They Don’t Know What You Know

Your website is a great opportunity, at least in theory. On one hand, you can use it to make a good impression. On the other, you can drive a potential client away by giving them the impression you don’t pay attention to detail. Could a disorganized website be a reflection of how you do business?

Which is it going to be? It’s your choice.

Remember back in grade school, say maybe second grade, when the teacher always nagged you to write your name on your paper? It was the first thing you did before you did anything else. Always.

Maybe teachers don’t say it any longer, judging from the scarcity of basic information one encounters on some websites. “Writing your name” on your website is like writing your name on your assignments. You want to get “credit” for convincing a visitor to to remodel. Make sure your visitors know who you are and how to contact you. Don’t make them look for basic information – they won’t.

Just a click away from cyber-oblivion

Web statistics invariably show visitors spend just a few seconds on a given page before they click away to something else if they don’t easily find what they’re looking for. If you’re not clear, they’ll go away. If they think you’re lazy or sloppy, they’re gone.

So, putting your name at the top of the page is rudimentary. And for heaven’s sake, get your name right. I can’t tell you how many websites I’ve seen where the company’s name has several variations or spellings. Maybe it’s just me, but I have no patience with a company that can’t even spell its own name or remember what it is. Is it Joe’s Remodeling. Joe’s Building & Remodeling. Is it company, incorporated, llc? Or maybe it’s joes building + remodeling, all lower case. Be careful about non-standard spelling and punctuation. Even if it doesn’t turn off customers, it tends to annoy editors. (Seriously, potential clients are not your only audience; keep the impression you are making in mind.)

Displaying your correct name, of course, is just a start, but providing basic information as a matter of course should follow naturally. Where are you located? By this I mean a geographic location, a street address. Your potential clients may not jump in their cars to drive there, but knowing where you can be found and that perhaps you’ve been there for a while is a confidence builder for potential customers. It’s part of building an identity. (Some people would call it a brand, but they’re likely to charge a consulting fee for that advice.)

Phone home

While you’re at it, nothing says “don’t bother me, I don’t need your business” more than the lack of a phone number. Potential customers do not want to fill out an online form so you can get back to me whenever you feel like it; they’ll go to another site that offers the opportunity to speak to a real person.

(Let me say, I’ve seen a fair number of contractors who include bid request forms on their sites, so maybe it works for certain types of jobs.)

 And, if you do provide a phone number, for heaven’s sake, answer the phone during business hours. Forget about voice-activated answering systems; they’re just annoying. (And don’t ever, ever tell me to listen carefully because the options have changed…. This may be the first – and last – time I’m calling, so I don’t know or care what the OLD options were. And, no, I don’t know my party’s extension. As a first time caller, I don’t even know my party.)

Tell people a little bit about yourself your website; it’s all part of putting your name at the top of your paper. Tell them that John Smith is the owner of the company and that he has 15 years’ experience and is certified and bonded and inspected and whatever else establishes credibility. Include a picture.

Tell people what you do. You’re a remodeler? That’s nice, what do you remodel? Where?

By all means, show some pictures of the work you do, but please tell visitors what they’re looking at. Before pictures are good, but some words would help, too. And don’t run all the pictures together so your visitors can’t tell whether it’s one project or many.

All in all, tell people what they don’t know. Tell them what they need to know. And, remember, they don’t know what you know.