Why Pro Contractors Need a Pro Website
by Janet Blake, FastenMaster Communications Manager
I’m a marketing professional in the building industry and a homeowner looking for the services of a professional contractor. I’m not looking for fast and cheap. I’m looking for high quality work at a reasonable price. Someone who takes pride in their work so that I can too.
I am your target customer. Let me prove it to you:
- Type of home: single family
- House valued: over $200,000
- House owned: more than 3 years
- Age of house: 29 years
- My age: Between 35-80 (not telling you that one!)
- Household income: Over $75K
- Decision maker
I don’t look for contractors in the phone book or the local newspaper. I look online. I may ask my neighbors for recommendations, but I will always follow-up with an online search so that I can learn more about your business prior to contacting you.
What? You don’t have a website?
This is not a surprise. Many professional contractors neglect their online presence and rely completely on word-of-mouth. While this is a great way to get work, wouldn’t you like this word-of-mouth technique to expand to a larger audience on the web? Wouldn’t you like to be able to pick and choose which projects are right to grow your business?
Even a word of mouth referral without a website (or a website that leaves the wrong impression) hurts you. It kills the deal before it has a chance to get started.
85% of consumers find local businesses online. Stop – go back and read that last sentence again.
In an increasingly competitive marketplace, you as a professional contractor need to embrace the web for promoting your business. Most likely, people are talking about you online already. You need to be part of this conversation. You need to have a professional website that properly reflects the work that you do. A website that makes someone like me want to call you for my upcoming home improvement project.
A website is your online calling card. To create one, you will need the services of a proven web designer. Sure, you can try to create one on your own with tools available online, but a discerning homeowner can tell if you built your own site just like you could tell if I built my own deck. You need to instill confidence in me as a potential client.
Web design is a specialized craft. These folks know what they are doing. A well-designed site will pay off. You will be creating an online brand identity that reflects your professionalism and is working to attract new leads while you are focused on your craft.
Important components of a successful website
Starting a project like this can seem overwhelming. Having a web designer help will take a good deal of the burden off of you, but it is important to know what is needed and the steps for creating a successful website. I have listed the basics below. Click here to download a PDF for more detailed information and an example of a well-designed website.
- Domain name – your business name if possible (shorter names are more easily remembered)
- Business logo
- Home page that explains who you are and what you do
- Clean and attractive layout – this reflects on your own work
- Clear navigation – potential customers should be able to locate the information they are looking for quickly and efficiently
- Additional pages such as services, image portfolio, recommendations, company profile, affiliations, products you use and form for requesting quote
- Contact information on all pages
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy – industry and geographical keywords incorporated into page titles, descriptive tags and content to help customers find you online
- Links to your social media accounts (optional)
How do you find a qualified web designer?
Look online, of course. Visit their websites. If a designer’s website doesn’t look good to you, move on to another that does. Set up a time to speak with at least two web design businesses. Share your goals and examples of websites within your industry, including competitor sites for reference. A great designer will be able to understand your vision and translate it into a well-designed site.
Ideally, you should seek a web designer that specializes in contractor sites.
Questions to ask a web designer before hiring them:
- How long will this process take?
- What is the approximate cost?
- What are monthly hosting and maintenance fees?
- How many website “looks” will you create for me to review?
- How many revisions will you allow until I am satisfied?
- How will the content be created? Content makes the difference between getting phone calls and suffering disappointment. Very few web designers include content so you need to know in advance how that will be created and budget for a writer if needed.
- Will I have access to make changes to the site? Websites can be designed to allow for “back-end” access. For easy text changes or uploading new images, you may want to be able to make these changes yourself.
- What success have you had with Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? Ask for examples of other companies they have worked with and successfully contributed to their search engine ranking success.
- What will my site look like on different devices? “Responsive” design allows for website to look good on computers, tablets and mobile phones.
Also, pay careful attention to the questions the web designer asks you. There are web designers that are great at making it look pretty, but if they are not asking questions about your company and your goals, the site will not be as effective.
It’s time for pro contractors to embrace the web. Customers like me are online looking for you!
November 7, 2013 by Janet Blake (comments: 1)