Websites for FREE
Free Websites for the Flooring Professional
My friend, “DJ,” asked me some time back where he could get a free website. He was concerned about the economy and the lack of work he was getting. DJ thought a website would bring him new customers and new opportunities. For free.
Ever heard the term, “you get what you pay for“? I see flooring professionals tell customers this time after time. Yet so many of them look for free or real cheap – not just websites, but anything. And this is a classic case of “looks are deceiving” and you really do get what you pay for.
Although it may be true that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, a lot of those free or boxed websites are pretty ugly, but to the lay person, they may not even realize that. I usually assume that someone will recognize when a picture has been stretched out of proportion, or a logo blocks too much of the content you can see when you first go to their site, or various other things that just don’t look quite right.
Whether it’s a new source or continuing source of income; a place to have an easily accessible portfolio of your work; or something that might help you go off in an all new direction, a website can do that. A lot of people have the tendency to believe a website is only for those who have far reaching goals – I mean geographically. The erroneously believe if you do work only in your town or within a small radius, you don’t need a website. Ask yourself how many of your potential customers have computers and are connected to the Net. You may not realize that a lot of people go to the computer before they go to the Yellow Pages. It’s easier and faster and more fun, even if it’s just the local pizzeria – or home improvement business.
Unfortunately, just having a website isn’t enough. They aren’t actually going to type in your website address in the browser, are they? No, they are going to google you and your competition, or google the thing they are looking for – flooring, carpet installer, linoleum layer.
For instance, a potential customer wants Marmoleum flooring for their kitchen in Boise, Idaho. They go to the computer, to Google, and type in Marmoleum and just to be sure they get results close to home, they also type in Boise – Marmoleum Boise Idaho: [url=http://www.google.com/search?q=marmoleum+boise+idaho&rls=com.microsoft:en-us&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&startIndex=&startPage=1]Marmoleum Boise Idaho – Google Search[/url]
In this particular case, I chose that search term because I helped another flooring professional buy building a new website to replace their old one. Barry Carlton’s new website is relatively new (as of this writing) and already has a result on the first page of Google. Please also note that The Floor Pro Community is also in that list, which is another website I created. The potential customer will find Barry, who is a true master flooring installer, without looking anything up in the phone book. His old website did not bring him customers as well as the new – and the old site was very cheap.
The reason a website gets traffic is because it has taken advantage of the criteria that the search engines look for. I won’t bore you with the technical details, but it has a lot to do with the words you put on the page, how they are structured, and that includes the words you use with your pictures. The file names you use, the alternate text (what appears if the image doesn’t), title text (which appears when you hover over an image) are what search engine spiders read. They see words, nothing more. If you have trouble with spelling, punctuation and do not understand the value of alt and title tags, the use of headings and lists and how to properly put them together in a manner that lets search spiders catalog your content to present it to searchers, then your website will be an exercise in frustration.
How much does free cost you? If your business depends on a constant flow of clients, even if just from your local community, then a well constructed website will help do that. And lets be perfectly honest with ourselves… Who will you give a second look to, a pretty girl, or a plain Jane? Do we prefer to watch a really nice looking truck cruise down the street than give a bone stock and faded pickup more than a cursory glance? Does an inspiring piece of architecture keep your attention, or do you find yourself admiring tract homes and same-o, same-o clustered apartments? Which of the comparisons below will get your most attention (click to see full-size):
Before is Trevathans Tile, Inc. – Welcome toTrevathans TileÂ ÂÂ (which now redirects automatically to the new website, but look at the title that was generated by the old site) after is Trevathan Floorcovering of NW Arkansas
Before is the old BarryCarlton.com website, after is Linoleum Master – Barry Carlton
The befores in both of those pictures aren’t free either. Can you imagine what free would look like? The “free website creation tools” offered on both of those sites is worth every penny the owners paid for them – the cost of the hosting service is high enough to make those websites more expensive, in the long term, than a professionally created website on an inexpensive host. They stretch pictures, don’t use the kind of coding or structure that attracts a lot of spider crawls that bring people to your site. Sure, if your site is online long enough, you can rank high for certain terms, but getting them to your site is different than keeping them on your site, and making contact with you.
A good floor covering isn’t cheap. Neither is a decent vehicle, the clothing you like or the equipment in your entertainment center. You really do get what you pay for. I have seen too few nice looking websites done with the free tools many hosts offer. Even the nice looking ones don’t take full advantage of the technology that search engines need to help you list high. But then, even a great website, whether you got it for “free” or paid good money for, isn’t the only answer. You need to get your website linked and even talked about on other websites. You see, spiders place even higher value on sites that other sites link to and talk about.
Shop around and don’t settle for free or cheap when your income depends on it. And don’t pass up free opportunities that sites like The Floor Pro Community offers – the chance for every segment of the flooring industry to put together a nice page of pictures and text that describes your business and how to contact you will do good things for you on a site that already lists high in search engines. If you are a Floor Pro, your self-made ad is free: Flooring Professionals List for FREE at The Floor Pro Community Business Directory.
If you would like to discuss what I can do for you and your flooring business, please send in inquiry through my contact page. My websites are NOT free and you will get a great value for the dollars you spend. I will do my best to improve your bottom line and target customers in your area of service. No matter how you decide to go, I hope it brings you new business and a promising future.