If you can afford it, spend a minimum of $1000 on a website for your detailing, PDR, or other automotive appearance business. Choose someone local with a reputation that you’ve verified.
If you can’t, do this:
Step 1: Reserve domain.
Time required: 10 min.
Go to http://namecheap.com and follow the directions.
Step 2: Get a logo.
Time required: 3-5 days.
Go to http://logonerds.com
Choose a design that’s as simple as possible, and with no more than 2 colors. You’ll be using this for shirts, letterhead, and vehicle signs, so simplicity and reproducibility will keep costs down.
Step 3: Get a foreign web designer.
Time required: 2-3 weeks
Elance.com connects you to foreign contractors who do amazing work for very little. Check out this Filipino web designer who works for $15 an hour. She’s got 23 reviews, all of them 5 stars. Her portfolio is full of gorgeous stuff.
Create an account and post your job description and budget ($250). Note that you want your site built on the WordPress platform, as this will make updating the site simple. Provide as much detail as possible: how many pages your site will contain, an example of a site that your site should look similar to (but not a copy of), and how long you’re willing to wait (designers prefer 2-3 weeks).
Within 3 days, you should have at least 20 applicants. Review their portfolios and reviews and make your choice.
Provide them the following:
- Photo of yourself.
- Your bio. How long have you been in business. What do you love about your job?
- Before/after photos of your work. 8-20 photos.
- What makes you different. This is critical, so give this some thought. Maybe your prices are lower than your competition, you’re more experienced, you’re the only mobile service around, you have an unmatched guarantee, you have received awards. Whatever it is that’s different, make it clear, and make it clear on your home page.
- Testimonials, certifications, or awards. Quotes from customers. Quotes of reviews on Google Places or Yelp. Angies List awards, IDA membership.
- Services and prices. How long do your services take, what do they cost, and what are the steps involved. See how Mr. Sparkle of West Babylon, NY presents his services menu.
- Contact info. Phone numbers, email, and address (if you’re fixed-location).
- Meta title information. This tells Google what you do and where you do it. Ask your designer to title your home page: “[City you service] [service you offer] by [your business name.] IE: “Atlanta, GA Mobile Car Detailing by SuperShine.
Over the course of 2-3 weeks, your designer will send over mockups and drafts for your approval. Don’t be picky. Trust your designer. Get it done. I’ve seen clients drag 2-3 week projects into 2-3 month projects because they didn’t like color schemes and distances between photos.
Step 4: Get hosting.
Time required: 15 minutes
Cost: $4.95 a month.
Never use Godaddy. Ever.
Go to Bluehost.com and sign up for their $4.95/ month hosting. Decline every upsell.
Email your web designer your Bluehost login and passwords.
Your site will be live within 24 hours.
Step 5: Register with Google Places.
Time required: 15 minutes
Follow the directions in this video: