Today’s market is tough and your website needs to work hard. In fact, your website will be seen many more times than any other part of your business. Unfortunately, many sites I see still look like someone took a brochure and slapped it on the screen. If your site isn’t moving visitors through the sales funnel, it’s under-performing. If your graphic artist brother-in-law designed your site without any attention to usability, then you probably have a good-looking site that doesn’t convert jack. If your site is packed with pretty images and nonstop talk about your company but leaves your readers asking what’s in it for them, then you aren’t converting a friggin’ thing.
Let’s be honest. You didn’t buy your first car because it got good mileage, you thought it looked hot. Same goes for your website. People either like it or they think it looks like crap. If your site isn’t converting people into buyers, then it’s time for a change. Some fixes are simple, others take more effort. Here are some you can make right away.
My tagline reads “Contractor Websites That Work.” Nailed it. If your tagline doesn’t position you for your best client, then you’ve failed. Fix it by coming up with something that says more about how you help your client than how good you are.
If you pulled your logo off of your ad in the newspaper, it looks bad. Get a digital version of your logo. It will reduce bandwidth and look much better than something scanned off a postcard. Trust me, I am all about function, but style matters too.
If you’re not taking before and after shots of your work, then your site is failing to turn on people who are visually stimulated. You need to use images to paint a picture in your reader’s mind that they want to enjoy the new bathroom or new kitchen. So take lots of good pictures!
One more thing on pictures: Don’t use stock images in your gallery. They’re OK to use in other areas of your site, but never in your gallery.
Since good Web design is more than just a pretty face, your layout and content placement needs to flow in a way that helps sell people without them feeling sold. For example, we have taken the way we read (top left to bottom right) from books and newspapers of yore, and we read the Web the same way. So make sure your most important message is close to the top of the page. At the bottom of the page you want to have a strong call to action as well.
If you can implement these few key points on your website, I promise you an incremental gain in conversion. And even just one new client or customer means thousands of dollars to the typical home improvement company. So what are you waiting for? Get started, and good luck!
—Darren Slaughter runs a boutique website design and marketing shop that serves only contractors in the home improvement space. darrenslaughter.com; @darenslaughter
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