PDA

View Full Version : Website and Facebook Question


walkerlawncare09
02-12-2011, 03:32 PM
First off I dont know if I picked the right topic to post this in. But here goes.

I am trying to find a place to host a website and I have no idea where to begin with it. What do you all suggest? Does having a website w/ just starting up really help out or should you build before doing a website?

And as far as Facebook goes, how do you all go about getting a possible client list built up on there? Adding people you know and having them suggest people or find local people and start adding everyone?

thanks for any help.

Eric

Hedgemaster
02-12-2011, 03:45 PM
Funny. I was just thinking of starting a thread on the subject of web hosting.

I know nothing about websites/hosting. I've been looking into it over the last week, and the only thing I can suggetst is that you read the fine print - IF there IS fine print.

I've noted that many of the great "deals" offered on hosting sites are just "fist month" or "first year" prices.

ONLY $3.49/mo!!!

Yeah, if you sign up for a three year contract, AND you pay it all up front. (Just one example - not all like this)


So far, I'm looking at ipage (http://www.ipage.com/ipage/index.html) and Hostgator (http://www.hostgator.com/shared.shtml). I was considering 1and1 (http://order.1and1.com/), but someone suggested staying away from them.
Whoever you look at, ASK QUESTIONS first. I've found that none of the ones I've looked at have pricing info anywhere that can be found. I think it's very deceptive, but seems to be "the norm".

It's all so confusing.
Here's a web hosting "review" site (http://www.hosting-review.com/).

The Cleaning Doctor
02-12-2011, 03:55 PM
The majority of hosting providers are resellers of registrar services.

Personally I host all my sites at GoDaddy. If they are not on the list of registrars for ICANN I would skip them. Just my preference.

As far as when to build the site, why wait to build later because it is a tool for you to build your business. As far a ROI it is the best advertising method that you can use.

walkerlawncare09
02-12-2011, 03:57 PM
thats alot of the problems I was running into, I did see a few w/ prices like $499 for basic package and went all the way up to $3000 for the premium stuff...

I will take a look at the places you put on here and see what they are like. thanks for the info


What about web designs, did you go with a template or have someone do that for you?

Steve
02-12-2011, 04:33 PM
And as far as Facebook goes, how do you all go about getting a possible client list built up on there? Adding people you know and having them suggest people or find local people and start adding everyone?

I know we talk about facebook quite a bit on here but is anyone tracking their calls to see if any are coming in due to their facebook site?

The Cleaning Doctor
02-12-2011, 05:04 PM
I can confirm that facebook works. I just put Search Engine Tweaks.com online and I have already gotten requests for SEO services through my site from facebook friends.

walkerlawncare09
02-12-2011, 05:18 PM
What is the Tweaks.com and how does that work?

The Cleaning Doctor
02-12-2011, 06:55 PM
LOL here is the link.... http://www.searchenginetweaks.com

Hedgemaster
02-12-2011, 07:35 PM
The majority of hosting providers are resellers of registrar services.

Personally I host all my sites at GoDaddy. If they are not on the list of registrars for ICANN I would skip them. Just my preference.

As far as when to build the site, why wait to build later because it is a tool for you to build your business. As far a ROI it is the best advertising method that you can use.

Forgive my noobness, but if one is a "REseller, I assume that makes them sort of a "middleman". If I want to skip the middleman, who do I buy hosting from?
Or does it not matter if I use a hosting reseller?

I don't know what the "list of registrars for ICANN" MEANS, but I Googled it and found this (http://www.icann.org/en/registrars/accredited-list.html).
What makes these hosting services more desirable than those not on this "list"?

Any insight would be appreciated.

FYI I need to register a domain name as well, so I was figuring I'd wait until I decide on a hosting provider to use and do it all at the same time.
I note that some offer free domain reg. with hosting services, and when reading the fine print, it sounds complicated to transfer domain registration from one hosting provider to another. (But that's just my take on it as a web noob)

Growing Green
02-12-2011, 09:00 PM
I hosted through godaddy and then got the website through weebly.com. Only $3.99 a month and they provide templates and it was very easy to create website.

Matt

The Cleaning Doctor
02-12-2011, 10:56 PM
Forgive my noobness, but if one is a "REseller, I assume that makes them sort of a "middleman". If I want to skip the middleman, who do I buy hosting from?
Or does it not matter if I use a hosting reseller?

I don't know what the "list of registrars for ICANN" MEANS, but I Googled it and found this (http://www.icann.org/en/registrars/accredited-list.html).
What makes these hosting services more desirable than those not on this "list"?

Any insight would be appreciated.

FYI I need to register a domain name as well, so I was figuring I'd wait until I decide on a hosting provider to use and do it all at the same time.
I note that some offer free domain reg. with hosting services, and when reading the fine print, it sounds complicated to transfer domain registration from one hosting provider to another. (But that's just my take on it as a web noob)

I am going to use the deregulation of the phone companies as an example.

You live in an area that is the territory of BellSouth but MCI is giving you the better deal so you buy your service from MCI but a BellSouth technician comes out to install the line because MCI is leasing it from them.

Everything is fine until there is an issue. You call BellSouth, they are the ones that did the install right? and they tell you sorry you have to call MCI. You now call MCI and they say it is a BellSouth problem. So you hang up and call BellSouth and they tell you they can't help you because MCI has to open the trouble ticket as they are the owner. Hours, days or even weeks go by with everyone pointing the finger at the other and nobody is at fault.

After all the crap, 2 weeks later a BellSouth technician shows up at the house to fix the wires that were laying on the ground because of a squirrel and these are the same wires that you told them about on the phone.

Well now the phone is finally fixed, 2 weeks after you first told them the wires were laying on the ground.

This really did happen to my sister in-law.

Say you went with a reseller of GoDaddy services. Well you have to deal with that reseller instead of going to godaddy direct.

I see a lot of you going with the cheap hosting. Yes you have to cut expenses whenever you can but think about this.

Say the hosting costs $10 per month for ease of math. That is $120 per year. How much did you just spend at Kinkos printing out your flyers? A web site is the best ROI of any advertising that you will do. If you go cheap, the site will look cheap and the customers will think you are cheap. How many sites have you seen that have the same if not similar template and are only 5 pages because you went with the cheap hosting. If you can not afford $120 per year for hosting instead of the $3.99 door hanger special or the FREE hosting, you need to park the gear and get a job because you will probably be one of the business statistics.

Are there better hosting services than Godaddy.... Probably but I an happy with them.

Hedgemaster
02-14-2011, 07:23 PM
Any opinion on Bluehost (http://www.bluehost.com/)?

Special $3.95/mo (2 or 3 yr plan)

Free domain that is "yours to take" for as long as you host with them.


I've been researching/chatting with them all evening, and they seem legit. A lot of the others I've looked at have been sneaky with the rates - one price shown, but they don't tell you that it has "strings attached".

I'm about to sign up, so let me know if you can think of a reason not to!

Ducke
02-14-2011, 07:32 PM
I purchased my own domain www.duckfoot.ca for $28.00 a year and i host it on CanHost for 128.00 for two years.

slcllc
02-14-2011, 10:40 PM
First off, I haven't seen any host better than x10hosting.com (http://www.x10hosting.com) - IT IS ABSOLUTELY FREE WITH NO ADS AND UNLIMITED BANDWIDTH. I registered my domain with netfirms.com. Super easy, super cheap... like $8.

As for your website, I hope you know some HTML or Joomla or something, because I would hate to pay someone to design a website, when there are so many ways to get it done for free, you just need a little know-how.

http://www.stevensonlawncare.com

The Cleaning Doctor
02-14-2011, 10:58 PM
As for your website, I hope you know some HTML or Joomla or something, because I would hate to pay someone to design a website, when there are so many ways to get it done for free, you just need a little know-how.

My point is made about going cheap.

Sorry but the site is too much of a cookie cutter site. Your site name even blends into the header photo.

You only have one chance to make an impression and you can not take that impression back. The look of your site says cheap and more than likely the guy that owns the 1/2 million dollar home will call someone else.

You get dressed up when you go for a job interview right? Your web site is going to the job interview for you so it must stand out to get noticed.

The site may look ok but the SEO on it is drastically lacking. Hell there is only one company that has their site on the front page in Gulfport. Yours does not even show up in the first 10 pages.

I am going to start a test tonight and see what happens.... Will let you all know. This is going to be fun.... It is now 10 pm MST

Hedgemaster
02-14-2011, 11:13 PM
Any opinion on Bluehost (http://www.bluehost.com/)?

Special $3.95/mo (2 or 3 yr plan)

Free domain that is "yours to take" for as long as you host with them.


I've been researching/chatting with them all evening, and they seem legit. A lot of the others I've looked at have been sneaky with the rates - one price shown, but they don't tell you that it has "strings attached".

I'm about to sign up, so let me know if you can think of a reason not to!


DONE.


I signed up for the two year plan. I also decided to add the "privacy option" for $9.95/year to keep my personal info off of the "Whois" list (If that's the correct term - all new to me)
I figure if they are giving me my domain for free for as long as I'm with them, I'd just spend the $10 I'd likely be spending elsewhere for a domain had I gone that route.
Note that someone elsewhere suggested I ask, and the domain name is mine to take elsewhere if I choose. If I do, they will simply bill me $10. That sounds reasonable.

And really, like the Cleaning Doctor said above, "That is $120 per year. How much did you just spend at Kinkos printing out your flyers?"

Seriously. It costs nearly that much to get the needle off of "Empty" when I put gas in my truck.



Account Plan 24 Months
Hosting Price $94.80 ($3.95 for 24 months)
Setup Fee FREE
Registration Main Domain oakleaflawn.com FREE
$9.95 Privacy
You will be billed $104.75


Now I just need to figure out how to build a web page. :cool:

The Cleaning Doctor
02-14-2011, 11:27 PM
OK the page is up online and I am not putting any links to it. It is on OrganicLawnTips.com but there is no link from the home page. The sitemap is the only way Google will find the page.

I targeted 2 keywords

Lawn Mowing Gulfport
Lawn Care Gulfport

Your web site is useless if nobody can find you.

Here is a photo of the ranking for the keywords.....Now let's see how long before they are on the front page. The ConcreteSealingTips.com site had a local article on the front page in 2 hours.

The Cleaning Doctor
02-14-2011, 11:34 PM
Now I just need to figure out how to build a web page.

What are their options?

Most places will have some sort of site builder.

1. Site builder easiest to use but also the most limited
2. 3rd party site building software then FTP to the domain.
3. Drupal - Free but very steep learning curve. You can do alot with it.
4. Joomla - Also free, not as hard a drupal
5. Wordpress - Free and the easiest of the three to learn.

All of the sites that I have been building lately have been WordPress as they are very flexible and great for SEO. I do get the paid premium templates though over the free ones.

Hedgemaster
02-14-2011, 11:49 PM
What are their options?

Most places will have some sort of site builder.

1. Site builder easiest to use but also the most limited
2. 3rd party site building software then FTP to the domain.
3. Drupal - Free but very steep learning curve. You can do alot with it.
4. Joomla - Also free, not as hard a drupal
5. Wordpress - Free and the easiest of the three to learn.

All of the sites that I have been building lately have been WordPress as they are very flexible and great for SEO. I do get the paid premium templates though over the free ones.

I believe there's a site builder, but these (http://www.simplescripts.com/script_list) are also available... all are free except the ones with bold, orange titles. ($10, I believe)


I have some reading to do.

I also know a guy who teaches web design at a small trade school and he may have his class to build a site for me as a project. Not sure about that though, as I'd want to be in control of it.

slcllc
02-15-2011, 12:14 PM
Cleaning Doctor:
Thanks for the suggestions. I've changed the color of the title to match the brown in the buttons.

I've linked to the pages, and have the meta tags set to (hopefully) show up in the search results. Additionally, I have an ad campaign at Google right now that includes the keywords you've listed and more. Unfortunately, I feel like I've done almost everything I can that would increase my visibility in search results, and feel like there isn't much left I can do. If you have any ideas on how to improve my visibility, please let me know.

On the topic of my layout: I don't feel it's extremely cookie cutter, but It was free and when looking at costs, you'll see that I only pay $7/year ** and that's just for the domain name. I have some limited experience with HTML and CSS sheets are what I'm most comfortable with. I'm currently working on a quote request form, but I can't seem get the PHP right.

Hedgemaster
02-15-2011, 12:17 PM
In addition to the above linked "SimpleScripts", Bluehost offers the following "site builder" options:
Soholaunch (not sure if this is free)
Trendy Site Builder (not sure if this is free)
LiveSite (free)
concrete5 (free)

I know nothing about any of this, so I still have a bit of reading to do before I can "make a page".


Anyone know if I would be better off learning what Joomla and/or Drupal are? (rather than using a "site builder" type of thing.) I don't know anything about them except that "they are used to build websites".

I'm a "visual" person, so WYSIWYG is ideal. I'm used to working with Photoshop for my images and laying out advertisements in something like InDesign or Quark Xpress if that helps to explain where I'm coming from "design wise".

All of my ten years of ad layout/design work has been in print media - the web stuff is completely new to me. (But I'm starting to be less "afraid" of it, so that's a good thing)

wandfsmall
02-15-2011, 03:27 PM
I am using Joomla for my main store website at www.wouldntyourather.com you have to watch joomla and install it yourself or you have MAJOR security problems. I ran into that a little myself on my sites. I can see Joomla as a great lawn site with what you can do with it though, you can even have a place to where your customer can log in and open trouble tickets for you to check out when you stop in.

I am starting to go away from Joomla as I need more power with an online store but I am sure you will not have that issue. Good luck with your site, I am willing to help guide you to answers if I can.

nnyparts
02-16-2011, 04:59 AM
Both work well depending on the amount of time your willing to put into them.

A website....

Lets say you have a site built and have it hosted somewhere...who is visiting the site other than you and your friends that you told? How do you get traffic that wants your service???

Lets start off with the decision to go with a website for your business. The first thing you need to do is purchase a domain name...mubusiness.com. When you purchase that domain, all you are doing is buying the rights for that name for a year unless you buy more years. If you forget to renew it next year, its tossed back on the open market for anyone to use.

We are a top level registrar company and charge 12.95 for the use/rights to a domain for the year...more years can be purchased. In comparison Network Solutions charges 34.50 a yr.

Hosting the site comes next. Most often the cheaper it gets the less options you will get with it and the more of their advertising will be shown. We charge 9.95 a month or 99.95 yr and that gets you a C-panel to be able to check stats of who is coming to the site, key words used and so on. It also gives you the ability to create email address me@mybusiness.com as well as databases to use.

Next comes Creating your site using great content, less graphics and looking professional. As already mentioned...you usually get one shot at grabbing a potential customer. If it takes to long to load (to many graphics) to many distractions (animated graphics) or incorrect content for that potential customer to make an informed decision...off they go to the next competitor.

Remember your site is a true extension of your business. If it looks cheap and non professional, the assumption is that your work will be the same. So do it right the first time, make sure the site is completely done before taking it live (No Under Constructions) and concentrate on content that will allow your customer to make an informed decision and for search engines to help find you with the correct keywords in that content.

Other things you can do....

List yourself on Google maps - free

If your budget allows...use Google Adwords for advertising

Facebook - Have an open/public account (business) so that anyone can view it. Keep this account completely professional. Have a separate one for family and friends.

myspace - seems like its on its way out but still free

Twitter....a lot of people are now using hand held devices and in saying that...make sure your site is viewable on mobile devices.

Wordpress and Blogging - use your expertise to blog about lawn care and drive traffic to your site

What its all going to come down too is how much time you have to devote to doing any of this. If it becomes static...people will stop coming and search engines will drop it.

Hedgemaster
02-16-2011, 12:31 PM
Email Clients, MySQL, DNS, PHP, FTP, Meta Tags...

:confused:

Be advised that my head is going to explode.




Taking two Tylenol and heading back to the tutorials...




p.s.
I can understand why people PAY to have websites made for them.
I'm going to try and do this myself, but there is a lot of crap I need to learn first.
I haven't even gotten out of my control panel yet, let alone download the "Concrete5" site builder tool to start building a web page. I don't understand most of the terminology, and I'm afraid I'll screw something up! LOL!

Hedgemaster
02-16-2011, 01:56 PM
First off I dont know if I picked the right topic to post this in. But here goes.

I am trying to find a place to host a website and I have no idea where to begin with it. What do you all suggest? Does having a website w/ just starting up really help out or should you build before doing a website?

And as far as Facebook goes, how do you all go about getting a possible client list built up on there? Adding people you know and having them suggest people or find local people and start adding everyone?

thanks for any help.

Eric


I just ran across this site (http://www.webdevelopersnotes.com/hosting/what_is_web_hosting.php3) as I was looking for explanations of some of the common terms used in web building/hosting.
On the left side is a ton of commonly asked questions. I figured since you appear new to this as well, it may be of some help.




As far as a hosting site is concerned, it's mind boggling how many are available, and it can be quite confusing when trying to "compare notes" between each of them where pricing/features are concerned.

I looked at a bunch, asked for opinions from friends, and got a different response from everyone. LOL
Ultimately, I went with Bluehost (http://www.bluehost.com/). I found a link through a hosting review site (http://www.top10webhosting.com/) that provided a special "promo" price of $3.95/mo (w/2 or 3 yr plan)
, but I just checked before posting this, and the offer is now $4.95/mo. STILL a pretty good price though. (The standard "promo" shown if you go to the site directly is $6.95 and the regular price is $9.95)


I'm still a bit confused with everything, but they (Bluehost) do have tech support via phone and CHAT that I can utilize. I used chat several times before signing up, and was extremely satisfied with how my questions were handled. Also, they are based in Utah, and when you chat or call, you are speaking to someone in America - not "Robert" in India.

I don't care if you use them or one of the thousands of others out there - just giving my input.

Reading your OP again, are you looking for a hosting provider, or someone who "does it all", by designing your web site as well?

wandfsmall
02-16-2011, 03:07 PM
I also use bluehost and they seem pretty good, I have also had some that were crap like midphase

it you go with blue host I can help you with screenshots of how to setup a joomla site and give you links to a templet you can use that looks pretty good for a lawn service.

The Cleaning Doctor
02-16-2011, 05:40 PM
Email Clients, MySQL, DNS, PHP, FTP, Meta Tags...



Be advised that my head is going to explode.


LOL that is a good one. After a while you will wonder why it even worried you.

The Cleaning Doctor
02-16-2011, 07:44 PM
Well I am tired of waiting for google to come back and crawl the one page and index it so I am putting one link here because this site is crawled frequently.

Lawn Mowing Gulfport (http://organiclawntips.com/lawn-mowing-gulfport-ms-lawn-care/)

I know I know ..... just impatient.

Here goes.

The Cleaning Doctor
02-16-2011, 11:10 PM
Well I am tired of waiting for google to come back and crawl the one page and index it so I am putting one link here because this site is crawled frequently.

Lawn Mowing Gulfport (http://organiclawntips.com/lawn-mowing-gulfport-ms-lawn-care/)

I know I know ..... just impatient.

Here goes.

With this one link and less than 4 hours later here is where the page stands. The first image is when i started the page and it was not even in the top 1000 results because it did not exist until my earlier post.

Goes to show you the power of this forum also, I think I will put one link for Lawn Care Gulfport (http://organiclawntips.com/lawn-mowing-gulfport-ms-lawn-care/) just to see what happens.

nnyparts
02-17-2011, 03:12 AM
There is no reason I can think of that if you put your mind to building a website, that you can not do it all yourself if your willing to spend the time learning. I had to laugh about the hair pulling and trying to learn the terminology and what it all means in the scheme of things.

I don't know how it is with you and your personal business, but in mine...time is money. I only have so much time in a day to devote to certain aspects of the business and if I find I am spending a lot of time in one area because of a learning curve issue, I have to make the call of is it worth me spending this time doing it or should I hire parts of it out.

I have been designing sites since 1995, went back to college in the late 90's and walked away with a BA in information technology (Web development and Server Administrations)as well as two associate degrees...one in Computer information Systems and the other in database management & Programming languages.

And with all of this, I still find days that I am pulling my hair trying to keep up with all the new technologies that keep coming out. My best advice is if you have the time and do what to learn...go for it. If you find you don't have the time because most are gearing up getting their pre season orders in, fixing and servicing their equipment and creating fliers, mailers, magnets and other forms of advertising to get more business, it might be beneficial to hire someone.

No matter who does it, the most important thing at the end of the year is the amount of unique visitors and where they went on the site. Did it translate into more business? Google indexing...you need to tell the spiders how often you want the site spidered and what not to spider (private info).

LawnMoore
02-17-2011, 04:13 AM
I use HostGator, they have awesome support.

Other than that you can check out my site, its below in my siggy.

The Cleaning Doctor
02-17-2011, 04:02 PM
Here is the testing rundown... I am using the times that I posted in this thread as a reference.

Site posted online at 12:27 am on 2/15

http://www.gopherforum.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=3541&d=1297747542

First hyperlink added in this thread at 8:44 pm on 2/16
A few hours later on 2/17 at 12:10 am here were the standings

http://www.gopherforum.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=3548&d=1297919400

Now at this time here are the standings after I added the second link in this thread the page went from 100 to 18. This is with only on-page seo and 2 links to the page. You can not even get to it from the home page of the site unless you go through the site map.

http://www.gopherforum.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=3550&stc=1&d=1297978729

Less than 48 hours, this page is #3 for one of the keywords. Not the site but a single page. I did this to prove a point because the content on the page is crappy and that what I know about getting sites ranked works and is proven.

Granted this was a simple area to target but there is no reason you can not dominate your market.

50% of the worlds population under 30 has access to the internet. It is way higher than that in the United States and Canada. How is that gong to affect how you advertise in the future?

You can either lead the way or you can catch up because I guarantee you that young kid with lots of ambition will be shooting for the web domination if they can. As you age you are going to have to compete with the younger generation wanting their bite.

I want my business to get to the point that I am rarely needed. If I want to take a day and go fishing so be it. You can't do that with free advertising and a cheap look.

I have a friend that has been in the lawn care business for a few years and he named his company after his last name.... In my opinion the name is corporate sounding in nature and bleeds "they are big enough to do my work". Sounds like he is a big corporate conglomerate.

The Mastin Company is the name. Does not say anything about lawn care or landscaping. He is in the process of having a web site built because he finally realized what he was missing out on. This guy is going to be huge in his area.

I just built a site for Horizon Stain & Seal in Knoxville and 1 week after turning the site on he landed a 1k+ stone sealing job. Another friend has quotes out for 45 and 30k deck and fence staining jobs for condos because we have him all over the first 2 pages of his local area.

The work is there, you just have to be Horshack going Oh oh oh pick me! The more that you appear on the front 2 pages the more you are going to look like the authority in the area.

Hedgemaster
02-17-2011, 07:40 PM
The only thing I understood up there ^^^ was the Welcome Back Kotter reference.

:D

Steve
02-18-2011, 02:56 PM
WOW that really makes you think!

How can business owners review such a report for their website? And what should they be looking for?

The Cleaning Doctor
02-19-2011, 07:55 AM
The only thing this report does is tell you where you stand in the search rankings. Basically it goes out and looks for your site within the results. I usually set it for 1000 for the first time since that is the max any search engine will return to you. so if you were to do the same search in your browser and look through all the pages you would find yours at the same location.

there are a number of different applications that will do this for you but you have to buy it. As far as what to look for, there is nothing other than the standings.