In Part 1, I addressed types of templates and web addresses. Now that you’ve set up this infrastructure, you can add the details of the website architecture. Since all your marketing should be directing prospective clients to your website, you need to make sure your site immerses the visitor in your vision, is easy to navigate, and excites your prospective clients so they want to call or email you.
Architecture/Layout of Your Site
- Your home page should provide all the information your clients may need. Your company name, address and phone number should be in a visible spot at the top half of the page. This may seem basic, but how many websites have you seen where you have to hunt for the address and phone number?
- Your home page should allow visitors to quickly and easily navigate to exactly what they want to see. Having a legend or drop down menus tabs across the top is the simplest and most straightforward navigation format.
- Prominently place a call to action contact button on the home page.
- Consider an interactive map that allows people to find out how to get to your office.
- Portfolios can be complicated. When you’re selecting a template, make sure to find one that has a good portfolio section. You need your photos to load quickly. Our portfolio is organized by type of project. If a visitor clicks on a project, it takes them to a page with scrolling photos with a one paragraph description. The visitor then has the option of clicking on a “more information” button that takes them to a full article on the project with before and after photos and floorplans. Use bullet points and captions to break down the information into smaller parts. Remember: quality over quantity, use professional photos and tell a story.
Updating Your Site
Using a template allows someone at your company to quickly and easily make changes to your site as opposed to a custom site where all content changes must be sent to your Web designer. Changes in staffing, new projects, blogs, events, awards, testimonials– all of these should be reflected on your site in a timely fashion. Only include a blog tab if you are going to post regularly. Keeping your website fresh is good for your clients and increases site ranking by search engines.
Add some personality to your website by describing your background and how your company was formed. Try to capture your company culture. Include photos and a short description with fun facts for every person on your team. Whenever we visit a website of our competitor with anonymous information in the “Who We Are” tab, we always suspect they’re less than professional. Add testimonials from customers. You can also use to great effect quotations from famous people that reflect your company’s personality. Don’t use stock photos to illustrate things like your design or construction process—use actual photos of your team. Visitors want to see photos of those that will be coming to their home.
Think of your website as a filter. It is as important to know who your client is and the type of projects you want to attract as it is to know who your clients are not and which projects you don’t want.
Your website should be set up to allow Google to track you and provide analytics. This involves getting a snippet of code from Google and splicing it into the code at the right place on your website. This will be invaluable in assessing how your site is doing—the pages your visitors go to and how long they spend on your site. You can set up your site to track conversions so you can see the number of visitors that fill out your contact form and what pages they visited on the site prior to filling out the form.
We include a tab for a password-protected section of our site where qualified prospects can review our licenses, certificate of insurance and reference list. We also include a link to the project management software we use to communicate with clients.
A list of frequently asked questions is a good format to help website visitors get a quick overview of your company.
A video is a good way for prospective clients to quickly get to know you and your company. They’ll feel more comfortable with you when they meet you in person. Videos also contribute to a higher search engine ranking.
If you check your analytics, it will tell the percent of users that are visiting your site using a mobile phone or tablet. We’ve seen the percentage increase in the past few years—it’s now about 30 percent. Our SEO firm tells us that Google will soon begin punishing websites in organic rankings for not being mobile compatible.
Have fun with your website. The process of creating or re-vamping a website can help you rethink your business identity and priorities. A great website can help prospective clients find you, show that you are proud of your team and work, and can help your upward business trajectory.