Builder knocks up DIY website

After 30 years in the building trade Aucklander Les Kenny has shifted from knocking up houses to assembling a DIY building advice website.

After 30 years in the building trade Aucklander Les Kenny has shifted from knocking up houses to assembling a DIY building advice website.

And having been buoyed by the success of Buildeazy, Kenny plans to expand the site to include building information from other New Zealand cities and eventually Sydney. He even has thoughts of a tie-in book.

In addition to DIY and building-related articles the site contains building lists, which the 53-year-old retired builder says has led to suppliers to lower prices when seeing others online.

Kenny says he had no knowledge of computers until four years ago when his children told him they needed one to help with their schoolwork.

“I got hooked on it. Not games or anything but on what made websites work."

He began learning HTML after work online, mainly using a site called HTML Goodies. His daughter Roseanne, who is a recent graphic design graduate, helped him design the site. The pair took two years to make the HTML and Javascript site in their spare time.

Kenny thought of Buildeazy after receiving countless calls for advice. “The aspiration is to become the best and biggest informative and DIY building site around, with articles and projects added weekly."

It contains 300 image files and 250 HTML pages and will eventually offer hundreds more. “Because of the simplicity the site is very easy to manage, and if anything goes wrong it can be easily fixed,” he says. The site, which was launched in January, now claims about 120 users a day and 1400-plus page visits, with numbers doubling most months. Kenny says.

Despite not expecting to make any money from the site for at least a year, Kenny and his daughter took their first banner ads last month. They hope to run the site eventually through revenue from advertising.

After featuring Auckland building supplier listings, the site will be extended to cover other large New Zealand cities. Eventually, he hopes to launch a website covering Sydney, even if Australian timber measurements and regulations are different. In time he plans to take the site to America.

Kenny says businesses should build websites to help them improve their knowledge of what customers want. “You can monitor your users, find out what people are looking at and adjust your site. Basically your website tells you what to do. I find that fascinating. You cannot do that with a newspaper."

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