It’s a fact of life, if you’re a contractor, you need a website. Most people rely on the internet to get information about almost everything these days, and if you don’t have a website, you are probably losing out on potential customers in droves.
Yes…there are still contractors out there who DON’T have a website!
If you are a contractor still holding out hope that this internet thing is a fad, let me ask you this; you wouldn’t buy a car based on what you could see in a couple of grainy photos on Craigslist, would you? Not if you had any sense, you wouldn’t. Just like you wouldn’t buy a car you hadn’t driven, people don’t hire contractors without seeing the kind of work that they can do.
Twenty years ago, you could have relied on a grainy photo in the phonebook, and potential customers coming into your office to look through a printed portfolio of your work. Today, people expect to find that portfolio online, so they can make their decisions from the comfort of their own home.
How do contractor websites differ from traditional web design?
One of the most useful tools for bringing in new customers is written testimonials from your previous clients. There’s nothing that reassures a tentative buyer more than hearing a rave review from a happy former client. Scanned images of signed testimonials often work the best, because it is easy for dishonest characters to pay for or simply plant positive reviews and testimonials on their own website.
Honest testimonials provide a confidence factor that images can’t always convey, and if your client is looking to spend a lot of money on a remodeling job, the one thing they want to have in spades is confidence.
Online Photo Portfolio
You need at least a few images to run a successful website on any topic. On a contractor’s website however, photos are the very heart of your website.
Potential clients, especially those who are looking to invest in a high-dollar remodeling job, want to see the kind of work you’ve completed in the past. Creating an online photo portfolio is the best way to accommodate them.
By creating an easily navigable user-friendly photo website, you can showcase all of the work you have done in the past. Keep individual projects in separate albums or slide shows for ease of navigation. To make it even easier for clients to get around your site, try separating the slide shows by room, so a person looking to remodel their kitchen doesn’t have to sift through pictures of bathrooms and dens to get to the heart of what they’re looking for.
Information about the Company
This is one of the only areas where a contractor’s website might be similar to a more traditional business site. While images and testimonials are a fantastic way to build client confidence, they are going to want to know more about the people working on their project as well.
A biographies page or a page that gives a bit of verifiable information about the company can be a great way to add to that confidence level.
It also gives you a fantastic place to show off the strengths and specialties of your team members. If you’ve got a tile worker who specializes in unique patterns and designs, this would be the place to show it off.
Not a Selling Tool
Unlike many other business websites, clients looking to remodel part of their home aren’t going to come to your site looking to add something to their cart and buy it on the spot. Your website shouldn’t be designed as a selling tool. Instead, it should focus on what you are able to do for them and encourage them to call or visit the office to get more information or to schedule a consultation.
Skip the Cookie Cutter
It might be tempting to buy a one-size fits all template to slap your information into with the goal of getting on the web as quickly and as cheaply as possible.
Don’t fall into that trap!
Go to Google or your preferred search engine and type in “contractors” followed by your city. How many hits do you get? Using our local city came back with 775,000 hits. To be successful, you need to set yourself apart from those other 774,999 websites, and using quick templates to get you on the web is not going to generate the leads you need.
Instead, spend some time and yes, some money, creating a unique and responsive website designed to show your potential clients what you are capable of.
Set Realistic Goals
A website can be a fantastic tool to generate leads, but don’t be disappointed if your phone isn’t ringing off the hook after the first couple of days. Instead, you need to consider how many leads you want to generate, how many projects you expect to be contracted for from those leads, and how many projects your team can handle at one time.
You should also expect to get a lot of time wasting calls. There are always those people who want you to do a full remodel of their bathroom for pennies on the dollar. Don’t let those dead leads discourage you from maintaining your online presence.
It’s too easy to fall into the quick and easy contractor website template trap. Don’t. You don’t want your website to look like a home improvement store. Instead, focus on creating an easy to use site that showcases what you have done in the past, what you’re planning to do in the future, and what you are able to do for your clients. It’s that easy, and it’s that hard, but if you don’t set yourself apart from the cookie-cutter contractor websites that pepper the internet, you’ll vanish into the sea of dead links and never be heard from again.