By now, as a contractor, you should already have a website to promote your business. If not, stop what you are doing and immediately create one. It is the only 24-hours, 7-days-a-week, 365-days- a-year way for you to market yourself. The purpose of this article is not to convince you to get a website, since that is a requirement, but to understand the purpose of your website.

For some people, they get a website because they are told to get one. For others, they feel they need to show off their work and display a picture of themselves. The nature of a contracting website grants many purposes. It allows you to present a professional image, show off your work and references, keep customers engaged, facilitate contacts, and announce your existence to new prospects through search engines.

The focus of this article is to help you get found. It is easier than you think. The reality is most contractors have no clue what to do, so read this and stand out against local competition.

Keep in mind the lead generation industry is betting you will not take a moment to ensure your website is found. They position themselves to obtain leads and sell them to contractors. Through lead generation, companies are easily generating over $300 million per year in sales through referrals. But, it’s not their fault, it is yours. You can gain these local leads much easier with just a little effort and focus.

Special note: I do not make a penny in lead generating business, but do help my customers for free. In turn, they generate more leads, which leads them to use my contractor business system to manage their businesses. This is a win-win situation for everyone.

By way of example, let’s start with how hard it is for me to get found, and then how easy it is for contractors. I run an Internet company for contractors that helps them efficiently manage leads, estimates, scheduling, work orders, invoices, and collections. My customers are all over the U.S. Go to Google and type in “contractor software.” You should find numerous companies who provide software to contractors. My job is to stand out amongst this list. Scroll down until you find the reference to Now, search for “Free HVAC Contractor Software.” Where you find is part of a positioning tool called organic search. Organic search is a very powerful tool in guiding people to your business. It is hard for me to ensure we are found nationally versus how much easier it is to focus on being found locally.

Let’s focus on some HVAC examples to get you in a position to generate leads from your website. One way to do this is by enhancing your website’s search engine optimization (SEO). There are a few simple tricks that can really help a contractor based on the local service area.

The first and most important part of your SEO is the title tag, especially the title tag of your homepage, of the cover of your online book. Go to your browser and then type in Open another tab and type in, then another tab and type in Along the top of your browser, you’ll notice each tab has a title. These title tags tell the search engine what the page is about and therefore its subject matter. Keep in mind that most people will be searching for a contractor based on what you do and where you are located. I personally like that
lists their name at the end of the title tag since most people searching are looking for a service before knowing your name, or they simply would have searched your company’s name. The order of the words is debatable, but it is generally known you go from most important to least important. Now go to your site and see what your home page says. If it is blank, or says “Home,” “Index,” or any other irrelevant phrase, then you are hurting your chances of being found by those searching for the services you provide. Contact your website designer and ask him or her to modify your page’s title tag, or contact your hosting provider and ask them to assist you through the process. It only takes a few minutes. After you have created a home page title tag, you need to do this for every page on your website. Change it up with different words so the engines know there is a difference between the pages or the search engines will be unaware of each page’s content.

The best thing about being a contractor is you can pinpoint the service areas you will work in. This should not be overlooked when building a website. Return to your web browser and click on both the HVAC contractor websites I referenced earlier. Now scroll to the bottom. Carefully look at how they both look to be found. Think about how someone would search for a business. A general search will return thousands of potential matches from all over the world. Now, narrow your search based on location. Did you find your company? Did you find your competition? Trust me; your competition has built their location into their websites. States, cities, towns, zip codes, and however else someone would attempt to locate you is crucial to gaining online traffic. It’s important to begin thinking about the various areas and services you cover and add them to your homepage, at the bottom, just so the search engines can connect your site to those seeking those specific areas and services. This takes a little longer than the title tags, but it is very helpful in helping customers find your business.

And now it’s time to take it to the next level. You now understand title tags and you also understand the basics of communicating your service and location to the search engines. Go to either of the above HVAC websites and click on the service locations. Notice they link to a brand new webpage dedicated to the location. Then notice the title tag. This is taking it to the extreme, but the search engines now think the HVAC company specifically cares about two things, what you do and where you are willing to do it. Who do you think they will guide traffic to when someone is searching? Is it you, your competitor, or maybe even a lead generator willing to charge you for the information you could have attained for free by instituting these one-time enhancements to your site.

There is so much more we could cover regarding SEO, but deploying these tips gives any contractor a massive advantage over everyone else. Sure, there is always room to do more, but these basic steps will likely put you ahead of everyone else in your local area. Let me know if these ABC’s helped you and I will be more than happy to come back and cover the next steps. Remember, a website is your only 24/7 calling card. Why not make one set of changes for endless returns? Stop now and make the effort to bring in more business before you begin looking for it. Let more leads find you!

Publication date: 7/16/2012