Hey, Allen, I could use some advice. I’m starting out as an owner operator and I see other trucks with websites on them. Should I get my own website? Do I need a website?
Good question. You see a lot of trucks and trailers with a website on the sides these days. It’s not a bad idea to get one, but I don’t know that it’s required. It can be a great way for you to promote your business if you’re doing regular contact by email to develop new customers – instead of telling a potential customer over and over what equipment you’ve got and where you currently have lanes, you can simply add a link to your webpage.
I guess some drivers only use Facebook, or have a free website online, but think about this. What happens if your Facebook account gets hacked? Or if your free website disappears? Trying to build up your business on the Internet where other people control your site is a bad decision. You don’t have control – and you can be hurt by that.
It’s not very hard to get a website these days.
There are several easy ways to get your own domain.
If you’re into computers – or have a kid around who is – GoDaddy.com is the best known way to buy your domain name. You figure out what you want, find out if someone else is using it, and then go to GoDaddy.com and buy it. Don’t wait once you’ve found out it’s available – if a domain “investor” knows you’re looking for a specific name, he may buy it up and try to sell it back to you at a huge mark-up.
GoDaddy often has sales on .com or .net websites. Is one better than the other? I don’t know. .Com is the business standard that everyone knows and types automatically. But .net isn’t bad if that’s available and on sale. Most of the time, domain names sell for about $12 to $15 per year. That means you have to buy it again and again. There are ways to buy more than a year at a time. You’ll save a bit of money and not have to worry about it again for a long time.
There are always other options for buying your domain or hosting your website. We don’t have a suggestion for one or the other, but look around. You’ll probably find a deal for the first year. It’s that second year where you might get the sticker shot.
These prices do not include hosting your website or designing it.
That may make BlueHost.com look pretty good in comparison. You get the domain name for free for the first year, and pay a low price for the first year and can quickly build a good website. I’ve heard they’re easy to use and fast. Squarespace.com also has a good reputation and good prices. Both of these companies offer WordPress, a platform to build a website on that’s got a lot of variety and is easy to use, once you learn it.
Know a teenager? You probably know a website designer.
There are millions of website designers out there – just Google and you’ll find plenty. In fact, when you buy your domain name, you’ll get a lot of contacts offering to do so for you. You probably even know a couple of people in your hometown who do this kind of work. On the other hand, if you’ve got the time and interest, WordPress is a simple way to get a website up and running.
What do I need on my website?
Pictures. Lots of good pictures help make a website look interesting. I know the selfie thing is for the kids – but a couple of good shots with you and happy shippers won’t hurt you. Get some nice pictures of your truck in good looking places. People looking at a nice shot of your truck with trees in the background don’t need to know that you took it with your cell phone outside the truck stop diner.
- Have a page about you. Think of it like a resume. Your job here is to put your best foot forward. List your experience, your history as a trucker, what you’ve hauled. If you’ve handled special loads, mention that. Make it professional, but don’t settle for boring. This page is a place for your customers to get to know you, so concentrate on getting lots of good pictures on there.
Think about getting some testimonials from your other shippers. These always look good and help persuade your prospect that you’re reliable. Sometimes all you need to do is take a picture of the shipping crew that’s unloading your trailer and ask them if they got great service and would use you again. Ask them if you can use the picture along with their first names. (Maybe post it on Instagram or LinkedIn, too.)
The second page is about your equipment. Scrub that truck and get a great picture on a nice day. Put it up, along with any other equipment or trailers you have.
- The third page should be about what you’re currently running regularly. Got a regular lane from here to there? List it. Of all the pages, this is probably the only one you’ll want to update. If you’ve got pictures – put them up. Pictures on a website tell the story about you a lot easier than typing everything out.
More exposure and easy way for a shipper to find you means more loads. You can use it with the other social media websites like Facebook or Linked In without having to worry about it disappearing without notice. When you send out emails, be sure to include your website address in your signature so they’ll be able to find you quickly.
TruckingOffice has a Facebook page where you can find our latest news and a link to our website where you can sign up for a free, no risk trial of either of our easy to use TruckingOffice trucking management software systems – our class Basic and our new Pro version which can manage LTL shipping. We won’t even ask for a credit card number for the first 30 days.