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So You Want to Build An Awesome Website?

Matt B, Marketing Coordinator

Feb 16, 2016 @ 11:30PM

As a home service provider, your website is one of the most important tools in your belt for acquiring new business. 85% of customers use the internet to find local service businesses, so odds are your potential customer's first impression of you and your business will be based on your website. How do you design a site that pushes that customer over the edge from just browsing to giving you a call? We’ve got you covered! Here’s a crash course in everything you need to know to build the foundation of an engaging and business boosting site.

In The Keys to Good Web Design

Define who you are and what you do This one might sound like a no-brainer, but your potential customers are browsing through tons of websites in search of the perfect home service provider. If they have to endlessly scroll and scour your page to learn what you do and how to reach you, they will move on to the next site. Clearly stating what type of service you provide, where you’re located, and how to contact you on the first screen they see is an absolute must in order to capture their attention.

Establish credibility When you’re selling a service, you’re selling a relationship with yourself. You need to clearly establish what your unique selling position is - in other words, how are you different than your competitors, and why should your customers trust you? Including testimonials on your website is a great way to accomplish this, but furthermore, your website should look polished and user-friendly, because the level of care you put into representing your business is the level of care you’ll be perceived to treat your customers with. It’s all about striking a balance between personal and professional - you want to give your website viewers a genuine feel for your business that puts them at ease letting you into their home, while maintaining a skilled and qualified demeanor that inspires confidence that you’re the right person to get the job done.

Craft your image The visual imagery you use on your website should be engaging enough to capture your customer’s attention, while staying true to your brand. Here’s some tips and tricks for visual design:

  • Logo: Although your logo has no intrinsic meaning on it’s own, your logo is symbolic of your brand. It should be on all of your marketing materials: websites, social channels, invoices, trucks, shirts, etc. Therefore, it needs to be, and resonate with your branding message. Thinking about a redesign? Check out this article for some additional inspiration.

  • Color Palette: Certain colors can subconsciously with viewers, so you should select your color palette carefully, depending on how you want to portray your brand.

  • Typeface: The font you choose for your website can speak volumes about your brand. Fonts have different personalities, so you want to choose one that fits with your core branding message. Check out these examples:

font-stuff

If you wanted to portray that you’re a responsible and principled company, Papyrus or Bipolar Braden probably isn’t going to be your font of choice.. you would want to choose something more classic and refined. However, if you want to tell your customers that you’re fun and funky, using Lobster 1.4 as an accent font could be a good way to show some personality!

As a general rule of thumb, you should only use two fonts on a web page, one for headers or accents, and one for the body text. Additionally, on websites, you should choose a sans-serif font (one without tails on the letters, like Helvetica Neue or Lato) for the body text, because it makes for a cleaner, easier to read viewing experience.

Last but not least, I am begging you, please please PLEASE never use Comic Sans. Ever.

The 4 Cardinal Sins of Web Design

Now that you know the principles of good web design, let’s talk about some common mistakes and how you can avoid them:

  1. Cluttered websites: It’s easy to overload your site with content and images, but this is one of the fastest ways to lose traffic to your site, because your customers can get overwhelmed. An easy trick to see if your site has too much going on? Do a squint test! Squint at your site - if you can’t pick out your main points and call-to-action, you’ve got too much going on.

  2. Bad Photography: Photos, when done right, are some of the easiest ways to make your site fun and engaging. However, your customers will pick up on generic or poor quality photos in a heartbeat, and that’s worse than having no photos at all. Invest in getting professional photos taken, or high quality stock photography to make your site stand out!

  3. Poor Navigation: If it’s not intuitive to your customers where they can find all the pertinent information about your company, they’re not going to take the time to look.

  4. Using Fixed Web Design: As web use is becoming increasingly mobile, you need to make sure your web site is optimized for a variety of screen sizes. This is called responsive or adaptive web design, and are necessary in today’s digital world. If your web site is one fixed width, customers viewing that site on a small screen will be frustrated by the difficulty of use.

Smashing Successes

Some of these principles are hard to visualize, so let’s see some of them in action. Here are some examples of home service businesses who knocked our socks off with their web design:

ManMaids - College Station, TX

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Everything you would want to know about the business is right there on the front page: what they do, where they’re located, their pricing, their contact information, and even a “Book Now” button in the top navigation. If I’m a customer and I’m in a hurry, I’m way more likely to give ManMaids a call if I don’t have to go on a treasure hunt to find all the info I need.

Best of all, they provide you that information without cluttering their home page. It is clean and aesthetically pleasing, and the running video is a fantastic way of captivating a customer’s attention while simultaneously giving a customer a taste of their personality.

Controlled Climates - Clovis, CA

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This website is a perfect example of visual branding. Their logo is simple, and obviously connected to their industry, but they’ve personalized it to make it their own. Additionally, their color choices, red and blue, are commonly associated with hot and cold, which is a clear connection to the HVAC industry.

Their logo and color choices are consistent across all of their messaging, creating a professional and memorable representation of their brand!

In Conclusion... Congratulations, you now know everything you need to know to become a master web designer. Time to stop reading about best practices, and put your new found skills to use. Happy Designing!

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