Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 11

Thread: Do you have a woodworking website? I could use your help!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Posts
    383

    Do you have a woodworking website? I could use your help!

    The back story:

    I have been doing a lot of woodturning for several years now. My original passion is furniture making and woodworking in general, and I have continued to be drawn back into that arena. As the owner of an upstart business, gaining traction in a slow economy has been difficult: 2008 was not the best of times to try to get into custom woodworking. But evidently the tides are changing, cuz over the last 6 months workload has been skyrocketing, and all of a sudden I have become truly full tiime! (This is one of the reasons why I haven't been on this forum much over the last year.) This is where my new business name and website come in. I want to keep the ball rolling. I am moving into a new shop space, and with the added overhead I want to keep the calls coming.

    So here's the skinny. I have just put up a website for my business, and now I have to drive traffic to it. SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of making a website rank as high as possible when certain keywords/subjects are searched for. I don't know much about this stuff, but I have read that having your site linked from other sites of the same subject matter can help with this. If anyone has a website or blog that's all about woodworking, and you wouldn't mind helping me grow my business through better SEO (adding a link on your site to my page) that would be awesome!

    http://www.grandrapidswoodworking.com/index.html

    Thanks!

    -Hutch
    Last edited by Matt Hutchinson; 12-04-2012 at 01:53 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Delton, Michigan
    Posts
    17,471
    well hutch i noticed you changed your site, and as for gettin work from a web site ,, i could use some of your input on how you got busy from one.. i dont have one but have tried the word of mouth technique which so far hasnt proven well.. and your new web site is nice.. how much does it run to get one up like yours and running?
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Posts
    383
    Thanks Larry!

    I have been learning a lot about what gets a person busy and what doesn't. Word of mouth within the right circles is always one of the best ways to get new customers. That said, in today's world visibility on the web is huge. Around here if you search for anything having to do with woodworking in Grand Rapids you get corporate Woodcraft's site (or our local store's additional promo site) listed first or listed near the top of the first page.....every time. As such, the store is always getting people coming in looking for actual custom woodworking services, not just tools and wood. Employees at the store hand out a lot of my business cards to these customers, and that's played a very significant role in getting my business off the ground: one store handing out my cards cuz the internet drew people to the location. This leads me to believe that anything I can do to have a very visible website when people search for woodworking is worth the time and effort. That said, I still believe word of mouth and reputation is of utmost importance.

    As for my website, I was really into computers in high school, and I have a basic understanding of how a few web coding languages work. Armed with that knowledge I took a website template off the web and tweaked it to meet my needs. (And learned as I went via coding tutorial sites.) So the actual visual representation was free, but took many hours of fiddling. I know paying someone to do this has the potential to get very pricey. However, the costs of owning a website are very minimal. I pay a yearly domain name renewal of about $15, and pay my hosting server $5/month to host my website. So about $75/year.

    - Hutch

    P.S. One thing I've noticed is how important the way I act/talk is when dealing with potential customers. In the past, if I showed any signs of lack of confidence or knowledge I usually didn't get a call back. Even if I felt like I didn't know how I was going to get it done, if I approached the situation as if I knew everything there was to know about it I was at least asked to give a quote. So now I always speak with authority.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Delton, Michigan
    Posts
    17,471
    thanks for the update hutch
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Kansas City, Missouri
    Posts
    13,438
    Looks like you're off to a good start getting the site promoted and in the right direction. Start adding useful, original woodworking blogs as soon as you can to get interest coming to your site, cross promote those to your social sites as well.

    A couple of things I noticed is that your domain will be up for renewal mid next year. If you've got it in the budget, consider renewing it for at least 3 years. Length that the site has been active and how long it plans to be active helps boost your ranking. Keep checks on the image file sizes and optimize where you can. You've got a couple of large images loading on the main page, which will make your site seem bloated to the search engine and not rank as high either. The site looks good though, once you get the site where you have content everywhere, try running a report on woorank.com to see what suggestions it has for you to address. Also check against http://www.websiteoptimization.com/services/analyze/ to see what suggestions it has.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Posts
    383
    Thanks Darren, those links look like great resources! Woorank has given me a lot of good suggestions. Now to find time to squeeze it all in.


    - Hutch

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Alto Mi
    Posts
    29
    Hutch, I am from Alto just down the road. i would love to see your shop sometime. let me know
    Kevin Hough

    <Lathe work always turns out>

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Posts
    383
    Hello Kevin!

    I always enjoy hanging out and talking shop/woodworking. Right now I will be moving shop in the next couple weeks, but after the holidays I should have a little more flexibility in my schedule. If I forget, feel free to contact me through the above website's contact page (phone#, e-mail, etc...). Thanks!

    - Hutch

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Posts
    383
    Hello Kevin!

    I always enjoy hanging out and talking shop/woodworking. Right now I will be moving shop in the next couple weeks, but after the holidays I should have a little more flexibility in my schedule. If I forget, feel free to contact me through the above website's contact page (phone#, e-mail, etc...). Thanks!

    - Hutch

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    GTA Ontario Canada
    Posts
    12,247
    Matt I could take the route of piling on the atta boys to your latest moves including that of getting your website going but then i would be doing you and others in similar situations a disservice in my opinion.

    I have some quite different views to the the web as it pertains to startup business and the whole issue of looking to be found on the internet.

    What i hear as responses caters to doing what some search engine algorith requires for you to get listed higher in the rankings of a search but i would argue you are then merely foregoing your business and your strategy to what the search engine requires rather than what you and your business desire.

    The web exposes you to a very large audience if they find you as a result of a search, the question i pose is do you have a plan as to how to service enquiries from further afield than your local district whatever you have defined that as.

    See i would go further and ask do you have a plan at all or are you just winging it day to day?

    Now i do not expect you to publicly answer these questions they are meant to get you and others thinking about just how the web should fit into your general business plan and what purpose it should play and therefore what content does it require to play this role.

    Its seems to me from your description that you efforts in the past have not entirely paid dividends and that you discovered a pretty good point about the people looking for your kind of offering in your area when they use the web to do so.

    The distribution of your business cards and a friendly chat with the Woodcraft personnel to refer people your way, is an excellent form of marketing for a micro business. This has led to a series of interactions with people where you have been able to offer your services and meet their needs.

    Now you believe stepping up to the plate an putting a website up in all its glory is a solution to getting to the top of the search pages and thereby more business.

    I disagree entirely.

    Why?

    The product on sale at this point in time is Matt. Not what customer is buying. When a person gets to interact with you as you have discovered if you speak with authority their confidence and resulting perception of your ability to satisfy their needs enables them to take the "deal/project" further and request either a quote/design or even place the order.

    So lets kick this up to the point where you have printed new business cards, you have added the website to the cards as everyone is telling you to do. Heck now you look and feel professional. So the local woodcradft associate hands your card to Mr X or Mrs X and the first thing they do is go look up your website.

    As everyone has advised you get links to all and sundry other woodworkers websites and it helps get you higher on the search pages BUT...what it also does is expose those sites you linked to, to your prospect. (note they a prospective customer at this stage meaning a potential buyer of goods/services in the market for the category of goods/services you offer) Your prospect now is dealing not with a human who has a voice and can exude passion and knowledge and enthusiasm and promptly using all your senses and intuition determine the needs, concerns, urgency etc of the client and adjust rather they are dealing with reading or looking at pictures. The website is left to be the salesperson.

    Whats more they now get no response unless the answer is in their face and they have the desire to push on and mine the content to secure the answers they are looking for. Whats more they now find these links and go off to someone elses site where the possibility exists that this someone else does a better job of pushing their "place an order buttons" and so you loose out entirely.

    All you know when you examine the stats for your site is that this person came to your site kicked around a bit and then went off on the link to someone else you provided the link to.

    To put it mildly you just got screwed and you did it to yourself and you did it for the search engine gods not for your business.


    So i would urge you to consider just how this website should play a role in your business and when in the sales cycle would you like to have it play that role.

    But that leaves you at the level of just dealing with the website.


    I would go back to the beginning kind of think back to our teachings of scripture and the good old phrase of Rome was not built in a day.

    My question to you would be what is the plan Matt? What is the business plan? I know from your posts and past you are a capable woodworker and i know you would like to be self employed running your own woodworking business. I know you are artistic heck we have seen your work.

    But whats the plan?

    You have just explained that things picked up and hence you are moving to new premises taking on more fixed overhead and no specific mention of order book to cover it.

    Now you see the need to get cracking generating sales and view the web as the means to do this.


    I dont know if you are a hunter at all but i would like to use the hunting analogy to explain my point and hopefully many others will get the message.

    So imagine if me as a wanna be city slicker hunter couple of times a year outdoor camper decided heck I just been to the licensing office to pay for my vehicle licence. While there i notice Moose hunting tag in Ontario is only $57 or there abouts. Heck i think thats one heck of load of meat think of the savings. What do i need to go hunting. Well the office says get a hunting licence. Ok so i sign up do the course and pronto i got a licence to hunt. Have a rough idea of the regulations and what the heck you know 30 years ago i was a reasonable shot in the army now i can head to Bass Pro and buy a gun. No worries they only to happy to oblige and in the process sell me a whole bunch of stuff for hunting. They know best dont they so i have to trust them and off i go.

    What do you think my chances are of actually getting a Moose?

    Now lets look at the alternative. I wanna do the same thing but this time i get hold of my hunting buddy . Ask his advice. I know for a fact he is a succesful hunter. I then ask another hunting buddy for his advice, i know he is a succesful hunter. And so on.

    I am pretty sure some of the advice would be to first get to go out with one of them and experience a hunt even for a deer. Then when i do get a rifle go somewhere that i can experience firing different rifles to get a feel for them and get to understand which ones are suitable for Moose hunting. Then a whole load of advice would be to gain some knowledge on where Moose roam and their habitat and how one goes about tracking and hunting a moose. Then find out where i am legally aloud to hunt and so on and so forth.

    The point being i dont just go fire without looking at where i am aiming and what i am going to fire with and knowing that i have a pretty good chance as a result of getting a Moose. I have to have a plan and a strategy to hunt and be succesful.

    Business is no different in my view.

    The business plan you put down starts with a financial plan which should embrace each and every facet of the business. For small and micro businesses its not complicated. But it is essential you do it, review it and stick to it with regular monitoring to see if you keeping on course.

    What I notice in all small business people or self employed individuals is the huge desire to not have a boss telling them what to do and the reluctance to accept customer imposed stress and the businesses imposed stress as a result of constraints and the plan.

    The result is they want to do things on their terms and its just not like that if you want to be a succesful hunter. For the business to be succesful it needs to perform to the terms of the customer and the business economics.

    The alternative is a lifetime of feast to famine and more stress than any job could ever impose.

    So whilst you asked about your website and no doubt have the ability as do millions of people today to take a template and load it up with content, i ask you to go back to basics and consider creating a well thought out business plan.

    This plan will include how you go about marketing and what you going to be putting in that marketing communication. How you will fund it and how you will measure its success.

    How you will sell and what your sales method and process will be.

    Work out how many leads you need per month and what level of success you need to have with each lead.


    You have already been at it for a while you should have a little data to be able to reflect on.

    What is important is self scrutiny.

    Ie Had an equiry lost it why?

    Record how many enquiries you had. Record how many you closed a deal on. Value not the issue here just examine where and why you were succesful so you can repeat and fine tune the process. Examine what the implication of this is on how many leads you need per period and then consider how best to economically go about getting them. Consider quality versus quantity remember each lead costs you to process it. Your time is money.

    Best of luck
    cheers

Similar Threads

  1. Got my website up
    By John Daugherty in forum Off Topic Discussion
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 05-01-2015, 01:57 AM
  2. Excellent woodworking website/resource
    By ken werner in forum General Woodworking Q&A
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 06-15-2008, 06:29 AM
  3. I have a new website!
    By Derek Cohen in forum Neander Woodworking Q&A
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 04-13-2008, 12:57 PM
  4. Website Help
    By Ryan Domotor in forum Off Topic Discussion
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 05-29-2007, 08:55 PM
  5. What is your favorite NON WOODWORKING website
    By Jay Lock in forum Off Topic Discussion
    Replies: 28
    Last Post: 12-14-2006, 10:40 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •