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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If this is the wrong forum (don't think so) feel free to move it.

Daren posted this is another thread:

I get about 50 visits to my site a day + my local work, some people get more. Some of you don't have sites but may be 20 miles away from the person that contacted me from across the country.
I just did some work for a guy who's a website developer and he has more things to do, so we were talking about a trade of services, and my possibly starting a website.

I do some dirt cheap advertising in a geographically defined area (also remodeling) that seems to work well. But I'm interested in doing 100% woodworking and am only about half way there. No job is more than 15 minutes away, which is a big plus in terms of travel time and expense ($2.99 a gallon locally.)

I've pondered a website but it's the search criteria that would bring local people to my site that was what caused me to decide against it until now. The guy I'm talking to says there are ways to bring your website closer to the top on google searches which may solve that issue. And the area I live in is all houses built before 1920-30 and most have boiler heat, meaning radiators. And they all have extensive quality woodworking features inside.

I've googled "wooden radiator enclosures" and there aren't many around - nearest one is over 300 miles away. So with all these factors I think I may be on to something. I spent most of my life in industrial sales so I've got a good handle on the sales part of it.

So I'm looking for input/ideas from those that have gone down this road.
 

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I remember when I was thinking about a website and the major issue was for me was editing the website myself instead of having to pay for it every time I wanted to post something and I was just learning about computers so I ended up going in a different direction. I used a free website and built my own which is really no more than a "Showcase" of my work with my Business name and address and I included this in my ad in the local rag. It worked like a charm and seem to always get comments from present and new Clients. I have recently upgraded my website to a paying site with no ads. It has all worked out great for me and I have had no down time for years now.
So make sure you get all the info upfront first so you do not get caught in a never ending money pit to the web developer.
 

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I just did some work for a guy who's a website developer and he has more things to do, so we were talking about a trade of services, and my possibly starting a website.
My first piece of advice would be take his $$$, build your own. I think he would be getting the better end of the stick. Go to my website. I am a computer moron, but I still made one that my target audience seems to get. Read my guestbook, happy customers signed it...that is good for more customers.

I have said this before and I will say it again. I have $25 a year in my site, total, and a little time (I enjoy it, tinkering with my site). I have put $50 ads in the paper...no calls. A site not only gets business from all over the country (world). But it takes alot of hassle out of local work.

Here is a short read from our sister site. http://www.sawandtimber.com/showthread.php?t=171
Keep in mind my first comments on the website was over a year ago, back then I was shipping alot of wood/woodworking. Now I am mostly doing local work and some mail in sharpening. I am not so "web based" as I was back then. I got burned out on shipping big items, I narrowed what I was willing to do and still keep busy. Most of it local, no matter what I do it is all right here in the back yard.

A site gives you a "virtual showroom" and a body of past work to show even a guy 5 blocks away. I have my web address on my business cards I pass out to locals. For me doing furniture restoration for example it builds confidence in a potential customer you have experience and are not going to trash Grandma's table. Same with tool sharpening. I am a hack woodworker, it is only a small part of my business.

I will tell you a little secret, just by posting here you are moving up in Google. I search keywords on occasion that pertain to my business...usually on the first page there is a link to here, this forum. Where I show my knowledge (or lack there of :laughing:). If you go to the bottom of the page when you log on, you may see 30 members and 130 "visitors". Those guests where Google/Yahoo searching something and found it here. I get many business offers right smack from this forum, people do a search -come here-follow my link to my site and presto. That is why you guys should use your real names, have a face and a website. And use keywords on your pictures in your gallery. I can almost guarantee the yo-yo job that I was trying to give away, that you copped that quote of me from, was directly related to this forum. I only have pictures of my yo-yos on a dead site (that I should remove from the web, but forgot my passwords :huh:) and here. That is it, 2 places, she found them here-followed the pictures in my gallery to a link to my site and contacted me.

I installed a traffic tracker (discussed in the thread I linked) I just looked at it 277 visits came directly from a link here since Dec 6, less than a month, that is about 10 visits a day just from woodworkingtalk. Nathan is doing a good job here, you guys ought to be using it to help yourselves. It's FREE.

That was just part of this potentially long response. I could go into it more. To sum it up, get a site. Searches are very important. But more important for local work is just having like I said a virtual showroom, and establishing yourselves as the real deal, not some fly by night. 250 new business cards with you web address is $9.99, get them in the right hands.

Oh and look real hard at http://www.doteasy.com/ hosting. No banners or pop ups. That is a real turn off.

EDIT: I think that quote needs to be repeated. Yea, I am taking work right out of your back yard with my site..so much I am listing it here wanting someone else to do it. No brainer :no:. If someone closer has a site, they would not contact me (or better, offer more what they want...)

"Some of us are less visible than others. I get about 50 visits to my site a day + my local work, some people get more. Some of you don't have sites but may be 20 miles away from the person that contacted me from across the country."
 

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Advertize with your homepage link in yellow pages. Google will pick it up when people search for your business by name, and they can click over to your website ...
 

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Advertize with your homepage link in yellow pages. Google will pick it up when people search for your business by name, and they can click over to your website ...
What if they don't know your name? If they knew your name, they would just call :yes:. My name is not "Cedar Chest"...
Pick your niche (cedar chests, radiator covers...) and if that is what you want to make, do a good job and are easy to find on a general web search you will have more work that you want.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I've still got some research to do regarding initial costs and maintenance requirements for a website, but I think the benefits will outweigh them. I'll take a look at the link for building your own, Daren. I'm totally self-taught on computer stuff too, but I can handle it, I imagine.

I really want to stick to my own area (Twin Cities) because there's certainly enough work in other neighborhoods similar to mine. And the whole shipping thing sounds time consuming and fraught with potential problems.

Thanks for the info.
 

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I really want to stick to my own area (Twin Cities) because there's certainly enough work in other neighborhoods similar to mine.
Do you every look at http://www.craigslist.org/about/sites.html ? Keep your services listed there for your area. It's free, and TONS of people use it. If they are looking for something, they can see your ad, go to your website and contact you. Just from a consumer standpoint, I would rather buy something I can "see" (like what you can do, examples of which are on your site) than sight unseen from some dude who may have just hung out a shingle this morning and bought an expensive newspaper/yellow book ad.
Those are people you don't even have to try to "sell". They found you, liked what they saw and are wanting to buy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I put something on there, but without pics. I'll add them

I did get a small job by clicking the "wanted" category though. There's something on the labor category today for someone to build wine racks for a startup outfit. But they want a real "employee." Sorry, but the reason I'm doing what I'm doing now is because I finally got fed up with being an "employee."
 

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I am in central Illinois, 3 hours from Chicago. I used to browse Chi-town listings when I was slow. I picked up alot of work with interior decorators and designers. (partly because of my "green" IE urban logging/treecycling, the "new money"- save the planet people got it...and were willing to pay a premium.) I did not have much luck with individuals, just a few jobs. If I was in that area, I think a guy could stay busy full time just from C-List in a big city.

Back then I had 4 pages of finished product, they (the designers/decorators) would show their clients and I would custom build for them. I have moved away from that, more into lumber sales and less woodworking so I changed my site.

That is what is so cool about a site. For awhile I was on a kick of buying antiques cheap that were trashed. I repaired them and almost my whole site was stuff for sale I had repaired/refinished.

Who knows what I will want to do in 6 months, change the site, hit that target market and stay busy.

I don't know how I am going to beat this into your head :laughing:, get a site. The website is "you", whoever you are at the time (if that makes any sense ?) You may go down one path and find it is not working profit wise, try something new. That's just my $.02.
 

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I am not certain whether it is as important to have a Googleable website as it is, to just have a site. The importance is that it is targeted and that it is professional. You can use other forms of advertising to get people onto you site that is local based. ie. a local paper with what you do and a web address and phone number. A website is paramount. Easy to navigate, loads fast and tells everything you want to tell. The ability to have control is less important then it is to be search engine friendly.
 
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