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How much work do you get through your website?


Josh0771

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I've been toying with getting a website up and running but dont understand too much about them. I dont want to invest money and have it stuck way low down in the rankings where nobody is ever going to see it, let alone click on it!

Guys who have websites, how much time/effort/cash have you had to put in to get a reasonable amount of work from your website? 

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As well as people finding your site via google there is also another advantage to having a website. That is if someone sees your trading name on a van or leaflet they can look you up online and see your website promoting your services and selling your business. 

First thing to do is google window cleaner near you or in xx area and see how many companies come up. If they are proper websites from companies or individuals then you will see how much competition your site will have. If they are lots of directory sites then it might be easier to beat them. 

One thing to really be careful of is companies saying they can get you on the front page of google etc. They are making claims they can't guarantee, unless they are just claiming to get you to page 1 for your own company name - but that's easy as no competition.  

I would say get a site from someone you trust - there is at least 1 company on here who appear to have a reasonable reputation, don't expect to get masses of business from it, but the enquiries you get will be from people who genuinely want a window cleaner!

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It ain't a Golden Ticket that's for certain, it really depends what you want from it mine is used primarily for getting custys to sign up to the direct debit for a regular window cleaning service although it's a 6 page site with plenty of information and reviews on there. 

 

I see it as a part of a package I have my business listed through the free listings Google, yell etc and I have a FB page it all helps as an overall online package with links, I am the first listing on page 1 as there is me and another member on here with sites and that's it. My site  has never brought me in loads of enquiries, but I have signed up 100's to the direct debit via my site, FB has been my biggest winner for gaining new jobs

 

Check out http://Thrivewp.com our site admin @Gavin is the business owner and has built sites for forum members 

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scottish cleaning service
21 minutes ago, Josh0771 said:

Great info thank you, gonna look into it more!

I don't get any through my website but it only costs me £100 a year. I get all my work through Checkatrade but it costs me £110 a month and extra to be on their post delivered pamphlet. Once you have a customer base it kinds of runs itself and you can drop the advertising in the fullness of time. 

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We pick up a lot of work through referrals and walk ups , the web site varies since March the web site enquires have gone through the roof with over 400  email requests in more normal times I would say we get 0-25 enquires per week as a mean avarage 

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26 minutes ago, Pjj said:

We pick up a lot of work through referrals and walk ups , the web site varies since March the web site enquires have gone through the roof with over 400  email requests in more normal times I would say we get 0-25 enquires per week as a mean avarage 

The influx of leads coming in during this pandemic is amazing. More people are now looking through the dirty windows or pulling in to the driveway and think I really need my drive cleaned,roof cleaned,windows cleaned.

This is a great time to be in the service industry if your prepared for the work flow.

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We all have differing experiences with websites but as far as I'm concerned it's the gift that keeps on giving if you rank highly in local search results for the services you offer. It is a constant source of new enquiries / customers every week, and often on a daily basis even during the winter.

These enquiries are from people actively looking for the service you offer so if you can get your website in front of them when they do a search on Google they will call you. The higher you rank the more clicks you will get and traffic decreases for lower rankings. Off the top of my head I think the top 3 results receive approx two thirds of all clicks on average across all types of searches. You may find that a website is all you need and advertising is unnecessary. People are looking for local service providers all year round and the 1st place most people look nowadays is online. This is even more the case with mobile searches and voice searches growing in number.

As for your question about time/effort/cash it does take time and effort - but that's what building a business is all about. No one said it was easy. But the financial costs can be low and the only ongoing cost is hosting and site maintenance/security (which is vital). As has already been said speak to @Gavinfrom ThriveWP or click one of their banner ads. Gav will sort you out and build a great looking mobile friendly website for a very reasonable price, and take care of hosting and maintenance for about £30 a month - bargain for what you get for that money. I had a site that was twice infected with malware before transferring to Gav and never had a problem since. Being hacked can mean dropping out of the rankings, customer contact form emails never reaching you and is generally bad for business all round. £30/month is nothing to stop that happening and peace of mind. And that's it for ongoing costs. Paid ads are an option if you're interested but you can't beat ranking in the local pack and organic results for more traffic and it's free.

If you're willing to try and get your head round what SEO is all about and how to rank well you should start with Google Webmaster Guidelines to get an overview. There are loads of free online guides and regular newsletters from top SEO companies like Moz, Backlinko, Search engine journal etc etc. These people know their stuff and follow their advice and you'll be ok. It is a nightmare at first because of all the jargon involved but it gets easier. The key to ranking well is having better content within your site. Look at your competition and think how you can make yours more useful and informative for the user and optimise it for the best keywords. There are many ways of doing that but don't overuse them (keyword stuffing) and place them sensibly and prominently so it reads naturally, and combine them with your location.

There are more than 200 ranking factors Google uses and excellent online guides by Backlinko and Moz that make sense of them. Be very wary of who you accept advice from on forums because with the best will in the world it isn't always accurate and some things are often misunderstood/confused so advice given can be a mishmash of fact and fiction.

Give careful thought to your business name and domain name (they are typically the same but don't have to be e.g. B&Q's domain name is DIY.com). Names that include keywords continue to have a slight advantage in both the local pack GMB and organic results (i.e. the 10 listings per page on a desktop). So it may be advantageous to include words like 'window cleaning' or 'cleaning services' etc in your name and including the location is also a consideration. Although if there are alot of other window cleaners in your area the best names are likely to be taken already e.g. town name + window cleaners. But it's not the be all and end all and use a name that makes sense and better still describes your business. Keywords that describe your business are more helpful than location names and using locations may limit your reach but won't stop you ranking well in other locations. Using a wider ranging county name rather than a specific town is another option. Get a domain name ending .co.uk rather than .com. (.co.uk has a slight advantage for local rankings).

You should also want a name that is distinctive to you so people can tell it's you and not a different company with a near identical business / domain name.

It's also worth noting that Google have been talking for a few years now about 'exact match domains' and keywords stuffed into business names losing some ranking juice - but they still work.  If an algorithm update is developed it is likely to mainly effect low quality / poor content websites.

Get your website verified on Google Search Console (Gav will deal with that for you)

Claim free listings on Google My Business and Bing Places (these are the box of 3 at top of page 1)

Claim free listings on quality business directories such as Yell, Yelp, Scoot etc and local directories relevant to your location. Make sure your business details are accurate and consistent across all listings and match your website. These are citation sources and a way of increasing your online footprint and prominence. Prominence is important to Google for ranking purposes as it is viewed as a signal of trust and legitimacy.

Avoid too many low quality directory listings. Many of them exist only for SEO purposes and selling backlinks. They never rank well in SERPS and generate no traffic (although personally I question how much work any of them generate, except perhaps Checkatrade and similar sites but they can be expensive and an unnecessary additional expense).

Don't pay for links from anywhere and don't pay for premium listings that include backlinks. Some directories include a free backlink to your site. In fact, I wouldn't worry too much about links and concentrate on getting your site right first and claim the important free listings from the most authoritative business directories - a few more of these include Cylex, Freeindex, thompson local, Uk small business directory........local directories also help improve your relevance to the location. If a link comes with a listing that's great, if not don't worry about it or pay for one. There are far more actionable ways of ranking well that you have control over and let backlinks develop naturally. It's easy to obssess over them but getting useful and relevant links that will actually boost your SEO are few and far between. And it's all relative - your competition probably hasn't got many decent links either and even if he has you can still outrank him. Concentrate on quality citations instead, but do spend some time registering with the right websites. It's not hard, just needs some time and effort.

Choose business categories with care and be as specific as possible. This is especially true with GMB and keep them to a minimum. Don't select multiple categories with a vague or tenuous connection to your services. Write business descriptions with an eye on optimisation and use plenty of related search terms / phrases as well as your target keywords. Wider use of relevant phrases add context and relevance to the keywords you're targetting. Sign up for a free Google Ad Planner account for keyword research. Remember the public uses  all sorts of words and phrases to search for so include some of them and vary them in your descriptions and website content.

A website should be at the heart of building a business and creating a local brand identity (if that's what you want). And rightly or wrongly people will judge your credibility by your site and how highly you rank. The common perception is the higher you are the better you are. I don't agree with that by the way, but that's how many people see it. And not having a website can be a warning signal to some. If you want to be taken seriously and want to grow you need a website and it must be mobile friendly as we now live in a mobile first index for SEO purposes i.e. must display well on mobiles, load fast, be easy to read and navigate, use encryption, be well maintained and protected etc etc. Google uses the mobile version of your site for ranking purposes and not the desktop version.

Sorry about the length of this but if you're starting from scratch this is all stuff you should be thinking about and get it right from the start - it can avoid a great deal of trial and error and wasted money on pointless advertising that brings in nothing. A very good mate of mine is a landscaper and had a website that ranked nowhere. Work was a bit thin on the ground when he first went out on his own and he was spending hundreds on half page and full page adverts in free brochure type magazines and on Yell. Website was a waste of time as far as he was concerned. Then he  had a site overhaul, new content and SEO and transferred to a Thrive care plan and had a  redesign done by Gav, went to the top of local search results for all his services and he's flat out busy. He's made so much money he took a couple of months off but exotic holidays were scuppered by Covid - all down to his website - and being good at his job of course, but it's the website that got him the work in the first place.

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