An Online Presence is Much More Than a Web Site

June 15, 2011
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An Online Presence is Much More Than a Web Site

I sometimes wonder when I see comments made here by remodelers and other contractors, how much the role of a company web site can be misunderstood. For sure, your web site is important, but I often get the distinct impression many contractors expect more than it can deliver on its own.

Think of this from the perspective of a homeowner looking for remodeling or contracting services. We're asking them to invest thousands into a project. That involves a high level of trust. Is our web site going to win them over? Not likely, at least not by itself anyway.

As I listen to my clients to find out why they chose me over another remodeling contractor, my web site only plays a small role in what is really a process. It might begin with them seeing my vehicles in our Eastern Pennsylvania service area and then they check out my site. Or it could be from any number of my advertising methods.

But it doesn't end when they find my site. I am realizing more and more that it is extremely important to build an online presence, not just a web presence. Of course, all of you who use resources like Facebook already have a good idea what I am getting at. But it's more than Facebook too.

The kind of clients we need in order to build a strong home contracting business are pretty smart. They check us out in advance. They view our BBB rating. They look for a "footprint" online to help them determine our credibility. They search to see if anyone has complained about us.

Our names appear in more places than just our web sites. Our potential clients are watching us. They are checking us out wherever they can find us on the Internet. When they are satisfied with what they are finding, then they call us. That is especially important if their first visit to our site is from a search engine.

When I reflect on what my remodeling clients are telling me, I'm convinced that all of us, myself included, need to do more to build an online presence, not just a web site that ranks well.

Please feel free to share what you are doing to build your credibility online.

Comments (8)

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    Mike's Plumbingabout 9 years ago

    Well said!

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    Paulieabout 9 years ago

    Funny you should use the word trust. Just got a larger siding job. I asked why you chose me over X, she said "I trust you". I always said home owners are looking for 3 simple things, a guy that knows what he's doing, a guy that is asking a fair price and a guy you can trust.

  • No-avatar-62
    Javi-AIRabout 9 years ago

    I just went to a customers house today that said they dont mind paying more for us even though we were 2k over another A/C company. All because he said we were dressed professionally and "looked" like we could be trusted. He has never looked online.

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    Grumpyabout 9 years ago

    I do beleive that a properly built, professional and informative website does build trust with a certain customer type. A simple brochure-ware website won't do it. However my website for example, if you browse to the iinformation library, this section of the site not only brings in alot of traffic it yields alot of qualified leads. Most of what is listed is a cross between a whitepaper and a blog post.

    However I do agree a site can't do it on its' own. It needs more. I will periodically search for my primary key words. I will then browse site to site and see what it is and if there is a way I can influence it. If it's a blog post on the first or second page about a topic and I can find a way to back link to my website you can be sure I will post somethign informative and constructive and put my link in there. I call this controlling your keywords. Let's say someone searches for "low slope roofing options" which is a keyword I like to ahem, spam, and I come up on the first page but so do a few blog posts... and then the person sees my site again int he blog post. That's called controlling your keywords.

    It takes alot of time to really build a presence. I have done it with this website, but also the DIY websites. I spend alot of time giving home owners advice in how to hire a contractor or how to fix roofing mistakes. I have been in discussions with other roofers who don't quite undertsand the internet and accuse me of wasting my time. They don't understand that the 15 minutes I spent answering someone's question for free sits on the internet potentially forever and can be seen by thousands of people and WILL overtime bring me customers. Waste of time? I think not.

    In addition if I seach for my company name or other of my primary keywords my profile or my website comes up time and time again in facebook, myspace and the thousands of other social networking websites. My goal is to really be everywhere and any site that is free to add my company data, services and hopefully a link, you can bet I am going to invest the 10 minutes it takes to do that.

    All in all the hours I have invested are in-calculable. However the investment on time has allowed me to nearly eliminate all paid advertising and still have more leads than I can handle alone. If I were to hire a full time salesman, I would have to spend a little bit to fill in the blanks, but nowhere near to the $12k per year per salesman I was paying just 3 years ago.

    Paulie, I beleive about the trust. take a look at this page on my site (which has my logo) The logo is the point of the link:   Scroll to the very very bottom.

    Some people buy on price, but those that do not almost always buy on Trust, IMO.

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    flashheatingandabout 9 years ago

    I have an alright web page, but when I ask people how they got my number the majority mention the reviews that I have. Reviews are a very powerful tool.

  • Thumb_avatar25_1
    Grumpyabout 9 years ago

    Reviews are an absolute must, especially now that google uses them as part of your website ranking. Typically once per quarter I will send out emails to various customers whom I know will leave good reviews. I ask them to leave a review and provide the link to the site which I wish them to leave the review, typically I will provide two links and ask that they "review us on one or two websites" :)

  • No-avatar-62
    MrElectricabout 9 years ago

    I don't think this is essentially always true. My website ( brings me enough work to be backlogged for weeks sometimes, it's all about how your site ranks in Google and how you as a contract are in terms of your work ethic and such.

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    BenLandersabout 9 years ago

    Most "smart" people realize that the BBB is a scam (wink, wink).

    A home contracting company's website is its single most important sales and marketing tool (aside from the business owner and word of mouth/referrals). The problem is far too many contracting companies treat their website as if it were a brochure. YOUR WEBSITE IS NOT A BROCHURE!!! It's a virtual sales rep. You should treat it this way. This means giving your site a quota and monthly goals; tracking its every move; and managing its funnel.

    At Blue Corona, we have several local home service companies that generate $300,000+ per month from jobs originating from Google Organic and PPC alone. Every day I see home service contractors carefully weighing their website options - "do I get the $2,000, $,5000 or $10,000 site?" Sure, there's a big difference between $5K and $10K - especially for a small business, but for Pete's sake - do you really want to futz around with something that could have such a large impact on your business?? I had one contractor tell me that I was asking him to spend more on a website than his rent each month... "Certainly you understand that my office is more important than any website." ... Uh, no I don't!

    While you're busy contemplating whether to drop $2.5K or $10K on your website, savvy contractors are building MULTIPLE websites - each acts like a lead generation machine growing their business every single day.

    Oh yeah, and I agree that you need to have an overall online presence, but for the love of everything proper, please don't put a link to your company's Facebook and Twitter page when the only "fans" you have are your brother and your bookkeeper! If your FB page isn't BETTER than your website, don't link to it from your site!!

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