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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.

  • Agree 2
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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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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks for that detailed reply, amazing amount of info! Im going to slowly work my way through it and try to make sense of it all!

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17 hours ago, Josh0771 said:

Thanks for that detailed reply, amazing amount of info! Im going to slowly work my way through it and try to make sense of it all!

Yeah I know there's alot of it mate and believe it or not I tried to keep it to the basic principles. Could easily have gone into it in more depth but it wouldn't make any sense anyway and is unnecessary too. And there's so much jargon involved it just gets confusing.

To start with keep it simple and claim all the important free listings like Google My Business (GMB), Bing Places, Yell, Yelp, Freeindex, Cylex, Scoot etc and some more location based directories local to your area - only the free options and don't pay for 'premium' listings with backlinks included on any of them. Even a basic listing with your name, address and phone number counts as a citation and you need these to establish an online prescence and local directories improve your relevance to the local area where you want to rank.

I'm not trying to sell you a service and if you want a hand with any of it, or a list of good directories to register with let me know and I'll send you some details or links. And just ask if you have any questions.

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On 17/01/2021 at 17:25, K in Kent said:

Yeah I know there's alot of it mate and believe it or not I tried to keep it to the basic principles. Could easily have gone into it in more depth but it wouldn't make any sense anyway and is unnecessary too. And there's so much jargon involved it just gets confusing.

To start with keep it simple and claim all the important free listings like Google My Business (GMB), Bing Places, Yell, Yelp, Freeindex, Cylex, Scoot etc and some more location based directories local to your area - only the free options and don't pay for 'premium' listings with backlinks included on any of them. Even a basic listing with your name, address and phone number counts as a citation and you need these to establish an online prescence and local directories improve your relevance to the local area where you want to rank.

I'm not trying to sell you a service and if you want a hand with any of it, or a list of good directories to register with let me know and I'll send you some details or links. And just ask if you have any questions.

Hey bud are you self taught in SEO? I've been told its not that difficult to learn so I'm considering it. I spent thousands last year on a website/SEO and I'm lucky if I get 1 enquiry a month 

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10 hours ago, Doddy111 said:

Hey bud are you self taught in SEO? I've been told its not that difficult to learn so I'm considering it. I spent thousands last year on a website/SEO and I'm lucky if I get 1 enquiry a month 

From what I understand of SEO, it will take time to increase ranking on Google. Just keep updating your website, perhaps with a blog (not much to say about window cleaning though!).

Likewise, I hardly get any enquiries via my website.  Might be worth advertising on Google to get your site listed higher up in the ads?

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10 hours ago, Doddy111 said:

Hey bud are you self taught in SEO? I've been told its not that difficult to learn so I'm considering it. I spent thousands last year on a website/SEO and I'm lucky if I get 1 enquiry a month 

SEO is very difficult as you are really trying to get Google to list you high up their results and Google want to give their visitors/customers the best answer to their search. If Google told you how their algorithm worked sites would just match the algorithm and not necessarily be what the visitor actually wanted.  

So SEO is a continuous battle, you try and guess what Google is looking for and they keep tweaking things to maintain the best answers. 

Basically you need to make your site the authority on your subject and have lots of other authoritative sites link to yours but the linking sites need to be relevant!!!! 

If anyone ever tells you SEO is easy then ask for an example of their work. getting a site on page 1 for the company name isn't proof. That is easy!! It's getting a new windy site in say Manchester to page 1 for the search term 'window cleaner in Manchester' would be difficult. Ignore Google Ads as they are paying to be at top and the Google local search results are free to be listed but again it's down to SEO if you are at top!!!  

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2 hours ago, Doddy111 said:

Hey bud are you self taught in SEO? I've been told its not that difficult to learn so I'm considering it. I spent thousands last year on a website/SEO and I'm lucky if I get 1 enquiry a month 

SEO companies are very happy to take your monthly payment and often seem to do very little in return - it's not in their interest to produce immediate results.

Yes I am self taught but just for the record I've got plenty of practical experience too - just on this forum alone in the past I've done the content writing and SEO and I've got people onto page 1 of Google for their location for window cleaning and addon services in 100+ towns and cities across the UK from Devon and Cornwall to Aberdeen. And when I say page 1 that means usually high up in the top 5 and first on page 1 more times than I can remember. And invariably that also meant getting them into the top 3 for Google's GMB local pack. I only say that because theory is 1 thing but actually understanding it and how to implement and put it into practice, and how to write optimised / authoritative content is another matter. When I read comments about keywords and on page SEO as if that's the answer, they're really missing the point.

Citations and backlinks won't do it for you either on their own (but do definitely matter). Well, backlinks could do but you'll never get enough of the right ones

How hard or difficult it is will obviously vary from person to person and where you're starting from and what you do or don't know already. My knowledge base was zero and I found that all the guides I read were talking gibberish to me cos of all the jargon. It seemed like every single sentence contained words that meant nothing to me and I'd have to look them up before going further, and you need to understand all these things to make any sense of it.

Then there are the alternate terms for the same thing e.g. crawlers, bots and spiders are all the same thing and basically mean how search engines index the content of the web. The term spiders is a nerdy joke cos spiders crawl the web - haha hilarious, not! Or there's the local pack, 3 pack, map pack, snack pack, organic results, SERPS - at times I felt like wtf are you lot on about - and if anyone's wondering local/3/map/snack are all the same - the Google My Business box of 3 results at top of page 1

Then there's meta tags, heading tags, alt tags, meta data, meta description, URL , SEO title, page title, heading title, anchor text, hyperlinks, backlinks, links, internal links, link juice, external links,good links, bad links, relevant links, site architecture/structure, keywords, primary keywords, target keywords, secondary keywords, long tail keywords, related keywords, keyword research, keyword density, keyword difficulty, keyword tools and on and on it goes. Then there's off page SEO, and content writing and content optimisation, ranking factors, relevance, usefulness, domain authority, page authority, pagerank, latent semantic indexing (LSI), user intent, UX - user experience, E - A - T = expertise, authority, trust and what is meant by that, quality rater guidelines etc.

And again, on and on it goes. I'm not trying to sound clever by using meaningless jargon but u asked how difficult it was so I'm just making the point there's quite a bit to learn about, but none of it is rocket science and all makes perfect sense to me now.

It takes a while getting your head round it all but it does  start making sense and falling into place. I began by learning more about how search engines work then started with the beginners guides and Google Webmasters before moving onto the advanced guides and also did some paid for courses online that are more challenging than the free stuff. Then I started putting it into practice and keep up with the algorithm updates and changes, ranking factors and how / if they are evolving etc etc. I'm signed up for some of the best weekly newsletters from websites/ SEO pro's who really know their stuff and I read probably on average at least 2-3 hrs a week on latest SEO trends. I used to be a sponge soaking up as much info as I could and read articles and assumed they were correct. I'm at the point now where I've got my pwn informed opinions and I can read something and think 'that is b***cks mate, u haven't got a clue.' 

I'm convinced some SEO's deliberately make it all sound far more of a mystery than it actually is and tell you it constantly needs refreshing or tweaking so that direct debit comes in every month for them and you think if u leave your ranking will collapse.

Anyone who thinks 'on page SEO' is the secret to ranking highly, and some of those who say how easy SEO is, really doesn't understand what Google wants or what good SEO is all about. There are many different aspects to good SEO and individually most won't make much difference and no single improvement alone will transform your ranking. SEO is incremental and the more you get right the bigger the benefit is. But the single most important thing is CONTENT.

The saying goes "Content is King", well no it's not cos we all know Elvis is the King, but content is the key. That's a subject in itself but good, authoritative, useful content is the secret to ranking highly and staying there. Well written, well optimised content using the right primary and secondary keywords will massively improve rankings and it is very possible to rank highly for keywords and search terms you don't even use in your content, let alone target them. Google now incorporates user intent to interpret what the searcher wants and provides what it considers the best results even when they don't target or perhaps even mention the same keywords the searcher used. But your content has to be good and well optimised and ideally if you have established some authority on the subject that will help alot and/or prominence locally. I set up and optimised a YouTube channel that I've seen referred to a number of times on the forum - that's a great way of building authority and boosting/maintaining ranking.

Example of user intent: pressure washing business targets keywords like pressure / power washing and is a well established local business, getting regular web traffic, good reviews and good authoritative content etc and the searcher searches for jet washing services. Even if jet washing is never mentioned on a page Google understands what the user wants and may well rank that pressure washing website above pages that specifically target the phrase jet washing. That's what good content can do and that's what you need to understand how to do - along with the SEO stuff for optimum rankings for as many different keywords as possible. There are all sorts of things that need to be taken into account and it will depend on related keywords that are used, how often they're used and where they're used on the page and elsewhere (e.g image optimisation), relevance, prominence, authority etc etc. But the thing to remember is all this information is out there and freely available if you look and can be bothered to learn it - and understand what it's about. When I say understand I'm not suggesting how difficult or complicated it is but there is a bigger picture about what Google wants and how it ranks your business.

I try and ignore anyone who dismisses it as easy. Everything is easy once you know how to do it and they obviously don't. It's not easy at the start but gets much much better and is not a great mystery at all. All the best SEO companies have free online guides and I'd recommend Google Webmaster Guidelines,

Moz blog

Backlinko 200 ranking factors and all Brian Dean's articles

Neil Patel Hubspot

Search Engine Joutnal

Finally, if you rank well on Google you're likely to rank well on Bing (which also powers Yahoo). They have similar ranking factors but Bing places more emphasis on use of keywords and just for the record I am not trying to sell a SEO service

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Perhaps you might offer some suggestions as to what the keywords ought to be for window cleaners?

Is it as simple as phrases such as "water fed pole", "window cleaner", "local", "friendly", "pure water", and so forth?

Or are there secret jargons that we ought to be using?

 

 

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5 minutes ago, NewGuy said:

Perhaps you might offer some suggestions as to what the keywords ought to be for window cleaners?

Is it as simple as phrases such as "water fed pole", "window cleaner", "local", "friendly", "pure water", and so forth?

Or are there secret jargons that we ought to be using?

 

 

You just need to think of words customers would search for or that they would think are associated with window cleaning. One way to find keywords is look at competitors sites and see what words they are using obviously ignore words like the, if, they, that etc.... 🙂  Using competitors will give you an idea but only of 'On Page'  SEO keywords. Off page - back links etc are a different matter. 

Have a look at some of the guides @K in Kent suggested. Start with basic ones like https://developers.google.com/search/docs and have a read. Info is all over the net but so is a load of outdated or misleading SEO advice. Stick to ones that have been quoted first. 

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1 hour ago, ched999uk said:

You just need to think of words customers would search for or that they would think are associated with window cleaning. One way to find keywords is look at competitors sites and see what words they are using obviously ignore words like the, if, they, that etc.... 🙂  Using competitors will give you an idea but only of 'On Page'  SEO keywords. Off page - back links etc are a different matter. 

Have a look at some of the guides @K in Kent suggested. Start with basic ones like https://developers.google.com/search/docs and have a read. Info is all over the net but so is a load of outdated or misleading SEO advice. Stick to ones that have been quoted first. 

Personally, mine's doing okay.  Inside of a year, I've gone from around 100th result down to about 15th.  I'm confident of climbing further up the rankings in the next 12 months!

I was simply curious whether there were any magical buzz words that I hadn't come across?  

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Wow thanks @ched999uk and @K in Kent for your brilliant responses. I did pay for an SEO course last year that I have lifetime access to so I'll start working through the modules and with the resources mentioned above I'll should hopefully get my head around it 🤞

 

  • Like 3
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12 hours ago, ched999uk said:

You just need to think of words customers would search for or that they would think are associated with window cleaning. One way to find keywords is look at competitors sites and see what words they are using obviously ignore words like the, if, they, that etc.... 🙂  Using competitors will give you an idea but only of 'On Page'  SEO keywords. Off page - back links etc are a different matter. 

Have a look at some of the guides @K in Kent suggested. Start with basic ones like https://developers.google.com/search/docs and have a read. Info is all over the net but so is a load of outdated or misleading SEO advice. Stick to ones that have been quoted first. 

Ime no computer expert but window cleaners near me is what most people google , we get a report from google monthly stating what people use to fund us . 

  • Like 2
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Google Keywords Ad Planner is an excellent free tool for keyword ideas as is the 'people also searched for' section at the bottom search pages.

Ideally you want a mix of popular phrases / keywords that people actually use and synonyms i.e. words closely related to your target keyword. But it's generally better to avoid too much jargon / industry specific words e.g. reach and wash is fine to use now and then but it doesn't necessarily mean much to most people. As an aside softwashing is a classic - quite alot of competition but very low search volume cos not many people are even aware of the term - until they come to have their roof cleaned etc.

But the main KWs are: window cleaner / ers / ing

window cleaning services

residential window....

domestic.....

commercial......

pure water/purified water window cleaning

traditional w/c   etc etc

and No, I wasn't suggesting anything magical at all about it. But it is sometimes surprising the diversity of search terms people use for things and not at all what you might expect. I'd suggest doing keyword research for all services.

The reason I say about use of keywords is two fold.

1) despite what I said about not needing necessarily to even use certain KWs and still ranking for them, you will always increase your chances of ranking higher by using exact match KWs i.e. having the same words as the searcher is using in your content

2)The more relevant terms you use relating to your target KW adds contextual relevance. LSI or latent semantic indexing is the key here and this is a big part of Google's ranking algorithm. Use them so they read naturally and don't crowbar them in or overuse them or your target KW. Target KW density aim for approx 2%, so twice per 100 words.

Finally, @Pjjis quite right about near me searches and it is the new big thing r.e. search terms but optimising for it is another matter. When content is generally written in the 3rd person switching to 1st person saying 'near me' won't read well, although there are ways of trying it. But basically it comes down to optimising locations on your site and the location of the searcher at the time they search.

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