Today launching a new website for a service business isn’t the same as when I started in 2013. It’s so much easier, and it costs far less. Technology has advanced to levels that you can create a website with all the necessary tools to start and grow a service business effectively and efficiently and have everything you need in one place.
In this blog post, we will go over several topics that will help you build your website from scratch:
- We will talk about the old ways of making a website
- We will talk about the advancement of technology and how easy it is to build a website today
- 5 essential things to focus on when creating a website
- How to build your website in just a few hours
- Plus, I will include some helpful resources to help you build a website and start a business
Let’s get started!
The old way: What goes on when building out a custom website
$6,000 is what my partner and I invested in King of Maids when we started. The majority of that (around $5,000, I’d say) went to a designer and developer to build our website (initial phase 1), which included basic online booking capabilities. Not only did it cost a lot, but it took weeks to finish phase 1 of our website.
The worst part about all that is that you constantly need to change your website, landing pages, and marketing strategies when you’re trying to scale a business. You don’t know what works, and testing is part of running a successful business. Whenever this happens, you’ll find additional costs that go to your developer for making these changes for you. The even more stressful thing is the time it takes for specific changes to be made. If you’re impatient like me, waiting days and sometimes weeks for simple changes to be made to your website can be very frustrating.
I can’t remember exactly how long after the initial website was built, but it wasn’t too long after that we decided to re-do our booking forms. It’s just part of business. You think there’s a better setup, and you want to test it. There go another few thousand dollars and weeks before those changes go live. Luckily at this point, we were already bringing in revenue.
This is one of the problems I tried to solve when building out BookingKoala. One of our main goals was always this; ‘If I was 19 years old again, how can I start the same exact business for under $1,000, and how can it be started and scaled efficiently and effectively.’
The new way: This one was for the 19-year-old kid without much money or experience
The idea of building out everything in one place solved that single pain point. I’m no different from any of you, and I started many other businesses in my career as an entrepreneur. Apart from King of Maids, I launched many different companies using Shopify. I started a business using Cratejoy along with many others. Some sold, and some failed. The good part about those experiences are the lessons and knowledge I gained from being part of those journeys.
Whatever you do, you’re learning something. Believe me when I say this because it’s vital. Everything you do, you’re gaining valuable experience. I’ve lost hundreds of thousands of dollars testing things and experimenting with different business models. Even though I didn’t make much money with those businesses, and in some cases, I lost money, there were huge benefits of starting those businesses.
When I was trying to succeed at those businesses, I learned other softwares. Many of them had one thing in common, and that was how easy it was to build out your website and have everything in one place. This was way before BookingKoala, but back then, I was like, WOW, I wish there was something like that when I began King of Maids.
With Shopify, you can build out a website and have all the tools you need to run a successful eCommerce brand connected to that website. With Cratejoy, it was the same concept but geared towards subscription businesses. By paying a fee of around $50 per month, one individual can start and grow one of these businesses.
When I started BookingKoala, I remembered that, and that’s why we created a website builder. It was for that 19-year-old kid looking to start a service business and didn’t have much money and experience. A website builder would allow you to control your entire website while having all the other necessary tools you need for a service to scale efficiently and effectively.
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Today the website builder is a massive part of BookingKoalas success and just as I envisioned it would be. You can sign up for BookingKoala, and within seconds, a pre-built website is made for you, powered by all the tools that will make your service grow effectively and efficiently. All you have to do is configure your site by uploading a logo, set up your services and prices, connect your bank account, and you’re ready to start accepting jobs. If you’re doing the jobs yourself, you can have a client book using your website and booking forms the very same day.
This was a game-changer, and it’s no surprise someone would rather spend a few hours setting all this up themselves instead of hiring developers overseas and spending weeks working with them before you can launch your website. I’m not even going to mention the scams when dealing with developers for the first time and the countless hours I had to spend during my nighttime making sure the work was done correctly.
5 things that are important when making your website
Making your website seems easy, but you’d be surprised how much planning can go into properly structuring your website. A website is not something you do just for the sake of having a website. It all has to be planned out and worked on as time goes on. Don’t expect to get everything right from the start, so don’t overwhelm yourself. It’s okay to make changes when your website is live, and you learn new things or hear about new user experiences with your website.
When you start building out your website, you have to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. This is key, and that is the only way to do this. If you’re starting a new business and have little experience as an entrepreneur and/or in the niche, you might not even know who your customers are or what to do. That’s okay. Just take a step back and do the best you can. Think about what the user would want to do on your website and provide it to them as efficiently as possible. Launch your website, gather feedback and improve your website as you go.
Here are five things to look out for when building your website:
Your website is part of your overall image, and it should be a branding strategy. The way your website looks will either help you make sales or turn people away, sometimes in seconds. Trust me, there are times I land on a website and immediately leave because they are so awful that I instantly don’t trust the company. Your website should act as a ‘WOW’ experience, and your goal should be to keep the user on your website as long as possible. When someone lands on your website, this is your chance to have them learn everything about you. Learn what your visitors want and provide it to them, so they spend minutes or hours looking through it.
Reviews and testimonials
Having live reviews and testimonials of real customers is one of the best ways to have people engage with your brand. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and think about what they would want to see and hear from your customers. Then provide as many of such reviews as possible on your website. The more, the better because you never know if someone will read 3 or 100 of them. Give them an infinite amount of reviews to read, so they keep scrolling. These customers are being sold through reviews, and by reading a ton of them, a real customer is selling your next customer and teaching them about your company.
Videos and photos
The right kind of videos and photos are very powerful because they can have the same effect as reviews. Testimonial videos of real customers can potentially keep someone watching for hours, and the more of them you have, the better it will be for your business. Have reviews and video testimonials because someone might go through them both. Product videos or photos can be beneficial as well. For example, if you’re a home builder, make a video of every home you’ve completed (like a walkthrough), post it on your website, and add many pictures. Then as you complete more homes, keep adding them to your website. There’s never such a thing as too many. Get creative and add these to your website.
Give a warm, inviting feeling to your clients
This can be accomplished in many different ways, so get creative, but it’s crucial. If your audience is sensitive or you’re selling sensitive products, yet your website is all in black, giving a very aggressive vibe, it will likely make the user leave. Learn your colors and make the website very inviting while matching your brand. Add an ‘Our Story’ page to your website and fill it with Founders and employee photos or videos. Show the user you care in any way that you can.
Get rid of all friction
There are all kinds of people in the world—those who have a lot of patience and those who don’t. You have to be prepared by eliminating all friction on your website. Make your website clean, simple, and easy to navigate through. Again, the best way to approach this is to put yourself in the user’s shoes and go through your website as you’re optimizing it. If you can’t find a phone number to call or the contact us page, it will be a problem. If someone lands on your site and it’s loading for 60 seconds, it’s going to be an issue again. If your font is tiny and hard to read, you should increase the font size. If you check your website from a mobile phone and it seems like the menu of your website is hard to find, you need to address the issue.
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When growing and scaling a successful business, you optimize and add things to your website forever. That’s why I didn’t particularly love the idea of hiring developers when I first started. It gets expensive quickly, especially when you’re trying to figure everything out as a new entrepreneur with no experience. There are always ongoing changes as you need to test your ideas or new things have to be added to your website. On top of it, these changes take time to communicate with your developers and implement. If your developers are busy with other projects, this can take far too long.
How to build your new website in just a few hours
To start building out your website using the BookingKoala website builder, you first have to go to the Settings > Design Forms & Website > Website Builder & Themes and then finally click on the ‘Customize Theme’ button shown in the image:
Then when you enter the builder, you’ll see a screen like this:
From inside the builder, you’ll be able to do many different things. For starters, right when you sign up for BookingKoala, you get a pre-made website that is available for instant use. Then from inside the website builder, all you have to do is change certain things to fit your company and branding. Those things will include adding your logo, changing text and images, adding your domain and phone numbers, and adding in your prices and other things that make your company unique and stand out. If you don’t like the default theme, you can add your own sections or change your theme entirely. Here is a list of themes you can use: https://www.bookingkoala.com/themes
To check out what you can do with the website builder, you can watch this video (I talk about the Website Builder at the 7 minute and 36 second mark – from there watch the rest of the video):
After watching the video above, you can check out our help center to help you get started. We created articles to help you set up your website from scratch, so I recommend checking them out if you’re struggling with the setup. If you still need help with something, you can always reach support, and we can assist you, or you can visit our Facebook group and get help from other BookingKoala users.
I also made a blog post explaining all of the tools that come with your website that make growing a service business easier. The blog post will also show you the benefits of each powerful feature and module. I’d highly encourage you to check it out if you’re looking to start a business using BookingKoala. It will help you set things up correctly and better understand the software. To view examples of websites built using our website builder or examples of form setups, you can click here.