Carl Sorensen is the owner of sites4contractors.com, a web design company that specializes in helping construction and trades contractors improve their websites and digital marketing campaigns. Visit sites4contractors.com.
Having a website for your construction company is a must, but many contractor websites are poorly built and riddled with mistakes, rendering them largely ineffective. The following covers the 10 most common mistakes being made on contractor websites and advice for how to fix them.
Construction and specialty trade contractors who jumped onto the website bandwagon early in the 2000s have likely not touched their website since. These websites are usually horribly outdated, which can cause problems with the way visitors interact and with search engine rankings, such as those from Google.
If your website isn’t mobile friendly and responsive, then it likely offers a poor user experience. And websites that offer a poor user experience don’t get good results.
A responsive website is one that can automatically resize itself for the user’s device. Whether they’re on an iPhone, an Android, a tablet, a laptop or desktop, a responsive website is more appealing and easier to use. If you’re hiring a web developer to build your website, make sure the site is going to be responsive. If you have an older website, sometimes it’s not cost-effective to optimize it for responsiveness. In these cases, the site should be rebuilt.
One of the most common mistakes we see with construction contractor websites is poorly or incorrectly written meta title tags. Your title tag is what shows up in search engine results pages describing what your website (or webpage) is about. It’s also the first indicator to search engine bots of the existence and content material of your website.
The two most common title tag mistakes are home pages with titles like “Home” or those identical to the company name, like “John’s Construction Company.” Neither of these send strong signals to Google to describe what your company is about and, more importantly, where you provide your services. Your title tags should always contain your service and your geographic area. For example: “Commercial Construction Company in Seattle, Washington.”
Another very common issue with contractor websites is a services page that lists every service the company offers. This does not indicate to search engines what your website is about, and it makes it difficult for searchers to find you when they need you.
A better strategy is to create individual pages on your website for every service you offer. This takes more time, but it’s a much more effective way to garner more appearances in search results.
For example, if you’re a commercial contractor, you might want to have individual pages for the specific types of projects you complete, such as commercial tenant build-outs, office remodeling, warehouse improvements, etc.
Your website should have compelling photos showcasing your best work. If you’re working on large projects, don’t hesitate to hire a professional photographer to take a few photos for you—it’s worth the money and can drastically improve the visuals on your website.
Strong visuals help build your credibility, makes you appear more trustworthy/transparent, and lets potential customers know you take pride in your work. But don’t just create a “photo gallery” page and call it a day. You should organize your photos by specific project or project type.
Then, if a browser looking to remodel their office space comes to your site and lands on your office remodeling page, they will see a selection of photos from similar projects you’ve completed. This type of organization provides a much better user experience.
The downside to older websites or webpages that are built on inferior platforms (usually by lazy web developers) is that they can be incredibly slow. With so many users on mobile devices today, it’s critical that your website loads very quickly.
This can be challenging for a contractor, especially if you have a great collection of photos, as the photos must be optimized for fast loading speeds.
For help with this, use the Google PageSpeed Insights tool (developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/) to check your website speed and get suggestions on making it faster. These are usually somewhat technical in nature, so you may want to ask your web developer to implement them.
Most contractors have absolutely no idea how many visitors their website receives, what pages are the most popular, where visitors are coming from, what devices visitors are using, etc. Google Analytics is a free tool that can quickly be implemented on any website, and it helps provide you and your web developer with important metrics to help learn when it’s time to make improvements and squeeze more results out of your online marketing.
It’s free to sign up (analytics.google.com/analytics/web/), and it only takes about 5 minutes to get started.
Many contractor websites have basic contact forms—if they have one at all. Your contact form should be detailed and ask for the information you actually need to be able to help a customer. Instead of merely asking for a name, email and phone number, ask your potential prospects for more details.
Consider including contact form fields like “What is your project street address?” “What city are you located in?” or “Tell us about your project.” If your prospect is serious, they will usually explain what they need from you.
Anyone truly interested will not be turned off by being asked for these details. And as a business owner or salesperson, you’ll be armed with critical information when you follow up with that project lead, which will also save you time.
Schema markup, or “microdata,” is something that few web developers are adding into their websites, but it’s a very important piece to the puzzle. Microdata are small snippets of code that send detailed information to search engines about your business.
This additional information can help improve how your website appears in search results. Details that can be marked up with microdata include your business type, such as general contractor, roofer, plumber and/or heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC).
You can also include business contact details, business hours, accepted payment methods and project-type price ranges. This is a more technical aspect of your website, so it’s best to ask your web developer to implement schema markup for you.
Most construction or contracting companies offer services in a specific geographical region. It might be a single city, a metro area, multiple counties, one state or multiple states. Whatever your service area, be sure to list it on your website.
A best practice for listing covered areas is to create a page for each city, town county or state that you provide services in. This helps searchers find you when they search for your services in a particular area, and it sends a clear indication to them that you can help.
You must make it easy for your visitors to contact you through your website. You might think it’s easy for a visitor to scroll to the bottom of your website to find your phone number and contact details, but it’s not.
Effective calls to action prompt visitors to take immediate action. Ideally, you should have a phone number at the top of your website, and it should be clickable on mobile devices so people can quickly call you.
Another important call to action is your contact form. Instead of just having a contact form on your “contact” page, consider placing a simpler version of your form on every page of your website.