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PDR Business Website and Advertising Management
Just for the not so technically minded, here are some key terms that may help I’m this section.
A domain name is simply a website address www.google.com is one of the domain name for the Company Google www.google.com.au is its Australian equivalent. Being an international and lucrative company, it would have domain names appropriate to all countries across the globe.
A website server is a computer that hosts your website. There are various types of hosting services that you will come across – shared hosting, virtual hosting and dedicated hosting – (reseller programs are available but this is not required although there could be advantages if you choose to have a franchise of your own business otherwise ignore reseller programs). The least expensive – shared hosting means that you are sharing resources with other websites. Virtual hosting means you have a little more freedom in managing resources and varying costs with the advantage of better performance. Dedicated hosting means that you host everything yourself but the advantage is that you are not sharing resources and the website has grunt. If you are lucky to become an extremely popular company with millions of hits, you wild require this type of hosting. Most of the popular services providing hosting will either be Linux servers or Windows servers. Each have their own advantages but this then directs you in the type of software requirements applicable to those systems. In all, if you have a known computer technically minded person, they may decide what is best for your business. At least you should be technically aware of the jargon used.
With the increasing importance and acceptance of a range of customers to use the internet in searching for solutions such as PDR repair, a website must be developed to advertise your company on the world wide web. Building websites is not as difficult as 10 or more years ago but there are many things that must be considered.
- – you must register a domain name that somehow matches your company name in some way
- – you must have a way of hosting the website and domain name
- – you need to build the website
- – you need to promote the website
- – you need to have regular backups of the website
- – what email addresses you will make
The Domain Name
The domain name should be ideally with an extension of .com.au given we are based in Australia. Google search engines tend to favour the .com.au if errors occur when people type in addresses. The .com.au extension is also the most popular extension for Australia. You can get .net.au if that desperate for the name and the .com.au is already taken. Check what name is available by typing in your preferred company name at one of these types of services:
Please spend some time in choosing both the business name and domain name collectively. You may chose an excellent business name but find the domain name is taken or perhaps easily confused or intercepted in some way by another company’s domain name.
When choosing a name for the company, that is one thing. When applying the name as a domain name, there generally are no spaces. Please be careful as some of these services may be a little cheaper but offer very little customer service or assistance.
I have been building websites for some more than 15 years and maintain one PDR website. If you require this headache out of the way, contact me and I can assist in the building of an easily maintained website, or at least get you started.
Hosting the Website
In general, most people approach other companies that specifically host websites. There are some cheap deals around these days but you need to be sure that you have good service, the website is up most of the time ie no regular issues with down time, and your website is fast. Mostly, servers are reliable but I can assure you that when a hosting server goes down, so does your email if it is connected with the same domain name.
With the rapidly changing environment both in Australia and internationally, the cost of servers has come down in price at the expense of support, most support is either done through India or the Philippines and most cases this is obviously over email or chat. Any local support will be at the expense of either restriction of technical services, less website domains hosted on the same server, memory or bandwidth.
Your hosting company can set up your website email addresses but usually it will cost money. Nevertheless, you need to decide what email address system will be in place and who gets the email addresses. Email addresses MUST be answered by the person who has the email address just like phone calls must be answered or called back. Someone must be in charge of the main email address usually [email protected] or [email protected] [email protected] and of course all members should have their own email addresses as a system like [email protected] eg [email protected]
It is a point to consider that websites do go down as mentioned above. If the website goes down, so would the email address. In most cases, down time is up to an hour or so. There is not much one can do unless you have extensive resources like the larger companies that have networks of websites and sophisticated backup systems to get them out of trouble. If emails are that crucial, then use an email address like gmail or yahoo. They are generally always online. The only issue here is the unprofessional approach of not having the email address that matches the company website domain name. You need to weigh the pros with the cons.
Building the website
The topic of website building and design is a section in itself. There are a few basic ideas that can assist. The company website is your company’s presence on the web. Quite often this is how the customers and clients judge who you are and how serious you are n quality. It is perceived that those that put much effort on the website and also respond to the emails sent are operating a serious business.
The most ideal websites should have multiple pages. Generally, PDR website should have
- – the main page – the page that captures the customer’s attention
- – a contact us page – all your contact information and how they can get a quotation
- – about us page – who you are and your company’s history
- – pdr services page – what type of services you offer
- – testimonials – previous excellent work from previous storms
and could include
- – what is PDR page
- – tools for sales
- – forum or discussion
- – image galleries
One page website is a not professional and makes your website look simple and thus the same for your company. Even if you are a sole PDR technician, build a multipage website. Most importantly, keep it current and up to date.
There are quite a few ways of building websites. Most programmers build sophisticated websites using original code. But there are ample software available to build websites. Websites can be html based, flash based, php and so on. There also database driven websites where information is stored in a database. CMS (Content Management System) are the most common type of website around the world and are based on php. They allow for websites to be updated online rather than having to upload files! And anyone can update their own information in real time edit mode.
There are countless free and commercial software packages that allow building of websites. It is still advisable to plan the website wisely though before embarking on the design: the colours, imagery and video if appropriate, what catchy content will be used to attract attention of the customers and gain their trust. The content on the front page in particular needs to be brief and content rich – there is little patience amongst website surfers. Remember to think of the age group you are targeting in your design. Also include information and instructions on how to get to your premises.
Most PDR website design themes either show images of the PDR technician at work, before and after images or simply nice looking cars showing the finish. The colours should reflect that of your company and also include the company logo.
Backing up websites
It is crucial to ensure that backups of the websites are on several types of media – a computer, thumb drives, even if the hosting service provides updates. A plan should be in place of either restoring or replacing damaged, hacked or lost websites for whatever reason. The quicker you have it online, the less customers lost in busy periods. CMS websites not only should download all their files as backups, but in particular the database that contains all the information if applicable. Most website hosting companies offer Backups and restoration as part of their plans but it is best to be safe than sorry. For instance, if you had not paid your account on time and the expiry time had gone well past, they will not keep a copy of your website on their system.
Promoting the website
Once you have designed the website, you need to advertise it! Yes it seems unusual to be need to promote your website that will eventually be used to promote you. The ways of promoting your website has varied over the past 10 to 20 years and become rather complex.
The most common ways in the past of promoting is using promoting websites and also search engines. Search engines have ‘bots’ that search around for websites and scan all the information on them. This allows for the website to be entered on the search engines. Any sensitive information should be protected from these ‘bots’ or not be listed at all. Contacting websites manually for exchanged links is also an important way to let others know about your website and improving your standing on the internet known as google ranking.
The most common method of promoting information including websites are websites like Facebook, Twitter share and add me buttons. If videos are on the website for some reason, they can be shared using Youtube and other similar video sharing websites. The more positive exposure the better!
Brochures, Business Cards and Advertising Management
Business cards and brochures are an important form of advertising to capture customers. Once printed, they can be distributed amongst customers, dropping off manually in letter boxes, or using the postal system to mass post them. This was mentioned together with other forms of advertising in another module.
In terms of management, PDR is slightly different. Because there is no permanent address, it is a little trickier in terms of creating brochures and business cards. The design templates must incorporate the changing addresses due to the mobile nature of the business. Mobile phone numbers are fine and perhaps an 1800 number is ideal. Specialised 1800 numbers can be rather expensive to acquire but there are otherwise plans available.
More importantly though is to measure the effectiveness of the various forms of advertising for your company – what works and what doesn’t. Perhaps asking customers that call how they came across you if they have told you anyway. It may be a tick a box on the excess or a form survey. Perhaps coupons or vouchers can be a form of incentive to provide that much needed information. Whichever method is used, ensure that the information is noted down – in other words, have something handy that the information is recorded.
Adwords and Google Advertising
Google has become a multinational company through its search engine algorithm and marketing strategies. Advertising and information is an important component in both google and Facebook. Google has become the major shareholder of that market and one of its programs is Adwords.
Having invested in Adwords itself for our courses, it quickly became apparent that there is a skill to understanding Adwords and the way it operates. The keywords and the title of the advertisement are two of the most important components to understand. If you choose the wrong keyword you will reach your limit per day of advertising very quickly. In some cases, if you choose keywords that are very popular and a daily limit that is well under, then google may not be able to offer your ads as you have been out-bid. Yes, it is like an auction. The more people want to up their keywords particularly the larger companies, the higher the bid and it varies throughout the day and perhaps weeks.
For example, if your keyword was pdr training course, this will not be very popular and not sought after so the cost per click will be lower. However, the cost of training course by itself can be $10 per click because you are fighting against other educational organisations trying to promote their ads first – so up goes the cost per click! That’s right, if someone clicks on your ad and it was set with a keyword training course, then you are charged $10. So in using Adwords, you have to be clever on trying to reach the correct market. Apparently the same applies to image advertisements on google.
In the Adword system background or administration you log into, a campaign is basically a term used for series of ads. You can have one or more ads in a campaign with different keywords etc. Keywords are simply the popular search terms thousands of people around the world may have used in the past to search for something on google or in gmail for that matter. There is a tool that allows you play around with different keywords and their pricing per click.
Google has an automated system to design your ads with a little input from you as well as other customised features. It has statistics to view how the advertisements are performing – comparing one with an other. This interface allows you to check the performance of campaigns, ads, keywords and monitor your overall costs.
The basic thing is before using Adwords, think or research the type of keywords that best suit your company and would attract customers to your company. For instance, if you were mobile in Melbourne during a hailstorm, you would probably use hail repairs Melbourne or pdr Melbourne as an example.
Different campaigns may be used for instance if you have different companies and the ads do not match or perhaps you wish to run a separate system of ads for the same company – one during winter which may different from the target audience in summer (In PDR, winter off season work would be local and summer work would be mostly hailstorms). Google has an extensive set of resources and toll free support for their Adwords program – phone support seems to be from the Philippines.