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best place to create a website

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by jbannick18, Sep 17, 2007.

  1. jbannick18

    jbannick18 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 490

    Anyone know an easy to use and free software to create a website? Thanks
  2. MowHouston

    MowHouston LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,012

    I host through HostGator.com. However, I hate editing my code manually so I use a free program called Blue Voda that lets to drag and drop, point and click your way to building your website. The software is totally free.

    If you go with VodaHost (the creators of Blue Voda) you can instantly upload your code to your website. If you go with another hosting company, you will have to copy and paste the code as you get each page done. (which really isn't that bad)

    Most companies you find are going to charge you $9.95 a month if you pay monthly. You'll save money by paying anually though.

    Voda Host will charge you a 9.95 +$30 set up fee. Domain registration is $19.95 but you can use the cupon code "freedomain" to get free domain registration for the year. So, $40 to get started.

    With Host Gator, you will also pay $10/mo but domain registration is $15. You can use the cupon code "jury" to get a discount and get started at $15.01.

    Host Gator has worked well for me. Zero downtime, good service, and the control panel is easy to learn.

    Here's my site: www.biggreenlawncare.com

    If you have any other questions let me know. I'll do my best to help.
  3. jbannick18

    jbannick18 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 490

    Ok thanks, Your website looks great! I just signed up for monster host but i didn't realize i was gonna get hit with one bill lol so i had to refund it. I need to get a website designed first
  4. Lawnut101

    Lawnut101 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,260

    I just checked out your website, it's really nice! How does it work for you, I mean how many customers do you sign up a week with it?
  5. MowHouston

    MowHouston LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,012

    It works out great. I advertise with a marketing company called Idearc Media (www.idearc.com). They print the Verizon Yellow pages, run Superpages.com, and manage your PPC (pay per click) campaigns so you can get face time on Yahoo, Google, AOLYellowpages, and many other sites.

    I am on a little budget plan where I will never spend more than $300 per month on advertising. My last month's bill was $217 and I get anywhere from 5-10 new estimate/schedule requests on my website per week. The majority of the time, any person I contact back to schedule an estimate will turn into a new customer if I decide to pursue it. People love the online payment and I rarely see any of my customers.

    The way Superpages works, is you set your bid amount per click. So, say right now I pay $1.50 per click I get. When someone searches google for "lawn care in houston" or simply "lawn care" and their IP address comes from my service area, they have a chance at seeing an ad for Superpages. When they click on that, mine is usually at the top of the page and I get a "hit". I can get anywhere from 10-25 hits per day (but not every person actually clicks the link on Superpages so I don't always pay for each hit to my website. Many of them simply type in the web address)

    There are many more intricacies to Pay Per Click advertising that I could go on about but if you or anyone else actually wants that info then we could talk directly so I dont eat up this thread.

    It actually landed me a 30 lawn account with a real-estate broker so I was happy about that.

    In my opinion, the $217 in July that got me 27 new customers, was well worth it.

    16 of them are weekly = $1920/mo
    11 of them are bi-weekly = $660/mo

    Its awesome advertising and if you set up some sort of online payment or just keep a credit card on file for each customer and bill them the day after service, never see your customers, and take care of them, you'll be swamped before you know it.

    In any case, if you do not want to put out that kind of money for advertising online, make up a little graphical advertisement and post on craigslist EVERY DAY. That was my first method and I got 1-3 new customers a week.

    If you need help designing anything, your site, or even a simple craigslist ad, feel free to bug me about it. I like to piddle around with stuff like that in my free time and hiring someone else to do it could cost you $100++
  6. jbannick18

    jbannick18 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 490

    man that is awesome, where are you based out of?

    WALKER LANDSCAPE LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,413

  8. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,777

    How about Microsoft Expression Web, its not free but will give you 60 days to try in which you should have ample time to create something...
  9. MowHouston

    MowHouston LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,012

    I serve Houston, Tx. Thats another thing. For those that pass through here. I'm not sure how well internet advertising will work if you are outside of a major city. Probably not too well.

    As for Orlando, you would be set.

    Eventually if you do a good enough website you can get listed on Yahoo and Google without paying. Its called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is done by making the body, or bulk, of your web site and its pages relevant to what someone might be searching for. Make sure to put in a lot of stuff talking about "Lawn maintenance" "Lawn Care" "Lawn Service" and even something like "Great Lawn Service in Orlando" so that when people search for "Lawn Services in Orlando" your page has a chance to be pulled up.

    After you've completed your website, make sure to submit your URL to Yahoo and Google so that they can "crawl" your page. This will have each of those search engines pick through your page. This is how Yahoo and Google works. Its stores all of this info so when someone searches for "Lawn Care in Houston" it matches these sites by relevancy. Thats how you get shown.

    For instance if you search on Yahoo for the following keywords you see my website for FREE based on how Yahoo thinks my page is relevant to what people are searching for:

    "Lawn Care in Houston" Ranked #3
    "Houston Lawn Services" Ranked #8
    "Houton Lawn Care" Ranked #5
    "Lawn Service in Houston" Ranked #3

    There may be other keywords that I show up with but my reports show that these are some of the major phrases that internet users put in when searching. Dummy me, I didnt submit my site to Google until earlier this week and the webcrawl might not happen for three months.

    So make sure you do this. After a few months, hit in some keywords like these to see where you rank. Go back to your site and edit some things to make it more relevant.

    Also, learn about the <META> tag for HTML. This should be put in all of your web pages.

    <meta name="keywords" content="lawn care, lawn maintenance, lawn service, lawn care in orlando, lawn maintenance in orlando, lawn service in orlando, orlando lawn service, orlando lawn care, orlando mowing, yard mowing," /> and so on.

    This tag tells such search engines what content you are shooting for with your webpage. This will greatly increase your chance of being listed.

    This is the reason I say to go with BlueVoda. It is free forever. No trials, no restrictions on what you can do, etc. And you can always find help on the internet with HTML tutorials and such.

    Thats how I learned all of this and I made my site on my own.

    Yet another long rambling post. :laugh: Holler if you have any other questions.

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