Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Pet sitter and dog daycare web sites

In addition to pet sitting, I also build web sites for small businesses, including pet sitters. Yes, even for my competition. There is plenty of business for everyone these days, and I love coming up with new ways to help other pet sitters get established.

Your website is your Number One marketing tool. I don’t advertise at all; all of my business is from my website or referrals. A website is the place you get to explain your services, the areas you cover, and introduce yourself. If a potential client likes what they read, then you get the call or email, and you’re in business.

Sue's Critter Care pet sitting
With that in mind, here are some of my tips for a professional-looking web site:
Short and to the point. Don’t start with a lot of rambling text about how you have loved animals since you were a kid. Everyone says that. Say that at the end or on the “About me” page. Start on page one with the basics: area covered, services.

Make links easy to find. Don’t bury them in cute graphics or somewhere where the client can’t find them. Make it screaming obvious that THIS IS A LINK. People expect links on the left side or across the top. Don’t make them think.

If you use graphic links, add text links at the bottom of the page so the search engines will index them. Search engines don’t read graphics, though they do read alt tags (hidden description of images).

Use your name and a photo. Let people get to know you. It is worth having a professional photo done. This is a personal service business.

Annie's Critter Care
Phone number and email address easy to find, and on every page. This is critical. You want them to contact you, don’t you? Make it idiot-proof. I put large phone numbers on every page at the top somewhere. It is worth repeating the number in several places. Include the area code. 

• Be sure your web developer has added a title and key words, and they are both very carefully worded in “consumer language,” using words a customer is likely to use when searching for your service.

Make all of your pages potential "entry" pages. My pet sitting page is just one of many on my site. Although it is not my main page, it consistently comes up on the first page in Google searches. People enter my site at the pet sitting webpage if that is the service they are looking for.

Accuracy. Nothing is worse than spelling errors, pages that won’t load and links that don’t work. Project a professional image. Your web site is YOU.

From the Heart Doggie Daycare
A web site is not going to show up in the search engines the day after you go live with it, so be patient. It takes several weeks, even a month, for them to find you and add you to the list.

Read a post I wrote last year about how to optimize your website for search engines.

Here are some sites I’ve designed:
Sue’s Critter Care: http://www.suescrittercare.com/
Annie’s Critter Care: http://www.anniescrittercare.com/
From the Heart Doggie Daycare: http://fromtheheartdogs.com/
SpawZ doggie daycare: http://www.spawzdog.com/
This client built her own site from a template and had me help her refine it and get everything working correctly.
And my own site:

Tails Wag 4 Us pet sitter, dog walker
SpawZ Doggie Daycare
Poway Pet Care

© 2010 Terry Albert. All Rights Reserved.



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