Website

Posted by: BenP

Website - 02/06/13 08:01 PM

I'm working on putting up a website. It will not be anything complex - I like the online scheduling systems but will not be doing anything like that. Just contact info, maybe some general pricing, FAQ, caring for your piano, etc.

Any particular things you feel should or should not be on a website? Do you post prices on your website? And I'd be particularly curious why or why not.

I'll admit I've looked at a number of your websites in the past and have already gotten some ideas wink
Posted by: That Guy

Re: Website - 02/06/13 08:14 PM

I have my website with Vistaprint. You can even start off with a free website and then upgrade later if you want to. Here's what mine looks like: www.thattuningguy.com

You can get business cards (and tons of other stuff) that match your website. It's worked out really great for me. If you do a google search in my city I'm usually at or near the top.
Posted by: Ryan Hassell

Re: Website - 02/06/13 08:36 PM

Hi Ben,

I used Google sites to build my website. The only reason I used that is because that is what we use at the school where I teach (and it's free) I went to a clinic that our IT guy led and ended up creating a website for my choir at my school, one for my church and one for my business. I posted the links below to all three so you can see what kinds of things you can do with Google sites. For the church and my business I did purchase a domain name through GoDaddy. It's only $10 a year. Probably not the most fancy websites, but they work for me. I do post my prices. On the outgoing message on my answering machine, I direct people to my website and facebook page. That seems to answer a lot of questions for my customers and potential customers.

Church website: www.fumcph.org

School Website: https://sites.google.com/a/edu.westco.k12.mo.us/west-county-choirs/home

Business website: www.HassellsPianoTuning.com
Posted by: beethoven986

Re: Website - 02/06/13 08:46 PM

One thing you have to keep in mind is that having a bad website is worse than having none at all. Your website will have to convince people that you should be hired to work on their piano, which very well could have been their second or third most expensive purchase in their entire life.

It needs to be well designed... easy to navigate and visually appealing. With design, less is often more. Don't pick weird color combinations, fonts, or backgrounds that came out of an optical illusions book. I suggest having a home page that welcomes visitors to your site. At the top of your page, you should have a menu bar with links to different pages, such as: credentials/about me, services/prices, gallery (if you have photos of repair work or restoration), contact, resources/links, and faqs. Having good photos on your site adds to the visual appeal, but ask permission before you "borrow". Having music is also a nice touch, but again, make sure you have permission before using copyrighted material.


You should disclose prices on your website so that there is no confusion... it will also minimize the number of calls you get from price shoppers.
Posted by: Mark Cerisano, RPT

Re: Website - 02/06/13 09:23 PM

Hi BenP,

I used Notepad to create my site. I know it is pretty basic, but it gets the point across.

I like the idea of putting the names of well known clients or businesses/schools on your site, to show you are respected by the music community. Having said that, I don't do that, which I should. But remember to get their permission, of course.

I do have my prices because I want to warn people of the extra charges possible if the piano hasn't been tuned in a long time.

One important area to not neglect. How will people find your website? You will need to do a little research into SEO (Search engine optimization) When people type 'piano tuner yourcity' into a search engine, there will be two areas where the relevant websites are returned. The organic results (usually in the middle) and the sponsored links (top few listings in the middle and usually down the right side of the search engine).

To get a good ranking in the organic search results (which by the way is free) your site will have to have a few elements that help the search engine to rate it as relevant. Some obvious ones:

1. Put the most common search words people will use to find your service, in the domain name, if you can. I.e. montrealpianotuner.com, etc. Or if your site is hosted on another site, use something like montrealpianotuner.tripod.com.

2. Try to put text in your site that explains exactly what it is you do. Don't worry about being redundant (but don't go overboard. Search engines don't like that.) Just explain in as basic terms as you can. E.g. "I tune pianos in Montreal and all surrounding cities and suburbs like Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Pointe Claire, Baie d'Urfe, ... etc." Those words will be scanned by the search engine robots and will help to qualify your site as indeed a place where someone can find a piano tuner in Dollard-des-Ormeuax, for example.

3. There are places in the webpage to put text that is not seen by browsers, but is seen by the robots. They are called meta tags. It is not clear if robots still look at those or give them much weight. The algorithms of the search engines are constantly changing. Meta tags were very popular and important in the early days.

4. Put a simple youtube video up on youtube describing who you are and what you do. Use common key words in the tag lines.

Finally, if you have the cash for advertising, you may be able to get immediate results as a sponsored ad, by creating an Google Adwords Campaign or similar service with the other search engines. Here you decide how much you want to pay every day (daily budget) and what you will pay each time someone clicks on your ad (cost-per-click) to have your site listed near the top for the key words you choose.

Choose too low a daily budget and your ad will stop showing when it is reached. Choose too low a cost-per-click and your ad will not show near the top or will not show every time. Figure on $80 - $100 per month.

I used to offer this service to technicians but I don't anymore. No one was interested. It is fairly easy to figure out if your computer literate and you have some time.

Hope that helps.
Posted by: Mark Cerisano, RPT

Re: Website - 02/06/13 09:38 PM

Originally Posted By: beethoven986
One thing you have to keep in mind is that having a bad website is worse than having none at all.


Having designed a lot of "bad" websites, I have to disagree to some extent. If the site looks like someone's vomited breakfast, well yes, that will definitely put people off. But a basic site with basic information, minimal font changes, and simple colours will always be better than no website. Don't be put off from getting "something" on the net because you are afraid it won't look impressive.

Some other suggestions I just thought of:
(These are just my suggestions for what they are worth. Others may disagree.)

Do NOT, under any circumstances, mix other information in with your piano tuning site. For example, if you have a band, or play professionally, or have a recording studio, etc, make a separate website for that. (Of course, if you go to my site, you see my ad for our PEI farmhouse that we rent out in the summer. My bad.) It just dilutes the reason why you want people to go to your piano tuning site; to hire a piano tuner.

I prefer to keep my site basic, with no flash or java. I feel these song and dance approaches take away from the basic service you provide and are trying to convey to the customer.

One thing I really, really liked in thattuningguy's site was the recordings of his tunings. Really nice. It made me want to hire him to tune my piano. (Does thattuningguy travel to Montreal?)

Having said all this about espousing the simplicity of a website, I have just two more things to say.

Once, a lady told me "Your website is the reason I hired you. It was very simple and basic and told me exactly what I wanted to know".

Also, take a look at craigslist.com. That site is often referenced in books on website design, to demonstrate the value of a basic design.

Well, I definitely need to get back to work. Let us all know what you decide finally, and don't forget to post a link when you're done.
Posted by: beethoven986

Re: Website - 02/06/13 11:27 PM

Originally Posted By: Mark Cerisano, RPT
Originally Posted By: beethoven986
One thing you have to keep in mind is that having a bad website is worse than having none at all.


Having designed a lot of "bad" websites, I have to disagree to some extent. If the site looks like someone's vomited breakfast, well yes, that will definitely put people off.


Perhaps I should have been more clear, but I specifically had the former, "breakfast vomit" in mind when I said that. I agree that a simple, tastefully done website is perfectly fine.


Originally Posted By: Mark Cerisano, RPT
One thing I really, really liked in thattuningguy's site was the recordings of his tunings.


I also like this idea.
Posted by: rysowers

Re: Website - 02/07/13 12:13 AM

I put my prices on my website so that we don't have to waste as much time with price shoppers.

The website is your online resume. Imagine you are an employer - would you hire you based on your website?
Posted by: daniokeeper

Re: Website - 02/07/13 12:25 AM

My site is still a work in progress. So, I'm not posting the link on this forum...yet.

But, several things:

I do include prices.

I do include my approach and philosophy.

I also am including a pic. The following text is included with the pic for now:
Note: Below is a photo I am uploading temporarily
until I can upload a quality photo. This is for
identification purposes... so you will know it is
just me coming up the sidewalk to tune the piano.


I feel that including a photo may make the customer feel more secure. They know what to expect to see knocking at their door if they call me.

I am going the cheapest route I can find for now... I am using Tripod.com. Unfortunately, the url I have is rather cumbersome. If you find yourself stuck with a cumbersome url, check out tinyurl.com. You can create a shortcut to your site with a url like tinyurl.com/benp or something else you think is appropriate.

Edit: One other thing... I am including the words: "All Rights Reserved." at the bottom of the web-site.

Good luck! smile
-Joe
Posted by: BenP

Re: Website - 02/07/13 10:10 AM

Thanks everyone for the great input. I probably should have clarified that I have run a couple of small websites in the past for other things, so I have some basic understanding of site design, SEO, etc. I haven't decided how to build the website yet - have used Google sites a little bit at my school and like what I've seen there for the most part. I already have a domain - sjpianotuning.com - I have always had "South Jersey Piano Tuning" on my business card so it seemed to make sense. Not really an official business name so much as explaining what I do.

I find it interesting that everyone said they put prices on their website. I agree - I have always put a couple of general prices even on the back of my business card, and I know as a customer I always appreciate as much disclosure as possible. I know there are a lot of piano technicians that don't publish any prices though - I'd be curious to hear some reasoning from the other side. I guess it would protect you a little more from other "competitors" trying to undercut. Or from customers expecting one price when in reality their piano needs a lot more work to be restored to usable condition.

And don't worry, I'll be sure to post a link when I get the site online. I also need to update my signature - thanks to Jurgen for the reminder wink
Posted by: daniokeeper

Re: Website - 02/07/13 10:23 AM

Originally Posted By: BenP
Thanks everyone for the great input. I probably should have clarified that I have run a couple of small websites in the past for other things, so I have some basic understanding of site design, SEO, etc. I haven't decided how to build the website yet - have used Google sites a little bit at my school and like what I've seen there for the most part. I already have a domain - sjpianotuning.com - I have always had "South Jersey Piano Tuning" on my business card so it seemed to make sense. Not really an official business name so much as explaining what I do.

I find it interesting that everyone said they put prices on their website. I agree - I have always put a couple of general prices even on the back of my business card, and I know as a customer I always appreciate as much disclosure as possible. I know there are a lot of piano technicians that don't publish any prices though - I'd be curious to hear some reasoning from the other side. I guess it would protect you a little more from other "competitors" trying to undercut. Or from customers expecting one price when in reality their piano needs a lot more work to be restored to usable condition.

And don't worry, I'll be sure to post a link when I get the site online. I also need to update my signature - thanks to Jurgen for the reminder wink

[Emphasis added]


Also, this is one reason I choose not to advertise the more prominent names I have tuned for and do tune for. Why spoon-feed competitors a list of my most prominent clientele?

I also want to protect their privacy... I don't want them bothered.

-Joe
Posted by: malkin

Re: Website - 02/07/13 12:55 PM

Do not include music or videos that launch when the page is opened.
Immediate turn off.
Posted by: That Guy

Re: Website - 02/07/13 08:39 PM

Quote:
One thing I really, really liked in thattuningguy's site was the recordings of his tunings. Really nice. It made me want to hire him to tune my piano. (Does thattuningguy travel to Montreal?)


I think that's just about the nicest thing anyone has ever said about me smile Thanks! Oh, and I'd love to come to Montreal wink

By the way, one of the recordings, Semplice was a good example of what Tunic OnlyPure software can do.
Posted by: Del

Re: Website - 02/07/13 10:36 PM

For those who have not yet discovered it, Zara WebDesigner is a pretty good way to set up your website.
http://www.xara.com/us/products/webdesigner/

It is inexpensive, easy to use and surprisingly comprehensive. You can start simple and work up as you gain experience and confidence.

ddf
Posted by: Nash. Piano Rescue

Re: Website - 02/08/13 10:41 AM

I built and designed my website myself and used www.Bandzoogle.com for the carrier. The 1st 6 months were free and I pay 19.00 a month for the service which has been beyond awesome. I've used them now for 4 years or so.

No one these days will take you seriously without a website. As far as prices go? Sure I have prices on mine and if you don't you will have a million calls asking you how much something is.

Something I like about my website is some of the features like " Site Traffic" allow me to pinpoint who looked at my website, when and what the IP address is so I can pretty much know in advance who will call me, from what city and what they originally looked up. It really is invaluable to stay competitive.

J Christie
Nashville Piano Rescue
Since 1918
www.NashvillePianoRescue.com
Lascassas TN
Murfreesboro TN
Nashville TN
Posted by: RPD

Re: Website - 02/08/13 10:54 AM

If you publish your prices online, you may do yourself a disservice as many customers don't understand precisely what is, and is not, included within that price. Also, you will be your best and highest asset in your discussions with new clients...others may feel differently but we've found the best way is to discuss with each new customer exactly what we can do to assist.

Having a website is very important....just a simple one page or with a few links will do all you need to do, IMHO. The more important thing is to have very good scheduling software to keep track of everybody!!

And in case it comes up, we don't schedule online either...same reason...we want to speak personally with people to get a sense of how they are best served. Plus, Jane does a great job scheduling so my routing is very good on a typical 5-6 tuning day...less driving means more time with pianos.

Hope some of that helps...

Rick (RPD)
Posted by: David Jenson

Re: Website - 02/09/13 09:15 AM

Originally Posted By: malkin
Do not include music or videos that launch when the page is opened.
Immediate turn off.

YES!!!
Posted by: Rod Verhnjak

Re: Website - 02/09/13 11:54 AM

I use Frontpage and have since it came out. I would like to clean up my page
but am afraid if I change it I will loose my Google rating. I come up all over the place.
Having many pictures Google finds me.
Some people love all the photos but many web site designers have said I
have a terrible site. frown
Posted by: Silverwood Pianos

Re: Website - 02/09/13 12:34 PM

Originally Posted By: Rod Verhnjak
I use Frontpage and have since it came out. I would like to clean up my page
but am afraid if I change it I will loose my Google rating. I come up all over the place.
Some people love all the photos but many web site designers have said I
have a terrible site. frown


Frontpage at one time was cutting edge. Same with the Freeway Express 4.4.2 consumer version I built my original site with.

Now these things are dinosaurs.

Changing from a static site to a CMS site will improve your rankings.

Google does not find you because of the photos. Google robots and spiders do not read html,they read text.

According to the robots the photos are part of a blank white page
Posted by: Rod Verhnjak

Re: Website - 02/09/13 12:45 PM

Originally Posted By: Silverwood Pianos

Google does not find you because of the photos. Google robots and spiders do not read html,they read text.

According to the robots the photos are part of a blank white page


Most pictures are labeled so I guess google finds that text. confused
Posted by: Silverwood Pianos

Re: Website - 02/09/13 01:04 PM


Have a conversation with web designer about a CMS site.
Posted by: BenP

Re: Website - 02/09/13 02:07 PM

Thanks again for the input. Del, I like the look of the Xara software. Do you have or know of a website that uses it, so I can take a look? I like the fact that they have a trial version with a few basic templates so you can see what you're getting before you purchase.

Originally Posted By: RPD
If you publish your prices online, you may do yourself a disservice as many customers don't understand precisely what is, and is not, included within that price. Also, you will be your best and highest asset in your discussions with new clients...others may feel differently but we've found the best way is to discuss with each new customer exactly what we can do to assist.


When I list my tuning prices, I'm careful to qualify them and separately list an hourly rate for "additional repairs" etc. Ultimately, I will talk with them on the phone anyway and personalize everything. But I think most people like having some kind of ballpark figure in their head before they call. Particularly in my area, where I run into people fairly regularly that have never hired a piano technician before (!) and have no idea what's involved.

Originally Posted By: malkin
Do not include music or videos that launch when the page is opened.
Immediate turn off.


I couldn't agree more. I hate it when I go to some website to read an article or look something up, and some stupid song or video clip starts playing. Invariably, my speakers are turned up too loud from whatever I was last doing and it scares me half to death . . . OR I'm listening to something else. I can't think of a time I've ever gone to a website and thought "boy, it would be nice if I had some random music playing in the background for the 30 seconds that I'm going to spend on this website."
Posted by: David Jenson

Re: Website - 02/09/13 03:46 PM

CMS - content management system. What does that mean? I read some sites about it and it sounds like goboldy gook. After reading, I knew even less about it than when I started.

Edit - OK I found a site that explained it. 'Looks like it's for people who don't know how to do their own web designing. It looks a lot like the Google-Sites set up.
Posted by: Silverwood Pianos

Re: Website - 02/09/13 07:08 PM


CMS sites are actually the opposite. They are dynamic sites as opposed to static sites.

They are for people who want to manage the content of their own sites without hiring a web designer every time changes are required or desired.
Posted by: Rod Verhnjak

Re: Website - 02/09/13 07:51 PM

Originally Posted By: Silverwood Pianos

CMS sites are actually the opposite. They are dynamic sites as opposed to static sites.

They are for people who want to manage the content of their own sites without hiring a web designer every time changes are required or desired.


I maintain my own site. I make changes all the time. Mostly to my pianos for sale. That why I have so many pictures.
I love pictures. They tell a story better than text.
I think I better edit the page this weekend. I have things to add and delete. Steinways are selling smile
Posted by: Mark Cerisano, RPT

Re: Website - 02/09/13 09:19 PM

Originally Posted By: Rod Verhnjak
Originally Posted By: Silverwood Pianos

CMS sites are actually the opposite. They are dynamic sites as opposed to static sites.

They are for people who want to manage the content of their own sites without hiring a web designer every time changes are required or desired.


I maintain my own site. I make changes all the time. Mostly to my pianos for sale. That why I have so many pictures.
I love pictures. They tell a story better than text.
I think I better edit the page this weekend. I have things to add and delete. Steinways are selling smile


Right, but CMS allows someone to change a website without using an html editor or having to upload using FTP to their server.

Pianoworld.com is a cms site where we change the content with our posts.

Good luck with your sales. I've actually noticed a little more interest in Steinway as well.
Posted by: Del

Re: Website - 02/10/13 12:36 AM

Originally Posted By: Rod Verhnjak
I use Frontpage and have since it came out. I would like to clean up my page but am afraid if I change it I will loose my Google rating. I come up all over the place.
Having many pictures Google finds me.
Some people love all the photos but many web site designers have said I have a terrible site. frown

I did to until I needed to upgrade because of an operating system change. MS no longer supports FrontPage. Hence the shift to Xara (after trying more than a few others).

ddf
Posted by: Rod Verhnjak

Re: Website - 02/10/13 03:35 AM

Ya, Frontpage was removed from Microsoft products in 2007 so I just
ad it to my new operating software. My new laptop had windows 8
I removed it and installed windows 7. I'm not ready for change.
The computer I use for my website stuff has windows xp media and I love
that system. I'm going to load my last copy of FP on my laptop and see what happens.