Low Cost Marketing Strategies for Painting Contractors - Part 4 - Building a contractor website
If you are reading this and don’t yet have a website, or are interested in upgrading your current website, these tips will help. Your business needs a website, a website is your piece of real estate on the Internet where you can direct customers to learn more about your business and get found in search results to grow your lead base. You own it, you design it, you maintain it, and you control the content.
Website building does not have to cost a lot or be complicated. You CAN do-it-yourself! If you have beginning to intermediate computer skills and the time, you can build a website that will help your business get found. If you don’t have the necessary computer skills, you might want to consider outsourcing to a webmaster. Shop around if you are looking for someone to build you a website, prices vary greatly, as does the skill of the webmaster. Be informed by asking to see examples of websites they have built, ask about how future changes to the site will be accomplished, and where your site will be hosted.
Website Builders (CMS – Content Management Systems)
Looking to build your own website? The top three content management systems (CMS) builders I would recommend you investigate would be: 1) WordPress, 2) Weebly, and 3) Joomla.
- WordPress is my favorite website builder. It takes beginner to intermediate web building skills, can be customized, and has SEO features built in to help your website get found in search. Plus, there are many free plug-ins and widgets that make your site more powerful and visually appealing. For a small fee, (generally under $75), you can purchase an upgraded template that is responsive, that is it will show well across all mobile platforms and devices. A basic knowledge of html and css is helpful, but not required to build a beautiful WordPress website.
- Weebly is an easy to use drag and drop website builder. You can build a nice looking site, though the SEO features are not that good, even when upgrading to a paid platform. I would consider a Weebly site more of a beginner website building tool. It too can offer a responsive website for a template upgrade charge.
- Joomla is a powerful content management system for building a website. More complicated than WordPress, but offers more design control. Joomla takes some getting used to, it is more labor intensive to use than WordPress or Weebly, but once you understand the concepts, it becomes easier and more pleasurable. A basic understanding of html and css is helpful, as Joomla works best when customized with some coding. It too, offers a responsive template design for an upgrade charge.
Now that you have chosen your website building tool, your website needs to be hosted on a server. Do a bit of research here as there are many hosting companies. Some names you might be familiar with are GoDaddy, BlueHost, and Hostmonster. Fees are generally comparable, keep in mind, you will need to purchase a custom URL and pay a monthly hosting fee. I would also recommend paying for some privacy add on features; discuss these with your hosting company. Hosting your site will cost approximately $150/year.
Search Engine Optimization
Now that you have decided on a hosting company and website builder, you need to consider SEO (search engine optimization). These are the words and phrases you will use when creating the copy (content) of your website that will allow your company to be found in an Internet search. Google now places more emphasis on conversation search. Conversation search are the questions (queries) people will use to find something. Prior to this change you may have heard the term keywords. While keywords are important, they are now being used more in answering a customer’s questions.
When writing copy for your website, include relevant keywords (Google has a free tool to help with this). By considering how you would search for a business like yours on the Internet, you can probably come up with keywords yourself. Use your company name and location throughout copy. Write as if you are answering someone’s question to you as to why your goods or services can help them.
Avoid writing in a way that is unnatural, or keyword stuffing. Google will penalize your website for this.
Now that your website is up and running, it is important to view analytical data to understand how much traffic you are getting to your website, where people are coming from, what they are clicking on, and if your website is experiencing any internal errors that need your attention. By keeping a check on these indicators you will be able to adjust your website for better performance.
These tools will help with analytics and keeping an eye on the “health” of your website: Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools, Bing Webmaster Tools.
Want more information on website building?
Don’t miss last week’s article with tips for using FREE Business Internet Listing Websites to get found on the Internet.
This is Part 4 in a six part series on marketing strategies for painting contractors. Next week Part 5 in the series will focus on social media marketing for contractors.
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Written by: Barbara Walsh, www.walshonemarketing.com