There are around 500 carpet cleaners in Raleigh, NC. A Google search for "carpet cleaning Raleigh" turns up 226,000 results. However, a quick look shows that only a handful of carpet cleaning companies even have their own website. Many, or most, of the companies that turn up in the search only have listings in web directories. While putting your business name in a directory does increase your chances of being called, so does buying a lottery ticket increase your chance of winning the lottery. It just doesn't improve your odds by much. Your website should be part of a "sales funnel" strategy that makes your phone ring.
The foremost consideration is the quality of the content on your website. Does it make people want to call you? Is it clean, clear, and concise? Web surfers read differently than people reading books or magazines: they scan. If you don't catch their eye with the things you want to get across, you will lose them before they make the decision to call. So make a good impression! Put your critical points in headers and bullets so that scanners will catch your meaning without reading all of the fine print. Make your purposes and content organization clear on the front page so that visitors can discover the most information in the least amount of time.
After developing the content of your website, you will be concerned with how to drive traffic to it. Most of us depend on our website as a secondary, or supporting sales tool. Have the back of your business card be a place for content that makes people want to visit your website. Use an offer, or a teaser, that drives people there. Promote your website as you're promoting your business. Put it in your Yellow Pages ad, and on your mailers. People who want to know more will come to your website. There, you can present far more information to them than you could have put into any advertisement.
This is where most carpet cleaners with websites will wind up. Those who aspire to another level, though, will want to engage in "search engine optimization." They will want to show up on the first page of users Google and Yahoo! searches. This brings another order of complexity to the whole enterprise.
There are two ways to go about this: do it yourself, or hire someone to perform your SEO for you. If you do the work yourself, it will probably take longer, and it will cost you many hours of time both for studying and for doing the considerable grunt work that is required. However, once you know how to do it, your future SEO will become much simpler and more cost-effective.
If you hire someone to do your SEO for you, you will probably go higher, sooner in the search engines. If time is critical to you, this may be the way to go.
Carpet cleaning work is light in the first months of the year, so I found myself with more time and less money. These were the optimum circumstances for doing my SEO myself. After many hours of study and some considerable amount of money spent (some well, some wasted), I have moved one of my pages to the top of Google, and two of my pages to the top of Yahoo!'s search for my chosen keyword. My phone calls have increased, and I hope to soon make my web page my only form of advertisement.
Dan Keech performs residential carpet cleaning in Raleigh, NC for Fiber Clean. There is a full description of services and prices at [http://www.fibercleanonline.com]