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Online presence

Search Engine Optimization and Website Design Discussions.

Need a lawn care business website built? Talk about search engine optimization. Or ask your lawn care and landscaping business web building related questions here. Show us your landscaping business web site for review.
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Old 12-30-2011, 09:17 AM
TiedemanLLC TiedemanLLC is offline
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Default Online presence

What is everyones opinion on having an online presence? Website, social media sites, etc?

After I get some feedback I will tell you guys my opinion on it, and why I have changed my opinion in the last couple of months.
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Old 12-30-2011, 09:45 AM
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I think it's important for exposure. I only have a handful or two of clients, but over half were due to Craigslist, Yelp and Thumbtack. The rest are fliers.

That being said, fliers are able to target where you want to be. CL and the rest are the whole darn St Louis area and surrounding areas. I have a counter on CL and it's showing over 1200 views and I have had 4 calls from CL.

I've seen posts where guys get most of their clients from their website, so I'm sure it works. Mine hasn't been up long enough to even guess at an opinion. I can only speak from what I do, and I only go to websites for information. If I need a service I ask around the family and friends for someone they know, or have used.

Bottom line is an online presence won't hurt, unless your ad is full of misspellings and texting shorthand. So why not use it if it's available and free? ( for the most part )
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Old 12-30-2011, 09:46 AM
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A web site is essential. Very effective for gaining new work. It needs to be at the top of local google search results to have any worth though. If you're not going to work on doing it properly and getting it optimized then you may as well just not bother.

Facebook and twitter have proven as effective as putting flyers in the laundromat (zero results). Too much time invested for zero results. Not worth it.

Craigslist gets a few leads but so far they've turned out to be jobs I wouldn't want unless I was starving. Not worth it.

Last edited by mark123; 12-30-2011 at 09:48 AM.
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Old 12-30-2011, 12:51 PM
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Website is critical, three years ago when I started all I did was tell friends I was starting a landscaping/excavation company, organic lawn spraying and larger area mowing, in two years we did 640 jobs.

I also created post cards for each service we offered, always directing the prospect to the website, we received well over 200 email inquiries from the website, pictures of our work, equipment and word of mouth are what grew the company in two years to a five year goal, I sold in February of this year.

Facebook and Social Media are free, lots of work to keep them current, in my current job managing 260 vendors in a mall it really works, when I started in May we had 300 followers on Facebook, today just a few months later it's around 13,000.
Halifax, Nova Scotia
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Old 12-30-2011, 03:03 PM
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It's amazing how many balls you have to juggle as a business owner. Maintaining an online presence is just one more thing to add on to your list of issues you need to deal with.

I think the topic really confuses most small business owners and I can see why. It can be freakin complicated.

I'd say in order of importance:

Do the best job you can with the services you provide.
Talk and constantly reach out to people.
Do what you can do to have an online presence.
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Old 12-30-2011, 03:24 PM
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I agree with Mark on clist, to many hacks doing it for next to nothing to compete with.

All the commercial work we do we get through the website. I chose my business name based off what people would be searching for. I have a number 1 google listing for several services.

So far twitter, linked, and facebook seem worthless.

Last edited by SECTLANDSCAPING; 12-30-2011 at 03:28 PM.
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Old 12-30-2011, 04:15 PM
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It is overwhelming but is also a hobbie. I mean twitter and facebook is more for fun, especially twitter. And linkedIn is also the same. Sometimes though being popular in all those social media sites can be a bonus. Customers might see that you have a lot of followers, likes, connections, and recommendations that can be wuite beneficial. But a website is for sure a necessary. If you have a well crafted website that is able to show up on the top of search results then you will do fine with your online marketing.
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Old 12-30-2011, 08:21 PM
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I have to agree an online presence is important.
I have my web site ,facebook and Twitter as well as a Blog, It keeps me busy but you need to keep up and ahead of your competitors.

When ever I set up a new customer I ask how they heard of me 75% of my customers have seen my Kijiji Ads or my web site. So that shows me how important it really is.
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Old 12-30-2011, 10:02 PM
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I attempted to do the web thing myself. I should have paid someone else to do it.
I wanted to be in control of it and in doing so, I never completed it, nor do I have the know how to get the site ranking to where I actually SHOW UP.

The only thing saving me is that my Google Places listing DOES appear when people do searches for my area. Since my website is linked there, they find it that way.
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Old 12-30-2011, 10:27 PM
TiedemanLLC TiedemanLLC is offline
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Wow! All I can say that I was shocked with some of your answers, especially about the social sites. I thought that I would be coming back on here to say my side of the story and a lot of you would disagree with me. With that said this is my story and opinion in regards to an online presence (with an emphasize on social sites)

About three years ago we invested a lot of time and energy setting up an online presence in social media sites and other online sites. Facebook, twitter, linkedin, ebay classifieds, craigslist, google +, merchant circle, yelp, manta, yahoo business...the list goes on.

We spend at least 2 hrs a day updating an status, uploading a photo, or trying to add or network as many people as possible. We promoted our presence especially with facebook and twitter on every single piece of our marketing material, invoices, inserts, and emails. We did this for three years.

No matter what we did we couldn't get the response that we thought we should get. We never got new clients, if we were lucky maybe one a year, and the ROI based on the amount of time we spent developing these sites was horrible.

This past November was a very eye opening experience (that is why my opinion has changed in the last two months), when I sent out surveys to my clients. One of the important questions in surveyed ask about websites and social sites in general. Basically whether they used them to look at new businesses or even look at our business. The big shocker that came back was that less than 3% of those responded used social sites to hire a business for work or even worse yet once they were a client hardly any of them participated as a "fan" or "follower".

So in a nutshell the demographics of my clients told me that they don't use social sites at all. After I invested three years into these sites, how could that be, there must be something wrong I thought. Then I really started to look at it differently, and totally had a change of heart about social media and having an online presense. It took me three years, but I came to a hard conclusion and some important thoughts (now keep in mind these may not apply to you and your market, but they applied to me)

1. Social media sites are worthless, especially Facebook. Think about it, who really follows your sites. It's your friends. And how often do your friends on facebook actually buy a service from something on your facebook page.

2. Twitter is nothing more than an ego site. You stroke your ego by talking about something cool or mentioning something that you think is cool. Now don't get me wrong, this may work if you are big name celebrity endorsing a new product. But when it comes to a local service company, nobody cares. The people that follow you on twitter are nothing more than your colleagues. You are both hoping for the same end result, but you're just going around in circles.

3. Ask yourself this question, how do you know what company to hire? I bet you that 99% of the time you hire a company based on what your friends, family, or co-workers have experienced or said about them.

4. You can get just as much response from a listing on yahoo business (which is free) compared to having a website.

5. When clients search the web looking for a company, what are they really looking for? A lot of times it's just the contact information, or where they are located at. They have already have it set in their mind they are going to contact you as an result from an offline reference, not an online.

6. So what are social sites good for then? Social sites are nothing more than entertainment. You go to youtube to watch funny videos or learn about something, you like someone on facebook because you think what they are doing is funny or want to see a new photo, or you follow someone on twitter because you are hoping they will show an enriching link. But, ask yourself, how many of you have actually hired a company based on their social presence? I know that I haven't.

I know that a lot of you are not going to agree, and like I stated, it doesn't apply to all of you. I just know what applies to me.
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