For painting contractors who don’t have a physical location your website is your storefront. It is most likely the biggest interaction a potential customer will have with your business before they decide to call you or not call you.
Even if you are a larger painting company with a brick-and-mortar location, most potential customers aren’t visiting your store, so your website still carries major responsibility in representing your business.
Unfortunately, many painting contractors don’t look at their website that way. Here are four big mistakes we often see painting contractors make when it comes to their website.
#1 – The website is just a box to check off
This usually comes through in a conversation with a painting contractor when you ask them if they have a website and they answer “yes, I have a website. I haven’t looked at in a year though.” Feel free to fill in your appropriate time period of six months to multiple years.
Your website should not just be a box that you check off like some other task that you have to do. I understand you are incredibly busy running a business, especially in the busy seasons. However, if I’m a potential customer and I go to your website and I see old pictures and old information I’m going to start wondering if you are even in business anymore. To continue with the storefront analogy, it would be like going to a physical store where the door is open but it’s dusty inside and nobody appears to be there.
Don’t let this happen to you. Whether you are managing the website in house or using an agency, you should update your website at least every couple of months. Add new pictures, make sure your services are up to date, add and remove any information about your business that has changed. If you are working with an agency ask them to reach out to you at a specific cadence to prompt you to make changes. They should be happy to do so.
#2 – Giving up and pulling the plug too soon
Here’s the scenario where this usually happens. Business slows down for a painting contractor in October so they reach out to a website provider to build a website for them. By January they are frustrated because they aren’t getting calls and in February they decide to “cancel” the website. The website is taken down…and the process is likely to repeat itself next year.
Search engine optimization (SEO) takes time to work. Most people in the industry say it’s three to six months before you will typically start to see results. If anybody tells you that your new website will be searching within days or weeks you should run the other way.
All this makes sense if you think about it. Why should Google reward a website that was just set up last week above an established website that searchers have been consistently clicking on for years?
And yo-yoing up and down is likely to make it even worse in Google’s eyes. I know it can be hard in the dark months and slower seasons but you’ve got to give your new website time to work. And there are things you can be doing during that time to help too, like getting local links.
#3 – Emphasizing design over everything else
Many painting contractors have a strong eye for design. Because of this they may also have strong opinions on what their website should look like. This is great from the standpoint of providing excellent photos and a visually strong user experience. However, where it gets dangerous is when design trumps all else.
It’s dangerous because there are many SEO and user experience tactics that can be pushed out in favor of design. When this happens you are greatly impacting your website’s ability to search well. There are certain things that Google likes to see and if you don’t play by Google’s rules then they won’t reward your site with good search results. That means you are not going to attract new potential customers to your website.
This can work if you don’t need your website to search well. If you consider your site to be just a billboard that serves current customers and people that already know your business then you don’t need to play by Google’s rules. But if you are like most painting contractors and need your website to be a business generator, you should trust the team you are working with and be willing to balance design with SEO and user experience.
#4 – Not setting a goal or purpose for your website
Like all marketing campaigns, your website should be set up to help you accomplish a specific goal. For most painting contractors it is to attract new customers. However, you may want to target it toward a specific type of customer – maybe only high end homes. Or you could target specific types of work – perhaps you decide you really want to crank it up with exterior house painting jobs this year.
Alternatively, you may have a much bigger challenge finding all the workers you need than you do finding the work. In this case you may want to change your website to focus on helping you recruit employees.
This is an issue that is much more common for painting contractors who handle their own website or have a family member or friend that does it for them. In many of these cases the website is just not focused enough on clear messaging and getting visitors to take action.
You want to think about what you want the website to help you accomplish. What job is the website doing for you? And be sure to keep it updated. If you make a decision that you want to really focus on specific types of work, make updates to emphasize those services.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can support your business with a fully-optimized website, please schedule a meeting with us at a time that’s convenient for you!