5 Tips To Help You Get The Most Out Of Your Home Improvement Website
At The Marketing Corner, we are often approached by remodeling companies who know they need a good home improvement website for lead generation, but who know nothing about what this actually entails or what to expect from a website company. We have even had the occasional home improvement professional come to us after being sold the world by another web company--and being charged for it too!--receive a below average product or even a disastrous project!
These remodeling companies and home improvement professionals tend to agree that they would have fared way better had they been better informed before approaching a company to build their home improvement website. At The Marketing Corner we constantly believe in educating remodeling professionals--so that you can make better decisions regarding your marketing. The Marketing Corner has put together a list of the most important things to remodeling professionals need to know before building a home improvement website.We're not trying to teach you to build the site yourself here--thats our job--but we want to give home improvement industry professionals some idea of the things you should know and the kind of information you need to have a great home improvement website for lead generation.
1. Figure out your home improvement website's objectives, sitemaps and content
As home improvement industry professionals, we all know before starting any project there needs to a plan. The same goes for getting an entire home improvement website built that will generate you leads. Even though remodeling professionals are outsourcing the technical stuff--like the actual code of the website-- you still need to be prepared with a solid gameplan. This will help you tremendously when you start out with your home improvement website company because you will know exactly what you want and expect from a good website.So here's what you need to do:
Define your goals for your home improvement website
Spend a little time thinking about what you want from your home improvement website and the best way to target your remodeling customers.
What are you building a website for? Is it just meant to be a simple brochure-type display of your remodeling services for your company, or do you want it to be an information resource that you update regularly? Do you want to generate home improvement leads from your website, or just use it as a source of information?
Do you want to have a blog on your site that you can use for news and views? At The Marketing Corner we highly recommend you do! (Here's why blogging can generate more home improvement leads.
Do you want to have social media links that send people to your social accounts?
Draw up a rough sitemap for your home improvement website
A home improvement website sitemap is simply a list of the pages you want your remodeling company's website to display. An example of a simple, common sitemap we use for our home improvement clients is as follows:
You can add in anything that you feel your home improvement website needs for better lead generation. Some other commonly used examples are:
Gather your content for your home improvement website
At The Marketing Corner, we can not stress enough how important of a step content gathering is to the entire process of a home improvement website. When we work with our clients to build a home improvement website we assist them with gathering and writing content. If your remodeling company chooses to work with a web company that is going to help you with your content then it doesn't need to be perfect, but you need to have some basic stuff information gathered. Look though brochures, flyers, product information of your company to try to gather as much useful information as possible for your home improvement website. Again, we always suggest to work with a website company that can help build and write useful content on your home improvement website. Never under estimate the value of good copy for lead generation.
Having information related to your remodeling company ready and set out when you get together with a company that will build your home improvement website will save you money and help your project along more quickly.
Remember – your content for your home improvement website doesn't have to be perfect (and a good home improvement marketing company can help you with that) but you know your remodeling business better than anyone so you will be able to say it right!
2. Hosting and a domain for your home improvement website
You've probably heard both of these terms before--but many remodeling industry professionals don't know what they mean, or how they effect your home improvement website and lead generation. Web hosting and a domain are vital for your home improvement website. A good home improvement marketing website company should manage this all for you, but again, we want to provide you enough information so you know what they are talking about!Your domain is the address of your home improvement website. For example, www.themarketingcorner.com is our domain. If you don't already have one, you should decide what you want yours to be and ask the home improvement website company who is working on your site to find out if it is available. In general, at The Marketing Corner, we recommend your domain name should be your company/service name or at least something closely relating to it. An unrelated domain name will just confuse potential home improvement leads. Additionally, if you are an American company, it is nice to keep a .com address so people can identify you as a company, where as if you are a Canadian company a .ca address might suffice.Hosting is the place all of the the files for your home improvement website sit. When someone types in your home improvement website's domain (the address for your website), these files are accessed so that the visitor can see them. Hosting packages come in different sizes for different needs, and the costs depend very much on the size of your site and the company that hosts it.
3. The different kinds of home improvement websites (Custom coded vs. CMS - Joomla/Wordpress)
There are really two different kinds of home improvement website available to remodeling companies both with certain pros and cons.A custom coded home improvement website is a site that is created by using a specific kind language (code) that can only be changed by someone who knows how to write and update the code. This was how all home improvement websites were created before the advent of CMS systems.
CMS (Content Management System) home improvement websites, for example Wordpress, are home improvement websites that are built on a predesigned system. They have a user-friendly 'back-end' that you as the owner can get into to update your own content. At The Marketing Corner, we find this type of website extremely useful if you plan to do regular updates like blogging or news on your home improvement website.
Most of our remodeling clients have a mixture of both of these types of home improvement websites. Pages that aren't updated regularly we tend to custom build for our clients due to the specificity of their needs. However, since we always encourage blogging to keep website content fresh--we use a CMS for all of their home improvement blogs.
4. What a home improvement website should cost
Answering the question of how much a home improvement website should cost---is almost as extensive as asking how much should building a house cost?
Obviously as builders and remodeling professionals we know that this one question has a million follow up questions--such as how many rooms, how many bathrooms, what materials are being used, where are we building the house, how high end of finishes do we want in the house... the list goes on.
A good home improvement website company will never just give you a quote without explaining all the pieces that are involved in building the website for optimal home improvement lead generation. For example questions that The Marketing Corner asks are-- how large of a site do you want, how much capability to change the site is necessary, how much content are we writing vs being provided? These questions can help us determine what exactly your home improvement website should look for to generate enough business for your remodeling company. Its true, one size never fits all--and it couldn't be more true when building a home improvement website for your company.
We'd love to talk to you about your upcoming website, and give you a few pointers. Additionally if you're looking to update your website--contact us here for our very affordable priced options that will bring you free home improvement leads.
5. What to look for when choosing a home improvement website company
There are two different kinds of companies that build home improvement websites. Marketing companies (like The Marketing Corner) and development houses. If you are a remodeling company looking for a really big website (like-- Amazon) then a development house is the way to go. In our experience, we have found that many of our clients require much smaller and less intense websites then Amazon. For smaller home improvement websites development houses are not suited because they don't deal much in design and content. They will not be able to help remodelers with your home improvement website content and advise you on best practices for design etc. Marketing companies, like The Marketing Corner deal more in front-end home improvement website design. That is, they build smaller sites but focus on the design, functionality, lead generation capabilities, and content. A good home improvement website company will be able to help you to put all of your ideas into your website and advise on best practices for your content and how to get the maximum value for home improvement lead generation. Questions to ask your potential home improvement website company:
Are you going to design something for me or use a pre-made template?
Ideally you want someone who is going to design a home improvement website to your specifications for your remodeling company – you want to be happy with it!
Are you able to help me with my sitemap and suggest some ideas?
While your remodeling company have already created your own home improvement website sitemap, you should definitely be able to discuss it with your website design company to see if they have any thoughts or suggestions for the best layout.
Are you able to source images for me – or will I have to get my own?
Copyrighted images are increasingly becoming a major problem on the Internet. If you don't already have your own pictures for your website, you definitely need to find a home improvement website that can help you source these images.
Do you have copy editors to help me with my content?
We always suggest having your copy reviewed by a copy editor. A good home improvement website company will be able to advise you on your content and adjust it for best practices on your site for the best lead generation.
Do you include SEO (Search Engine Optimization) as part of your service?
This is a huge--again this is huge! Many times we see contractors who have paid a lot of money for a home improvement website with no SEO built into it! SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of coding your home improvement website so that it gets found when a potential home improvement lead looks for your company on Google. Minimum search engine optimization must done for your home improvement website or you have no chance of Google and other search engines finding you! A good home improvement website company should include at least the minimum in their cost, but having SEO as a service will obviously cost you a lot more---but in our opinion is worth it!