It’s now early April 2020 and the UK, like most of the rest of the world, is in lockdown due to the Coronavirus. Since self employed dog walkers have for the most part closed their businesses for the time being, I like many others have found we have more time on our hands.
Since we are now not supposed to leave the house for more than one local exercise session a day it seemed a good time to put my web design skills to some use. Premium Dog Walkers is the result. There are still some design and content tweaks I need to make but nothing major that needs to stop me from starting the blog. Read on for what the aim for Premium Dog Walkers is going forward.
Why I started Premium Dog Walkers
I started my own pet services business back in early 2017. It’s called Northampton Dog Walker and is doing really well. Others who were interested in starting their own dog walking business would contact me and ask for advice and ask questions. Some even asked if I would design them a website and get it to rank on Google in their location. I’ve since designed about 6 or 7 websites for other dog walkers.
So why not just continue to design dog walking websites for others you might ask? Well there are a few reasons really which I will set out below.
- I find it much easier to design a website for myself than I do to design one for others. The reason for this is I have all the ideas in my head at the outset. Once I’m in the zone I can just keep working and the project is finished much faster. In my experience designing for a client is always much slower. Whether it’s waiting for feedback on images, text content or indeed changes to the initial brief, it’s just slower. It’s not uncommon for a client to be too busy to answer. When they do answer you can almost guarantee it will be when you are at your busiest.
- Typically dog walkers don’t value web design and search engine optimisation services. Now for any web designer reading this I’m the first to admit that I don’t value my services and skills properly. I’ve been selling my design and search engine optimisation services too cheaply. The problem is if I charged what it’s truly worth I don’t think I would get any takers from dog walkers. It’s only when you have completed a project that the client begins to appreciate the difference it makes to their business. Hindsight is a wonderful thing!
- Client websites don’t reach their full potential. Now this point is up for debate. To a client if the website is still top for their main keywords it’s reached the potential they wanted. However it will not have the same domain authority that my own website has. I’ve always recommended clients try and blog when they can. The vast majority stop though, it’s just not something they are interested in.
- From a purely selfish point of view it makes more sense to maintain control of a website and try and earn recurring income from it every year. There is much more incentive to continue improving a website, continue with blogging and spending ongoing time and money on SEO if you are being rewarded financially from it.
Our Future Plans
So what are our plans for Premium Dog Walkers? Well my initial aim is to try and get various location pages to the top of Google for the valuable dog walking keywords. I’ve selected a few locations to start where I know there is significant demand for pet services. We will be looking for reliable and professional people in these locations who are interested in working with pets who appreciate the benefit that the top ranking website would give them.
Now I will be the first to admit it could be tough to start. If dog walkers don’t value web design why would they value this proposition? I think there are a few reasons why this model has potential.
- Many dog walkers really don’t want to have to worry about a website. Whether it’s renewing the domain name, finding reliable hosting, dealing with updates to software and plugins etc. many like the idea of someone with experience handling all these things.
- Saving time on social media. Most dog walkers feel they have to be active on social media. For anyone who uses the likes of Facebook, Instagram, YouTube etc you know what a time hog this can be. Tired of the follow / unfollow mob on Instagram? Why not let us handle the social media so you don’t have to. For those who enjoy it we do have the option of branch based Facebook accounts if you want to be active.
- Looking at it from the customer viewpoint. If you were the customer looking for such a service, how would you go about searching for it and what would influence your decision? If you think our website looks better and more professional than your own attempt then chances are the customer thinks so too. If we rank near the top of page 1 for the main keywords and you don’t, who is more likely to get the phone call or email?
- Possibly increased competition. None of us can be certain what the UK will look like after the Coronavirus threat is over. Will a long lockdown see some self employed dog walkers give up, meaning less competitors? Perhaps but it’s even more likely that more and more will consider becoming dog walkers if jobs are harder to find. The virus is hitting the economy and companies are either appointing administrators or laying off employed staff, despite the help the government is giving to companies. If we emerge from this situation with less customers and more competition, it will be even more important than normal to have effective marketing.
If anyone reading this is interested in knowing more about our plans feel free to contact us or visit our locations page where you can find out some of the places in the UK we are looking at starting up.