No discussion of how to run a successful trucking company would be complete without a look at how to build a website. From its humble beginnings, the Web has grown to influence virtually every aspect of daily life, both here in the United States and around the world. By tapping into it, you can greatly increase your company’s visibility and gain clients you otherwise might never have had.
Please note: the topic of website building can’t be fully covered in a short blog article. In this post we’ll tell you the basics you need to get started. For in-depth information, we’ll suggest a few online resources later on in this piece.
First Things First
The journey towards building a company website begins with asking yourself questions like the following:
- Where do you see your business going in the next year; the next three years; the next five?
- Do you intend to stay a solo operator or two-person team, or would you like to expand and hire other drivers?
- How much work would you like to average over a month; over a year? What are your annual income goals?
Generally, the more ambitious your plans, the more sophisticated (and more costly) website and Internet marketing plan you’ll need. On the other hand, if you prefer to stay small, then you can probably get by with a simpler, more affordable Web presence.
Now that you’ve got a clearer picture of your goals, let’s look at the options for giving your company a home on the Internet:
The easiest way to get up and running is to hire a site designer or developer to handle the job for you. Designers range from graphic design and technology students working part-time to large, highly professional organizations that employ hundreds of people. The advantage of this approach is that the contractor handles the technical details while you focus on trucking. The setback is the cost factor; these services can be pricey. Some people try to get around this fact by hiring a relative or local college student to do the job. But the problem with this option is that virtually anyone can hang out a shingle and say, “Hey, I build websites!” So, unless the person can show you a portfolio of great sites he or she has done in the past, you might be taking a big chance. A poorly designed or non-functional site can be worse than not having one at all.
An alternative to hiring the job out is to do the job yourself by using a content management system (CMS). These are free online tools that allow users to build all sorts of sites, from simple blogs to fancy corporate layouts. To use a CMS, you don’t need to know programming or coding languages. Also, you can find free tutorials that will teach you how to use them on sites like YouTube. The most popular CMS today is WordPress. It’s supported by thousands of volunteers across the world and is fairly easy to learn. Another well-regarded CMS is Drupal. It’s known for being slightly more complex than WordPress, but it also offers a number of unique features. As mentioned before, there are many free videos online that can teach you how to use either system. Within a couple of hours you could be putting the finishing touches on your own site!
A third option is to learn basic web design languages like HTML and CSS and build your site from scratch. This option will require more of your time than the others listed here. However, it can also give you the tools to build a truly world-class website for very little money. As with the CMS option, there are many online resources to help you learn the skills you’ll need. This site offers text-based instruction for free. On the other hand, if you would rather watch instructor-led videos, then lynda.com might be a good choice for you, even though it charges a modest monthly fee.
Don’t Depend on Social Media
It seems pretty easy to just rely on a social media platform like Facebook or maybe LinkedIn. Sure, it’s free and it’s pretty easy to use.
But remember: if you’re not the customer, you’re the product. If you’re not paying, they’re selling your information. And if you’re not paying, it’s no skin off their noses if they decide they don’t want you on their site anymore.
It’s a heavily politicized world on social media right now. Don’t depend on the shifting sands of social media for your media presence. You want to control what’s on your website. You need your message to get out in the best way. Social media isn’t the best.
Don’t Forget the Right Software
Whether you decide to build a website or not, one thing is for sure. Anyone who is interested in freight brokering or owner operator trucking will benefit from TruckingOffice. Its secure, easy-to-use features make it simple to keep track of miles, issue statements, cut checks, pay IFTA taxes, and perform other tasks vital to keeping your company running smoothly. Take TruckingOffice for a free, no-risk test drive starting today and you’ll see what we mean.