I recently had a little debate with some friends back east, and I basically said some of their web work was crap because they were using a Dreamweaver Template tool and I thought that approach would be a mistake for helping another friend with their business. Harsh I know. We bust each others balls a lot, and it was written in an SMS text so some things may have been taken to heart, and I apologize for being a ball buster and the way I approached it. My bad but get over it. My other friends are starting their new SUV Limousine service in St. John’s, Newfoundland, I think to be named Elite Limousine, and they are getting this friend to help them and I am sure it will rock.
If one was going to design this limousine site from a template angle I would highly consider wordpress because it is agile, lean, and extremely cost effective to the point that someone like myself, who is not technically inclined, could produce something of a professional design, and fast with a boat load of tools to boot. Don’t believe me? A friend of mine manages two high traffic sites that runs off of Wordpress: Screenrant and Notebooks. The website could be designed in numerous ways such as HTML, PHP, HTML5 (this will be the new de facto way, bar none. It’s Kick Ass), or the template approach, etc. If you want to see some great design then I highly suggest TheFWA and I would recommend something more extensive beyond Wordpress for a business, but if you need something fast and cost effective, then it will more then do the trick. If you don’t know people to design a site for you, then you code look into Top Coder and host a contest but take more time in this area as it is easy to get plenty of crap in return.
How to get a Website up in 1 day:
Register your domain name. There are many but Godaddy is solid (just ignore all the bells & whistles they try and sell you. Get the domain, and that’s it). $10-15 /year.
Help Pointing Godaddy to Google for Email.
Get hosting for your site. There are a plethora of hosting sites like Dreamhost, Godaddy, & I prefer IX Host . $60ish per year.
Design your site using a template, a web designer (this may take more then a day), or you can download Wordpress for your domain. You will need a Wordpress.com (the previous link is wordpress.org to download the file to put on your host account) Account for some API keys, etc as well.
You’ll want a Wordpress Theme. There are many and the link is a suggestion only for free templates. For a Limo Site, I would keep it Photo rich. If you know PHP really well then you can design your own.
If you go with Wordpress, then you want to have Smartphones accounted for with the Wordpress Mobile Pack.
Wordpress SEO Pack is a must as well. Once your wordpress is installed you can search plugins and download them internally. Research core plugins for pertinent to your site, but try and avoid getting caught up in Plugin overkill.
How are you going to manage your information regarding your customers/leads? CRM or Customer Relationship Management is something you should strongly think about. 37signals and Zoho are cost effective, and Salesforcee (Group Edition is $25/user/month) is more expensive but far and away the leader. Plus, Salesforce now has Wordpress to Lead Integration. If you choose a web design other then Wordpress, and you go with Salesforce, you can use their Web to Lead function built in their Group Edition. Even in a limo business, you should keep data of people & businesses inquiring, and ultimately using your service. These people are a great recurring and referral revenue source, so stay in touch with them, and thank them for using your service, and you can send them links to the cool video you are about to make.
How are you going to handle your accounting and invoicing to businesses, etc? Look no further then Freshbooks. They have 1 million+ users and make your invoicing task easy. I am not certain the cost, but it is cheap.
Are you going to accept online payments? This will take more then a day to setup but in Canada I would advise Moneris.
Get a Twitter account and post a twitter icon on your site. See my Hockey Site PuckDrop.ca. Twitter is not hard. You simply need to know Hash tags that people search on like: #limo #stjohns #GeorgeStreet #HavingATime #DonnieDumphy, better yet, create one and run with it… like #PuckDrop . Once you have a Hash Tag of your own, get people tweeting and taking pics with that hash tag, and you can linkup to CrowdReel or spread the word about it. Use it, get your friends following you, and chatting it up.
With Google Apps (See 2.) it comes with a pretty solid calendar that you can share with your team privately, and I would integrate it with Tungle, and link your Tungle URL on your website so that your Calendar (Free/Busy Slots Only) can be shown public. Tungle is free.
Do you have a professional phone service? Grasshopper or Ringcentral.ca is the way to go.
Facebook for websites (a little more advanced but give your nerdy friend something nice and they will hook you up). This basically makes your site a fan page all unto itself. And of course, promote your site on Twitter and Facebook.
Now you are up and running. How do you market your site? Well, there are many ways and you can start by putting Vimeo to good use and make a funny video that your friends talk about and share. Drive around St. John’s, Signal Hill, the Lighthouse, Cape Spear, and make something funny. The JK Wedding Dance is almost at 5omil views so anything is possible and that didn’t cost them much if anything to make. Be funny, creative, and really think around social media that your friends will find funny and want to talk about, and share on Facebook, etc. Traditional ads are expensive, and hard to track… on that note I almost forgot. You should also utilize Google Analytics. This is more important for broader geographical marketing and more in depth traffic analysis, however you have the link in case you need it.
When you are in Newfoundland & you need a good photographer: Photos by Tom.
If you have ideas then by all means feel free to comment.