An ever-growing, ever-improving website is a modern necessity in 2020 if you want to get ahead and stay ahead of your competition...
To best serve your clients and customers.
And to improve your ranking in Google.
In the current online environment, if you're not growing forward, then you're sliding backwards — there's no in-between — in the Google rankings — and in the eyes of your visitors when they compare you and your website to your competition's websites.
Your website is the perfect medium for you to fully express your brand, your services, your contact information, and to give your clients helpful expert advice.
It can — and it should — be a living, changing, growing, constantly improving brochure that represents your high standards to your customers — past, current, and future.
It is your storefront.
It is your "Genius Bar".
It is your warm and welcoming message.
It is your mission statement.
It's your advice column.
It's your beautiful and informative brochure.
And it is often your customer's first impression of you.
So, shouldn't it be professionally built with care and high standards?
Your website needs to:
- Position you as THE local expert for all things carpet cleaning.
- Delight your customers with a clean and beautiful user experience (more than just good looks).
- Present a uniquely great first impression of you, your brand, and your extraordinary customer service.
- Promote your experience, credibility, and trustworthiness.
- Get you a strong Google ranking in the crowded marketplace, and make you stand out.
- Be readable and easy to navigate and full of very well-written information that is useful and delightful to read.
- Attract quality-minded, repeating customers.
- Answer frequently asked questions clearly, and help them prepare for your visit.
- Guide your clients to areas they may have never considered, like a ongoing maintenance program, or carpet first-aid kit for spots and spills.
- Rank near the top in search engines like Google, and...
- Convert visitors into customers.
- … and a lot more, really.
I've studied over 400 carpet cleaning websites, and I've found that the biggest mistake most carpet cleaning businesses make is having a website that is all about themselves and how great they are.
Most cleaner's websites offer nothing USEFUL to their customers. These websites are all about why they're so great, and why they're the best. But you know — every website says these things, so they don't stand out, and they're not memorable.
Some of these websites are gorgeous and colorful, but they're ultimately a dime-a-dozen, because they are not USEFUL to the clients.
Of course it's important that your website positions you as a top local expert, and that visitors can trust you and they should hire you, but if you want your visitors to come back to your site over and over, and tell their neighbors about your site, then you have to offer them a reason — full of information that every home owner could really use.
Here's why: websites that customers return to over and over may have an edge in Google rankings.
I've brainstormed, studied, implemented, and rejected a ton of ideas to make your website worthy of multiple return visits.
I think there really is a "best possible carpet cleaner's website design", and I'm determined to develop that design — increased quality, better photos, informative articles, ease of use, super clean layouts — I want your website to stand out from your competition, and to promote YOU, your brand, and your local character as the outstanding go-to cleaning business in your city.
I absolutely love it when my clients tell me that their clients LOVE their website.
Content is King
Yes, it's cliche to say so, but content is king! And most websites I've seen have low standards of content.
Having a beautiful website is only great for a fantastic first impression.
But in order to get the edge, you need better content. I'll get more into detail on this in Page 6 of this tour. Page 6 is all about the great content we're going to build together.
What's behind the curtain?
It's something you and your customers do not see.
It's the code behind your website that can make a huge difference. Let me explain...
Behind all the words and pictures, a website is a small computer program. The code that makes up a website can be out-of-date, bloated, machine-generated, inefficient code.
I won't go into too much detail here, because it would be like you explaining to your customer what every single ingredient in your cleaning solution does.
Some of you may be interested, and I'll write a very detailed article on this subject someday, but let me tell you — I use modern, up-to-date, efficient, clean, hand-written computer code for the back-end of your website. I don't take shortcuts or use machine templates. My code is up to the highest standards.
As a Solid Setup member, I will rebuild your website from the ground up every few years with the latest technologies — so your website code will always stay current, and never grow old — at no extra cost!
Your visitors will get fast-loading websites.
But you know who has explicitly said that they reward well-coded sites?
Google. Yes, Google rewards fast and efficient websites. So, it's good for SEO.
Professional vs DIY
Some cleaners have chosen a do-it-yourself approach to websites in order to save some money. There are some good DIY website builders out there, but they will still require that you take the time to learn to do it yourself.
And I have seen the disastrous results. And your visitors will notice too.
I would say, DO IT YOURSELF ONLY if you are skilled in these areas:
Graphic Design Patterns
SEO Keyword Optimization
You get the point....
Think about it this way:
YOU can't recommend to a homeowner that they rent a Rug Doctor from the grocery store to "Do It Yourself" and save money.
And I can't recommend designing your own website, even with the available tools like Squarespace, Wordpress, and Wix.
Are you really saving money? Wix, Squarespace, Wordpress — they're all legit, but they are the equivalent of the grocery store "rug doctor". You know you won't get the best results.
So, just like you, my advice is always: Hire a professional. (Even if it's not me!)
Hosting Your Website
Shared Hosting vs Business Hosting
Hosting a website means putting it on a special "server" computer that never sleeps, that serves your website to anyone that visits — day or night — with 99.99% up-time.
I used to use budget "Shared Hosting" for my clients before 2018. It's economical, but the results will vary. Who you share your server with is not up to you. You can be very unlucky and share your server with websites that can cause your website to load slower. Did you know that 57% of users will leave your site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load? You can also be sharing your server with "bad" websites. You know what I mean.
With the Solid Setup, I use only Business Hosting with a Secure Certificate that I've invested in for our group of top-rated cleaners. These servers ONLY serve Carpet Cleaners! Pages load 2x faster than with shared economy hosting. A Secure Certificate (that little padlock that inspires confidence) and faster pages mean happier customers — AND once again — Google uses "page speed" and "secure" as a ranking factor. That's part of what I mean by built-in SEO. (more on SEO on Tour Page 3)
Group input and data
The more websites I have running for you all, the more data and feedback I get. Therefore, I can make adjustments to YOUR website based on the results of others in our group (non-competitors) to rank better on Google, and to get more visitors to convert to customers.
More on The Power of a Group on Tour Page 5...
But the most useful and beautiful websites will not be found without doing a bunch of stuff that Google has asked everyone to do. If you want to be found on the top pages of the Google's Search Results, we need to apply effective Search Engine Optimization strategies, also known as SEO ....Next: SEO and Google