Digital marketing consultant Pritesh Patel discusses the common mistakes construction companies make on their websites – and shares his tips and tricks on how to increase your traffic and generate better leads
If you think your company website should be a shop window into your business, think again. That’s the view of website expert Pritesh Patel, who says this outdated myth needs to be buried for good.
“You hear the phrase ‘it’s a shop window into our business’,” says Pritesh. “But how many window shoppers do you want? Surely you want actual people coming in and buying things.”
In his role as a digital marketing consultant, with a focus on building product manufacturers, Pritesh regularly audits his clients’ websites, so he has a trained eye for the sort of errors that hold a business back on the internet.
“Firstly, it’s the mindset of treating your website as a corporate brochure,” says Pritesh. “Companies say, we’ve got a catalogue of products. Let’s just make a website version of our catalogue. That really is outdated thinking and things have moved on so much since then. There’s so much more you can do.
“Another common error is not thinking about where your website fits into your sales process. You need to develop a mindset where you’re looking at your website as something that is going to generate leads and help your business grow.”
Pritesh identifies another potentially fatal flaw as not reacting fast enough to enquiries. “If you look at your own behavior on the web, when you’re looking for a product or service, you’ll probably send multiple enquiries to multiple suppliers. Often who you go with comes down to who reacts fastest,” he says.
“I’ve come across some companies who park enquiries from the web to one side and others who respond in an hour. It’s a competitive space and reaction time is crucial.”
Other regular issues include not doing enough with your data and treating optimisation, which means employing tactics to catapult you up the search rankings, as an afterthought. “Websites collect data on usage and behaviour and track where enquiries are coming from. You should use this data to keep yourself informed about what’s working and what’s not. It helps you avoid wastage, where you’re spending money on things that don’t generate leads,” says Pritesh.
“It’s also rare that I find a construction website that’s well optimised and has a clear direction in terms of the searches it’s trying to target. Search engine optimisation (SEO) is often an afterthought after a site is launched, but it should be considered much earlier in the process.”
So what should you do to give yourself a better chance of outgunning your competitors online? Here are Pritesh’s tips and tricks for improving your visibility and generating more leads from your website.
1. Work out your website’s purpose
Ask yourself what your website’s there for and what you want people to do when they get there. When I work with clients, we have a brainstorm and I say ‘when I come to your site, what do you want me to do?’ And they say: ‘request a sample, give us a call, sign up to a registration area, or sign up to a calculator, etc.’ We quickly get a list of five key things we want people to do. Once you’ve got that list, you’ve got your key goals and you can start measuring how well your website is doing in achieving them.
2. Do some simple on-page SEO
That means updating your headers, titles and meta tags, adding links to other pages in your website and making sure any project case studies are written with a web – rather than a print – focus. In terms of case studies, companies often put the project title as their case study title. They’ll write ‘Oxford Brookes University’ for example, which from an SEO perspective means you’re optimising that page for the university, which might be students or people looking for its address or phone number. What you should be doing is aiming the title at someone looking for that particular case study, such as specialists in the education sector. So if you were supplying aluminium facades to the university, title it ‘Aluminium facades supplied for universities’. Then anyone searching for aluminium facades for universities should be pointed towards your page. Marketers try to get all creative – but you’ve just got to think about what people are searching for.
3. Calls to action
These are the things you want people to do on your website. They should encourage visitors to request a sample, book a course, request a call back, or whatever your specific goals are. So go to your case studies or blogs and make sure you’re always answering the question ‘what do you want me to do next?’ with a clear call to action.
4. Need for speed
Google rewards faster-loading websites with a better ranking, which will make you more visible. Typically, a lack of knowledge about how to upload images, for example, slows down your site. So simple things like spending a day resizing all your images so they’re web friendly will improve your page load times and have a positive impact on your rankings.
5. Banish the bounce
Look at your Google analytics data, lots of which is available for free (https://www.google.co.uk/analytics/) and look at which pages have high bounce rates. That means the percentage of people who go to a page and leave without doing absolutely anything. Typical reasons why pages have high bounce rates are content quality is poor, it doesn’t match what people have searched for, your presentation isn’t very good, or pages aren’t loading fast enough because of a big image, so they end up leaving. Use analytics to narrow down the three pages that perform worst. Start working on those pages and run through all the reasons why it’s not performing. Once you’ve worked out why, do some work to improve it. What you’re always trying to do is entice that one click when people come to your website.
6. Traffic management
Another effective thing you can do with analytics is look at your traffic. So you go to analytics and see how many people have visited your website. Then you can focus on what percentage of those visitors have done something you wanted them to do, like the number of registrations you’ve had. From there, you can track that back to which channels were behind this, like Google searches, Twitter, Facebook, green building forums or the Screwfix community. You might find that sites you didn’t even know about are giving you good leads. By measuring these actions you can better focus your marketing on the channels where you’re seeing the best results.
7. Generate content ideas the easy way
A great trick is to look at your keyword reports on analytics – you can search help on the analytics website to see how to do this – and filter them for all searches that start with ‘how, who, where, what, why and can’. These are all things people have searched for to find your site – and probably nine out of 10 of those will be things you won’t have answered. So it gives you quick, simple blog titles or ideas for videos or infographics or whatever you want to create. You can also track what people are searching for on your site, which will also give you great ideas for useful content.
8. Innovation on a budget
Tools, such as calculators, work really well on construction websites. Most businesses will have a technical department that is capable of providing a simple tool like this for your website. You could offer something like a calculator to calculate how many boards someone needs for a decking project. By doing so, you help the customer get the ball rolling, but you also capture valuable project details. By starting the process online, you can then use that to qualify your leads better.
Pritesh has seen the proof that better-focused, more user-friendly websites win more business and provide the ammunition for businesses to grow. “Having a more effective website, where the positioning’s right, the content’s right, you have the right calls to action, usability is excellent and it works on mobile, just helps generate a constant stream of much better leads,” he says. “What I see through analytics is that when your information is clear and easy to find, people keep coming back. If they can’t find what they want, they never come back – and go to your competitors.”
If you’d like to find out more about Pritesh and his digital marketing business, have a look at his website priteshpatel.me