I have a good old friend of more than 20 years back home in London, England. The UK economy according to the politicians is doing great, but ask most people on the street and you’ll hear a different story. My friend has a property maintenance company and the tough economic conditions have really put a strain on his business. People are more reluctant to spend their money on anything that isn’t absolutely necessary, because they aren’t all that confident in the future.
I could write reams on the whys and hows and the whats that have caused this, but I’ll leave that for you to decipher on Google with words like “Lehman Brothers”, “Outsourcing”, “Ciprus, Greece, Spain”, “Quantative Easing” etc. Mainly I wanted to write about what I’m doing to help my friend, which is to help him find customers and get his business back on track.
Obviously my friend doesn’t have a lot of available cash, so I’m helping him on mates rates and being very generous with the timesheets. Which means long hours for virtually no pay! He’s not a University graduate nor has he spent millions of hours in front of a computer screen learning how to make them work. He’s a hand’s on skilled craftsman, that’s his business and what he’s good at. He needs customers and work, but doesn’t have the skills to promote himself in the high speed and quickly changing world of internet. So that’s where I come in.
I’ve had a varied career. I used to own a plumbing and heating business in London, going back a few years now. I at the time developed my own website, promoted it on search engines such as Google, aka SEO. Did my own marketing. Did everything that the business needed myself in fact.
One of my first tasks is to get his website back on track and people finding him again. He had a friend setup his website initially with Squarespace, and for quite a while it was working well as a marketing tool. But as with all things, they change, and now he’s not getting found and views aren’t turning into leads or sales.
Maintenance for the website
So what’s wrong with his website ? Well it’s been hacked around, bits added and taken away, bits lost, as I said before my friend isn’t a graphic designer, a coder or even that much of a writer. He told me that the website had been attacked by hackers, and this had mean’t that some of his content had gone missing, which has had an adverse affect on his search engine rankings.
Also I look at the text on the website, it’s difficult to read, paragraphs merge into one another, long boring lists, grammatical errors, no big surprise that visitors are not picking up the phone to book work. I reckon usually less is more with websites, but the less needs to be quality less if that makes sense! So there’s an exercise in getting the presentation appealing and attractive, pleasing to the eye.
The keywords he’s using aren’t personally what I’d type in Google if I was looking for a carpenter, handyman, decorator, landscape gardener, plaster, tiler, builder etc. Sometimes Google is clever enough to know that someone looking for “decorating in london” is looking for a “decorator in london” sometimes not, depends on which keywords. So there’s a keywords exercise, the key to getting found on Google.
The website had been partly reliant on customer comments for unique content. This is quite a clever way to get unique content on a website. Unfortunately we can’t get the missing comments back onto the website, the web hosting company was rather unhelpful when we thought we’d found a solution, sign of the times really. So there’s an exercise in getting unique content back onto his website.
Promoting the website
The website has a few high ranking websites that link back to it, this helps in getting found in Google. However there are many other possible opportunities to get links back to the website, which would enhance his chances of getting found. He doesn’t at the moment have a blog, or facebook page, which could help. So there’s an exercise in promoting.
Put all this together and it’s a massive job to do it properly and get him found highly ranked on Google. Obviously I’ll do the best I can for him within the limited budget and constraints on my own time.
The order of things
So here’s the order of things to be done in order to get him back on top :
Sort out the aesthetics, the grammar, make the website look like that of a business a customer would want to hire. Add some more well chosen pictures. Add some more content.
Get the keywords organised and make sure they are present throughout the website. Keywords have various places to go including meta tags and things like descriptions on images, titles of pages. All this helps in terms of getting found.
Get the unique content back on the website, make a page for the old customer comments and include it in the website. Do a page or pages with previous jobs that he’s done with before and after photos.
4. Promote the website on relevant directories and try to get backlinks. He has already requested a promo video, that will end up on youtube, so this will help, but still needs a voice script and before and after photos joined together.
I’ve already started work on the website whilst I’ve been writing this article. I’ve managed to make the website look a lot more presentable, corrected grammar, added some nice pictures and links, some additional pages and added some new content. I have managed to recover most of the lost customer comments and added them back on a new page. I’ve simplified the commenting system for guests.
All of this has taken quite a few hours, well days really, as it’s amazing how long some of those “little jobs” actually take. Even just adding an image and getting it nicely spaced on the page, adding keywords and a link, can take a lot of time. On the upside all of this effort does start to make things look very slick and hopefully my friend’s customers will think so too.
Oh and I’ve done some “before and after” videos for a YouTube promo video he’s having made.
I will write more later as things progress.
The “Bad” Website – thebadwebsite.com