The meeting at his house went well and he was fine with the price of $800.00. I had arbitrarily picked a labor time of $20.00 per hour, and guesstimated it might take about 40 hours(!?) to complete the website. I actually had no idea how much work it would take, but 40 hours seemed ample. I knew there would be a steep learning curve, but it would be like pay for on the job training. Sweet. $800.00 was a nice payday for a newbie, and it was doing something besides manual labor. I’ll take it.
The really stupifyingly ridiculous thing I did was to guarantee that I would get him to #1 in the state, or he could demand his money back! I wanted to make him an offer he couldn’t refuse, and boy, I sure did.looking back now as an experienced SEO and IM’er, I see that as insane behavior. Let’s look at what I had gotten myself into. I knew the basics of SEO, but nothing deep. I had never made a website. I had heard of WordPress, but was not familiar with it. I didn’t know squat about doing competitive analysis (so of course had none of the critical software I would need to save myself huge chunks of time) I had heard of outsourcing, but had only a vague idea on how it really worked…and here I was promising this guy the number one roofing spot in the state. Can you say NOOOOOOOO….?
Our deal was $400.00 down, and the remaining $400.00 when the website was finished and online, which I assured him would be within 8 weeks. I wasn’t tuned into the standard business practice of having a contract, and he never mentioned it, so we shook hands, and out the door I went with his promise of sending the deposit check that following Monday.
When I left his house on that warm and bright April morning, I felt great. I was calling everyone I knew saying “I got my first client!” “I got my first client!” (never seeing the dark clouds of anguish that were waiting in my future)
My video analysis was all theory and no practice. Telling someone he should get a new website, and be ranked above all his competitors was all accurate, but the minor fact that I had never done it before, and was sketchy on the whole process, was lunacy. The important thing was, was that I was hungry, and believed I could do it, and that means a lot
I made a list of what I thought I needed to learn. I did love the subject, and I had a good work ethic, so while the research was fun at first, when the smoke cleared, and I looked down at this humongous list, I sat back and said “holy shitoly!” It read something along the lines of “learn WordPress, learn competitve analysis,learn cpanel, learn FTP”… ad nauseum. Oh, and learn how the roofing business works also.
I can tell you that one thing that probably saved my bacon was getting him a strong domain name. Luckily,
roofingcontractornh.com was available so I snapped it up for $10.00. Remember, this was still in the day when exact match domains had some good SEO advantage.
The first couple of weeks were just taking notes, reading the Warrior Forum, and watching what YOUTUBE videos were available at the time. I was at the computer 12-14 hours per day. It was a huge education in a short amount of time, but I slowly started wrapping my head around the material. I had a talented graphic friend who made him a really attractive header, and that was the only “outsourcing” I did, but it made the website look very professional.
It took me about 10 weeks(!!?) to finish the site. I was prepared to take some money off his final bill to keep him happy, and published it to the web. Now it would all be about the waiting. I was as nervous as a cat watching the SERP’s day after day, but one glorious day, there he was, at position 5 on page one! I added more content and learned more about siloing and correct alt.txt, made those changes, and within 2 weeks he WAS at position #1!
That result was certainly not because I was some kind of SEO prodigy, but rather, the competition was seriously unoptimized, and I just rose to top with the stuff I had implemented.
I took $150.00 off the bill because of my being late with the delivery. He was still happy and I was happy that I was able to do what I said I would
Within a few months, He got some jobs directly from the website, so any guilt I felt about my “high fee” lol, passed quickly. Profits in roofing jobs can be substantial, so investment in the site was absolutely worth it. I had earned $650.00 with a skill I had no clue about a few months earlier. It was not an easy go, and in the end I learned some valuable lessons about real world SEO. Good enough.
Things did not end as I would have liked, however. His site was hacked about a year and a half later, and while I explained to him what would have to be done, he just decided to let the domain name expire, and just forego the website. He then bought a full page ad in the Yellow Pages (!), and we lost touch. These old school guys are an interesting bunch.
That was his choice, and I’ll never understand the thinking behind that move, but it is what it is.
I did my part, and it was great training in becoming a professional SEO. It gave me the confidence to move forward,and move forward I did…….