Is this Website Mistake Costing You Remodeling Business?

Recently, I attended a Google Partners event and heard a statistic that almost knocked me out of my chair: 45% of people would rather give up vacation than their smartphone. This stat is confirmation of what most of us already know—people really love their phones. You can see it when you venture out to any public place. Everyone is glued to their phones—and it’s not just teenagers.

In recognition of the importance smartphones and mobile devices play in our lives, earlier this year, Google began using mobile usability as a ranking factor in mobile search results as of April 21, 2015. The search engine predicted this change would have a significant impact on search results—giving mobile ranking priority to those sites that pass its mobile-friendly test.

Does your site pass the test or are you seeing something like this:

mobile-friendly test

If your site isn’t mobile-friendly by Google’s standards, you can kiss your mobile SEO, and the leads and sales it generated, goodbye.

Does This Really Affect My Business?

Sadly, some remodelers are simply unaware of how much mobile website traffic they receive. I found this out while manning our booth at the 2014 Remodeling & Deck Expo in Baltimore, MD. I showed business owner after business owner how they could see, in their own Google Analytics account, that 25-35% of their website traffic is from visitors using mobile devices. Surprise turned to terror when I pulled out my iPhone and iPad and showed them what their website actually looks like on those devices!

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that just because your website looks great and functions properly from your laptop, it also looks good on a smartphone or tablet.

Based on my research, the odds are high that it doesn’t.

In 2014, my team at Blue Corona used our website analysis software to analyze nearly 3,000 remodeling contractor websites—including Remodeling Magazine’s top 550. Although we only reviewed the mobile usability factors for a small subset of sites, what we found was alarming. Most of the sites we reviewed had significant mobile-usability issues (i.e. they probably would not earn a mobile-friendly score using Google’s test).

So much for believing that your “web guy” is thinking about and handling all this stuff for you. As a web marketing guy, I can tell you that most of my competitors’ sites don’t pass Google’s test either. If you ask them, I’m guessing they’ll tell you a story about the cobbler’s kids’ shoes.

It’s Time to Get Serious About Mobile-Friendliness

Test your site. If it passes, awesome. If it doesn’t, you’ve got some work to do. Not only are you putting your search rankings at risk, you’re also irritating your prospective customers! Look at your company’s site on your phone, on your friend’s phone, on a tablet, etc. Ask yourself—is the text big enough without having to pinch or zoom? How easily can you find your phone number? Can you click to call it?

In my opinion (and this is also Google’s preferred method), a responsive website is the best way to make your remodeling company mobile-friendly. With a responsive website, you have one website (versus a desktop website AND a mobile website) that adjusts the way your website looks depending on the size of the device.

Here’s a visual example of how a responsively designed site functions:

responsive web-design

The only drawback is that a responsive design generally requires a redesign and rebuild of your current site.

Even if your remodeling company has missed the April 21st deadline, Google says you can still benefit from the update once you launch your mobile-friendly website and the search engine re-crawls it. And if you choose the responsive option, most website design companies should be able to set you up with a temporary mobile solution while you’re waiting for your responsive redesign.

A couple things to prioritize with your mobile-friendly remodeler website:

  • Quick page load speed
  • Large, easy to read fonts
  • Good text-to-background contrast
  • Click-to-call numbers
  • A mobile-friendly remodeling portfolio/gallery

What about you?

Do you have a mobile-friendly website? Are you utilizing responsive design to achieve it? Please share your comments or questions below!

What Does the Perfect Internet Marketing System Look Like for Remodelers?

Woah. That’s a big question. But it’s an important one. (and getting more important)

In this post, I’m going to do my best to lay out the “perfect” internet marketing system, knowing that there isn’t a “perfect” system out there. My goal for this post is to show you what a REALLY, REALLY good system looks like based on the last 5 years helping remodelers like yourself navigate the complicated waters of websites, search engine optimization, social media, local search and pay per click.

I’m going to share what has worked for our clients, what hasn’t worked for our clients and also share what tools and skills are necessary to succeed in marketing your business online. We’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s get started!

The Tools Needed

Just like a good remodeler, a good marketer needs his tools. I wouldn’t dare try remodeling my kitchen without the proper tools (hammer, saw, measuring tape, pry bar, safety goggles, screwdrivers, work gloves, boots, power drill, etc.). In marketing, our tools sound a little different, but you still need them.

And it’s important that you select the right tools because these tools need to be able to work together and talk to each other. A good example would be having the wrong screwdriver for the screws you purchased. If they don’t talk to each other, it might still be possible, but it’s going to make it MUCH, MUCH harder.

So, what do you need in terms of tools? Here’s a list of everything you’ll need.

  1. Content Management System
  2. Blogging Platform
  3. Search Engine Optimization Tools
  4. Social Media Monitoring and Publishing Tools
  5. Email Marketing Tool
  6. Landing Page Tool
  7. Analytics Tool
  8. CRM

Now, you probably have some of these tools already. I’m assuming you’ve got a content management system, an email tool and an analytics tool at the very least, but below I’m going to describe each tool, it’s purpose and some examples.

Content Management System (CMS)

A content management system is a platform that allows an individual that doesn’t know coding to make changes and updates to a website. These content management systems have become extremely common over the last half decade and use a WISIWYG editor (what you see is what you get). Typically, when you make changes, it feels like you’re working within a word document.

content-management-system

The purpose of a content management system is to allow you and your team to make the majority of your own website changes without having to pay a webmaster high hourly fees. It also allows you to make changes on the fly without having to wait for anyone.

Some example content management systems are:

  • WordPress
  • Joomla
  • HubSpot
  • Drupal
  • Concrete5

Most likely, you’re using WordPress, but you might have a priopriatery CMS that was custom built by your website design firm. Typically, these are not ideal, but that’s not always the case. As a general rule, we recommend using something that is Open Source, such as WordPress. This gives you much more flexibility in terms of web designers and marketing companies that can assist you.

Blogging Platform

A blogging platform is similar to a content management system, but has a slightly different functionlity and purpose. A good platform allows you to create individual articles and organize them into topics. These platforms also use WISIWYG editors to make it easy for anyone to write articles and add photos.

The purpose of your business blog is to create content that your audience is looking for so that you can attract them to your website, establish credibility, and build trust between your prospect and your brand.

Some blogging platform examples are:

  • WordPress
  • Joomla
  • Blogger
  • HubSpot
  • Tumblr

Note: A good blogging platform will actually be the same system as your content management system. Ideally, you’re not dealing with 2 separate platforms.

Search Engine Optimization Tools

Search engine optimization tools allow you to do several important things for your business. First, they allow you to brainstorm various keywords and keyword phrases that your prospects may be searching for on Google or other search engines. Second, they give you the estimated search volume for those keywords. In other words, they tell you about how many people are searching for “home remodeling services” or “kitchen remodeling contractors”. In addition to search volume, these tools should also give you a competition estimate, meaning they should tell you approximately how difficult it will be to rank for those keywords. In general, the more businesses attempting to rank for a keyword, the tougher it will be for you to rank for that same keyword.

Sample SEO Tool

SEO tools allow you to make better decisions around where to spend your money, time and effort in terms of ranking for various keywords and keyword phrases in your content and blogging efforts.

There are several keyword tools out there, some free and some paid. Here are a few of them:

  • MOZ Tools
  • HubSpot
  • SEO Book
  • Wordstream
  • Raven Tools

Social Media Monitoring and Publishing Tools

Social media tools give you the power of efficiency. It can be extremely time consuming to log-in to half a dozen social networks, post something, monitor the latest activity, find relevant people to follow, and respond to your followers and fans. Social media tools let you see all your activity in one place and even schedule posts in advance. This can cut your time spent on social media by more than half.

Social Media Tool

The purpose of these tools is to make it easier to participate in multiple social networks effectively. You can monitor brand mentions, re-tweets and engagements. You can also create social media calendars by scheduling out updates and posts for weeks, even months at a time. Social media is important for your remodeling business today for three main reasons (there are many more reasons, but these are big):

  1. It allows you to engage with your audience and capture reviews.
  2. Social channels can drive traffic to your website.
  3. Social signals improve the overall ranking of your website.

Again, with social media tools, you have some free and paid options. Here are a few:

  • Hootsuite
  • Buffer
  • Social Oomph
  • HubSpot
  • Sprout Social

Email Marketing Tools

Your email tool is one of the most essential tools in your toolbox. This tool gives you the ability to communicate with your prospects and customers directly. A good email tool makes it easy for you to add people to your master list, segment prospects into different groupings, and it should automate the unsubscribe process so that you’re following the CAN-SPAM Act. You should not be using Outlook or Gmail to mass email your list anymore. That’s a big “no-no”! Your email tool will make it easy to design templates for newsletters as well as create engaging material.

Email Marketing Dashboard

The purpose of your email tool and your email marketing is to create a database filled with warm prospects and contacts that know, like and trust you and your company. They may not be ready to buy, but they may be ready in 3 months, 9 months or even 24 months. By keeping in regular contact via email, you’ll keep your pipeline full.

Here are a few email marketing tools:

  • Mail Chimp (free up to 2,000 contacts)
  • Constant Contact
  • iContact
  • Infusionsoft
  • HubSpot

Landing Page Tool

A landing page tool allows you to quickly and easily build pages that are built to do one thing: capture prospect information. Landing pages, also know as conversion pages or squeeze pages, are designed to present something of value to your website visitors in exchange for their contact information. Here’s an example of a landing page: https://www.copperskyrenovations.com/cost-to-remodel-home-atlanta-ga

As you can see, the page offers access to a remodeling e-book in exchange for name, email, phone, etc. The key is having something valuable to give to your prospect. Your landing page tool gives you the ability to build a page that looks like the example above so that you can grow your database of interested prospects. (Hint: and now you can use your email tool to stay in touch with them!)

Here are a few Landing Page Tools:

  • Lead Pages
  • Lander App
  • HubSpot
  • Instapage
  • Unbounce

Analytics Tool

Your analytics tool is critical. If you can’t measure what you’re doing, you can’t improve what you’re doing. And some might argue, it’s not even worth doing if you can’t measure it! Your analytics tool is really just code that sits on the back of your website and tracks information such as website visitors, page views, time spent on your website, bounce rate, and the list goes on. Depending on the tool, you can get access to different information. The purpose of the tool is to give you, the business owner or marketer, the data you need to make informed decisions about your website and online marketing efforts. You want to be able to answer questions such as:

  • Is my website traffic increasing?
  • Are my leads from my website increasing?
  • How are my visitors finding me?

Analytics Tool Example

There are several analytics tools out there, but here are a few:

  • Google Analytics (this should be a requirement for you – it’s free and it’s the “standard”, even if you run another analytics tool with it)
  • Crazy Egg
  • Compete
  • HubSpot
  • KISS Insights

CRM

Your CRM tool, or customer relationship management, is extremely important in terms of managing and keeping track of contacts, prospects, appointments, and sales activity being performed by the sales team. A good CRM will connect to your website and talk to your other tools so that you aren’t exporting leads and importing them into your CRM. Today, it’s just too easy to have these systems aligned to be wasting time manually exporting and importing contact information.

Your CRM will help you track appointments, follow up reminders, and revenue in your pipeline. It will help close the loop on your marketing efforts so that you can see where your best leads and customers come from. In addition to being able to track this kind of information, your CRM also provides accountability. Sales people can now “show their work” by logging phone calls, emails sent and appointments.

Here are a few CRM options:

  • Salesforce.com
  • improveit! 360
  • MarketSharp
  • HubSpot
  • Infusionsoft

The Skills and Knowledge Needed

Now that we’ve covered the tools you need to put together the perfect internet marketing system, we need to look at the skills and knowledge you need. Just like my example at the beginning: just because I have a hammer and a saw, doesn’t mean I’ll be able to remodel my own home. Simply having all the above tools does not guaruntee your success with internet marketing. Let’s break it down. What are the core skills you’ll need on your team? Regardless of whether you hire these skills via an outsourced model or in-house staff, you’ll need them!

Writing

This may be the single most important skill you’ll need. Writing is involved in almost every aspect of a great internet marketing system. You need quality writing for your blog content, your email marketing and your website content. You also need to be able to write persuasive copy on your landing pages (conversion pages) and CTAs (calls to action). Without a strong writer, you’ll be doomed from the start. I’ll break down the entire process in terms of blogs, landing pages, and CTAs later in this blog post, but for now, just know that writing is critical to your success online.

Design

Aside from needing a website design that appeals to your visitors, you’llalso need a design whiz that can whip up custom graphics for your website, blog and social media channels. Without a designer, your website will look very vanilla, but it also won’t convert the type of leads you want for your business. A website that reflects the quality of work you do is vital because your website is all your prospects have to look at when they first start researching. If they are unimpressed with your website, you may never get a chance to talk to them.

Communication

In this connected world we live in, your need a strong communicator. Often times, this communicator can be the same as your writer. They are crafting social media posts, interacting with your fans and followers as well as establishing your brand messaging and style that is communicated throughout the website content and blog.

Organization/Planning

There are a lot of moving parts in an internet marketing system. If you don’t have someone keeping track of them, it will fall apart in a hurry. You also want this person to be able to look ahead at your events and build them into your internet marketing calendar. It’s easy to get stuck in the now, so you need someone that is keeping things moving forward, while looking ahead several months.

Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) is evolving more rapidly today than ever before. If you’re going to be effective online, you need someone that lives and breathes internet marketing. With Google Panda and Penguin being two of the bigger updates in the last few years, you don’t want to fall behind. Your SEO person should be a major part of your content strategy, using data and keyword analysis to guide you. SEO is not about keyword stuffing or building shading backlinks. This is one of the most critical skills you need on your internet marketing team.

Technology Use

We already spent some time above reviewing the tools you need, but you also need a technology whiz that can operate them effectively. If I were going to remodel my own home, I would want to make sure I know how to use all the tools. Just having them isn’t going to give me the result I want. If you don’t have someone with the knowledge, you may need to pay for training so that your staff can get up to speed or hire an outside firm to use the tools for you.

Analysis/Data Chops

Data is becoming more and more important in today’s digital world. We have so much data at our fingertips, sometimes it’s hard to decide what to look at. Which metrics actually matter? Which metrics are demonstrating to you that things are improving. A good marketer today can analyze and interpret data and then change course based on what the data is saying. Emotion should be removed from your decision making process more and more as you have more data available to you.

Estimated Costs (Both In-House, Outsourced and Technology)

Now that we’ve covered 1) The Tools Needed and 2) the Skills and Knowledge Needed, what is this all going to cost? As with most things in life, there’s more than one way to accomplish putting together the perfect internet marketing system. Let’s break this down:

In House Investment

Hiring and/or training in-house staff to do all your internet marketing has a few pros and cons to consider:

Pros:

  • You can develop your own processes and systems so that you can train replacements.
  • In-house knowledge travels faster. If something happens with your company, your team can react quickly – you win an award, add a service offering, etc.
  • You can keep a closer eye on the work being done.

Cons:

  • It is really tough to find 1 person that has all the skills and knowledge needed and can operate all the toolsets effectively. Most likely, you’ll need two or three rockstars.
  • Hiring, firing, and training employees is extremely time intensive.

If you were to hire some rockstar marketers for your team, this is what you should be looking for:

  • Project Manager. This person is an organizational freak that doesn’t lose track of the moving parts. They are a great communicator and can bridge the gap between ownership and the other marketers. This person has a strong writing ability. Skills covered in this position: Writing, Communication and Organization/Planning.
  • Creative Type. This person can whip up social media graphics in a flash, design banners for your website, creative advertisements, and do website design. Skills covered in this position: Design.
  • Data Person. Your data person needs to have at least a base level of search engine optimization understanding. This person is also your technology whiz and analytical mind. Your data person will enable your team to use their creative and writing abilities effectively through technology and then be able to analyze what’s working and what’s not working. Skills covered in this position: Search Engine Optimization, Technology Use, Analysis/Data Chops.

Now, in order to hire these people you should probably budget between $40,000 and $60,000 per person per year. On the low end, you’re looking at $120,000 + soft costs or $180,000 + soft costs on the high end.

Keep in mind, I’m talking about putting together the best internet marketing system. You can obviously scale into this by hiring 1 or 2 people and building from there. This also doesn’t include technology costs which is covered below.

Outsourced Investment

When you outsource your marketing to an agency, you’re looking at a different “hiring process”, but there are also some pros and cons we should look at:

Pros:

  • You don’t have to train anyone.
  • You often get all the skills you need for a discount because the agency’s employees are working with multiple clients.
  • Your hiring, firing process is much shorter and less time intensive.
  • No soft costs.

Cons:

  • In-house knowledge travels slower. The agency needs you to communicate more because they aren’t in the office absorbing knowledge.
  • You can’t look over the shoulder of your agency’s workers.

Hiring an agency can vary widely in terms of investment and the biggest impract on price is scope of work. However, in order to keep things as comporable as possible, the equivalent of hiring three people is often one third or one half the cost to hire an agency. So on the low end, you’re looking at $40,000 (1/3 of $120,000 from above) and $90,000 on the high end (1/2 of $180,000 above).

There’s no right or wrong answer here as to whether you want to outsource or hire in-house – it just depends on what makes the most sense for your business.

Technology Investment

Let’s review the technology we covered briefly:

  1. Content Management System
  2. Blogging Platform
  3. Search Engine Optimization Tools
  4. Social Media Monitoring and Publishing Tools
  5. Email Marketing Tool
  6. Landing Page Tool
  7. Analytics Tool
  8. CRM

Today, you can get all of these tools individually or you can find tools that include several or all of the pieces. Below, I’ve included some estimated costs for a couple options. I’m going to break down three of the best options out there right now. These three comparisons are based on the following criteria:

  • Ability to get tools to talk to each other (you DON’T want to waste time and effort just trying to get your tech to talk to each other)
  • My last 6 years of working in these tools and evaluating cost effectiveness, tool capabilities, and their ability to talk to each other.
  • Price vs. Value

Option 1: All on HubSpot: $400/month+

  1. Content Management System (HubSpot)
  2. Blogging Platform(HubSpot)
  3. Search Engine Optimization Tools(HubSpot)
  4. Social Media Monitoring and Publishing Tools(HubSpot)
  5. Email Marketing Tool(HubSpot)
  6. Landing Page Tool(HubSpot)
  7. Analytics Tool(HubSpot)
  8. CRM(HubSpot)

Option 2: WordPress with HubSpot Plugged In: $200/month+

  1. Content Management System(WordPress)
  2. Blogging Platform(HubSpot)
  3. Search Engine Optimization Tools(HubSpot)
  4. Social Media Monitoring and Publishing Tools(HubSpot)
  5. Email Marketing Tool(HubSpot)
  6. Landing Page Tool(HubSpot)
  7. Analytics Tool(HubSpot)
  8. CRM(HubSpot)

Option 3: WordPress without HubSpot + Misc. Tools: $337/month

  1. Content Management System(WordPress – requires hosting – est. $40/month)
  2. Blogging Platform(WordPress – free with above)
  3. Search Engine Optimization Tools(Moz Tools – $150/month)
  4. Social Media Monitoring and Publishing Tools(Hootsuite – $10/month)
  5. Email Marketing Tool(Mail Chimp – $20/month)
  6. Landing Page Tool(Lead Pages – $67/month)
  7. Analytics Tool(Google Analytics – free)
  8. CRM(Salesforce – $25/month/user – estimated $50/month)

The Process

So, what does this process look like? Honestly, it depends on the route you take (in-house or outsourced), but here are the main phases you’ll go through.

  1. Technology Phase
  2. Set Up Phase
  3. Monthly Activity
  4. Analyze, Modify and Continue

Technology Phase

The first step is to get your technology in place. You can work with your in-house staff and/or an agency to help implement the tools and get them working properly and doing the things you need them to do. This process can take anywhere from one to four months depending on your existing infastructure and the size of your business.

Set Up Phase

The set up phase typically overlaps with the technology phase and will be a similar timeframe: one to four months. The set up phase involves a lot of strategy work, content development (e-books, email nurturing campaigns, content calendars, marketing personas, etc.)

Monthly Activity

Once everything is set up and the technology is in place, it’s time to start working on monthly marketing activity. This activity plan will vary depending on your goals and budget. I’ll also give you a sample monthly activity plan below, but this activity plan will include items such as blogging, search engine optimization, social media, email marketing and offer development.

Analyze, Modify, and Continue

Once you get going with your monthly activity, it’s important to be consistent. In addition, you’ll want to review what’s working and what’s not on a regular basis. This can happen quarterly, twice per year or annually depending on how much you’re investing into your monthly activity plan.

Putting It All Together

We’ve covered a lot up to this point! In this section, I want to show you exactly what this will look like when you put it all together. I’m going to lay out a sample monthly activity plan along with the technology components and how those work together with the plan.

Remodeling Monthly Activity Success Plan (Recipe)

  • 12 Monthly Blog Posts
    • Each blog post is targeting a specific keyword you want to rank for (example: Dallas Kitchen Remodeling)
    • Each blog post should contain at least one optimized photo
    • Each blog post should be at least 400-800 words long
    • Each blog post should contain a “call to action”.
    • Each blog post should have social media promotion schedule to attract more visitors.
  • 4 Content Pages
    • Content pages are static website pages. These can be anything from building out a “Our Team” page to specific service pages such as “Dallas Kitchen Remodeling” or “Dallas Bathroom Remodeling” or “Dallas Basement Remodeling”. Changes are you service multiple cities, so you may need to create a “Dallas Kitchen Remodeling” page as well as an “Austin Kitchen Remodeling” page.
    • Each page should be optimized for a specific keyword you want to rank for.
    • Each page should contain 1 or more optimized photos.
    • Each page should be at least 500+ words of content.
    • Your pages should not contain duplicate information.
  • Social Media Activity
    • You should be posting to social media daily.
    • Utilize the networks that matter most to remodelers: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Houzz, and Pinterest.
      • Add photos
      • Share blog posts
      • Share testimonials
      • Share design ideas
      • Ask questions
      • Run contents
  • Email Marketing (Newsletter + 1 or more email blasts)
    • Send a monthly email newsletter
    • Email blasts
      • Send a monthly email blast promoting new premium content like e-books
      • Send emails prior to open houses
      • Hold events and send emails promoting those events
    • Less than monthly, send emails to customers asking for referrals
  • Pay Per Click (Google/Facebook)
    • This is optional, but can drive extra leads, especially to websites that get very low traffic.
  • Create downloads and e-books (1 every quarter)
    • e-books like a Kitchen Design Guide work for you 24/7 on your website to capture leads.
    • Each e-book should come with the following:
      • Landing Page (conversion page)
      • Thank You Page (sucess page)
      • Follow Up Email
      • Email Lead Nurturing campaign (5-7 emails)
      • Call to Action Buttons
  • Monthly Reporting
    • Each month, you should be measuring the following (at a minimum!)
      • Website Traffic
      • Organic Website Traffic
      • Number of Leads Generated
      • Lead Conversion Rate
      • New Customers
    • After multiple months, you will start to see trends in where your best leads and customers are coming from. Is it Google? Social media? Once you know this, you can double down your investment in those areas providing you the best results.

This is just a sample plan, but if you have the right tools in place and follow this plan using the skills and knowledge needed, you’ll grow your business dramatically and create a true assest out of your website. It will be your top lead generator and top sales person.

Quick Re-Cap

Well, what did you think? Does this process sound like it will work for you? Are you doing some of it already? I know there’s a lot to digest here, so I created a cheat sheet for you. Just click the button below to access the cheat sheet for the Perfect Internet Marketing System for Remodelers. And leave a comment below – I’d love to hear from you.

Download Free

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Why Remodelers Need a Mobile Website

Mobile, mobile, mobile. It’s all we hear about today! Ugh! Well, we’re hearing about mobile because it’s absolutely exploding. Mobile website traffic that is.

Why Having a Mobile Optimized Website Matters

One of our clients was getting about 10% of their website visits from mobile devices in December of 2013. Just 6 months later, that percentage rose to 40%! Then, in August, it hit 60+%. Wow. More than half their visitors were viewing their website on a mobile device!

I’ve got a quick action step for you. Log-in to your Google Analytics right now and check your mobile traffic percentages. Or, if you have a webmaster, send him or her a quick email and ask for it.

why-remodelers-need-a-mobile-websiteNot sure where to look? Here’s a quick screen shot on the left and below. Log in to your Google Analytics dashboard and look at the left navigation. Find “mobile” and click on “Overview”. Then scroll down a bit and look at the percentages for mobile, tablet and desktop. Play around with the timeline and look at the mobile traffic in January of this year vs. this month. Chances are, it’s risen dramatically!

why-remodelers-need-a-mobile-website-2

Mobile visits are on the rise because phones and tablets are getting much better in terms of screen size and resolution and more and more people are purchasing them. You can see this in the launch announcement of the iPhone 6.

In addition, everyone is spending more and more TIME on these mobile devices. 75% of Americans admit they bring their phones to the bathroom and 4 out of 5 shoppers use their smartphone to shop.

Here are some things to consider about mobile website traffic:

  • Your bounce rate is higher with mobile traffic, but it will skyrocket if you don’t have a good mobile site. (Bounce rate is the number of visitors that leave after visiting just 1 page on your site)
  • You’re missing out on leads if you get a visitor and they don’t take action. You miss out on more leads if your site isn’t mobile ready.
  • You frustrate visitors trying to find information if you don’t have a good mobile website.

I don’t think I need to make more of a case for the NEED for a mobile ready website, but just in case you aren’t convinced, look at these stats here.

What is a Mobile Optimized Website Anyway?

By now, you’re probably thinking, “Ok, Spence I need a mobile optimized website. What does that actually mean?”

Great question.

A mobile optimized website is a website that is specifically designed for mobile devices. Mobile devices include smartphones of all sizes and tablets like iPads. Mobile devices have different screen sizes than desktops and laptops, so it’s important that your website displays your content in a visually appealing way. The goal is to make it so that your visitors don’t have to zoom in and scroll all over the place to read your content. Navigation is bigger and is in a toolbar. Font sizes are bigger and you should really only need to scroll down. Not sideways. You’ve probably been on a mobile optimized website before. It looks a little something like this:

screenshot

See how the words and buttons fit the screen? This is much better than forcing users to zoom in on your website with their fingers. That can be time confusing and frustrating.

What Are Your Options for Mobile Optimized Sites?

There are actually a few different options for creating mobile optimized sites, but there’s really only one route you should take.

1. Separate Mobile Site

One option for creating a mobile optimized site is to create a separate mobile website. This was common a few years ago. The idea is that you build a site that has different content, different menu structure and looks much more simplistic. When someone visits your website (www.XYZRemodeling.com) from a mobile device, they are automatically re-directed to your mobile site (usually something like m.XYZRemodeling.com).

The good thing about this option is that you can provide your users with a much better experience on your mobile site than your main website. However, the downside to this option is that you have two separate websites to manage and there is different content on your mobile site compared to your desktop site. This can be a big negative for users that find some information on your mobile site and want to go back later when they get home. However, when they load up your website on their desktop they can’t find that information, because it’s different.

In addition, Google has stated that Responsive Design is the new best practice for mobile.

2. Responsive Design

Responsive design means that you have one website, one set of pages and they all dynamically adjust sizing and layout based on the device someone is on. Here’s an example of a responsive site viewed on various devices:

Sample Responsive

You can tell if a website is responsive by opening it in a desktop browser and then dragging the width of the browser window until it’s skinny, like a phone.

Just minimize your browser and drag it all the way to the left. Remodelers Advantage is responsive, so you can try it on this website right now to see what I mean. Notice how the content dynamically morphs and adjusts based on the width of the browser?

If you don’t have a mobile optimized site right now, I definitely recommend going the responsive design route. Anytime Google recommends something as a best practice, it’s always a good idea to follow that.

Next Steps for Ensuring You’re Mobile Ready

Okay, let’s take a look at some good next steps for you.

Step 1. Take out your phone right now and navigate to your website. How does it look? Is it tiny? Do you have to pinch-and-zoom to read anything? Does the content flow off the side so that you have to do a finger-waggle just to read a complete sentence? Then you don’t have a mobile optimized website.

Step 2. Contact your existing website design company and tell them you need to get mobile! If you’d like an unbiased third-party opinion before speaking with them, feel free to contact us. We’re happy to give you our expert opinion…even if you’re not working with us. 🙂


Phone FAQ image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Are your prospects looking for specialists, or are you the perfect fit?

Are you the perfect choice for your customers? I have no doubt that you are. The fact that you are a loyal PowerTips reader proves that you’re committed to being the best at what you do.

But do they know that?

Do your potential clients arrive at your website and say, “This is exactly what I’m looking for.” Odds are the majority do not. And that’s to be expected. After all, here’s the type of content you’ll find on a typical remodelers website:

Our services include additions, kitchens, bathrooms, master suites, interiors, interior design, decks, porches, landscaping, finished basements, in-law suites …

Phew! And therein lies the rub. You offer all these great services and you want the world to know it. But this “we do it all” approach doesn’t necessarily leave your site visitors feeling warm and fuzzy. At least not in the short term.

You have 25 seconds (at most) to convince them that they should not hit the back button and go to the next result in their Google search. So how do you do that? One powerful way is via microsites.

A microsite is a website that is comprised of only a handful of pages and is dedicated to one specific service you provide.

The benefit of running microsites is two-fold: A) your site visitors know the moment they arrive that you specialize in the exact project they need completed. This is comforting and validating. B) You have a tool that helps you own the top position in Google search.

Lets look and both benefits more closely.

Benefit A: I’m Home!

Assume for a moment that you’re in the market for a red baseball bat.

Imagine, if you will, what a visit to the fictional website Anns Sporting Goods.com would look like. You probably envision a navigation bar listing all the sports (football, baseball, hockey, hiking etc.) tons of sub-navigation like Apparel, Equipment, Shoes, and so on.  A clearance items section, images of fit athletes running. Is that about right?

Now imagine visiting Anns Red Baseball Bats.com. How clean is the picture in your mind? You see nothing but red baseball bats, right? Every size, every shape, every age group.

Which website makes you feel like you’ve found what you’re looking for? More importantly, which website are you more likely to buy from?

The same principal applies to remodeling, with a bonus kicker: specialization carries a lot of weight. A dedicated website reeks of specialization. People feel comfortable with specialists.

Benefit B: Own Google results

Without getting into all the specifics of SEO, lets just say this is a strong tool in your quest for top Google rankings. Although there are many, many variables that go into Google’s algorithm, one thing you can count on is that the actual domain URL and the content on that page carries a lot of weight. Think about it, how do you think a website called HartfordKitchenRemodeling.com (not real) would perform when someone in Hartford searches for kitchen remodeling?

Of course there’s more to it than that. But in the end Google’s primary goal is to provide relevant content. It’s difficult to argue that the sample microsites above aren’t relevant to what the people were searching for.

Parting Thoughts

This is a “top of the funnel” web marketing strategy. Use microsites to get people into your world. Get them to submit a form, call or email you. You want them to know you are the best choice for their project. After that your primary site is perfect. In fact, after they submit the contact form, have it redirect them to your main site. Saying in fact,”Look what else we do!”

See, once they know they’ve found the right company, that’s when the “we do it all” approach becomes an asset. It reinforces that they’ve made the right choice because — hey, you do it all!

How about you?

Are you currently using microsites to capture more leads? How is it working? If not, what’s stopping you? I  look forward to reading your comments below!