Note: Some of my first posts are going to be pretty basic. If you already have an online presence just hang in there, they will get more advanced as I develop the blog. Thanks for reading!
How To Get A (Better) Website
Imagine you are interviewing people, looking for your first salesman. That's a big step. The guy sitting in front of you has a resume that says he is a salesman. But he is struggling to put sentences together in a logical way, is wearing a faded “Spuds Mackenzie” shirt, and when you check his references you find they are fake. Would you hire him?
Your website will be a salesman for you and your landscaping company. When you are working, taking care of your family, or sleeping it will be out there finding new clients for you. It is so important to make sure it represents you well.
And yet so many lawn care and landscape websites are like that salesman:
- The grammar is poor and no one thought to use spell check.
- They are outdated and out of touch. Perhaps they looked good in 2005, but in internet years that is a very long time! If your home page has a “counter” or weather widget I am talking about you.
- And so many have pictures, text, and even reviews that were simply taken from other sites. That is the worst.
What kind of salesman is your website?
If you read my boring first post (thanks!) you know that I had a website in place when I started really paying attention to our online presence. It wasn't great. It utilized 1&1's site builder service and had a big tree frog on the home page. There are no tree frogs in Portland.
I needed a new website but where should I get one? I started researching, talking to everyone knowledgeable that I knew, and eventually found an option that worked well for me. It has paid off well. The contact forms on our site have been used over 600 times by people in my area looking for a designer, landscaper, or lawn maintenance service. I don't even know how many people have called or emailed, but we are usually booked out 3-6 months in advance.
If you need your first website or need to renovate the one you have there are a couple steps and quite a few options. To keep it as simple as possible I have 4 steps for you to follow. And actually, you only have to follow 3:
Pick a domain name. My domain name here is triple16.com (you know, like the fertilizer). I will have more on this in another post, but in general, it is best if your domain name is related to your business name or the service you provide.
Register your domain at Google Domains. It is oh so simple, with an intuitive dashboard, making it easy to get a domain and then do something with it. You get email addresses, like firstname.lastname@example.org, included for free. You can easily forward these to your existing email address and 'boom', you are instantly more credible.
Hire someone to make a site for you. This is a little tricky. Websites can be expensive. Much of what you pay for is hidden, in the code behind the site. How are you supposed to know if a website builder or designer is any good? I will address this in detail another time, but here is a little guidance now: Don't trade landscaping for a website. Why? Because I know lots of guys who have done this and it has NEVER been a fair trade. And if you just want to hire someone right now talk to these guys.
Build the website yourself. This is only slightly less scary than hiring someone to do it. The benefits are pretty obvious: the expense (in $$ anyways) will be much lower. And when you are done you will know how to manage your website, so that it can easily grow as your business does. My very next post will discuss this, but if you want to start right now I strongly recommend Squarespace. Check out my response on this LawnSite thread for a simple explanation.
Is your website bringing you leads regularly? Wait, do you even have a website? If the answer is no then get started. Your website should be the best salesman your business ever has. If it does its job well enough you may actually have to hire a human salesman one day. Just not the guy in the Spuds t-shirt.
Have a question? Need some help picking a domain name? Leave a comment below and I will happily respond.