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Thread: Should I be nervous?????

  1. #1
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    Default Should I be nervous?????

    I tend to answer questions more than ask them but here goes.

    We have a number of web sites for my business. Basically each major product line has it's own web site. This has generally worked well for us.

    As I think everyone knows Google is giving preference to web sites that are responsive. Most of my web sites had not been redone for a long time. Actually our main site was created around 2002 using Microsoft Front Page. Our second most important web site was created about 2009 using DreamWeaver.

    I started a a year ago to redo our web sites using WordPress. I wanted to work from the least important to the most important so I could learn as I went. The first one I did was one that I could close and not care about and the next two were done late last winter for two products that are not our main ones but still good product lines. The new sites look pretty good to me and seem to do a better job of presenting the products and supplying more info. I expected sales to go up for both products because of the new sites.

    HOWEVER.

    Sales for product 1 with the new site during the first season are down 80%
    Sales for product 2 with it's new site are down about 55%

    It makes me nervous about redoing our sites that are really important to us. Am I worrying about this unnecessarily?
    Ray Badger, Turbo Technologies, Inc.
    www.TurboTurf.com www.IceControlSprayers.com

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    I suspect that the change has broken your SEO and Google has to re-index everything. Are they the sites linked in your sig?

    BTW, unless you enjoy coding websites, why not migrate to a platform like Shopify? I launched my shop starting from nothing in two weeks on that platform, and no coding needed. (I have since tweaked things here and there.)

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    Thanks Sharon,

    No, the two linked in my signature are the two main ones I have not done yet and the ones I am starting to worry about redoing. The two that I redid are Home Page - Turbo Turf Straw Blowers and Turbo Turf Watering Units | Turbo Turf watering units. Our sales of Strawblowers are down 80% and watering units down 55%.

    I don't have the old tracking numbers on wateringunits but traffic is down about 30% on Strawblowers.
    Last edited by turboguy; 10-11-2017 at 05:03 PM.
    Ray Badger, Turbo Technologies, Inc.
    www.TurboTurf.com www.IceControlSprayers.com

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    Nope you are not worrying unnecessarily and you should be very nervous and trying to find out what the problem is and correct it.
    Using WordPress can be easy. That doesn't mean building a website that sells is easy.

    I'd post it for review and get some feedback. If it's not the website, you at least want to cancel that out as a possibility as you're troubleshooting the issue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by turboguy View Post
    Thanks Sharon,

    No, the two linked in my signature are the two main ones I have not done yet and the ones I am starting to worry about redoing. The two that I redid are Home Page - Turbo Turf Straw Blowers and Turbo Turf Watering Units | Turbo Turf watering units. Our sales of Strawblowers are down 80% and watering units down 55%.

    I don't have the old tracking numbers on wateringunits but traffic is down about 30% on Strawblowers.
    Kudos for posting them. I know it's hard to put your hard work in front of people to be picked apart.

    I will say right away that the sites need some help. Better theme, better organization, better use of images, color, copy writing and calls to action.
    It's all fixable and it shouldn't be too hard. You just need a little guidance.

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    I looked at the straw blower site and, from my untrained eye, it appears to be very technical as opposed to trying to sell. I also have to ask, how many farms are still producing small bales? Around my area farms have switched to large bales and large cubes.

    The biggest standout to me, is that there is no easy way to order directly off of the home page.

    On a different note, and hopefully I'm not going too far OT, have you considered adapting the straw blower to work with hay? One right off the tractor as well as a stationary unit attached to a silo?
    Brad Miedema
    Fulcrum Saw & Tool

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    Thanks for the very good and helpful comments. I will try and answer some of the questions and provide a little more detail. Brad, thanks for the good questions. The straw blowers we make are designed to be used more by a landscaper seeding a lawn to blow straw over the newly seeded lawn to hold moisture and protect the seed. They will blow either straw or hay but since hay has an application as feed for cattle and straw is more of a waste material and because hay can have undesirable seed in it they tend to use straw. Those types of bales used in are machine are still available and even home depot sells them. There are other machines that are used for agriculture that blow straw for bedding for cattle but that is not the market we cover and the machines need to be a little different. Also there is one brand of machine that blows the big round bales but those machines are $ 30,000 vs our 6K.

    I will agree some of the jargon is technical but we are targeting landscape professionals who understand the terms. Just as someone experienced in saws may want to know the kerf where an average person might not know what a kerf is.

    Harold, I tried to use a pretty simple theme for these two sites. The first on I did that I mentioned I didn't care about has a more deluxe theme with things flying in that way and sliding in this way and it almost seems more distracting then beneficial and I have noticed I have a really high bounce rate with that site. When I started that site back 15 years ago it was my attempt to give back to my industry. At the time Hydro Seeders were 95% of our business and there was nothing for people in that industry so I started that site and had anything that I thought might make a community such as a forum, free classified ads to sell equipment a chat room, lots of reference pages, free photos anyone could use to build a web site and more. After a few years discussions on the forum at that site led to the formation of the hydro seeding association which I was one of the founders and am still a director. Now the Association site has pretty much what I tried to do with that site so I neglected it for years and used that site as a gunny pig to learn WordPress. If anyone wants to see that site it is I-Hydroseeding | A hydro seeding help site for contractors and end users To me the deluxe theme makes it too busy so I tried to keep the first two sites I talked about in this thread simple and clean.

    The world is always changing. Before I redid the straw blower site when I did a google search it came up number 1. Now the last time I looked I come up number 7. About the time I redid my site one of my competitors registered the name strawblower dot com which is pretty close to my strawblowers dot com. He is paying for traffic and now comes out number 1.

    We have had some wild swings in sales before. The rental store market is a good one for the straw blowers and a few years ago I tried some print ads in a rental magazine and that year our business dropped to next to nothing as well. This year we are going back in the Rental Show in New Orleans for the first time to try and turn around sales. This is a declining market as well but still we should be selling a lot more than we are.
    Ray Badger, Turbo Technologies, Inc.
    www.TurboTurf.com www.IceControlSprayers.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by turboguy View Post

    Harold, I tried to use a pretty simple theme for these two sites. The first on I did that I mentioned I didn't care about has a more deluxe theme with things flying in that way and sliding in this way and it almost seems more distracting then beneficial and I have noticed I have a really high bounce rate with that site. When I started that site back 15 years ago it was my attempt to give back to my industry. At the time Hydro Seeders were 95% of our business and there was nothing for people in that industry so I started that site and had anything that I thought might make a community such as a forum, free classified ads to sell equipment a chat room, lots of reference pages, free photos anyone could use to build a web site and more. After a few years discussions on the forum at that site led to the formation of the hydro seeding association which I was one of the founders and am still a director. Now the Association site has pretty much what I tried to do with that site so I neglected it for years and used that site as a gunny pig to learn WordPress. If anyone wants to see that site it is I-Hydroseeding | A hydro seeding help site for contractors and end users To me the deluxe theme makes it too busy so I tried to keep the first two sites I talked about in this thread simple and clean.
    Understandable about the sliders. Again, this is one of those areas where you need a little guidance. Just because a theme has a function doesn't mean you have to use it. Most sliders have controls that allow you to speed things up, slow them down, fade and so on. Sliders are not always the way to go though. You are also not limited to only what the theme offers.

    A good consultant will ask questions about your business, what you want to accomplish, your demographic and look at competitors and suggest ways to layout your site so that it presents well on the web, appeals to your market, makes it easy for them to find information and do business with you. This is not something you can intuitively know or learn quickly. When you're doing it yourself and learning along the way, your focus is getting stuff on the page, not design, marketing, and sales. Someone experienced can look at all factors simultaneously and aren't constrained by trying to learn as they go.

    Again, this is a really easy thing to correct. Either talk to someone and listen if you want to do it yourself, or hire someone to just do it and move on to your other marketing.

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    They are different sites than the ones listed on my signature and are listed earlier in this thread. Traffic does seem to have improved a bit since my original post but still not up to where it was. I am sure since the page urls for all but the home page changed it could have affected things. One other factor that could have affected the updated site that I am more concerned with of those two is that I have more competition on the main search term. The item we sell on that site is strawblowers and I have the URL strawblowers.com which always helped with search results. One of my main competitors recently took the URL strawblower.com so that too could have had some impact. Traffic is still down but now only about 25%. Unit sales were down by nearly half for the full year but have been that low before. It is a product that has one of our highest margins (close to 70%) but a product with low sales so I am going to be pushing sales for that product in other ways this year. I am shooting for an 800% increase in sales this year but not planning on much of that originating with the web site.

    Thanks for the suggestion of Shopify. I will look at it but it has never been something I thought fit us but I will take a hard look at it. I am just ready to start redoing our main web site that generates close to a couple of million in sales. I will look at Shopify but at this time I am leaning more to either using WordPress or using a bootstrap theme and personalizing it with Dreamweaver. It is going to be a fairly complex site which will take me a couple of months to compete. If I do use WordPress I will have to either find a host with a staging area or download WordPress and the files and programs needed to run it on my computer until it is finished where if I go with Dreamweaver and a bootstrap responsive theme I can just build it easier.

    I probably mentioned this before but the main site that generates most of our business was created in 2002 using FrontPage and has not been changed much since that time other than updating unit prices and model changes. So I am really long overdue on an update. The main site is the first one in my signature.
    Last edited by turboguy; 01-23-2018 at 10:04 AM.
    Ray Badger, Turbo Technologies, Inc.
    www.TurboTurf.com www.IceControlSprayers.com

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    If you will be developing in Wordpress, I suggest looking into DesktopServer which allows you to host the WP site locally while you develop. You can maintain however many versions you need. You can deploy straight from your local to production when you're ready. It does work with Dreamweaver but I have not tried that feature. If you can, build out the full site with the same URLs as before. Deploy to staging once the new site is a complete mirror of the old such as the metadata. Run an SEO audit on the staging site to catch errors and make corrections before going into live production. Fix and improve. Test on staging again.

    Perhaps, you can install WP as a subdomain or a completely new domain for use as a test/staging area. Specify in your robots.txt file to not crawl through it. Set a site or directory password to limit access.

    Google will be changing their search algorithm this July. Google says that the change won't affect a lot of sites only the slowest. However, any change is bound to affect page ranking in some manner.

    Just some ideas I hope may help.

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