At any given time, there are more than two billion people online. An online presence is no longer a “nice-to-have” to run a successful business — it’s a must-have. However, according to a 2013 survey by online marketing company Yodle, 52 percent of small business owners do not have a website — missing out on a lot of potential business.
As an HVAC contractor, your focus is likely on everything but your website. This is completely understandable, especially when the phones are ringing. Here are some easy tips to get your website working for you, building your business every day of the year:
1. Outsource Your Website Build and Choose a Good CMS
There are a lot of tools out there that allow you to build your own website, but I recommend that you outsource the creation of your website to a professional. Find a company you can trust that has a track record of successful projects. The time and energy you save can be invested in other business growth opportunities.
Outsourcing your web development can be an investment of $2,000 to $10,000, depending on the scope and functionality you choose. Remember that a great site that drives new customer acquisition and builds your brand could (and should) translate to hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue over time.
To keep costs down, handle your own website hosting and domain registration through a provider like GoDaddy. Additionally, once your website is up and running, manage smaller site updates and content changes yourself. To do this, you’ll want to make sure your website is built on a content management system (CMS) that allows easy and intuitive editing and publishing capabilities. Some systems well-known for their user-friendly setup are WordPress, Joomla and Drupal. Make sure you discuss this with your website developer up front.
2. Include the Critical Elements
You have approximately 10 seconds to capture the attention of your website visitors and educate, inspire, and then convert them to be potential customers. This means you need to have all the critical elements listed below:
Tell your story.Build a page on your website that outlines your company history and explains your mission and values. Customers want to do business with people they like and trust, so provide great content that helps website visitors get to know you and your team.
Call to action. It sounds simple, but the call to action is often overlooked. Just like you shouldn’t leave a sales call without asking for the sale, a call to action prompts website visitors to take the desired action, which is proven to increase conversion rates. Include a clear call to action on every page of your site, encouraging visitors to call or schedule service immediately.
Visually pleasing images. Utilize great photography and images to keep your visitors longer. Consider hiring a professional photographer to take photos of your facility, staff, and equipment, or use professional stock photography sites like Shutterstock or iStock. This will give your website a professional and attractive look.
Contact information. This should be on every single page. If someone is ready to take the step to reach out, they need to find the information immediately. Additionally, customers like variety, so try to include a phone number, email address, contact form, and social media channels on as many pages as possible.
3. Build Your Site with SEO in Mind
Your website won’t do you any good unless you have visitors. The company you choose to help build your website should be knowledgeable about search engine optimization (SEO) and will understand how to position your website to rank well in the search engines. This is extremely important to ensure your website shows up when someone is searching for an HVAC contractor in your local market.
Google loves lots of high-quality original content, so don’t copy from other websites. When you’re writing content, write about topics that are relevant to your business and your customers’ needs. Additionally, your site should load quickly and be optimized for mobile use. If your site is slow to load and doesn’t format correctly to smartphones, visitors will go elsewhere — and you could lose out on a lot of potential business.
4. Measure Your Efforts
You need to be able to tell whether or not your website is working for you by measuring your efforts. Google Analyticsis the best way to measure your website efforts, plus it’s free. All you have to do is set up your own free account and have your web development company integrate Google Analytics into your website when you go live.
Measuring always ties back to the goals you have for your company. On your website, this may be filling out a contact form, using a coupon code, clicking through to another page or social media channel, or calling a certain phone number. Define your goals and measurable outcomes and set aside a couple hours each month to review how your website is doing. Use this time to also consider some new ideas and identify areas for improvement.
Once you’ve built a great website and have it up and running, keep it updated and monitor for continuous improvement. If you take the “set it and forget it” approach, your website will not continue working for you. By partnering with the right web development company, including the critical elements, building the site with SEO in mind, and measuring the results, you will be on your way to making your website work for your business.
Publication date: 10/6/2014