Im pretty sure you can’t list a Google my business page (the Google maps thing) without a website. Someone correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t it pretty important to have GMB reviews if your not gonna pay that mob over at Yelp?
I see plenty of gmb listings with no website
I had 50 reviews on yelp and they lowered it to 20 , more than likely because I don’t want to pay them for ads
Another guy here went from 44 reviews down to 2
I’m exactly in the same boat you are Chad. 95% of the clients I have acquired comes from referrals and I’d honestly say I’ve closed 99% of those deals since I’ve been in business. Over the last two years I thought about shutting down my website because of “price shoppers”, I’m just wasting time giving estimates on a 50% closure rate and basically using it for filler work. Now filler work just ends up being jobs we wish we didn’t accept. The up side is that I have added a few ridiculously well paying commercial and a few residential accounts through the site, really the only reason I have kept it up. I used to be really hungry for expanding business, but like you, personal time is becoming more valuable. One of my customers actually told me I will eventually realize I can’t clean windows for every last person who calls me! I have so many customers who know how busy I am, they will actually ask permission before giving out my number.
Hey Ryan. Thanks for responding. I remember you mentioning in another thread that you get a lot of referrals. And that you are kinda backing off on the amount of time you work. If I remember correctly, you ride bikes a lot. That is great!
I have always wondered if you still had a website because you get a ton of referrals. I know you don’t need a website either. It just got to a point with my business where I thought it would be best to do away with a website. If I have an opening, I just ask my customers if they know of anyone. This has worked really well for me.
Do you think you will eventually do away with your website?
@windowsrx I will probably leave it for now. It’s low maintenance and the $21/mo. is a really a drop in the bucket. Like others, I still like having the presence of a website in my area, as I’m the only true window cleaner besides FISH that has one. However, my Google AD page probably gets entirely more hits an re-directs to the webpage, which really means nothing at this point (for all that matters, I could have the Google AD page and nothing else, it would essential serve the same purpose). If there becomes a point when I’m ready to retire from my full-time job, at least the website is there and it would still give me the options to pursue another path with the business or make it more marketable to sell if I just decide I’m going to ride my bike. That is a decision that is about 10 years away though.
My brother-in-law (50) recently retired from the fire department in July so I will probably continue to accept some of that filler work as long as he continues to be interested in working a few hours a week, I have generally directed most of those jobs to him when I’m out of town with my other employment duties. He likes the flexible work schedule and it’s nice to have the flexibility to accept some additional work, and I’m still making money by doing absolutely nothing.
Cool. I am sure that will work out well for you.
I would keep it…Some software offers free hosting. For one you may want to sell the business someday so build a full complete brand. It also tells your customers that you are engaged with them as you can have customers complete their schedule on your site if you wish…You never know where your next job will come from, I picked up a $13k job standing in line at Wendy’s. Can’t see where it hurts to keep it unless your costs are very high…
Happy New Year
This is a great topic and one that I was going to post when I had the time.
I think there are variables that need ro be considered when evaluating the value of your web site.
For one I have been curious how much organic ranking matters anymore and if it does how easily it is to aquire and maintain a front page rank? To me this would be one of the primary factors in considerring the value of a website.
The second factor is how easy is it to place on the first page of Google local maps section.
Outside of these two factors your websites value is simply an online brochure. This still has value but is not a lead generator anymore. It is rather a sales tool.
After considering this the value of yoir site then has to do with how your ither marketting ties into your website.
I had a front page rank in Google organic section years ago and it brought in a lot of business. When Google made amny chanhes over the years I didnt have the time to keep up with the changes or the resources and the rank went away. I have not had the time to focus on it but am now ready to readdress the rols of online marketting.
Im curious how many here still have a frint oage organic ranking and how well it does in generating leads and how difficult or easy it is to get there now days and how easy it is to maintain that rank?
Also how many on here have a Google maps local listing that is on the frint page and how easy it is to get there and maitain it?
I would like to say a good friend of mine got into the business about 2 years ago. He had a buddy of his do his website (It’s not what you know, it’s WHO you know sometimes!) very professionally for pennies on the dollar of what a developer would charge. He uses Google Ad-words and I believe some kind of SEO optimizing-- his website is in the top 3 whenever I search for window cleaning in the area. I asked him how the business is doing from the website-- 80 percent of his new work is coming from the website and through Google (2-3k a month I think, pressure cleaning and window cleaning. I think he only pays around 200-400/month-- but I don’t know the exact numbers as it is not my business LOL.
Another good friend of mine (We all grew up in the same town, known each other since 1991 and are all window cleaners lol) hasn’t gone that route. He, like many others has the best kind of advertising-- word of mouth. Last I talked he is considering going online, but knows he would need 2-3 more guys-- they can barely handle the calls and work coming in. I told him out of the 600+ customers, I bet you 100-200 would write you a 5 Star Google review right now at this minute.
The company I work for is word of mouth. The guy I have been working for has been around the area for 30-40 years so he is known— so that works well for him through referrals ect. He is old school and not into the new technology, but his way works for him as both of my above examples-- to each their own!
Now for my business? I like it, I am working on mine right now for my own business. I grew up with all of this technology and love how if done right, can be very rewarding. I look at what the other window cleaner’s websites are, so I know what I am up against. Personally I like a nice clean design, straight to the point and very informative because I like to be thorough in explaining what I offer and what to expect. Being employed FT is giving me the benefit to build and spend money while I get things going, so I don’t mind paying the yearly domain fee or my hosting fees (They are very minimal in the grand scheme of things, all depends on how much you want to spend I suppose).
I’d say nowadays, people will just “Google” what they need-- why wouldn’t you have at least a simple online presence? I don’t know many people who have a Rolodex any longer. And as many of you have said, if they lose your contact info…how would they find you?! Think about how many people have cell phones compared to 15 years ago. Your next phone call could be a “click” away
Everyone has made such great points. Sometimes our decisions work out and sometimes they don’t. I know I am taking a chance. Word of mouth has been my friend for so many years. I think everything will be just fine.
Our reviews have been coming down left and right since October/Nov. We went from 70 down to 22 last I checked. In Vegas we went from 15 to 3. I’ve been doing research and yelp is taking the axe to everyone. About 99% of the comments I can find state they do not advertise. I know we all have suspected them of removing reviews of non advertisers or at the least giving preference to paying advertisers but this seems different.
Something screwey is going on here…
Big discussion on facebook groups, part of theory is the new algorithm if a person never leaves reviews just say a couple in there account or the few reviews they leave are either 1 star or 5 there getting axed as yelp doesn’t view them as legit.
Your referrals may be looking you up before they call to see if you’re legit.
Move to a cheap shared host for a fraction of the expense, pay it up for a year and forget it. Bluehost starts at $2.95 a month, or $35.40 a year. It will be slow as hell, but at least it will be there. SEO is obviously not your concern, so speed wont really matter.
Shared hosting typically sucks for security, so make sure you have a clean backup of your website in case it gets hacked. If it does, simply upload the fresh copy.
Not being on the web at all is a dangerous proposition IMO. People may assume that you disappeared, and once you realize that the damage will already be done.
I think I have 2 recommended and 11 not recommended over on Yelp.
I can always tell when someone leaves a review there because I IMMEDIATELY get 10 phone calls ad emails form Yelp, which are blocked lickety split.
I won’t play their game. They are not a part of my marketing plan.
I won’t either. But I won’t lie, we booked about $6k per month in new clients from our yelp page every month. We still show up #1 in all of our areas so I don’t think it’s going to have an impact, but I know some small businesses really need those yelp reviews. More people are just going by Google reviews now. Good and bad thing with Google is that they don’t filter anything. All reviews get posted and I’m not aware of anyway to dispute them. But I’ll take that over yelps rigged algorithm.
Here are a few questions I would ask if your website is not doing anything for you right now:
- What type of customer are you interested in?
- How much more work do you want?
- Where do you rank in the search engines?
- How does your website look?
- How many searches are done for window cleaning in your area (do you live in a small town)
Most of UpEngine’s window cleaning clients get the majority of their business from their website. Also, most of them have been around for 10+ years, have a great reputation and many repeat customers. But they can’t deny that their site gets them business.
If your site isn’t ranking in the top half of page one you may not see much work from it. But ranking isn’t everything. These days customers (the kind that searches online) have more choices and do more research. So you have to create authority based on the quality of your site and reviews. Also, as mentioned, many referred clients will check your site before calling you. Do you know how many customers checked your website after being referred and chose to go elsewhere because of the quality of your site? Probably not.
If you think having a website is too expensive then you may not be spending enough on it. Advertising in general cost money. If you started a business to save money I can’t help you. If your business is a grassroots effort that supports your simple life I commend you (and don’t go changing). But if your goal is to grow and your service area has a lot of potential customers you shouldn’t consider getting a website - you should consider getting a good website. If you are a one-man-show, people may not expect you to have one, but since when do other people’s expectations set the goals for your business? You need to do your research. One of my clients is a one-man-show’s who brought home 4k+ a month from his site. And, of course, those clients turned repeat and eventually he was grossing 11k a month (with a helper) and his business grew. One of my other window cleaning clients site’s brought in nearly 20k a month.
Every business and service area is different but most would benefit from a website. Just ask yourself those 5 questions and make sure you are informed. Let me know if I can help.
It worked! Holy smokes! Thank you for that heads up! Just made my year👍🏽
This. I pay 160 a year just to have it. Not much in the grand scheme of things.