Written by Chris Lambrinides
CHAPTER 5 - WEBSITE BASICS
Your Home Base
Consider a website your home base on the Internet. Your website is a location online for all your marketing activities to stem from. All your campaigns and all your work should originate from here. This is where campaigns and programs should start before you push them out to the world.
Can you get by these days without a website? Sure, but you’re going to be only getting by. To really flourish and get the company moving, you need a website. Think about it. Would you call a company to perform a service at your home if you could find no record of them online? I know I would be hesitant, and I’m not even your target market.
Your Branding Starts Here
As mentioned, your company needs to have a consistent look across all your materials. Think similar fonts, colors, and imagery across everything. Your website should have a similar look and feel to your vehicles and advertising, as well as your client- facing paperwork and any other marketing items you use.
The Center of All Your Campaigns
Your company will run a multitude of marketing campaigns across a few different media. It only makes sense that they all originate from your website. Everything leads back to this. Your website is the center of your marketing universe. Tie everything back to your company here. Campaigns, customer contact, promotions—everything.
Your website should also help you quite a bit with providing customer service. Include basic information, such as hours of operation and contact info. It’s there to help save time for both you and the customer.
Your website is always on. When set up correctly, it can be your twenty-four-seven salesperson. It never needs a break, never calls in sick, and is always there for your customers. Imagine waking up in the morning and finding scheduled jobs from customers who are presold on your services and are ready to hand over money. It’s possible with a properly set-up website.
DIY or Hire a Pro
Your primary goal every day as the owner is to find ways to generate money for the business. When you start trying to do every little thing yourself, things get spread thin. You’ve heard the expression “jack of all trades, master of none,” right? That’s what happens when you do everything yourself. Nothing is special because you’re doing everything with limited knowledge. And you’re doing things with limited knowledge because there isn’t enough time in the day to become an expert.
So I will ask you: What is going to convert your potential clients better? A mediocre website you built yourself, or a professionally designed one you hired someone to build?
Then consider the time aspect. Let’s say the cost of a nice, simple website is $1,500. How long would it take you to earn that $1,500? How long would it take you to make the website and have it be of equal caliber?
My suggestion has a pro design the site, but learn to manipulate it and make changes yourself. A little working knowledge will pay off. I think of this the same way I do about graphic design. Have a professional build the foundation. Then, get enough working knowledge to make small changes. At the least, make sure you can add photos, adjust copy, and add pages and/ or blog posts.
Having the ability to do that will allow you to move much quicker as a company. If you have an idea or plan, you can act on it right away.
This is better than having to send ideas off to a designer and wait a week for the changes. And then once those changes have been made, maybe they’re not quite right. Maybe you want to make one more small tweak. You need to be able to do this your- self, or you will lose all momentum. Being able to do something in real time is powerful.
Learn a little WordPress because almost 20% of the sites on the Internet use it. It will likely power your site. It was originally designed for blogging, but it has morphed into a publishing platform.
One of the main advantages of WordPress is its ease of use. If you spend a weekend studying it, you will have no problem doing the basics. It also has myriad free themes and add-ons available.
In my opinion, the best-case scenario is to have a professionally designed site while you maintain the ability to make small changes as needed.
Pay as You Go
Lately, a few companies that have sprung up have adopted a pay-as-you-go model. They charge a monthly fee and completely manage every aspect of the website for you.
They don’t just set up and forget about it. They handle all the ongoing development and make small weekly changes. This optimizes the number of leads you receive, as well as how visible your site is in the search engine results.
Pay-as-you-go companies continually monitor how many of your website visitors are becoming customers, and then they use that data to make improvements to your website. Thus, over time, your website conversion rate will keep improving, and you’ll win more customers.
If you had asked me about this model a year ago, I wouldn’t have recommended it. But I’m beginning to see the value in services like these. One of these companies I would recommend is Hatch. Check them out at hatchspot.com.
If you are looking for a completely hands-off approach, they are a great choice. If you would like to see an example of their work, go to spartawindowcleaning.com.