web site wasn't worth it, should say, the way they used their web site wasn't worth it.

    The web site should be an extension of your marketing program. If you don't have a marketing program, start there first. Do not expect a web site to be your marketing program. If you run promotions, build that into your site. If you have a long history in your area, build your web site around that concept. If you want customers to be able to schedule service online. Do that.

    A web site, like any marketing effort, should be 95% planning and forethought and 5% execution.
     

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