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Thread: hiring a new web designer/marketer

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    Default hiring a new web designer/marketer

    now that i have some free time and some extra $$ ive decided to finally look into a new website and internet marketing....i want to go all out

    my last redesign of my website gave me 5-6x sales.....my website sales are still less than 5% of my business....i think it may be as low as 2-3%....so i feel i have room to really expand....i think it could be 15-20% if done right

    how much should i expect to spend to go all out?
    what questions should i ask of my designer?

    i am considering hiring a local company that advertises heavily on the radio 'I-net'

    there commercials use actual customers (ive known a few)....telling stories of how it increased sales for them

    ive talked about this for years now.....next monday i make the call to get things going

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    all the internet guys here and not 1 reply...shocking

    the appointment is set for Monday...i talked with the owner of Inet yesterday....he said not to do Adwords....'if your website is done correctly you dont need adwords' is what he said

    im willing to spend $5,000-$7500 on my website.....i do around 1/2 a million in sales and only $15k is from the internet....my goal is $50,000+

    one good thing w/ the internet is i can compete with another plumbing company with 5 million in sales.....i should be able to get the exact same or more internet calls than anyone.....if the website is done correctly

    i was happy with my website a few years ago in most ways....now i look at it and blah....ive only got $1,000 in sales from it in 2013

    the internet will most likely be my ONLY advertising very shortly....im in 1 small phone book and the church bulletin....both are only getting me what i put into them.....so they will be gone next time renewal comes up.

    i thought of making my website interactive....maybe having a spot to ask questions


    '

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    I think you're on par with the budget, but I will let the experts in this area chime in. But here are some questions I would ask:

    Q1 - What platform does the designer intend to take? I.E. Pure HTML, a theme intended for an open-source CMS such as WordPress/Joomla, a custom CMS/Theme or ETC?
    R1 - I would suggest having them build for an open-source CMS such as WordPress or Joomla. HTML will make it difficult for you to update the site on your own unless you know pure HTML, and a custom CMS may contain security holes that the designer may charge you to update in the future.

    Q2 - What type of approach will the designer take to complete the design? I.E. Will it be completely custom and starting from scratch, use a base theme that will be completely/heavily modified or will it be a complete theme that will have minor tweaks to fit your needs?
    R2 - As we've seen in other threads, using themes will save you money but you have to be wary of designers who will use a complete theme, change a few colors and charge you thousands of dollars.

    Q3 - Does the designer handle maintenance updates, at what cost and what turnaround time can be expected? I.E. If your website is defaced, a security breach detected or just regular page/graphics updates.
    R3 - I ask this based on a recent interaction with my client where their account was compromised and was sending thousands of e-mails/spam per hour. Their designer still hasn't responded after 2+ weeks. In a normal circumstance, this could lead to an account being suspended/terminated

    Q4 - Does the designer test the website for issues using multiple operating systems and browsers, and if possible what method do they use?
    R4 - I mention this because some designers may not test at all, some may only test using the limited OS/Browsers at their disposal, some may use a testing service that only takes screenshots of the front page and others may use a complete testing service that test every aspect.

    Q5 - With the above question in mind, will the site be developed keeping mobile/tablet users and their interaction in mind and how does the designer plan to go about this? I.E. Will the mobile site be completely separate pages that need additional maintenance, or will the designer use a 'responsive' design that accommodates for different devices/screen sizes?
    R5 - I'd say this is a must with the growing mobile/tablet user base. Think of contractors using their mobile phones on a job site trying to find a plumber/information in an emergency situation

    Q6 - Who will own the site when the work is completed/paid in full?
    R6 - The answer to this should be 'you' and I would avoid any designers who state otherwise.

    Q7 - Do you provide web hosting, if so is it a requirement?
    R7 - Sometimes designers may provide hosting at a discount over your current hosting rates, or may discount your design/maintenance updates. If you do choose to utilize their hosting, ensure that you have access to the domain and web hosting accounts and that you are not required to use their services. I.E. If a designer stops replying for whatever reason or the website has reliability issues, you want to ensure that you can move your domain/website without their involvement.

    Q8 - What do you have to provide?
    R8 - The designer usually only cares for the design itself, leaving you to provide the page text, photos and overall feedback on the design. I would suggest that if you haven't already, that you obtain copy writing services to generate the text for your page, taking a look at stock photo sites (I.E. istockphoto.com) and other website design elements that you like so you can point your designer in the right direction on what photo's/elements you like.

    Q9 - Does your designer offer any sort of internet marketing?
    R9 - This is usually referred to as SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and search engine submissions, and may usually be tied in to the text/copy writing services you utilize.

    Q10 - This is pretty much the standard stuff such as how you will communicate, what are the expectations on responses, how long will the project take, how is the pricing based (Per hour, per project), how many revisions/changes are you entitled too once the design/concept is created and etc.

    Q11 - Can the designer provide samples of their work/portfolio?
    R11 - Ideally, you would want to get some samples of work that they performed for a similar business line. I.E. Other plumbers or service oriented businesses targeting consumers/contractors.
    Last edited by MyITGuy; 04-06-2013 at 12:03 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by huggytree View Post
    i am considering hiring a local company that advertises heavily on the radio 'I-net'
    I'd recommend getting quotes from multiple sources, just to be on the safe side.

    Knowing radio can be expensive, especially if it is heavily marketed could indicate that they will likely get a high volume of work and try to get a quick turnaround without paying as much detail to the job as some other designers that would charge the same/less would.

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    Quote Originally Posted by huggytree View Post
    all the internet guys here and not 1 reply...shocking
    It was a Friday night, I was out with the girlfriend enjoying a good dinner and movie

    Quote Originally Posted by huggytree View Post
    he said not to do Adwords....'if your website is done correctly you dont need adwords' is what he said
    I'd say this is true. If you have the right keywords/copywriting on your site, are listed on the Google Business Directory, have a Google Plus Page and etc then it is likely that you will get a top/high ranking listing when people use Google to search for plumbers...but keep in mind that Adwords is more than just google searches. Your advertisement can be seen on any website that a potential client may utilize which will build brand recognition. I.E. Think of contractors visiting an industry specific website that utilizes Adwords.

    Quote Originally Posted by huggytree View Post
    i thought of making my website interactive....maybe having a spot to ask questions'
    A Q&A Section, or a spot to submit questions that you could respond to with a blog post would be ideal. This would hopefully help eliminate those repetitive questions and would help with your SEO by keeping constantly changing content on your site that most users are likely searching for (I.E. The simple tasks that homeowners may be looking for, but may not be worth the time for you to make the trip such as fixing a leaking sink faucet, toilet or etc).

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    Quote Originally Posted by huggytree View Post
    i do around 1/2 a million in sales and only $15k is from the internet....my goal is $50,000+

    i was happy with my website a few years ago in most ways....now i look at it and blah....ive only got $1,000 in sales from it in 2013

    the internet will most likely be my ONLY advertising very shortly
    I think we had this discussion not long ago, but out of curiosity how are you currently tracking your sales?

    I.E. If I find you via a website, then call the number listed and just book you for your time....how would you know if I chose you based on your website?

    If you intend to utilize Adwords, how would you know if it was from your website itself and an organic search versus an advertisement that was displayed on an industry specific website?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MyITGuy View Post
    I think we had this discussion not long ago, but out of curiosity how are you currently tracking your sales?

    I.E. If I find you via a website, then call the number listed and just book you for your time....how would you know if I chose you based on your website?

    If you intend to utilize Adwords, how would you know if it was from your website itself and an organic search versus an advertisement that was displayed on an industry specific website?
    i ask EVERY new customer how they found me....only FOUR from my website in 2013....how bad is that? 4 in 3 months.....i probably got 12-15 phone calls from potentials from the internet (a guess, but some of them most likely were competitors pricing me too)......my website was working much better last year

    When i started my latest Adwords campaign i noticed a uptick in Internet customers.....maybe an extra 1 or 2 a month....but for 2013 i see nothing...i only spend $10-15 a month on Adwords....ive tried it many times and this time its a very small/limited campaign...its the first time i ever saw results after trying larger campaigns ($200 a month) and getting 0 results

    thanks for all the advice

    i will make sure I own my website when its done

    i will see how the meeting goes on monday and decide whether to get multiple bids.....their radio ads feature well known companies giving them reviews....i hear their commercials daily.....im going to throw my expectations at them on Monday....i need to see 3x + in sales for me to be happy..........if done right i could see 10x sales as a possibility.....getting 4 customers in 3 months is so sad i dont see how its all that difficult to bring that up to 40 customers

    glad to hear my budget is realistic...my current website cost around $1,700 if i remember right....they gave me 3 options for $1,000 and i didnt like any of the 3....i combined a bit from each of the 3 and they charged me $500 for what looked like 1 hours worth of work. then i added some extra pages for a few hundred more

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    Quote Originally Posted by huggytree View Post
    im going to throw my expectations at them on Monday....i need to see 3x + in sales for me to be happy..........if done right i could see 10x sales as a possibility.....getting 4 customers in 3 months is so sad i dont see how its all that difficult to bring that up to 40 customers
    Just keep in mind that because you built it, doesn't mean the customers will come. An updated website design isn't going to magically generate more leads unless 'you' put some work into it. I.E. Add your website URL to your vehicle wrap, business cards and yellow book listings, pay for ad-words campaigns, generate Q&A/Blogs that peak a customers interest, get some back links into your website by creating a signature and submitting your site/information to industry websites/directories in your area.

    Additionally, I believe you mentioned you have a trademark on your name, so you may want to take action against Waukesha Plumbing Service who may be getting customers who are trying to reach your website...

    Finally, something else you should ask your designer is to setup a Google Analytics account for you and care for the 'conversion' metrics so you can see the statistics on who is visiting your page, where they are coming from (Organic, Searches, Adwords) and if they are 'converting' into a sale/contact by submitting their information through your contact form.

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    my website is as large as my phone number on my cube van....its on everything i print....cant say ive ever gotten anything from my van

    as far as going after waukeshaplumbingservices i should look into it too......my name is so generic since its the name of city and county that i doubt i can do much....a legal letter may be enough to scare them into taking it down....since i do own the trademark

    also just because it creates more phone calls doesnt mean that will turn into customers.....my sales for non-referals is not good.....i always assume its because of price shopping and me being not the cheapest

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    You might want to consider adding an ecommerce section to your web site. Say high end fixtures or other expensive items that aren't locally available. If done right, it should easily be able to generate $1k a month in sales after 6 months to a year. If you do this I would recommend a CMS based website and an Adwords campaign as well. The CMS will allow you to upload and update your products without going back to your web designer. You may want to have your designer tweak your additions though.

    When I first built my site, I added Adwords to it. I instantly was making about 40K a year from that. At that time I had a lot of web experience behind me though.

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