Is Your Construction Website Losing You Money?
For those of you who have been in the construction industry for a while, you’ve probably witnessed a lot of changes. Especially since 2009, when the housing market virtually collapsed leaving many companies on the verge of bankruptcy. 6 years later things have slightly improved, but with the U.K economy moving forward in 1st gear, the construction industry is still under pressure, constantly hitting bumps in the road, due to a gloomy economy. Recent figures are yet again showing a slowing market, with housebuilding expansions at its lowest since June 2013.
Often during turmoil times construction companies, like any other company, tend to cut back on employment while they invest in improving existing marketing and sales channels to make sure that all prospects turn into clients. Whether you’ve got an offline or online business, company goals are always the same. Increase revenue, cut back on expenses and maintain high profits. One avenue that most companies are putting a lot of effort into is the face of their company (their website) and their brand awareness. In today’s modern world the gap between the offline world and the online world has virtually disappeared forcing companies to have an online presence (a corporate website) which is aimed at driving more customers to their front door.
While having a website is always nice to have, if it isn’t conversion oriented then you might be scaring off customers to your competitors, or even worse, just wasting money on marketing campaigns that will never bring in results.
In this article we are going to analyse a few construction websites and show you why some of them are simply spooking off clients, while others are closing sales from the moment their viewers land on their site’s homepage.
1. ShowCase Your Work
All great construction websites should include a way to show off past projects and case studies. Always remember that pictures sell better than words so make sure the design of your site looks amazing and showcases your work on your homepage. You want to give your viewers the “wow” effect. As they enter your website, they need to be super impressed by your work – and this needs to happen before they have time read anything else about your company or scroll down for more information.
When someone visits your site, it is the first step in the process – engaging designs and call-to-actions are essential to grab your user’s attention and encourage your prospects to contact you. Have a clear message that either defines what you do or how you can help your visitors. If you are targeting difference audiences, for example residential and commercial, make sure your viewers can easily view projects that are relevant to the type of information that they are seeking.
Planexa do this amazingly with their image carousel, showing off an elegant background picture together with a catchy headline. The only problem with their carousel, is that it is automatic and changes every couple of seconds.
Did you know that a usability study by Neilson Norman group confirmed that auto-forwarding carousels annoy users and reduce visibility. To overcome this problem they could have easily make the rotation manual, placing clear navigation buttons on the sides that allow the user to flip between slides.
Mulalley on the other hand tells a different story, and while the site might be working for them, it is quite hard to understand what they do or specialise in (especially if you are not in the construction field). Their rotating banner features people rather than projects and the pictures themselves do not really sell their product. Are they selling construction or people?
Even though they have categorised their information according to their different type of clients (housing, commercial, public and education), that information is placed at the bottom of the page and on smaller screens is located on below the fold forcing the user to scroll down to find it.
Always place important information above the fold and try to market one relevant proposal that will attract your users, getting them to contacting you.
LG Development Group give their viewers the best of both worlds, with their background slider and overlay banner that immediately directs prospects to relevant information they are probably looking for. If you’re looking for construction you can simply click on the “Construction” button and continue from there. Looking for development? Click on the “Development” button. The image in the background constantly changes, showcasing their work.
2. Be Professional and Don’t Use a Website Template
If you’re company is fighting its way up the ladder to gain reputation and you’re on a low budget then purchasing a website template is acceptable, but if you class your company as a market leader then make sure that the face of your company looks unique and gives you complete flexibility to improve your sites’ performance, in order to achieve results and stand out from the crowd.
There are so many websites on the internet these days that it’s hard to know which company is which and who is better. Don’t just use a template because it saves you a couple of hundred pounds. Whether your site’s goals are to showcase your work, bring in more clients or generate leads, invest in a site that will help you reach those goals.
Templates are an easy solution that can be adapted to match the design you are looking for, but they are often written poorly and will cause you a lot of problems down the road. If you still insist on using a template, then I am sure you can find a construction template on Themeforest. You’ll will still need a bit of technical assistance setting it all up and maybe help changing a few images here or there, but you can probably have a site up-and-running within a few weeks, after planning, at minimal cost. Remember that you will have to stick to the rough layout of the template, otherwise it will involve changing someone else’s code which can be pretty messy and ramp up prices.
If you require a lot of changes and want a custom design, it is better to invest in developing the site from scratch. It will save you time and money down the road and the code will be cleaner allowing you to optimise for SEO and conversion.
Did you know that a website should load within roughly 2 seconds to avoid losing users?
If it is delayed due to poorly written code or heavy images that take time to load, then you are going to test your viewers patience, causing them to leave your site.
By using Speedrak, we tested two major company sites. You can see on the following example that Laing O’Rourke loads 2.4 times faster than Balfour Beatty.
Remember that when you’re on the race for clients, every second counts.
3. Create a Clear Message
The first thing that your users are going to read is what is going to stick with them. When I landed on Carillion I read their header and my first thoughts were “Are these guys are environmentalists?”. Now obviously I know the firm and am aware of exactly what they do, but remember that not all your clients are smart or know where to look on your site to understand what your company does. You don’t want to give them the wrong impression or confuse them.
Make sure your value proposition is among the first few things your clients see. They need to understand what you do, how you do it and what they will get out of working with your company.
If we go back to Planexa, you can immediately understand that they provide Residential Solutions, remodelling, in Orange County. Straight and to the point. I still don’t understand their added value compared to competitors, but if I live in California I would probably contact them as their images are quite impressive and sell.
When creating a captivating headline use numbers if possible, interesting adjectives and try to make a promise that your users will remember. For example a better header might have been:
Residential Solutions in Orange County
Create your dream house at affordable prices!
Get a Free Quote
4. Enhance your Credibility with Technical Details
Technical details are a sign of expertise. Technical details enhance trust. And make you more convincing. In addition technical details tend to sell. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t want to flood your clients with technical stuff as they enter the site, but once you’ve hooked them then it is time to show them who’s boss and what you can do.
Lists are always a great way to do it, but anyway is possible as long as it looks good and is easy to read. It is important that your copywriting team don’t stick to just writing slogans and instead cut to the chase. Use direct copy to address your clients. Why are you good at what you do? How can you benefit your readers and why should your readers choose you? At this stage your readers will be looking for information and you need to provide it to them. Whether you specialise in commercial construction or residential make sure your readers know what they get and what you are capable of doing. Include figures if possible, explain about your process and be as specific as possible. This is the place you want to be viewed as a credible and reputable company.
5. Make Sure Your Site is Mobile Friendly
Just imagine this scenario- your clients are probably out and about, or travelling to work and suddenly decide to look you up. Remember that you are not targeting companies, either decision makers or project managers. In other words, people. People that want to construct something or develop something new and now want to take it one step forward. Do you really want your prospects to land on a website that doesn’t allow easy access from mobile devices and puts obstacles in front of them? There is nothing worse then trying to look for information on a company and not being able to find what you’re looking for, due to poor usability.
This is what happened when I landed on Laing O’Rourke’s site from a mobile device. Unfortunately they don’t have a responsive website, which forced me to pinch, expand and lose interest after 10 seconds.
In today’s competitive industry your website needs to look good on every device and be able to attract customers. Make sure that your unique selling proposition is clear and that you impress your clients with outstanding projects. Don’t just add pictures to your website to fill up space. Use elements that increases trust and improve your company’s image. The 5 tips in this article are only a few of the things to take into consideration when developing a performance oriented website that delivers results.
At TechSors we design and development amazing websites that are affordable and effective in bringing construction contractors new business. Our approach is completely different to our competitors as we focus on delivering results. Results that translate into more clients for your business. Contact us if you need assistance