#29: My Private Investigation Website Struggles and How You can Learn from my Mistakes

I never thought that deciding on a company name for my private investigation agency would be so difficult.  Many people decide on company names based on who they are like John Smith Investigations. Some companies are based on the area they live in like King County investigations.  There are many other reasons people name their businesses but I named my business on what was available in a dot com domain name.

Naming my private investigation company and finding a Domain name

In other words I wanted the http://www. Websitename.com.   I didn’t know much about search engine optimization at the time, but with the help of my brother who is much more knowledgeable about technology and building websites, we decided on Fortified Investigative Services or Fortified Insurance Services.  Yes, it’s quite a mouthful but I don’t think I would ever change it.   The word Fortified was the one word that would not change.  We did internet searches for anyone with that company name in the investigation industry and I believe we only came across one website, but decided it would not be confusing for anyone when it was all said and done.  I purchased the both FortifiedInvestigativeServices.com and FortifiedInsuranceServices.com.  After some further thought about the domain names I felt that it would be better to just shrink the name so that it would be easy for others to type,  so I then purchase FortifiedIS.com.  What I didn’t know until later was that this domain name had been owned by another unrelated company which was actually a benefit for me, but I will get into that later.

Building my first website wasn’t pretty but it was pretty ugly.

I had a domain name for my business website and I had no website.  Fortunate for me, my brother was better than average at building websites, so my brother recommended Squarespace because that is where he hosted and built his website.  I found out quickly that a website needs to have credible content.  I knew what I could provide for future clients, however I needed to articulate that in the website.  I spent some time looking for ways to professionally describe what services I provide and what the company was all about. I looked at numerous websites for ideas and it really helped me fill out my website with content.  I found out that even with great content, a website can still look ugly.

The Company Logo

My brother and I collaborated on a logo design that was simple yet professional looking.  I attempted to make my website look good but it just wasn’t coming together.  If I was a potential customer there is a good chance that I would not have spent much time on the website trying to learn more.

Website Change

I stumbled across a few websites and individuals that kept talking wordpress.com websites.  Essentially you can build a website on what was the framework of a blog.  My brother jumped ship from SquareSpace  and began hosting his website on HostGator.  He quickly put his website on the WordPress framework and loved how easy it was to build his website.  I followed shortly thereafter and canceled my SquareSpace subscription.  I transferred my host to BlueHost with some instructional help from YouTube videos and began building my website.  I purchased a theme which provides unique options and looks for the website and began learning the controls of the WordPress framework.  I made a very plain website but it was much better than the previous one.

One of the additional features of transferring the website to a WordPress framework was it was very Google Search Engine friendly.  In other words, I quickly began to show up in Google search results.  There was some extra work that went into that and I had a few unexpected advantages.  In a short period of time I was able to reach to first page of the Google results for “Tacoma Private Investigator” and “Private Investigator in Tacoma”.  I began receiving calls from potential clients immediately.

Right about the time I placed my business website on BlueHost, I transferred my blog which was on Private Investigator Advice and News to PrivateInvestigatorAdviceHQ.com.  Working on my blog website allowed me to become much more familiar with the website functions.  During this time I was working very consistently and the little time I had left in the day either went to college homework or blog articles.  I became a bit complacent because I had more than enough work.  Over time my business website fell off the first page of Google and the calls slowed down.  I continue to receive calls but in my experience being at the top of the Google results is what gets the most attention from those seeking services.

So that about catches you up as to how my business website has evolved. If you have any questions feel free to post those questions on the FaceBook page or message me offline through the website contact page.  If I would have known then what I know now things would not have been so rocky in the beginning.  And I am going to really open up as to what I am doing to get back on the first page of Google and show you how what I am doing will work for you as well.

Here are a few things to remember when thinking about your business website:

  1. Your domain name does not have to match your business name
  2. Using a search term as your domain name will help you rank quickly in Google
  3. Building your own website doesn’t have to be expensive
  4. A WordPress framework is a great way to build a website quickly and professionally
  5. WordPress is a good place to start if you know very little about building a website

I plan in the future to make some tutorials on building your own website.  Before I can make those tutorials I must get my website back into shape.

Also my business website is about to change.  The next blog post should cover the changes I will be making and why I am making them.  Click on the Fortified Investigative Services picture above to see the site before it changes.

This video shows the before website, how my website ranked prior to the changes and a brief overview my my local competition.

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