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Things You Like For A Business Website.

 
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Old 10-24-2010, 07:53 PM   #1
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Things You Like For A Business Website.


What things do you think make a website pleasant to view (keep it clean)? I see many sites here. Many are professionally presented, but few have a warm fuzzy feeling about them.

Not talking about a year book thing or a slide show, but it is cool to see a few action shots. I like photos of people more than "things", but that may be just me.
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Old 10-24-2010, 09:17 PM   #2
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Re: Things You Like For A Business Website.


I agree, photos of people make all the difference.

Content is the most important though. I have yet to see a construction website where it had great content. Most of what is produced almost looks fake and made up. I think consuners can see right through that. Websites like this tend to be cold and very impersonal.

Customers want to see real people and real situations. They also want to feel a connection to the business owner and feel like they are part of the community.

Blogs are good in this respect but still, what we find are blogs that have bad content.

The best blogs are always the ones where people just speak their mind and can show the reading passion about the industry.

How many construction websites and blogs evoke passion and a true connection to the customer. Same with facebook.

Face book is a great opportunity yet we find so many business doing dumb things like updates or progress reports on their day. That's a bad deal for the customer, why would a customer care about that?

People are selfish by nature and when they go to a blog or facebook they scan for things that are of interest to them. They really don't care about your business because it comes off as cold and selfish....it looks like marketing.

Imagine a blog entry that talks about how great of a day you had with a customer job you were on. Imagine that same blog post explaining what you did to sovle a problem and how the customer reacted.

That right there is the difference between using a blog, facebook, website as a tool rather than "something a fella should just have for modern times".

Search outside construction for great blogs and you find some really great things. You find blogs that are fun to follow.

Online is best utilized as a means of making a social connection. Think of a website in the same context as talking to your best friend and you will have a winner.......customers will flock to you.

The problem is people refuse to do this and I'm not sure why, fear perhaps?

Once you enter in the "zen" of blogging for your website you begin to go down an exciting road. In short it's called "art"

Artists don't paint because of money or because it's"the thing to do". Instead they paint because it's a passion. Money is the reward for passion.

They guy that invented the Segway was an artist, he broke the mold and went on his own journey to create something pretty cool. In the process others have invented things that have spawned because of his work.....that is art. When he created art people followed, it's that simple.

The warm fuzzy feeling happens because of passion and art, it's an unbelievable thing to watch.

I will leave you with this one very important point:

I mentioned above that customers are looking for "what's in it for me" and they are selfish. As a business owner we don't have the luxury if we want a great blog/website, we have to write and produce content that says "Here is what you asked for". Most websites are selfish because they are about the business. Think about it.

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Old 10-24-2010, 09:48 PM   #3
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Re: Things You Like For A Business Website.


I should also add that the websites that are amature looking but art full of passion do 1000 times more for a customer than a ste that's perfect but has no passion/art.

You can litterally throw all the rules of marketing out the window when a website is pure passion. Following marketing rules is what's required when people have lack of good content.

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Old 10-25-2010, 12:52 AM   #4
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Re: Things You Like For A Business Website.


Basically, people want their information and they want it now. If you load a business website with too much non-sense and eye candy you'll just drive people off your site. The average time span someone spent on a site in 2009 was 7 seconds... SEVEN SECONDS! So, make sure you have a clean look, nothing to fancy with all the information someone will need right there in front of them.
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Old 10-25-2010, 05:54 AM   #5
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Re: Things You Like For A Business Website.


Personally, I like simple websites where I can get the needed information fast.
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Old 10-25-2010, 06:30 AM   #6
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Re: Things You Like For A Business Website.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike's Plumbing View Post
I mentioned above that customers are looking for "what's in it for me" and they are selfish. As a business owner we don't have the luxury if we want a great blog/website, we have to write and produce content that says "Here is what you asked for". Most websites are selfish because they are about the business. Think about it.Mike
You have me thinking...In fact, I'm in the mood for some constructive criticism. It's the only way to learn, develop and get better provided we have a willingness & teachable heart. So Mike I invite your input.

I had already made up my mind to have a pow-wow with my client in the next few days along these same lines.
What did you like, how can we improve, what were your dislikes, concerns. How could we have made this a better experience overall...
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Old 10-25-2010, 08:41 AM   #7
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Re: Things You Like For A Business Website.


If you had to choose between good design and a good message, I'd take the good message.

I built/wrote my father's website: http://www.handymanrhodeisland.com and he gets all the work he needs for a few bucks a month. He always tells me the compliments he gets for having an honest, straight-forward website. I could do more to it, but he actually turns away work. So that says enough.

My site is similar, although a little more design to it:

http://www.CharlotteHomeStorage.com

I split test the message and other aspects of the site, so work hard to increase my conversion rate. I test call-to-action placement, images...anything I can to get better results.

If you have a decent amount of traffic it's pretty easy to test your website to see what works (and what doesn't.) It take patience, but it's a scientific approach you can't argue with.

In other words, opinions (people pictures vs objects) can be verified one way or another.

Greg
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Old 10-25-2010, 08:58 AM   #8
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Re: Things You Like For A Business Website.


Quote:
Originally Posted by FreedomBuilders View Post
You have me thinking...In fact, I'm in the mood for some constructive criticism. It's the only way to learn, develop and get better provided we have a willingness & teachable heart. So Mike I invite your input.

I had already made up my mind to have a pow-wow with my client in the next few days along these same lines.
What did you like, how can we improve, what were your dislikes, concerns. How could we have made this a better experience overall...
I think youíre on the right track. I just looked at you website.

You are obviously a gifted tradesman. I would try and evoke the passion you have for your skill on the pages of the website. One thing about you site is that itís predictable. What I mean is, itís the same as everybody. That doesnít mean itís a bad thing but if itís your goal to make it remarkable than you have some more options.

First off is the photo of you. Go look at Magic Pool Services website. Notice how he has photos of kids smiling? What a difference that can make to create that warm fuzzy feeling the OP was getting at. Magic Pool did well here, when you first arrive itís a very welcoming feeling.

Your photo is turned to the left side, thatís a big no no in marketing. Always be turned into the body of the advertisement/website. Youíre a handsome person (Iím not gay) so put a great big smile on your face and look straight out and slightly tilted inward. This will make the viewer feel welcome. In fact, show a picture of your arms in the air waving people to come inside the website and stay a while. That alone can make a massive difference in setting the stage for a pleasant visit to the website.

Iíll tell you something that makes me shake my head sometimes. It has nothing to do with your website in particular; Look at what you remodelers are able to accomplish?

Plumbing is pretty boring and itís hard for a consumer to get excited about it. Remodeling on the other hand is a life changing event for many folks. The final product is art, itís passion, itís utility and refreshing all poured into one package. The opportunities to express that in a website are unbelievable. I get to talk about pumps, and toilets-not that fun really.

Remodelers have the opportunity of a lifetime to create an environment on a website that could be exceptional on every square inch of space available. The topics and subject to talk about are literally endless, why settle for predictable. Contractor website are always the same looking and yes, that can work but is that what the customer is really looking for? What Iím saying however is forget that, break new ground and create a place thatís compelling to visit. Do the same thing you would do on a remodel project but do it on the website. Maybe the best way to explain this is to explain how Iím building my website.

My website right now is on password protect because Iím busy building it. I mentioned plumbing is pretty boring but Iím trying to change that. If you click on the water softener page of my website what is it you would expect to see? Got that locked in your head? The predictable thing is a photo of a softener and some marketing not much else right? Thatís really a selfish endeavor on my part if I were to do that. If I stopped at that what would that really do for my customer? Would this type of page take me from a commodity in plumbing to remarkable? No, it wouldnít right?

It comes down to what the customer wants, it always does. The real problem is providing ONLY what the customer expects. Sure, they can see I install softeners so I did accomplish this but what can I do to create an environment where the viewer looks at the page and says ďWow, this guy is passionate about plumbing, he is the mac daddy of plumbers and I would be crazy not to call him firstĒ. You see, thatís a much different goal than to ďproduce a websiteĒ.

My softener page is much different than anybody else on the planet earth. When you arrive on this page you are greeted by a smile. Thatís followed by some quick bullet lists of great information for the consumer who only wants to spend 5 seconds here. That is not where I stop though. Beyond giving them the basics I also provide an entire education on softeners, and I do it with passion. When I sat down and designed the softener page I took out any thoughts of the entire website and only focused on this page.

When a customer comes to this page on softeners they are here for a reason. They really donít care about the other pages when they arrive here because they have softener stuck in their brain. On this page alone I need to create an environment that makes an emotional connection, a place where they can see Iím passionate about softeners and a place where they immediately know Iím the authority on softeners.

I also need to convey this message in a manor where they want to be here and feel good about the decision to click on the page.

Right now my direct competition has only a small photo of a softener stuffed in the corner of the website with no words attached to it. See the difference? When they come to my page the customer is going to remember my competitions little crappy picture and draw a clear distinction. Iím now using my competition to my advantage.

Remodelers can do more with websites that just about anybody, yet every time I visit a website itís the same as the next guy. Itís no wonder customers only thing about price, what else is there for the customer to judge remodelers on? Contractors put the customer in a position where they judge you as ďjust another remodelerĒ.

If I were to meet you face to face and tell you, ďhey dude, your just an average remodeler, your nothing specialĒ wouldnít that piss you off? Wouldnít that make you feel like crap? Wouldnít you want to just grab me by the neck and pound the daylights out of me? Of course it would. So my advice is stop producing that same crap as everybody else. You have gifts and talent, use them for God sakes. Show the world you are a dam artist, and you are unique. Show the customer youíre not in the same class as the rest of the competition.

Always understand that the customer is always comparing you to something else. They never look at you as an individual unless you provide a reason.

Iíll leave you with this thought-

I have a choice of two Mexican restaurants in town. The food is pretty equal I would say overall, yet I always go to the same one. WHY?

Well, the one I donít go to has bright lights. I donít know the owners name because he doesnít spend any time with customers. The owner and the staff never looks happy. I feel uncomfortable here. Why would I put myself and my family through this?

On the other hand, the place I go to every week is run by a fella that I consider a family friend. The staff are all family friends as well. I became friends the second I walked into the restaurant for the first time. The owner practically jumps out to shake my hand and give my wife a hug. He kneels down and says hi to my 3 kids. The lights are dim and very warm feeling. When I walk in I know people and everybody is smiling.

When I walk in the front door it takes us 10 minutes before we sit down because the staff is all excited to see us. As we walk to the table customers are all saying hello as well.

You see the difference? What Frutoso did was create an environment that becomes an addiction for it customers, when customers arrive the smile on his face is indescribable. He has no competition because of this.

The lesson here is simple. Frutoso is an artist, he creates art with his passion. The food is no different, yet the total package is unbelievable.

You are a remodeler, and just like Frutoso you have a chance to create a package thatís remarkable. Take a look at your website and you tell me, is what you have remarkable?

If not fix it! Youíre an artist, create your art! Sometimes you just have to forget the marketing and follow your gut. Forget about conversion rates and headlines. I realize I always talk about these things but when you have a great website with remarkable content the rules don't matter.

Think about it!

Mike
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Old 10-25-2010, 06:33 PM   #9
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Re: Things You Like For A Business Website.


I appreciate the feedback and I reckon you can say pep talk too. Thank you Mike
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Old 10-25-2010, 06:38 PM   #10
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Re: Things You Like For A Business Website.


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I appreciate the feedback and I reckon you can say pep talk too. Thank you Mike
Sure, I'm like the happy version of a drill sergeant.

Mike
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Old 05-29-2011, 06:38 AM   #11
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Re: Things You Like For A Business Website.


That's interesting stuff, guys....food for thought as I seem to be, more and more, our companies 'marketing person', but I'm just not getting inspired. How do you make windows and siding 'fun' or 'sexy’ (and I hate using that word for descriptive, but nowadays, for the younger crowd, it almost has to have an element of such)....I can spout the same statistics regarding energy conservation and increase to home values all day, but, frankly, who cares? Mike's.....what would you stress, from the top of you're head, LOL......about a family owned business (we all own different branches), that has been in the same small towns for about 35 years? Other than the 'experience' angle? We're just starting to build our site, and I don't want it to be all stock photo's and facts about siding/windows/doors/sunrooms. I want to *POP* and maximize it and the ad budget we have. Our ads now are so predictable and dull. Do you think we need to start 'branding' our family with the business name? Get a mascot? We need to show/say that we are moving with the times. We've been stagnant for awhile. :-/
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Old 05-29-2011, 08:24 AM   #12
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Re: Things You Like For A Business Website.


Im not sure you have to make a website fun, not for us anyways. What I would do is make the message about how you run your company clear.

The assurance that the customer someone hires will be A: Professional, B: Timely, C: Insured, D: Successful- provide reviews on your google places page, yelp.., E: Ethical, so on and so forth.

Warm and fuzzy feelings are created by trust, but dont make it sound lame.
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Old 05-29-2011, 08:52 AM   #13
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Re: Things You Like For A Business Website.


That's the thing, JBM, how can you do it w/o sounding lame or boring or just like the next guy? You know, we have an air-conditioning place in town that always, ALWAYS has their two little Lassie dogs in their ads. They say the usual, go on as normal, but those dogs are always there. I remember them, though......
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Old 05-29-2011, 09:09 AM   #14
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Re: Things You Like For A Business Website.


Wharf is the population of your town?
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Old 05-29-2011, 09:42 AM   #15
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Re: Things You Like For A Business Website.


I wish I could answer in depth but I've been on my mobile phone all weekend so it's killing me to type things on this.

Just reading your post I have a feeling your a lot like me. The key is to be yourself. Human beings have unlimited capacity so the sky is the limit.

The simple fact is siding and windows can be a lot of fun, I know that because it involves human interaction. Just let the "siding and windows" take a back seat for a moment. What makes people excited in life? What makes families bond together? What makes communities bond together?

What I just said may have you confused but consider this. I will ask you two questions and you tell me which guy you want to be OK.

Question #1 : Would you like to be known as a company that does siding and windows?

Or......

Question #2 : would you like to be known as that awesome guy that raised money for the local 4 year old who has cancer and brought a community together.........oh and he owned a company that installs windows.

Sound crazy? I do it all the time.

If you die about 200 people will show up to you funeral. If you get married about 200 people will come to the wedding. This is known as a sphere of influence. If 200 people know 200 people that's 40,000 people.

OK, so what does it takes to tap onto this and get word to spread? All is it takes is your heart in the right place.

So just go do it. Go help a young kid and bring your community together around a purpose that's real. Now bog about it on you company website, on Facebook, in your advertising. Let siding and windows take a back seat......don't worry it wont. People know me NOT as a plumber but as a guy who helps others who happens to be a plumber

When you help people and its real and not a stupid marketing ploy work traveled to the sphere of influence in exponential numbers.

In my own blog its all about helping people. I have a special spot called community where we talk about cancer, old folks who need help, the star player of the high school football team with videos etc.

If you do a write up on a young kid who did something great in your commumity do you think that kid would Facebook for you? Would he tell his parents about the great article you wrote about him? Would his parents be proud of that child and email your article to everybody on his email list?

Hell yeah, I'm living proof. Marketing doesn't and shouldn't cost that much in reality.

A member here named Ewa posted about panting a school for free. That doesn't work and it doesn't make any sense. People only care about things that are real and from the heart, and it has to be personal. Go look on Facebook and just read what people talk about. It's right in front of you. Talking about windows and siding is the last thing you do.

When I get home I can explain more because there is a ton more on this subject and I can share what I do. Just remember that your company can have a lot of meaning in a community or it can be that company that has lots of marketing exposure like everybody else. Puke on the second one.

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Old 05-29-2011, 04:24 PM   #16
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Re: Things You Like For A Business Website.


Mike people who get involved in the community like you do probably dont need marketing, seo or a website. Some people just have that gift. Those that dont need to pay for the exposure
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Old 05-30-2011, 01:40 PM   #17
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Re: Things You Like For A Business Website.


Photos of your people, testimonials from your customers and also copywriting that has a personal feel to it.
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Old 05-30-2011, 07:32 PM   #18
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Re: Things You Like For A Business Website.


Keep in mind...on top of all the comments here, your site has to convert the traffic it gets into prospects. If it doesn't, it isn't pulling its weight in 2011. So make sure conversions is job one. Not traffic, not ranking, conversions.
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Old 05-30-2011, 11:06 PM   #19
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Re: Things You Like For A Business Website.


I'm about to go to sleep, (all that champagne today!) but we’re getting interesting! I will expand and question, plus add our own personal issues in the next few days. Oh, and Mike, I do want to be know as that cool, nice WO-man, LOL. ;-) I tried to put up a pic avatar, but won't upload on the iPad. Have to drag out the laptop. :-/
I am the woman behind the siding GUY though. LOL.
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Old 06-04-2011, 10:38 PM   #20
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Re: Things You Like For A Business Website.


Mikes that is the smartest thing I have heard in awhile, its nice to know that there is still some people, especially in this business, that accually care about other people and arent out just chasing a buck.

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