For the gardeners that are not in to tech stuff, the thought of having to create a website can be a bit daunting. Where do I get the name from? How much does it cost? How do I make changes to it? Yes, all a bit of a nightmare if it’s a new area for you. But, if you are already getting work, do you actually need a website for your gardening business? Surely leaflets and Facebook are enough to keep most people in work, so why go through all of the hassle and expense of having your own website?
Are you OK for work?
If you are doing garden maintenance and manage to keep going through the winter that’s great. But if you are struggling to make a living in the winter or are short of work then maybe it’s time to take a closer look at your customers.
Are their gardens big enough to warrant a gardener in the winter. If not then maybe you need to find more affluent customers with bigger gardens.
Why do I need to find bigger gardens to maintain?
In order to have all year work you need a few things to be right about your client’s gardens. First, you need trees, and lots of them. Leaves can be very time consuming and it can take you right up to a week or two before Christmas before they are all down and cleared. January and February are always difficult, but if the garden is big enough then they are going to have their own compost heap. You can use it to give you work in the weeks after Christmas by sorting it and mulching the borders with compost. Winter pruning and cutting down finished perennials are other time consuming jobs that can be done in the quiet months. To be in demand over winter you need time consuming jobs that you only have time to do after the growing season has finished, and big gardens fulfil this criteria. The problem is getting those big gardens in the first place, and that’s where you need a website.
Why aren’t the people with really big gardens calling me?
Facebook has over two billion active users on it’s platform per month and Google has 3.5 billion search queries per day. Both are huge numbers of users, but here’s the important bit, the people with the really big gardens aren’t on Facebook! Don’t kid yourself that everyone is on Facebook, because they’re not. Having traded for over 30 years, and doing some pretty big gardens, a quick check revealed that only one of my past and present customers is using social media at all, and that is, presumably, because their garden is open to the public. ‘They might not be on it but they are all looking for gardeners via Facebook’. Nope, if you aren’t on it , you can’t search it. The truth is that the really well off don’t use or need Facebook. Very affluent people like their privacy and avoid showing off their property or wealth on social media. When they want a gardener they find them discreetly through recommendation, an advert in a printed publication, or Google.
So how does this all relate to websites?
Every business should be on the Google business directory. It’s free and makes your business searchable on Google whether you have a website or not. When people search for gardeners on Google they are probably going to type in something like ‘local gardener Swansea’ or ‘gardener near me’ or ‘Wrexham gardeners’. Google is going to show them the paid for adverts first. These may be from Bark, Rated People, Trusted Traders, Check-a-trade, etc. Then it will show them the results from Google business. This will be in the form of a directory listing from Google. The order in which businesses appear is calculated by the Google algorithm, not alphabetically. Google shows the businesses that it considers to be the most relevant first giving each listing a rank. Now here’s the important bit – one of the criteria for getting a listing high up in Google’s rankings is having a website. Not only that, the website must be of a certain quality. This includes having an SSL certificate, terms and privacy pages etc. You are going to be way back on the Google directory if you don’t have a website. (Of course you have to be on the Google business directory in the first place!) So if you want to get noticed in local searches on Google you are going to need a quality website.
A website as your online store front
Having a website does have other benefits. Think of it as your online storefront.
- Showcase previous work
- Advertise your special offers
- Encourage enquiries with your contact us page
- Show your availability
- Show your credentials
- Improve your business credibility
- Should you wish to expand in to Local Authority or Housing Association work, then having a website will be a major asset for you when you come to start filling in the pre qualifying questionnaire and tender forms.
If you haven’t got a website, our future articles will talk you through how to get started with the website making process.