Ultimate Guide to Creating a Successful Tradesman Website
Tradesman often work in crowded areas competing with 100s of other companies in the same catchment area. Using digital marketing can really make you stand out amongst the rest and give you an edge when customers are looking for someone in your industry.
In this article I am going to talk through, in detail, exactly what you want your website to include and why. This will help you if you are building your own website so you can use this guide as a base to build from or if you have someone else making your website so you understand what they should be doing.
I am going to start with a summery! I know this may be strange to you but this is a long blog post and I understand some of you reading will want the edited highlights. You can then decide what you might be interested in reading more about and just scroll to that point in the blog!
Keep your goal in mind at all times
The first step is to create a goal for your website. Once you have your goal, keep it in the back of your mind for the rest of the decisions you make.
Call to actions
Use call to actions throughout your website to dictate to your vistors what you would like to do. Place them strategically and make sure that you clearly communicate the value they will be getting by doing what you are asking of them
Sort out the navigation of your website
Before you even start the design, you want to write out all the pages you want and how they will connect. This will give you a good frame work and an understanding of the customers journey on your website
Organise the home page
It's easy to get excited about the colours, animations, pictures etc of your website but before you do any of that, you want to organise your page. Even if you just grab a pencil and paper and draw out where you want your call to action, your navigation bar, your services list, your contact form, this will be enough. Remember to keep in mind the goal of your website
Now is the point you can start making it flash. At the moment, a lot of web designers are valuing white space which is why you see a lot of white websites with sprinkles of colour. If you are not much of a designer, I would suggest you do the same.
Add the text
Keywords are important on your website for your search engine optimisation (SEO). Choose 5 keywords and keep them in mind while adding the text. Make sure they are on your page but don't overuse them.
Create the other pages
Now is the time to create all your other pages. I suggest you have an about you page and a page for each of the services you provide minimum. Make sure the keep the designs of these pages similar to your home page.
The last thing
For you search engine optimisation you will want to make sure at a minimum you put alt text on your images, a page title for each page and a meta description to each page. If you are building the website yourself with an online tool like Wix, they will have this functionality.
Remember to think about the mobile site as well and make sure it's just as easy to use. You could also add a blog to your website which will help further with your search engine optimisation
You now have a good looking and functional website! Read below where I go into more details for the above points.
What are you looking to achieve?
It is easy to get completely wrapped up in looking at the design and picking the colours you want that you forget to analyse what it is you want your website to do. Using a locksmith for example, if you have made a super graphically impressive website but haven’t made your phone number accessible for a potential customer in their time of need, they are going to go off your website and elsewhere.
Start by thinking about what you would like your website to achieve and work out from there. If you are looking to generate quote requests, you may want to make sure to have a contact form with “Request a Free Quote Today” today. This is called a call to action (CTA) as you are dictating to the visitor what you would like them to do. You will definitely want to include these on your website to help you work towards your goals.
Let’s go into more detail of what sort of call to actions you might want on your website.
Types of Call to Actions
Get in contact
It is not enough to just put your phone number on your website and be done with it. You need to make sure there is a clear call to action and reason why they should contact you. The more value you communicate to the visitor for doing the action you want them to do, the more likely they are to carry out that action.
For example, if you put your phone number accompanied by “Get in contact TODAY for your FREE Quote”, you are using language to provide clear value to your visitor.
By using language like “Free” you are showing that they don’t have to hand over any money, they just get it for free. You could even expand on this with “Free, no obligation Quote Today” to drive in the fact that it is completely free.
Adding in “Today” also drives in the fact that they can do it right now. This leads into making sure the barrier to entry is as small as possible. If you are using a contact form, you want to make it have as little information for them to enter as possible. If you are asking them to fill out 20 questions, they are not going to do it. This will marry up to you using language like “Today” because if they see that the form just needs their name, email address and/or phone number they are more likely to actually do it “Today”.
Give them the option to contact you via phone or email rather than just one or the other. You may prefer to talk on the phone to your customers but you need to understand that some people hate talking on the phone and would happily deal with you through email. If you are only providing your phone number, you will be losing the customers who would rather talk via email. So if you are using contact forms, make sure they have the choice to enter their phone number or email or both.
Put the call to action near the top of the page. I see lots of websites that will have a contact form at the bottom of the page but if the goal of the website is to get them to contact you, put it near the top. This will then catch the people who come onto the website and don’t scroll through the information to see your call to action. Some customers may also be coming onto the website already knowing that they want a quote, so make it as easy as possible for them to get that quote.
This is specific to if you are using a contact form and is going a bit away from focusing on the website and more onto digital marketing as a whole but set up some sort of automated email that will contact them straight away after they have filled out the contact form. In the email, make sure to thank them for getting in contact, tell them someone will be in touch soon and provide them some additional value. If you are running a blog for your company this is a perfect opportunity to promote it.
Now you are giving even more value to the customer so when you do make that phone call, they already have some sort of relationship with your brand. It’s also fully automatic so you don’t have to do anything once you’ve set it up!
The last point for this type of call to action is to not be afraid to put it on your website, or even the same page, multiple times. If you do get a visitor that wants to have a look into the services you provide and into your reviews, make it easy for them to get in contact with you without having to go back to the home page. Going back to one of the first points I made, you need to make sure the barrier to entry is as low as possible for that visitor so they can do it with ease.
Follow us on social media
Lots of tradesmen will use social media as their primary digital marketing platform and that’s fine. I would highly urge you to still have a website and use call to actions to move visitors of the website, to followers of your pages. This is perfect to keep them as long-term fans of you brand and to sell to them again later on.
You will see a similar flavour to all of these call to actions which involves you communicating the value to the visitor. Getting them to follow you on social media is the exact same. Think about WHY they should follow you and then lean into that. If you are doing some heavy digital marketing and giving out offers or running competitions on your social media channels, tell your website visitors. “Follow us on Facebook to see our latest offers” is a nice simple one that clearly states what you want them to do and the benefit of them doing it. You could go further with “Follow us on Facebook to enter our monthly competition to win £50 of Black and Decker vouchers”. This still clearly states what you want them to do but it gives them value for doing so in a monetary cost, which everyone understands.
It is always useful to have your social media symbols somewhere on your website, even if you aren’t looking to push the visitors over there. From personal experience, I have gone onto a tradesmen website and clicked on their Facebook symbol to see their Facebook reviews. Reviews on your own website are great, but the company has control of what they show on their website so savvy users will want to look on sites like Facebook or CheckaTrade so make sure there are links to them are on your website.
Download this resource
This may not have been something you have thought of before and I suspect there will only be very few people reading this who will be thinking of doing this as it is more to build your brand than to generate sales. For those of you who are looking to do this, let me give you some tips.
It is even more important to make sure you communicate the value to the visitor. Asking them to download a resource and spend time consuming it is a lot more to ask than just someone to click the like button on Facebook or entering their phone number. You need to make it clear as day why they should download this resource and outline exactly how it will benefit them.
Also think of the audience you are looking to get this in front of. If it is the ultimate guide to you laying your own patio, old Dorothy who is visiting your website to find someone to sort out her driveway isn’t going to want that. Thinking about who you are targeting and making an informed decision on that will help a lot.
Now lets give you an example. You have just had an app created where the user can select a colour and it will display on the full screen of the device so they can put it against a wall to see if that’s the colour they want the wall to be. You now want more people to download the app and are looking to optimise your website to do this.
The first thing to think about is who will want this app. It is going to be a mixture of adults who are looking to redecorate and people in the decorating industry who think this would be useful to them. Keep this in the back of your mind while you are making decisions.
Next, you want a call to action to get them to download the app. If they are viewing the website from the phone you are going to want them to click a link that will download the app straight to the device.
As I explained, because the barrier to entry is greater you want to make it worth their while. You could have a call to action like “Redecorating and unsure what colour to paint your walls? This app will help you”. This is then providing a question that they may be thinking or may even have just searched for on Google to get to your website and you have given them the answer. Make sure that there is a button that says “Click here to download the app” which they can click to download the app.
But that isn’t enough. You will need to provide some sort of explanation of what the app does. Have you ever downloaded an app while not knowing what it does? I doubt it. Put clear bullet points explaining what it does. “Search 1000s of colours to find the perfect one for you room”, “Display the colour full screen in high definition on your device to put against the wall”, “Upload your own pattern files to see how they match the rest of the decor”.
Now you have presented that your app will solve their problems, you have explained exactly what it does and how it benefits them and you have made it super easy for them to download. Your call to action is ready to go.
Think about your websites navigation
You want to fully understand how your visitors will be able to move around your website. It is useful to outline all the different pages you have and how they will connect.
Create a list of all the pages you would like on your website. I would suggest definitely having a home page, an about us page and a page for each of the services you provide. You can add additional pages as you like after that.
Every website should have a navigation bar which will be shown on every page along the top but you can also think about what buttons on the page will link where as well. For example on the homepage you may have a small “About Us” section but then have a “Read More” button that will take you to the “About Us” page to go more in depth.
You may have seen one-page websites that will have everything on the home page. This can work fine but if you are able to have multiple pages, that’s always the best way to do it. You can still have information about you and your services on your home page but go into a lot more details on the pages dedicated to them.
If you have a company that has lots of different services but you have a service page for Boiler Services, your home page may not rank as well on Google when someone is searching for “Looking for my boiler to be serviced” compared to your boiler services page. This is because Google will see that on your home page there is mention of oil servicing, fire alarm servicing, electrical works etc etc but this page here is just dedicated to boiler servicing. Just by having this page it may push you ahead of those who have all their services on the one page.
Organising the Home Page
Now that you have worked out what you want your website to achieve, you have your navigation sorted and we have gone through different calls to action you can use, let's talk about organising the home page.
It is important to organise pages on your website before you go ahead and start to build them. You can use tools such as Balsamiq Cloud to create a wireframe of your page or you can just get a pencil and blank paper to draw it.
Choose where you want the navigation menu to be. Most websites will put this along the top, which is what I would suggest you do as well. When users go to website they expect to see this along the top and if they are looking to navigate to another page, they will go to the top. Make their time on your website as pleasant as possible.
TIP: Put your logo in the navigation bar and make sure it hyperlinks back to your home page. Most users expect that they can get back to your home page by clicking your logo and if they click it and nothing happens it may leave a sour taste in their mouth.
Next let’s put in the call to action you have created. Because we read from left to right, it is advised that you put your call to action on the right as you want the visitors to do the call the action at the end of their reading.
So what do you put on the left of the call to action? This is a good point to actually explain what it is you do seeing as we haven’t done this yet. Something like “24/7 Emergency Locksmith”, your tagline and then a list under of the areas you operate. That means that if someone goes on your website, from their first view they have what it is you do and how they can contact you.
Next put your review score if you use something like Checkatrade or Facebook reviews. This shows the person straight away that you are trusted by others. Follow this up with some quotes of previous customers that show how awesome you are. If you do work with big companies, feel free to put in this part “Worked with” and then a few of their logos.
Below that, put an “About Us” type of section. If you are a sole trader or you have a small team, putting pictures of yourself on the website can instantly make you more personable and approachable, especially if you have a big smile on your face and don’t look like a serial killer. Explain why you are qualified to help them by putting in qualifications you have, experience and feel free to use your review score again to show you are trusted by many.
Below this, put another call to action. If they have engaged with your website so far and read up about you, they are now more likely to do what you want them to do. As I have said multiple times in the article, make the barrier to entry tiny so they can do what you want them to as easy as possible.
Now put all the services that you offer with a small description of each. I would suggest having a whole page dedicated to each service and make sure that from here you link to each of those pages. You can put a “Read More” button that links to the page. Use of images or videos for each of the services can also help as they are eye catching and portray the service in a different way.
At the bottom of the page I would put your contact details and a contact form, regardless of what your goal for the website is. A lot of users will expect this and may even just scroll to the bottom to contact you via the contact form. Make it clear what it’s there for rather than just throwing it there randomly.
At the bottom of your website you will need a footer that will include any terms and conditions, privacy policies, cookie policies, copyrights etc that you have. This is also a good place to put links to your social media channels because they will turn up on every page and once again, visitors will expect it.
You have now organised your homepage, so let’s talk about actually designing it.
Designing your website
I find this is a good point to think about the design, before you think about the layout of the other pages on your site. If you design your homepage, you can then use that to create the other pages. So what do you need to think about?
Sorting out the colours for your website is probably the best first step. Lot’s of designers at the moment are valuing whitespace. You may have noticed that a lot of websites are primarily white and just pepper their companies colour across the pages. If you are not a designer, I suggest you take this approach as well.
If you have a company colour, feel free to use it. Make your header text that colour and maybe border images in your colour. I wouldn’t put your background as that colour unless you really know what you are doing from a design front.
If you do decide to have a background colour for any parts of your website, make sure the text colour can actually be read on it. White text on a darker background can actually look quite smart, especially if the alternative was a black text where you could barely read it.
No one wants to see Comic Sans font on a website. Don’t go over the top with out-there font types. There is a reason font types such as Ariel have lasted the test of time and are still being used today.
When choosing your text, you will want to make sure it is clear for the viewer. If a visitor is struggling to read it, they are not going to take the time to try and will just get off your website.
Images are very helpful to compliment your text and communicate in a different way. Below are ideas of how you can use them, but do not over use them!
Have a picture of your very happy customer next to their review. Psychological studies have found that when someone sees a picture of someone else smile, they will automatically mimic that smile. Use this to your advantage and make the visitor smile.
Accompany your services descriptions with images that portray the service. If you can get an image that explains the service without them even having to read the text then this is perfect.
Have a picture of you next to the information about you! If you have a picture of you where you look friendly and approachable, more people will be likely to want to use you. I would say it is definitely worth getting a professional photographer to take pictures of you. It’s usually pretty cheap and better quality than a cropped picture of you from your holiday.
This is a perfect segway to talk about what images to use. It is better to use an image you have created than a stock image but if the image you have created isn’t good quality, it’s better to use a stock image.
TIP: For performance of your website, make sure to compress the size of your images before putting them on the website. Use an image compressing site such as Tiny PNG.
Video can be used in a similar way as images to be eye catching and provide value. One thing that is extremely important when having video on your website is to not have the audio playing automatically. It has been shown that visitors will just leave the website if audio starts playing on entry.
Putting video testimonials from your customers on the website is a good way to connect with your visitors. Hearing how great you are from the mouth of your customer will do great things for their trust in you.
Interesting videos of your services can help engage the viewer. With you talking over the top and explaining to them what you do can really help them perceive you as an expert. Once again, if you have audio do not make it play automatically.
Adding Text and Keywords
Now that you have the layout of your home page organised, you have your design down and you know what call to actions you want and where, let’s talk keywords and the text on your website.
Let’s start with keywords. Answer the question “Who would you like to come to your website?” and then answer “What would they search to get to your website?”. If they are searching for “Plasterer in Maidstone” then you best make sure that on your homepage you have the fact you do plastering and that you are in Maidstone.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a vast black hole of things you can do to make sure you come out on top of the search engines. Using keywords should be your first step. Write down 5 keywords that you would like to be found through search engines with and then think about how your potential customers would search for them. Make sure that the words your customers will be using are in the text of your website.
Now you understand the importance of keywords, let’s move on to text in general. I have seen countless amounts of websites where I don’t have a clue what they offer because the language they use is too technical or they don’t explain it well enough. Keep your customers in mind, what they want to know and how you can communicate that to them.
I have put two paragraphs below from two different websites I have found providing the same service. One is on page one of Google and one is one page 18. Which do you think is which?
”All the usual plastering services are covered along with tiling, external rendering, pebbledashing, coving and ornamental work.”
”JK Plastering have a reputation for excellence in wall & ceiling plastering, rendering, floor screening and decorating. Our skilled, fully qualified and accredited staff are proud to have worked on contracts thoughout the Midlands for the biggest names in the building trade.”
The biggest mistake about the top one is that they have put “All the usual plastering services” rather than listing them. This means that people searching Google for these services will not be shown their page.
The second one does a good job at including all their keywords, explaining why they should be trusted, enthersising this with the fact they have worked with big names and then put where about they are based. I did replace the company name with a fake one, but other than that it’s completely legit!
I think you have probably correctly guessed that the first one was from page 18 of Google and the second was page 1!
Creating More Pages
In the navigation section you outlined each page you would like, so let’s go ahead and talk about what you should include on the pages that aren’t your home page.
Each of these pages will have a subject that it focuses on, making it different to a home page which will have the edited highlights. Because of this you want to fully lean into what the page is about. Keep keywords in mind and think about what people may be searching for on Google to find this page.
For your about page, you want to go into more details about you and your company. Think why they should trust you, what other work you have done that the reader might be impressed with and why they should choose you over everyone else. If you have a big company, you may even want to split this page again into bio pages of each of your employees.
Your services pages are important to communicate clearly what it is you do and how you can help the reader. Still put in here your rating on websites like Checkatrade, reviews from customers you have done this service for and talk about what you have done to help the customers. You could even take this one step further and create case studies that you link to here. Keep in mind your call to actions as well to push them towards your goal.
With pages other than your homepage I would suggest keeping them the same style to some extent. A website can look messy if the user hops from one page to the next and it looks like it’s from a completely different website. Keeping it uniform across the board will help your visitors navigate the website without putting them off.
Let’s talk about blogs
Blogs are one of the most common ways companies will try to increase their search engine optimisation (SEO) and they are great for this so you may want to include a blog.
From a design standpoint, keep the look of the blog similar to the rest of the site so people understand they are connected.
It’s a great idea to feature some of your most recent or most popular blog posts on your home page. The position you put them depends on what you want it to achieve. If you are really looking to push the traffic to your blog, you may want to position these higher up on the website. If not, put them near the bottom, just above your contact form.
A blog can be a way to turn a casual viewer of your site, into a fan of your brand. If you get someone reading your blog posts, they are more likely to engage with you on social media and reach out to contact you.
Blogs are also a perfect opportunity to show that you are an expert and to gain more trust from the visitor. If you have a detailed blog post about 7 different techniques to lay flooring, they will think that you must know your stuff.
Remember the keywords you wrote up earlier? Use them in your blog. Your blog posts can show up in google searches as well so why not answer the questions people are asking. If Tony went onto Google and searched “How to remove artex” and you have written a blog titled “5 easy ways to remove artex that won’t take up your whole day!” which shows up in the Google search, Tony will think “Wow! That’s exactly what I’m looking for!” and click the link.
TIP: If you are struggling for content to write about in your blog try this. Pick one of your keywords, for this example let’s say it’s “Wallpaper”. Now go to Google and start a question with your keyword in it and have a look at the most commonly searched options. For the example I will put “Why does wallpaper”.
Now there are 10 subjects right there! Some will not be useful, but you can work out which will be and which won’t.
Remember your mobile site!
Often online website building tools will start with the desktop version of your website and then create the mobile version secondly, or when you are reviewing a website someone has made for you, you will do it on the desktop. 52.2% of websites are viewed on mobile now and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was even more when searching for tradesmen. This means you will need to make sure the mobile version of your site is top notch. Let me give you a few examples to explain why this is so important.
A hurricane has hit the area and Gemma’s fence has been knocked down. She needs to find someone who is able to put the fence panel back up, or maybe she has seen this as an opportunity to replace the entire fence. Do you think Gemma will load up the computer to look for a tradesman, or pick up her smartphone and look there? Of course, she will pick up her smartphone.
In a more extreme situation, Gemma has come back after a night out and lost her keys so can’t get into her house. She needs to find an emergency locksmith because she doesn’t already know any. In this example, she can’t physically get onto her desktop so will have to use her smartphone.
Those two examples should help you understand why the mobile version of the website is so important. If you are in a business such as an emergency locksmith, it’s super important to get the important information at the top of the site for when the visitor first loads it. You will want your phone number, the fact you are a 24/7 emergency locksmith and your review rating.
Google have a mobile-friendly tool for your website. It will tell you if Google deem your website as mobile-friendly which is very important because Google are now penalising websites that are not mobile-friendly on their searches. Click here to run your website through it and see if yours is mobile friendly.
Further Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
By now you have a good looking website and you are probably thinking you are ready to go. There is one last thing you have to consider before you go live with your site and that’s further search engine optimisation.
Whatever tool you are using, be it Wix, Wordpress or Squarespace, there is a way for you to do a bit more advanced SEO than just keywords. These include meta descriptions, page titles and alt text for images.
As I said earlier in the article, SEO can be a black hole for things you can do to rank higher on Google but in this article we are just going to go through the steps you can do to make sure your website will have the best chance from day one. If you want to know more about SEO please feel free to get in contact.
A page title will show on Google as shown in the below image. You need to make sure that your title is clear, to the point and gives as much valuable information as possible. When someone is looking through the searches on the Google results, you want them to click on yours.
It is also a good idea to put the area you work in within the title as well. This will help Google know what sort of area you are operating in and also when people search for tradesmen on Google they will usually put in the area they are looking for so not to get useless information. If they are search “Boiler Repair in Dover” and your page title is “Boiler Repair | Dover | Company Name” then you are making it easy for Google to make the connection and you are letting the user know exactly what you do.
The description is the part that displays under the title in the Google search results. You will notice that they are quite small. It’s important to get the keywords and the description of what you do at the beginning of the meta description so the user knows by reading it. Lot’s of people will start with fluff-text like “We have a passion to helping our customers in whatever way we can. We go above and beyond to put the customers first…” which is very nice but it doesn’t tell Google or the user what you do at all.
If you do lots of Google searches yourself, think of what you would expect and want from one of these descriptions and put it in there.
Google cannot look at an image and understand what it is. You will want to put alt text on your images to tell Google what the image is portraying. Keep in mind your keywords here and you can be completely straight to the point with this text.
I have an awesome website! What now?
If you are really looking to get to the top of Google results, you still have lots of work to do. You are competing with lots of other companies for that top spot so you have to continue to give value to the people searching for your keywords and showing Google you can be trusted.
Blogs and case studies are two good ways to keep the content on your website fresh. Blogs can offer additional value to your visitors and a case study is a really good way to show your visitors that you can be trusted and you have done amazing work in the past.
Even if you do not put in the work to get your website on the first page of Google searches, you have an amazing website which is structured around your goals when people do get to your website.
Remember, there are other ways people can get to your website than just through Google. You can have your social media channels leading potential customers there; you can have it written on your van, your business cards and your flyers; people may here that you did some work for their neighbours and they search for your name rather than your keywords on Google; you may even get featured on another website or blog that then links back to your website. So don’t get disheartened if you don’t get to page 1 of Google, the website can bring more benefits than just that.
I really hope this article helped you or at the very least got you thinking! Feel free to get in contact if you have any questions and sign up to our mailing list. I will be creating more content surrounding search engine optimisation if you are interested in getting to the first page of Google.
If all this sounds like too much work and you just want to pay an expert to do it for you, just get in contact and we can have a chat.
If you have any questions, feel free to hit us up on social media or drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org
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