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Now maybe I know how people who don't understand the difference between a gas and electric furnace feel.

I'm trying to get educated on how to optimize my website so it can be found on Yahoo, Google etc.

Is optimizing really that difficult?

_____________________________________________

Lost in cyberspace.

Randy

February 10th - I've edited my original post/ question as I was doing the exact thing I am trying to stay away from - being negative.

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Michael Brown you rock! Thank you very much. Your information is actually understandable and I think I can follow it. I will look into the meta-tag think (I don't even know what that is; I paid someone to build the site also).

I'm curious though. . . in what ways specifically do you think I am being negative? I pride myself on trying not to be negative or criticize or bash other inspectors and people in general. I think I know to what content you might be referring. I am simply trying to educate the consumer about licensing in our state and draw distinctions between qualified and unqualified people. Perhaps I'm off the mark. Again, thank you for the feedback - it is alway welcome. I will check out the 'structuresmart' site.

In my most positive smiley voice and face but still stating the truth the best way I know how,

Randy

P.S. How much do I owe YOU now?! [;)]

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I agree that quality, relevant inbound links are the best way to drive traffic to a site. Mike wouldn't you also agree that a web a site with well placed keywords and relevant text content is just as important as inbound links if not more? I'm also under the impression that buying inbound links can be expensive. Your thoughts please.

Randy, the SEO outfit you have hired should be providing you with keyword analysis reports and other documentation to account for their charges. I have no idea who you are using, but let me just say from experience..be very careful .

Erol Kartal

ProInspect

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Hi Mike,

I was referring to buying quality one way links for a web site. No reciprocal cheap stuff.

My wife has several for a small biz site with a page rank of 7 that has helped generate a tremendous amount of traffic and sales. I wouldn't even think of buying a link and adding to a web forum post.

Erol Kartal

ProInspect

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Sounds like you're getting hosed by the "optimization expert".

In this business you have to stand out from the crowd. Many inspectors buy canned websites or try to make their websites look and sound like everyone elses. Joe Homebuyer see no reason to pick you over the other 189 inpsectors in your market because all the websites say the same....thorough...knowledgeable...onsite reports...many years in the construction business...yada yada yada.

Until recently when I started messing around with some text on my home page, my site was a solid #1 or #2 on the big 3. It's not like all the other home inspection sites. We've been at the top of the search engines for over 3 years now. Once you find what works, stick with it!

I look at thousands of websites. I study marketing and copy writing. The very best home inspection copy written web site I've seen is http:www.besttampainspector.com. I don't know if Cramer writes his own stuff or hires it done, but whoever writes it knows copywriting. Heck, it makes me want to move to Tampa and buy a home just so I can have him inspect it! I've borrowed a few lines from him as well. This site gets "it".

Study other websites. Find the ones you like and see how they rank in the search engines. Study what they do and how they do it.

Pay Per Click (PPC) can be a big help, just make sure you have some funds and plan to stay in it for the long haul.

Good Luck,

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PPC can be very effective if you know what you're doing. Real estate related web sites are the most competitive of any industry. The most popular keywords can cost up to $2.50 per click. Target less popular (but still decent) keywords or you'll spend a fortune. You must be able to write very effective Google Ads or viewers will pass you by.

Erol Kartal

ProInspect

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Been wrestling with this isssue myself. When I search google for these keywords all I get are the national list. My site doesn't even exsist unless I search specificaly for my company name. I have made some changes to title and meta tags but it takes time for the crawlers to come back and index your site with the new information. I track hits on my site just to see it it has been crawled and if my listing has moved up any or if it shows on the key word I want to come up under.

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Originally posted by Donald Lawson

I look at thousands of websites. I study marketing and copy writing. The very best home inspection copy written web site I've seen is http:www.besttampainspector.com. I don't know if Cramer writes his own stuff or hires it done, but whoever writes it knows copywriting. Heck, it makes me want to move to Tampa and buy a home just so I can have him inspect it! I've borrowed a few lines from him as well. This site gets "it".

Thanks, I wrote that drivel myself. It ranks #1 in Google for "Tampa home inspector", but not soley because of the copy. A lot of other search engine optimization went into it.

If any of you are going to steal, I mean borrow from it, at least be polite enough to change the wording a bit.

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I found a nice How To on the Lyco's site. http://insite.lycos.com/tutorial.asp there is about 20 pages of information to go through but I have found it to be one of the better documents pertaining to this subject with links to some free tools for evaulating your site. I was amazed when I went to market leap, my site was only on yahoo and msn, no listing elsewhere. I was surprised as I have applied for listings on google quite some time ago. I sure hope I haven't done something to get my site banned. I also ran that validator tool on my site and have found errors. This is a canned site that you just add your own flavor to. I am coming up on renewing my hosting contract and might be looking for a change. Have those of you that ended up with web hosting packages from the training mills migrated away from the canned products and gone to different hosting venues? How many of you build your own site and how many pay for custom sites?

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Originally posted by carle3

. . . How many of you build your own site and how many pay for custom sites?

Great question. I wrestled with this much before making a decision.

Keep in mind, I live in the Seattle area, one of the meccas of techno-geeks. One would think I'd have plenty of options in finding the right person to build my site, but I guess its just like anything else, even our business. How do you find a good, competent, professional that can perform to meet your expectations?.

I'd ask around a lot; one guy had his website built by some high school kid for less than $500 bucks and the site was just what he wanted. Some 'professionals' I called wanted to charge me upwards of $2000 - $3000 bucks. Perhaps a fair price for the hours it might take.

What I ended up doing was bartering with a home inspection client who is a professional graphic designer who had built websites before. I ended up with a site that lookspretty good but doesn't have the capabilities and features that I was expecting. I've learned that bartering is not always a good way to get good service.

If I decided to build the site myself, I'd have to get educated and go through a whole other learning curve. I would end up with another full time gig - not something I wanted to do.

Again, its a great learning experience for me. I am simply a consumer (just like the first time homebuyer) who doesn't really know anything about what they're getting into (website development or homebuying) and am relying on the professional to provide a service that meets or surpasses expectations. It can really be a crap shoot!

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