Do you need to learn how to set up a business website for your cleaning company? Do you already have a cleaning service business set up? Many people make the assumption that they can handle creating and maintaining a business website themselves. Before you jump into designing and building your own cleaning business website, you may want to get an idea of the complexity that is involved. It is complex and will take hundreds of hours just to learn all the tools & tactics you need to know to even start the process. Many website builders such as Wix & Weebly make it sound like it is fast and easy, it is not! It is easy to get started and then the complexity and chaos increase as you get further in and many get lost in the details. I have hundreds contact me over the years that started a website for their cleaning company only to give up on it and ask me to do it.
How to use your cleaning company website.
One easily overlooked and effective way to use your business website is to simply put it on your marketing materials such as flyers, postcards, and business cards. You would be amazed at how many cleaning companies do not do this. If a potential client receives a flyer or postcard (and they should!) they will more likely visit your website than call you. It is the business website that convinces them to call you. Anyone can hand out a flyer. You can use your website as a digital postcard that can convey much more information than a flyer or card. The flyer piques their interest and moves them to visit your website where they can learn all about your cleaning company. If they happen to need a professional cleaner and they get your flyer, the curiosity factor is too great to resist. Once you have them on your website, you need to keep them there by addressing their needs.
Wix, Weebly, and Wordpress are the best-known website builder DIY systems. These are fine services, but many people take the hype way to seriously and think that they can crank out a business website in an evening. Not so! Maybe in 100 hours, maybe never because you have to learn the concepts and then the system and there are always browser/device/connectivity/speed issues because they are being built in the cloud – so to speak. There are so many small things that can go wrong and you will not even know they are happening.
How should you design your cleaning business website? There are a gazillion website design tools. It boggles the mind or at it least, it boggles mine!
Photoshop & Illustrator
These behemoth programs are the top contenders for tool bloat! These are some of the most complicated software tools ever developed and many newbies dive in full blow and at a considerable expense just to be bogged down to a halt by the over the top abilities of these programs, they are after all used in Hollywood movies and print magazine like the New Yorker. They are serious design tools and you presumably run a cleaning business. You could take years off and learn how to crop images and set text or you could just hire someone to do it! But if you must DIY it, at least start with tools made for regular people such as Canva. But keep in mind the more tools/ apps you use, the more vulnerable you are to hacking!
Canva (or the like)
Canva is an easy alternative to a full-blown professional software design program like Photoshop or Illustrator. For a monthly fee, you can use existing templates for common social media or website formats and create your banner or advert or product image quickly. They have automated most of the process. It is still not easy, but it is feasible, unlike the Adobe tools. The issue with these one-size-fits-all design tools is they are targets for hackers, they have millions of users and that makes them an attractive target.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
meta-tags, alt-tags, img-tags & title-tags... say what?
Noindex, nofollow, nosnippet, noarchive, etc... meta-tags, meta-descriptions, meta-names... do these terms make your pulse soar and your skin heat up? Do you need to know how this stuff works or how to code it? No! But unfortunately, if you do any kind of searching for how to improve your business website ranking you will start down this coding rabbit hole never to see the light of day. Don't do it! Unless you love code, but if that was the case you would likely not be reading this article. You could spend years learning how web code works and you do not have that kind of time if you are running a business. But these coding protocols are extremely important. The reason they are important is SEO. If you want to get to the top of search pages for your area when people are looking for a cleaning service near them, then SEO is the only game in town. It all depends on SEO and it is a full-time job to keep on top of it.
Your website will require a domain name, this is literally its name and it is used as a layer on top of the actual address which is an I.P. Address number. This is required for a business website. You simply go to any domain name seller/registrar and search for a name that is available and purchase it for 1 – 5 years. The longer the duration the cheaper the domain name is. There are custom TLDs (.com, .city, .company, .cleaning) that you can choose from .most people get obsessed with getting the .com but this is silly, there is no advantage to doing so and it will likely become a hindrance down the road as custom TLDs become dominant. It used to be the case that the .com was highly valued by search engines for businesses but that is no longer the case. You want the TLD that makes the most sense such as .cleaning or .service.
Your website lives on a server and the process of managing the server address and settings is called hosting. Your hosting account is where you upload and edit your website. Your hosting will be attached to your domain name. You will typically set up both at the same time. The type and size of hosting will determine what services you can use such as SSL security or professional email.
It stands for Secure Sockets Layer protocol. Are your eyes flipping back into your head now? All you need to know is that your business website should have it, even if you are not collecting information or processing orders on your website. SSL is used to determine ranking order on search engines and used in safety algorithms for social media syndication and it affects the attitude of anyone using your website. It is a no brainer and fairly cheap. Some browsers will warn your visitors about the risk of using your website. It is not a pretty warning and they will leave your website. You should have it. You can purchase it when you purchase the domain name and hosting and it is way easier to set up if you do it from the start.
Email (professional business grade)
Typically, your professional hosting account will come with an email program and service. You will want to decide if you are going to use this no-frills clunky email set up or go with a dedicated email service like Gmail Gsuite or Microsoft Outlook.
Popular email clients are:
Best email clients (providers)
I am already 1300 plus words into this article and I have not touched on the following topics yet. Now, do you see how building your own business website is a full-time job in itself? I have built over 400 cleaning business websites so I have created dozens of templates and have custom code ready to create a cleaning company website quickly. What takes me on average 1 – 2 hours will take you over 100 hours. You may get something up in 20 hours, but it will be super simple and not very effective. Every week I get emails from cleaning service owners saying something to the effect of this - “I have been building my website for over a year, I never seem to get the time and when I do I get so frustrated with it that I give up”!Business email etiquette
Most localized cleaning services are not playing the Russian roulette game of Adwords or Bing search engine advertising. Of all of the aspects of building and running your cleaning company website, this one is the most ridiculous to sort out. I have spent 15 years experimenting with Adwords and Bing ads and it one surefire way to burn through a ton of money with not much of an idea as to why or how it happened so fast! There is a reason why so few cleaning services use Adwords because it is extremely difficult to understand and very easy to spend tons of money.
Most businesses these days have a social media presence for their business. As far as a cleaning service goes, it is good to have a Facebook and Twitter page, but it is even better to have a LinkedIn and Alignable page. Facebook and Twitter are about entertainment and distraction, but LinkedIn and Alignable are about business networking. In my 15 years of experience consulting cleaning businesses, very few if any sales will come from Facebook or Twitter. But you can make some very lucrative partnerships via professional business networking sites. You need to pay for them, there is a reason why Facebook and Twitter are free! They want your data, which means they are not working for you, you are the product, not the client. Use online networking services that actually charge a fee like LinkedIn and Alignable. Other social apps such as Yelp, Thumbtack, Angieslist, Craigslist, and many others can also be utilized but they are not all created equal and some work well for a cleaning company and others are terrible, even damaging. You need to really understand what the intent of each is, whether it works for a localized cleaning company or not. It may be of value for a local restaurant and mostly useless for a cleaning service. Steer clear of Craigslist at all cost with your cleaning service. We go into great detail as to why in the Clean Up Now System. We analyze all of the top social media websites and if you should or should not use them with your cleaning company.
RSS syndication is not the star it used to be back in the days of blogging. It has largely been replaced by apps like Reddit, Quora, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and push notifications via browsers or texting on smartphones.
Blogging is the best way to create new content for your website that is easily syndicated and hopefully entertaining to the reader. It is an awkward fit for a local cleaning service. I have had dozens of clients set up a blog only to never post to it or give up after a few posts. This is a bad look, better to not have one at all. These days most businesses are posting on their Facebook page and not blogging. This is actually kind of unfortunate since posting on Facebook does not help your website ranking at all. What is there really to blog about that is interesting to your clients? It is a challenge. What you should blog about is working in the communities you want to work in because that is what people search for. You are never going to rank for Chicago house cleaning, but you may rank for Lincoln Park Cleaning Service if you have a bunch of blog posts about Lincoln Park AND day to day cleaning activities.
Another standard tool for a business website that is a bit of an awkward fit for a localized cleaning service is a newsletter. My internet business would not work at all without its advanced newsletter system that actually uses A.I. To serve up daily tips and tricks of the trade. But for a small local service business, it is hard to get enough interest to justify the production of a newsletter. It is not the right scale, I get 600 visitors per day, you may get 60 per month! But what you can do is have cell phone push notifications. But again the learning curve is steep and the costs is high. Better to get that phone call!
Web and phone push notifications are effective but they also annoy us all! Be honest, we all get tired of them. Is this the right kind of business for daily reminders? I don't think so. It is likely to result in the following conversation. Have you ever tried Bob' cleaning services? No, I got annoyed with the notifications I could not figure out how to stop. Yes, 95% of people have no idea how to stop push notifications which is why I quit using them for this website. It was doing more harm than good. It makes sense for a software or programming website that is trying get people to come back repeatedly, it is the wrong functional fit for a cleaning service company. Remember the goal, the phone call!
As a localized cleaning service, you may want to make it possible for your clients to pay their bill on your website. You can use popular services such as Paypal or Square. You will need to integrate the payment processor code with your website. This is a specialized coding skill. You will need to have a web builder or webmaster to handle this for you. It needs to be implemented safely with security being paramount.
You will want to include all of your testimonials on your website as we have done here. If you can get video testimonials even better! You can embed a review service such as Yelp within your website's testimonials page, but this is usually much more advanced setup than it is worth. If your cleaning service gets big enough to warrant that kind of setup, then you can evolve towards that type of integration. There are pros and cons to embedding a review service. Those are covered in the Clean Up Now System social media module.
One tried and true marketing tactic to get more work is to offer discounts or specials. By offering 25% of the first cleaning or by offering 50% off a deep cleaning for a referral, you can grow your cleaning business quickly. Don't cheap out on these, they only work if they are really compelling. Once you have done a job or two for them, then it really starts to pay off. I used to give free cleanings for referrals! I would often land clients that paid on average $2800 per year from just giving up a couple hours of my time for the first free cleaning. People feel obligated to hire you after a free or deeply discounted cleaning. It's a generous thing to do, they should reciprocate. If they do not, then that is a red flag, a bad actor and you just saved yourself months of frustration from dealing with a problem client.
Many cleaning services want to offer a way for the visitor to schedule an appointment without any interaction. They are afraid of losing the opportunity. I get the impulse, you want to get to the first job as fast and painless as possible. But there are many problems with this poorly thought out impulse. How are you going to determine the price beforehand? With a formula? That's not a good idea. Few visitors are going to book the job without knowing the price beforehand. In order to book the job without an in-person bid is to use a formula on the website form. That is a sure fire way to underbid your cleaning services and be stuck with the bad pricing for the duration of the relationship. I get the geeky need to automate any and all services on your website...resist it! It is the wrong priority. You are a professional cleaner, not a silicon valley startup!
Here are some down-sides to auto-pricing and auto-scheduling.
There are a dozen other bad results from automating the website experience, and you can learn about them with a subscription to the CleanZine.
You actually should not put your cleaning prices on your business website. This is a common mistake that cleaning services make. You need to get into the space and meet the decision maker. Don't be in such a hurry and lazy. The 20 minutes you spend on the walkthrough (and in person bid) will result in tens of thousands of dollars for your cleaning company from that one client over many years. The zero seconds you spend on the automaton will likely result in one to two cleanings for a few hundred dollars. It's the wrong focus!
Your cleaning business website should be set up to achieve one result and one result only...