Fenestration Forum – Your website should be a work in progress
By Brian Burton
Get to work on site
By Brian Burton
Websites have been around for about 20 years now, but judging from what I see online a lot of us have never gotten any farther than putting up a very basic page. This is unfortunate, as your website can be a great tool for attracting business.
To be effective, your site should be properly formatted with relevant content and remain up-to-date. One persistent limitation appears to be the tendency to launch the website, be thankful that it’s finally done and then forget about it. That’s against the unpublished rules of search engine optimization (SEO), which you have to follow if you want people to find you on Google. If you put your website up and forget about it, your ranking will slowly drop because your site is not changing. When your ranking drops, you appear farther and farther down the list of search results, eventually falling off the front page and effectively becoming invisible. Almost no one reads past the first page of search engine results, even if they don’t see what they are looking for there.
The answer is quite simple. You must keep working at it. Ideally, your site should remain a work in progress with an honest and straightforward approach. That means keeping your clients – or potential clients – up-to-date about you and the marketplace. The best sites manage to share with visitors information they don’t already know. Your website should not focus entirely on you and your company but also share information about what you and your staff know and have learned over the years about the architectural glass business. Explaining how properly installed fenestration components add value to residential and commercial properties, looking at what’s new in the marketplace and discussing the latest fenestration issues rewards the visitor’s attention and is usually appreciated. It’s not sales-oriented marketing as we would usually think of it that makes a website successful but providing unbiased, legitimate information that helps clients determine what is the best value for their money. Once you’ve gained the visitors trust and attention, it becomes easier to encourage potential clients to act by calling you or coming back to your site later.
The guidelines for website content suggest that honesty is the best policy. You should not make unsubstantiated claims or suggest you’re the best in the business unless you can prove it. Purchasing agents tell me that comments like “Our service and quality are unmatched,” need to be substantiated if they are expected to make an impact. Today’s buyers want information, not sales pitches or advertorials.
Your content should give your visitors what they need to know, not just what you want to tell them. Ever see one of those car commercials where people are breaking down the dealership door because they are so excited about the sale inside? In advertising, they call that an example of the writers talking to themselves. The message reflects what the advertiser hopes to achieve, not what the customer hopes to get. Your website should talk to the customer. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself whether the content helps your users to solve problems or answer common questions.
It can be difficult to assess your own website and its impact objectively. Let a third party rate your site. And get your whole in-house team involved with contributing to the site and evaluating it. What can we do better? Is there something we’re missing? Inquiring as to how clients heard about you, where they heard about you and what made them act to contact you will also help.
Brian is a construction writer from Ottawa Ontario who served on the CSA’s Fenestration Installation Technician Certification Program Personnel Committee. You can contact Brian at Blueblade49@gmail.com or learn more by visiting burton’s-pen.com