It’s hard to believe that, in the not-too-distant past, we found anything without consulting Google. If you’re of a certain age, you remember the days when everyone had that big yellow book in the kitchen. When we needed a service, we cracked it open and let our fingers do the walking. For things like a custom patio or local asphalt contractor, we may have asked friends for recommendations, but that big book was our primary source of information.
As we neared the end of the 20th century, how we searched for businesses and companies changed forever. It also changed how those businesses would advertise and market themselves. Once the worldwide web entered our homes, most of us ditched our trusty phone book for a computer. Our fingers were still doing the walking, only now it is on a keyboard.
While most businesses now have some form of presence on the internet, for some, like home improvement contractors, it’s vital to have a web design that is functional, up-to-date, informative, and attractive, with lots of pictures to entice clients. The basis of a lot of home improvements is in the aesthetics. So, you want potential customers to see what you can do for them. For instance, if your business offers a garage cleanout service and debris removal, you’ll want to post lots of before and after photos of your work.
If you’re a building contractor or do local AC repairs, you may want to showcase a few of your projects in a progressive, step-by-step manner. Designing a home improvement website can seem overwhelming if you’re unsure how to go about it. That’s why we compiled this guide to help you every step of the way.
1. Preparing Your Website
Now that you know how important designing a home improvement website is to your business, you’re probably ready to dive right in. But not so fast! Before getting started, you need to lay out a blueprint of sorts, a plan for what you need and want on the site. This is especially important if you’re hiring other professionals to assist you. The website should be streamlined and convey your vision, mission, and values as a company.
Simply put, you want to attract customers honestly based on your talents while making it easy for them to peruse the site and contact you. An excellent place to start is by defining your target audience. Be familiar with who will be visiting your page. Think about individual needs and preferences. Will most people be looking for minor repairs or full remodels? Will you cater to homeowners, property managers, commercial businesses, or a combination?
What are you willing and capable of offering your clients? This is vital to determine before putting anything up on the internet. Never promise more than you can deliver. Next, come up with a name for your website (a domain name). This is your web address and how people will find you. Keep the name simple but catchy. Ensure that the name of your business is there, and add a few keywords that are associated with your business, like “bath remodeling” or “deck construction.”
Then, make sure that the name is not already taken. You don’t want any legal issues with your business. You can check to see if your name is available at Web.com. It will also give you suggestions if your name is taken. If you want ” roof repair by Bob,” for example, it might suggest “Roofs by Bob” instead.
You can also use this site to register the site. Once this is complete, consider implementing web hosting. This will allow your site to be up and running 24/7 and enable potential customers to access your business whenever they wish. Many reputable and affordable sites make this process easy.
2. Designing the Website
Once all the particulars are in place, it is time to have some fun – sort of; designing your site correctly is vital to its success as it will be your first impression to customers. You not only want to grab people’s attention but build trust as well. A shabby site may indicate that you also do messy work, so the design should be impressive.
If it’s in your budget, consider hiring a professional for this part. Many college students are more than capable and may work for the experience and exposure for a small fee. If you’d rather do it yourself, get a website builder. This nifty tool will help you create a site without a designer.
These programs provide step-by-step directions, templates, SEO tools, stock photos, and support. You can make your site as general or personalized as you wish. You can choose your design elements, colors, fonts, and headings. Keep the layout simple and uncrowded. Too much stuff scattered all over the place may drive people away.
Add a pull-down menu where all of your sub-topics can easily be accessed. Some standard menu options include a gallery for photos, contact information, a list of services, pricing, and a blog. While you want the site to be eye-catching, you don’t want it to be too bright; after all, it’s a home improvement site, not a circus.
Focus on using neutral colors or earth tones that give the impression of fresh paint, woodwork, and new construction. Use photos from your work with a few quotes from glowing reviews. You want to seem professional but personable at the same time.
3. Use Content Creation and Management
Using content marketing on your site generates up to three times more leads than other types of marketing. It can save much more money than going to a local print shop for brochures and fliers. So what is it? Content marketing creates and distributes valuable and exciting information that attracts a specific audience.
It encourages people to purchase a product or use a service. This is not new; content creation aimed at selling products went on long before the internet or computers. For example, in 1888, Johnson & Johnson created a booklet full of tips and tricks for doctors to use bandages.
Today, most content creation is managed by marketing firms or companies specializing in creating content. If you or a friend has a flair for writing, you can certainly produce your own. The content could be in the form of blog articles, videos, tips and tricks lists, and links to off-site podcasts and articles. Using content marketing on your site helps showcase your skills and knowledge.
Customers may believe more in your abilities if they see you in a video or read something you’ve written. It helps build brand awareness and can boost your SEO (search engine optimization), which means more people will see your site in search results. Best of all, it’s a free promotion for your website. For example, people searching for patio styles may accidentally find your site if you have a blog article entitled: “5 Best Deck Styles for Your Backyard.”
4. Include Contact and Lead Generation
This is the area you want to include for you and your customers to have convenient and seamless communication. Include your full name, business address, phone number (more than one), email, business hours, and a map location. Include an online form in this section so people can contact you with questions or requests for more information, quotes, etc.
Now that you have contacts, you can turn them into leads. Not only can you quickly answer questions and schedule appointments, but you can also send out promotional items like e-newsletters, updates, coupons, and even contests and giveaways. If you plan on requiring a phone number in your form, be careful. Many people don’t want to share that information, and even more don’t want phone calls.
Consider putting a text-only clause where customers agree to texts but not calls. This is your green light to send your promotions via text. Please do not abuse it, though. Use it only when you have something worthwhile to share.
5. Add Security
Having a secure website is vital when you have a business. It lends to the overall trust clients have in you. Visitors need to know that their data is safe. Using an SSL (secure sockets layer) will encrypt data, making it difficult for hackers to get. You’ll also want to invest in antivirus software to ensure everything on your side is safe from cyber-attacks. Whatever security you choose, display it prominently for all to see.
6. Promote the Site
Before doing actual promotions, do a final run-through to ensure everything works correctly. Open the site in a web browser and make sure the page loads. Test the interactive areas and check for issues like slow loading times and missing graphics.
Once everything is good to go, now you’re ready to promote! Promotion is just a fancy way of making sure people know about your site. Start with a small email campaign, sending out an announcement with a link to the website. Consider adding a coupon with it.
Take advantage of social media and post on Facebook, Instagram, and even TikTok to let people know you’re open for business. Add your business logo to your email signature and submit your site to online directories. Attend street fairs and home improvement shows, and put business cards up in stores that allow it. Free promotion options are endless. You can even do it the old-fashioned way and make business cards and fliers that feature your website.
7. Add a Portfolio
When it comes to building a home improvement website, a portfolio is just as vital as it would be for a model or designer. Your portfolio shows the quality and style of your work. The home improvement business is very competitive. When potential clients visit your website, the first thing they’ll go to is the photos, often stored under the fancy term “gallery.”
This is where customers can see the quality of your work and visualize what you can do for them. Have samples of all the services you offer. They should be clear, show details, and have up-close and panoramic views.
Make them look functional and fun. For example, if you build decks, have photos of real customers having a cookout and basking in the sun. Consider adding a picture of you and your crew to make the site more personal.
8. Have Information on Services
This is one of the most critical aspects of your site. It’s where you should describe your services in depth so customers know if you offer what they need. For each service, offer a paragraph or two going into detail.
Discuss what materials you use, how you can customize projects, and a timeframe for each project. Emphasize health and safety. Ensure customers follow all safety standards and health precautions. For instance, if you need to remove lead, discuss the lead stabilization process of containing the dust and particles.
Be transparent about your warranty policy and pricing. Customers don’t appreciate vague or no-price listings. If the prices vary, give a starting point and be clear that it may increase.
9. Have a Space for Reviews
Many businesses are afraid of adding this tab to their home improvement website design. But the truth is, most clients happy with your work are more than happy to leave you a glowing review, which is excellent for business. If, for some reason, a customer leaves a poor review of your services, it allows you to publically and professionally make it right if you did make a mistake.
This will show customers that you are honest and stand by your work. If you feel the review is unfair and can prove it, this area allows you the opportunity for a rebuttal. If you feel a review page isn’t working for you, it can always be deleted.
Whether your old school or a tech whiz, designing the perfect website takes time and effort. Be patient, plan, and don’t be afraid to ask for help from savvy friends or professionals. A fabulous web presence can not only spread the word but can lend credibility to your business.