If you build it they will come, right? Unfortunately not. Most tradies think a new website is all it takes to fill their inbox with leads. But if your site isn’t optimised for SEO, mobile-friendly, full of amazing helpful content, and easy to navigate, then it won’t bring in new customers. Read on for the 5 most common problems we see in trades business sites.
It’s tough for most tradies to spot problems on their website.
Just like it’s tough for the average Joe to spot problems with their wiring, or their grout, or their crown moulding. Without a trained eye, little mistakes go unnoticed. But over time these little mistakes can turn into HUGE problems that cost plenty of money to fix.
Your website is the same.
Without looking at your site it’s tough to diagnose any problems, but speaking from experience we know the most common errors (and how many leads they end up driving away).
In this article we’ll explain the 5 most common mistakes we see on trades business websites, and offer some practical tips if you recognise any of these problems yourself.
You can have a beautiful backyard, but if you haven’t cleared out the weeds or built a fence, you wouldn’t be surprised if it ended up overgrown and trashed before too long. The majority of Australian tradespeople we speak to are under the impression that investing in a website is all it takes to grow their business.
But not all websites are the same.
Think about your own industry. Is every tradie the same? Do they all offer the same quality service? Could a customer pick someone randomly from the Yellow Pages and expect great work?
The best trade businesses in your niche have put in the time and effort to stand out and to do great work. It’s not enough to just have a business, you need to be a valuable business that helps people.
That’s why launching a website is the first step to grow your business online, but not the last. If you spot any of the following mistakes in your own website, you’ll need to fix your errors ASAP.
#1 – You don’t have a strategy in place
A great website starts BEFORE your website goes live.
You wouldn’t turn up on day #1 of a new build and start hammering nails and laying bricks without a plan of where everything will go from start to finish. If you don’t have a strategy in place for your website, then you’re already at a HUGE disadvantage to competing trade businesses who know who their customers are, what problems their customers have, and how their content will solve those problems.
The word “strategy” can be a buzzword that salesmen and agencies through around without much meaning. All strategy really means is that you understand your customer’s problem, and you have a solution for them.
· You understand the psychology of your target customers: What problems do they face? What solutions are they looking for? What is stopping them from hiring someone to help?
· You understand what content you need: What keywords will you build your content around? How much competition will you face trying to rank?
· You understand how to present yourself as the solution: Will your site be easy to use? Will your content be easy to read? Will your business be easy to contact?
This is the P-C-D (Psychology, Design, Content) Framework that all Tradie Digital websites are built with.
If you don’t have a strategy in place to cover these crucial features, you’re setting yourself up for a VERY expensive 6-12 months with few enquiries or leads coming the other way.
#2 – Your website isn’t SEO-friendly
If you want your website to rank on Google, it needs to be built with SEO in mind. You wouldn’t build a home extension on a sloping block without a concrete slab or other specific foundation, and you can’t build an SEO-friendly site without a plan.
A website built for SEO has a specific layout, specific pages created to target specific keywords, specific website architecture designed to guide people to your high-converting pages. On top of that it needs to be technically perfect, quick to load, and optimised to tick Google’s SEO boxes.
It doesn’t matter how flash your homepage is or how crisp your photos are, if your site isn’t built for SEO, it won’t rank on Google.
Wondering how we build a site for SEO? Explore each step of the site-building process here
#3 – Your website images are too big or low quality
If you’ve been managing your own site, or you’ve outsourced that job to an offshore worker in Timbuktu, you probably don’t give much thought to your photos.
As long as the photos are up on your site and people can see what’s happening, no dramas, right? Unfortunately, this attitude leads to a common mistake we see across the bulk of tradesperson businesses.
For a start, images need to be resized before they go live on your site. The bigger an image is (we’re talking about its file size, not how big it looks on your website), the slower your website will load. Every 1 second delay in load time eats away 7% of your conversion rate, so speed counts.
Low resolution images are also common. Using a low resolution image can end up with an ugly, pixelated look if you try to make the image bigger, for example on your home page or in a project gallery.
#4 – Your content isn’t solving people’s problems
The most common mistake we see tradies make is to make their content about THEM.
The truth is, your audience doesn’t care about you. They only care if you can solve their problems.
These problems change depending what industry you’re in, but the importance of publishing content that is problem-solving never changes. It doesn’t matter if you install kitchens or remove scrap metal, if your website only talks about you and not about your audience’s problems then you’ve got a major problem.
For example, it’s a mistake to write about the size of your drill bits, the speed of your drills, and the power of each tool.
Your customer doesn’t care about the drill – THEY CARE ABOUT THE HOLE.
If your copy focuses on the way a new hole will make their lives easier, whether it’s to put up a new shelf or to install beautiful new cabinets, you’ll get more leads and enquiries.
The easiest way to check your site for this flaw is to look for “us” and “we” language. If you’re using statements like “we’ve been in Sydney for 25 years, we offer the best patio building services, contact us for a quote” then it’s pretty clear you’ve got the wrong focus.
Instead, switch your language to “you” language.
Let’s say you’re a handyman who fixes problems around the house. Instead of saying “We’re a proudly family owned business and we’re committed to delivering the best possible service time after time”, you could say…
“You’ve got jobs around the house that take your weekend away from you. Don’t sacrifice your free time, get the help you need and clear your entire weekend to enjoy on your terms.
This second example uses “you” language and addresses a customer’s problems – in this case doing odd jobs around the home is sapping all their free time. If your content isn’t solving problems, your website will suffer.
#5 – You don’t have any backlinks (or you have crap backlinks)
Backlinks act as a vote of confidence from another site to yours.
If no one is linking to your website, it makes it harder for Google to boost your rankings. It’s on record that backlinks are one of the top 3 most important ranking factors, so if you don’t have any backlinks (or they’re all spammy and crap) your SEO will suffer.
This is one of those technical problems that’s tough to notice without an SEO agency on your side. You’ll need SEO software to track your backlinks, but if the websites above you on Google have backlinks from quality, relevant sites, you’re fighting an uphill battle to outrank them.
In short – YES.
If your website images load slowly, if your content isn’t communicating effectively, if you don’t have the right strategy you WILL lose customers.
It’s that simple.
Your website is your central hub of your business and nearly every potential and existing customer will visit it at some point in time. It’s also the place where you either ‘WOW’ a site visitor and convince them to call you for a quote…or lose them with a click back to Google.
If your website isn’t built for SEO, optimised for mobiles, full of quality images, solving problems and earning backlinks, then you’re leaving thousands of dollars on the table in missed leads
Remember, doing nothing to fix your site’s issues probably won’t run your business into the ground. But making changes to solve your problems can increase your clicks, calls and conversions.
Wondering how to fix your website?
Claim a FREE consultation here for a step-by-step walkthrough