Websites for painters and decorators
This post about Websites for painters and decorators is for those tradesmen who haven’t got a website yet. Or in short, painters in trouble, or heading that way.
The world is moving ahead fast and regardless of how conservative, traditional or resistant to change the painting industry might be, the fact is, the rest of the world, the public, your customers, are going online. And if you aren’t online with a decent “brochure”, you are going to lose your business to painters and decorators with websites.
To get started, think WordPress.
In my opinion, based on several dead end experiences, if you want to get your business online and not look back, just start with WordPress. It is Word for the internet. This is a WordPress powered site.
It is a minefield, websites for painters and decorators . There is a lot of snake oil salesmanship going on about SEO and Google and website design. Experts are sending unsolicited texts, emails, tweets, and more, as fast as they can. Web companies say that setting up a website is really hard and spooky difficult. On the other irrelevant extreme, you hear people telling you that with Homepage software you can easily make yourself a half decent website. Or that you can get a cookie cutter webpage for free as long as you put up with a few ads.
Next up: 3 easy steps to getting your painting business online
Buy a domain name
1 – * Register a website name with Vidahost – Follow the link, pay around £10 / $15 for a year’s subscription. Squeeze your name into something simple like: billbloggspainting.com or yourcompanyname.com (It is 2018 and I still use and recommend Vidahost services. I may earn a small commission if you purchase via this link.)
Pay the equivalent of 2 drinks a month to a website hosting company
They will rent you space on their server to keep your website,. They will manage the day-to-day business of fighting off the hackers and keeping the servers running and keeping your site online.
The choices here are endless. To make it easier for you, try MDDHosting in USA or Best Host in UK, and sign up for MaxCDN for extra speed and security.
Auto install WordPress on your own server, and start building your WordPress site /online presence.
Seriously, if you have a name, address and phone number, a mobile phone with a camera, and £60, you can be online for a year. Just spend a year working through WordPress, every day you will be forging ahead of all those painters who can’t be bothered. Don’t be happy to be listed on free directories like Yell or have a FaceBook business page only.
It really isn’t that hard to create a contact page, an About page and a gallery. It is definitely time-consuming if you write articles (the main way to stay high in google searches), but that’s the way it is. Even if you have someone do it all for you, it is still time consuming. As the business owner you need to make sure your online marketing tool, your brochure, is right, and you have to check things over and give some input.
Which option for a DIY website for painters and decorators is best for me?
There are 2 options.
The easiest way especially if you are a complete website newbie, is to get the domain name and the hosting package from the same company. * Vidahost are still a good bet there, selling both.
The cheapest way is to buy the domain name from the cheapest place and host it with the best webhost company. (This involves a bit more faffing around. ie use GoDaddy for domain and Vidahost to host in the UK)
Finally, a WordPress website is my recommendation. It is free and really well supported, what’s not to like! Don’t answer that. But you can auto-install any one of several other blogging/website programs from Blogger or others.
Alternatively, sign up to a website hosting service. You may have a dotcom name but you still have to get it to appear on the internet. That is where web hosts come in. Web hosts basically get & keep your website up on the internet.
If you are in UK, there is an argument for having a UK based web host.
However, not all web hosts are created equal. Until 2016 I used *MDDHosting to host this website. Plenty good enough for small, and medium websites. And to make sure it was fast loading for our readers around the globe (mainly in the UK, then USA, and increasingly, Europe), I used Max CDN. The Traditional painter website is now on a dedicated managed server, so does not need this set up.
Supercharge your website around the world with CDN
If you have traffic in UK, USA and Europe and a host is located in one of those areas, you are likely to keep the readers local to your server happy. But the rest of your readers will be hanging around waiting an extra half or 1 second. That is not a long delay, till it is you waiting.
Consider paying the extra for the MAXCDN service. In essence, your site is stored / cached in several places around the globe. It opens a page copy on the server nearest to the reader. Fast wherever you are! And extra secure, and lots of customer support.
Their support team actually went into my WordPress dashboard and installed a caching plugin for me. They set it up for me so that Max CDN could work to capacity. Amazing service and highly recommended addition.
Please take note, if you buy domain names from one place and host with another. You need to send the Nameserver info of your webhost to the domain name company, before you can see your website. If that sounds like gobblydegook, then buy everything from one company!
AFFILIATE INFO FOR MDDHOSTING
(If you sign up with them via my link, I get $5 towards my hosting costs.)
MDDHosting is a US-based company, they host this website along with a couple of others, and I can’t recommend them highly enough. Their tech support is absolutely brilliant, they withstood a massive cyber attack that took down loads of other web hosts (including one I was originally with!) plus they are really patient with newbies.
The cost of MDDHosting domain name may be a couple of pounds more per year than going to the seperate domain register. However if MDD are hosting your site, you have everything under one roof, one invoice etc. It is worth the convenience. (Don’t worry, if they did ever go bust, your domain name would be safe.)
You want shared hosting. The most basic plan is fine to get started, and just upgrade as you need to, later on.
SET UP A WEBSITE FOR PAINTERS AND DECORATORS
Activate WordPress To start, there is nothing on your website at the moment apart from empty directories. Your web host will have sent you the log-in details to your Web Host Manager. In your CP control panel, click on Softaculous software installer.
You will see various blogging programmes. I highly recommend you auto install WordPress. It is out the box website software, like MS Word, but all set up for the internet and being found by Google. No ads, fairly simple, free, but very very powerful kit.
Now you have a WordPress powered website, a dotcom name and a blank canvass. Start to solve decorating problems.
What to do with a website for painters and decorators
If you are reading this post, then it is proof that a WordPress website works! How else would you ever get to read this first-hand experience about websites for painters and decorators, if it weren’t for me writing this blog and you googling and finding it!??
If I were offering services: websites for painters and decorators, I would be pimping myself about now. But I am a painter who taught myself to build this site, and I hope this article points painters without websites in the right direction.
Blog for 2 years building up a body of articles, tweaking the look, uploading photos and telling people about what you can do. Listen, research and act on advice from brilliant website marketing experts like Darren Slaughter, it will pay off.
If you put off a website for another few months, that is an extra few months of being left behind the times.
The internet isn’t a fad, it’s not going away, and 50% of ALL business, not just painting, will be conducted online. A website will help part way to making sure you do get to retirement age as a painter. It would be a shame for a good tradesman to have to leave the trade because some young internet savvy inexperienced painter built a snazzy website, set up a brilliant marketing ploy and won over all your business.
WordPress tips to get started.
As the webmaster of your domain, you will have 2 log-ins. One is for your Web Host Manager Control Panel. This is where you set up email accounts and various management tasks behind the scenes. The other login is for tweaking and updating WordPress with articles.
To log in to WordPress, bookmark http://yourdomainname.com/wp-admin/
In your WordPress dashboard on the left is the brains of your website/blogging operation.
1 – To name your site and give it a descriptive tag line
In the side admin bar, click on Settings > General
In the Site title write “Painter in (your hometown, county) ”
In the tag box, write a brief summary of what you do (try and stand out)
2 – To write your Home page:
In the side admin bar, select Pages >Add new
In the title write “Painting and decorating services, your hometown.”
Go mad and tell everyone a few basic details about what you do. Include your name, address and contact number.
Highlight text and format it. Try uploading a photo from your PC by clicking on the first Upload icon
You can preview your work without publishing to the world.
SAVE AS DRAFT
Now you have a taster of adding content to the first page of your website. You will be online when you press PUBLISH. Please make sure you are happy with the look of the site before publishing. You want a neat theme so you give a good first impression to someone who finds you when you by googling “painter and decorator (in your cachement area)”.
Free WordPress themes
Looks are important
1- the default themes for WordPress aren’t great for aesthetically oriented businesses like ours. Google “Free WordPress themes”- there are thousands of good ones by designers showing off what they can do.
2 – For about $40 one-off payment you could get a very snazzy, or more exclusive WordPress theme.
This is one of 3 sites that MDDHosting hosted for me. The theme is called Revival and cost $40. The difference between free and paid-for is generally the technical support. If you pay, you can ask for help and should get it promptly. With freebies you tend to be on your own.
3 – The theme for this 3rd site cost several hundreds for the design and branding. It was then tweaked & tricked out by smart developers at Hackadelic.
Themes are horses for courses, from zero to …
Plugins add functionality to your website. Any twitter boxes or contact forms or lists of related posts are all examples of plugins. Luckily they are bolt on, easy to install from your dashboard. All the coding is done for you. Just be aware that they can slow down your page load time. Therefore don’t add more than one plugin at a time, check your site still works well, then carry on with the next plugin idea.
People will say that WordPress is only for blogging, not for websites. Well, they are talking baloney. WordPress is a website AND a blog in one place. Technically it is a Content Mangagement System and ONE of its functions, albeit a biggy, is blogging. Some of the biggest company websites online run on WordPress.
Learn the difference between PAGE and POST
A page is where I place essential website info, telling people about my services. So “Hand-painted kitchens” is a PAGE. This info is static, informational, rarely changes. It will appear in search engine results.
A post is for blogging. Unlike a page, a post is part of an ongoing story about certain topics. This article you are reading is a POST / article adding to a category about Marketing online. A Post also includes a piece of software that gets it sent out and found by search engines on the internet. Hey, latest update …
Behind the scenes, the text box looks like this. I prefer html, but you can do it in Visual if you prefer WYSYWYG
A quick trip round a WordPress post
WordPress also stores, organises and displays all your media in a library – photos, music and videos. Text won’t really use up much of your storage allowance, but videos will. If you have videos, I would upload them to Youtube and embed their code in your posts. It is cheaper and more reliable for YT to host the video for you. Plus they have quite a lot of traffic of their own.
The idea is, if people like your vid they might be interested in visiting your site!
Categories and tags
WordPress organises content in categories and tags ( keywords which help googlers find content on your website).
So you could set up a category called Equipment, and write posts about different kit. Tick the Equipment category box before publishing each post on that topic. Then on your site you can place a link to http://yourdomainname.com/category/equipment and people will see a list of all the posts in that category.
By default, WordPress is very focussed on google. If you just do a homemade website on Homepage, you don’t get the Google friendly options built in. If google can’t find you, forget it.
This is a good WordPress starting point if you are completely bamboozled. Work your way down the list and get the hang of it.
That’s what I know about Websites for painters and decorators . Hope that helps.
Please share it on Twitter, Facebook, or print it out for reference. Thanks.