Last Updated: September 30, 2020

You get what you pay for. That’s also true with a lead generating plumbing website.

It’s Like My Lawnmower 

I had a small couch grass lawn. I thought I could manage it with a push mower. But it just skidded across the top of the grass—basically a complete waste of money. I had to buy another one. 

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Then I bought a small electric mower, and it worked perfectly. Until we got a much larger front lawn when it drove me crazy because I kept standing on the power cord and tripping over.

In the end, I had to buy a four-stroke rotary mower. I didn't think I needed it at the time, but it would have been a better investment because I wasted the price of two other mowers on the way there.

This is just like choosing a fully functional lead generating website vs a cheap plumbing website. 

Choose The Real Goal: A Lead Generating Website

You don’t need a plumbing website - that’s the wrong goal. Getting a website is no good unless it generates leads. You actually need a lead generating website - that’s the right goal. 

There Is A Difference Between A Custom Lead Generating Website And Cheap Website

When you are just getting started with your plumbing business, it might be tempting to save a little here and there. After all, you have lots of things to pay out for but not much revenue coming in.

And you might not know all the wrinkles about marketing and the digital space.

This may lead to thinking that all websites are pretty much the same. You might think what's the point and paying heaps for a website when a cheap website will do the job.

That's not right though.

Elements of A Lead Generating Website

A lead generating plumbing website consists of these elements

  1. A strategy.
  2. A design.
  3. A technology to use to build the website.
  4. A whole bunch of content for people to view, watch or read.
  5. Someone to put in the time to construct the website.
  6. Hosting to deliver the website.

Content: The Big Cost Of A Lead Generating Plumbing Website

If you are looking for plumbing website design, you might be wondering why some websites cost more than others. The guts of the difference is this;

  • For a lead generating plumbing website to be effective it needs to be set up and optimised to get visibility on Google. That visibility needs to be for search terms that are relevant to your business and your service location.
  • Thus it needs to be set up in a particular way with pages for each of your services and pages for each of your locations.
  • It needs to set up for conversion with conversion oriented content. That’s real pictures of you and your team, videos about your business and conversion oriented copywriting.

Writing a useful web page takes 3 to 4 hours so it can cost about $400 to $600 a page for an SEO copywriter to produce. So it’s a simple equation. If you are going cheap, something has to give. 

Here are some examples of website copy from excellent copywriters who will help you differentiate your plumbing website from the also rans.

From Libby Hakim

Approx $600 per page

From Jones The Writer

Approx $660 per page

From The Digital Laneway

Approx $330 per page. Note the word count is 1/2 of the others so you are still talking $600

Save Money? Create Your Own Plumbing Website Content

You can write the content yourself to save money. This has two problems;

  1. You might think it saves you money, but your time is also a cost. I pretty much guarantee you it will take 2x longer for you to write a page then it will take for a skilled writer.
  2. Unless you are a skilled SEO copywriter supported by appropriate tools, you will need to spend time learning what to write about and how to set it all out.  If you don;'t get that right your copy will be ineffective in Google and/or in converting visitors to calls.

You can hire a writer overseas. 

There are plenty of sites like iWriter, Upwork or Copyblogger where you can hire it done and get pages produced - perhaps at lower cost. It’s viable. You will also need to allow for your personal time working on:

  1. Creating a brief to get the writer to understand what is required in terms of tone and standards.
  2. Copy editing the material produced because it won’t be the same tone between the writers. It will have US spelling, non-English grammar and it won’t be customised for your business.
  3. Checking the content for plagiarism. I’ve seen writers just steal copy from other sites and sell it to you as the original. I’ve also seen them just “spin” content from other websites. See this promotion from a spinning tool.

Other Problems With A Cost Cutting Approach To Plumbing Website Design and Development

No Strategy

Go cheap, and you will miss the strategy elements of getting a website set up.

Focus: No or Bad Keyword Selection

Without a clear understanding of your plumbing business and the strategy, your plumbing website will likely be targeting the wrong search terms. I often see some of these issues:

  • Targeting keywords like plumber in [local suburb] where there are no searches by potential customers. 
  • Targeting terms that are just too unrealistic or vague - like plumber, bathroom renovations or hot water.
  • Lumping of several target keywords on a services page. You need one keyword topic per page.
  • Not planning or creating the content angle and quality needed to dislodge another plumber from the top of the  Google search result page.

Conversion Factors: Poor Branding and Point Of Difference

Many plumbers have business names like RTG Plumbing or TLA Plumbing. These names are forgetable.

Forgetable names kill your marketing because people do not remember your brand name. This means you miss out on the value of getting people to search for your plumbing business by name and being shown the Google Knowledge Panel of your business.

An example of the Google knowledge panel that shows after a branded/name search

Further, many plumbers “specialise” in Domestic and Commercial plumbing. They don’t specialise at all. Your branding and market position needs to provide an answer to the question your potential customers have in their head.

That question is “Why should I choose your plumbing business from all the other alternatives I have available to me?”

Fail to understand that or fail to communicate it on your website; you are just fighting the marketing battle with price as a commodity service provider. 

Taking cost shortcuts on the strategy means you will likely be firing your marketing bullets in the wrong direction and wasting money. This will cost you way more in wasted cost and missed lead opportunities over the years.

Choosing The Right Base Software For Your Plumbing Website

The Software And Technology for Building Your Plumbing Website

There are many base technologies and suppliers you can use to build out your plumbing website.  Some examples are Weebly, Wix, Squarespace and self-hosted WordPress.  We build our plumber websites on WordPress because they are extensible and provide all the functionality a plumber would need to implement all the elements of our Unlimited Plumbing Customers Blueprint.

This section compares other website builder technologies to WordPress. If you want to make a comparison, just search Google for WordPress vs (for example) Wix.

Just be careful about what you read because the reviewers are often driven by the ongoing commission income they can earn by referring visitors and buyers to Wix, Squarespace and the like.

Pros of Using Wix or Squarespace vs Self-Hosted WordPress
  • Easier to use than WordPress - often totally WYSIWYG.
  • Hosting and all the software updates are taken care of by the supplier.
  • Some basic versions are free in return for advertising on the site.
  • Site speed and mobile responsiveness are taken care of by the themes that are available on the platform.
  • There’s often an excellent level of helpful information and support.
Cons of Using Wix or Squarespace vs Self-Hosted WordPress
  • Ends up costing more than self-hosted WordPress because of the monthly costs and the costs of add ons you need to make the site fully functional.
  • You don’t own the site, and it’s challenging to export it to other technologies. For example, Wix makes it nearly impossible to export images that are loaded to the site.
  • WordPress is open source, and there are 100,000’s of developers. It’s easy to find someone who can work on and code your site.
  • WordPress is not limited by the hosting and the theme chosen. You can do what you want with your site.
  • They are mostly hosted in the USA, so the websites have an inherent delay while the page fetch calls for the info from the USA and the info comes back. You can’t change that easily, whereas you can host your WordPress site in Australia, which makes it inherently faster.
  • You only get the integrations and code setups that are supplied by the technology platform.
  • The biggest issue is that none of these platforms is any good at operating a correctly set up blog, and you need a blog to promote your business and website.

Design Issues

Cheap Plumbing Website Design - Use A Template

There are really two types of website designs. Custom design and template designs.

You can get the design pretty cheaply buying a premade design template. A template is a pre-made design that is suitable for a plumbing website. You or your developer then populates it with your website content.

Some templates are free, but most cost from $75 - $200. 

Two sources of plumbing website templates are:

Here's an example

And another one

The Pros of Using Plumbing Website Templates
  • Lower cost than custom design.
  • Set up is partially done for you, so you know what content is required and where it needs to go.
  • Typically, you can use the sample images that come with the template, but you should check that you have the rights to use them.
  • You can see ahead of time what you are likely to get.
The Cons of Using Plumbing Website Templates

The job of the designer/developer is to make their template example look great, so you buy it for your plumbing site. This ends up with:

  • The sites never looking like the original template because your plumbing content won’t be as good.
  • Bloated code and plugins with no real care for the site speed.

Other problems we have encountered with Templated Themes are:

  • You have limited ability to make the design fit your business branding or carry out other changes without a developer.
  • In the hands of a non-designer, that’s you the plumber; the website often ends up looking like a school kid in a basement built it. It’s less than professional.
  • Limited capabilities of the theme that you don’t understand before you start. For example, we often find that it’s not possible to use a page format that excludes the header or footer to make Google Ads landing pages.
  • There will be other plumber websites on Google that use the same template and the same images. If your potential customer sees both, it’s a bit of a problem.
  • Use suboptimal technology on the site for income reasons. For example, many website templates use a page builder technology that is painful and difficult to use compared to other page builders. This is done for the affiliate licence income the developer can earn from the sale.
  • Hidden and ongoing costs. Often you need to renew licenses to plugins and other software and support licences that you are not aware of at the time.
  • Ongoing support is a problem. Sometimes, the developer just stops offering support or just disappears. Then you are left with software that is not compatible with other updated software, and the developer is no longer updating the template.
  • Free templates come with other issues. If it’s free, you are the product. They may have minimal capabilities where you have to upgrade the site to use it as usual (e.g. the WordPress Sydney Theme) or there are hidden links or even malware in the code.

Cheap Hosting For Your Plumbing Website

I have already noted that some of the website builder technologies provide hosting in the USA, so this discussion is about the choices you have in hosting your WordPress site.

Your website should run in fast (ideally on a cloud VPS server) hosting in the area where your customers are located.

Not all hosting services are the same. When you don’t know what to look for, it can be tempting to take a cheaper hosting package. More affordable packages have all or some of these issues;

  • They are run overseas in lower-cost countries. But you want your site hosted locally if possible.
  • Most hosting packages are shared with other websites. When it comes to cheap website hosting, there are going to be more websites on the same hosting server.
  • The over-crowding creates potential issues with speed, problems with what others on the server are doing - for example, get a spammer on the server, and most of your email will not get delivered. 
  • They have limited grunt (CPU) in the server leading to slower site loading.

This all means you save money on hosting but lose potential customers and Google visibility because the site is slow.

Saving Money On Putting Your Plumbing Website Together

Building The Plumbing Website - Is DIY A Good Option?

You can either build the site yourself or hire it done. DIY might look like the cheapest approach. Here’s why;

  • It will undoubtedly save you money because you're investing your time and doing the work.
  • You will also be in control and learn how the website works so perhaps you can update it as you need to go and forward.
  • You can put the time into the job as you have spare time and evenings or weekends.
  • You just need to be able to write website copy and create content about your services and your locations and have some design capability to adjust the premade themes, so it looks like your website and is customised for your brand.

There are some downsides to taking the DIY approach

  • It will take considerably longer to get a fully functional website off the ground because you have to find the time to do the work.  It takes months and months to build and launch your website to get it to the stage where it's close to fully functional and in the end most small business owners get sick of doing the work and never finish it. The net result is that the website doesn't have everything it needs to be fully functional, and you miss out on visibility and traffic.
  • Because you don’t know what you don’t know, you will make mistakes concerning SEO and conversion factors on the site.
  • You will need to to learn all the tricks of the trade that a professional has. It's like someone like me thinking they can become a plumber in four weeks - it’s just not possible.

Using Local Developers or Designers

You can use local developers and designers to help you build a cheap website. But as noted already that there's a certain amount of content that's involved in delivering a fully functional website. If you don't put the time and money into developing this content, you simply end up not giving yourself a chance to rank for important search terms and therefore you miss out on the visibility in Google.

So here's a tip I recommend you do if you are looking for cheap websites and you'll see an ad like this

Have a look at the website and see what other companies they have built websites for. Then take a look at the websites they have made.

With a particular website in mind, go and have a look at Google and search for a term that the particular website should show up for and see if it does. Likely it won't if the client only spent $397 on it.

Cheap Becomes Expensive

Most often a cheap the websites are not built with a plan focus on keywords that are relevant to your specific location and plumbing services you offer.

They don’t have the content to displace others out of the relevant local Google search result page. 

As a result, the website has no power authority and does not end up showing in Google for all of the keywords that might be relevant to your business and location.

Simply put,  the effect of this is that you lose way more in opportunity than you would have paid out for a fully functional website.

Roundup: Invest In A Professional Lead Generating Website

You can get a cheap website by building it yourself or getting someone to make it yourself and scrimping on the content of the website.

This is a short-sighted decision in my opinion because you don't just want a website you want a tool that helps you get leads.

Not building that tool properly will result in you missing out on visibility, traffic, leads and customers over the next few years.

This will cost you many times more than of the cost of paying the difference between a cheap website and a fully functional lead generating plumbing website over the years.

Your website is the foundation of all your marketing you should invest fully in the website to get it as good as it can be and give yourself the most chance of being successful in the long run.

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