Websites - Who has them / Do they work / Where to get one?

Discussion in 'Digital Marketing' started by Tyler7692, Aug 19, 2007.

  1. Tyler7692

    Tyler7692 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,086

    Hello all.

    I am about to purchase postcards to distribute door to door. I already have them designed and I am having vistaprint.com do the printwork. I have used them before with good results.

    Anyhow, before purchasing the postcards, I was thinking about putting a website address on the cards to complement the phone number.

    How many of you have websites and how effective are they for you? Do you think they actually bring in a lot of customers? Eventually, when I gain additional clients, if I go with a website, I will accept credit cards online as a form of payment.

    Who do you guys use for your web hosting?

    Can anyone comment on GoDaddy.com and their WebsiteTonight program?

    Thanks,
    Tyler
     
  2. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,945

  3. WebMan

    WebMan LawnSite Member
    from D/FW TX
    Posts: 11

    First off stay away from GoDaddy or any of those type of companies for website design or hosting. They are fine as a domain registrar but their site building programs are limited and quite overpriced.

    As far as how well a website works for you, it depends on your expectations, and how good you are at designing a site which will meet those expectations. You can't just throw up any old thing and expect it to start bringing in business. Some people want their sites to bring in business from search engines, other people want their sites to mainly bring in traffic from local promotion (such as using it on cards, yellow pages, or other advertising). some want both and any of them or any combination is valid.

    I generally recommend against taking credit cards online as a form of payment, unless you want to use a service such as PayPal. Many people don't realize that to take credit cards online is technically against the law if you use the same account used for taking credit cards in a retail environment. So you have to have an online payment processor, plus a secure site, plus the ordering and payment software. While it's not unusual for people to have those things. It is quite complex, and can become expensive, and involves a lot more than just having a website. The main reason I advise against it is because the security of people's credit card information is your responsibility once you accept that information online for your own payment system.

    Not that online payment is bad. It's just that you have to weigh the costs of doing it compared to how many of your customers really need to pay you that way. These days, almost all companies are like mine in that day offer do-it-yourself website software included with hosting at very reasonable prices. And if you do decide to accept payments almost all also offer preinstalled software for accepting payments, which is especially easy to implement if you decide that PayPal is the way for you.

    I highly suggest doing some shopping and finding a company where you can contact someone actually talk with someone about your needs in person and whatever you do, don't go with any company that requires an extended payment time up front such as a one year payment for a reduced price or some other such commitment. There are a million horror stories of people who have paid for such things only to have the host disappear with the money six months later, or else provide poor service and not honor their "Money back guarantee".

    And one way to look at a website, is that it gives your business a sense of legitimacy. These days, most people simply expect any business of any substance to have their own website. At the low costs of having one, it's just too good an investment to pass up.
     
  4. GELAWNS

    GELAWNS LawnSite Member
    Posts: 66

    You can get started with your first website for $9.95 a month with free domain registration at Web.com. They use SiteBuilder and it is template based. We set ours up this way rather than waiting and paying for a custom designed site. Setting up PayPal on it was easy too. It works for us for now and as we grow we will probably invest in a professional site. Go to gelawns.com to see ours.
     
  5. rsgalloway

    rsgalloway LawnSite Member
    Posts: 0

    I second webman's recommendation to stay away from godaddy (personally I think they suck as a registrar too). Definitely don't pay them for web development. I also second (third?) the recommendation for PayPal. You can get a PayPal business account (free) to accept credit cards online if your customers don't have a PayPal account, which is the most likely case. All of the CC processing is handled by PayPal, you don't need to mess with it.

    Do a search for free webhosting (afraid.org will do free DNS) and you can even get free website templates (although not so great ones) or you can pay $50 for a good template. I won't post a link to my site for that because when I did that before my post got deleted.

    Good luck.
     
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    I find mine at least as useful as the headlights on the Z :laugh:
     
  7. grandview (2006)

    grandview (2006) LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,465

    Sometimes your website is the last thing they look at before they call.
     
  8. Grass Cake

    Grass Cake LawnSite Senior Member
    from Zone C
    Posts: 299

    I wouldn't bother with any web hosting design/template.

    Some sites like Blue Host and SiteGround support "Joomla"
    ( a Content Management System ) there are 1000's of free templates for it. It has a slight learning curve, but anyone interested enough to have a website should know how to maintain it.Btw...a CMS creates the pages dynamically.

    Building/Maintaining sites with static HTML pages are history. CMS systems are the future.

    Google "Joomla" or "Drupal"(<- this one has a much high learning curve)

    Here is a example of a clean professional looking joomla template. http://www.churchwiz.com/
     
  9. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,945

    Joomla is what our son sets people up with many times.

    As far as HTML, its here to stay for the long run. Any new method and code is merely just one more building block. One more option.

    Google and Yahoo love "old" sites, many of which have too many pages to convert. But the content is in them.

    People may choose to expand beyond HTML - should say expand by building on HTML - but its virtually the foundation for the internet.

    The reason that its so popular, is because its not too difficult, its essential, and there are reams of tutorials available for it.
     
  10. Grass Cake

    Grass Cake LawnSite Senior Member
    from Zone C
    Posts: 299

    Static HTML (pages)/ sites are a hassle to maintain. You also have to be a code monkey to add any "cool affects". CMS's use HTML as the foundation as well.

    Style Sheets and tableless designs are also much cleaner code.

    BTW........Content is King :)
     

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