Does your commercial construction company have its own website? Having a professional website these days is an important component for any business, even more so than a physical location in many cases. Getting it set up isn’t as difficult a task as you may think. If you don’t have one, or if you have one that hasn’t been updated in years, here is a guide to help you get going.
Do your research.
Often the best strategy is to research the websites of competitors, either locally or nationally.
What are they doing effectively? Do they have straightforward headlines and simple navigation menus? Testimonials and pictures from happy customers? Remember that what you like may be different than what is effective, so try to think like a customer rather than a business owner. Make a list, print out your examples, and develop your top priorities.
Take time to consider the following:
- Who are you trying to reach? (Homeowners, general contractors, developers, etc.)
- What are your competitors doing and how could you do it better?
- What the main points you want your website visitors to know about your business? (What you do, who you are, your mission, experience with past/current projects, etc.)
Pro Tip: The very bottom of a website (known as the footer) will often list the name of the company that created it, as well as a direct link you can follow to learn more about how to build your own.
Bring your website to life.
Now that you have a rough idea of what you want for your business website, it’s time to start making it happen. There are dozens of easy-to-use website builders available to you, and many of them offer free trials so that you can drag-and-drop your logo, pictures, headlines and paragraphs where you want them, with on-demand customer support ready to help when you need it.
How much does it cost?
Here is a list of prices, as compiled in July 2018:
|Name||Price Range (Monthly)|
|Squarespace||$12 – $40|
|Weebly||$0 – $25|
|Wix||$5 – $25|
|WordPress||$0 – $25|
|Google Sites||Included in G-Suite membership|
A Note about Subdomains
Some platforms will allow you to create a website for a cheaper price by using a “subdomain,” meaning your website address will be www.businessname.wordpress.com, or www.businessname.weebly.com rather than www.businessname.com. This may seem like a good option, but you should know that it will make it harder for customers to search for and find you on the web. And it will take up a lot more space on your business cards or printed marketing materials.
Outsourcing development of your website.
Perhaps the idea of building your own website is just too daunting of a task. You may then choose to hire a local web development or marketing agency to do the work for you. While this will cost extra, for many business owners it can be worth it in the time you save trying to learn a new program. Plus, a good agency can keep you from making a bad decision that affects your website visitor’s experience, or hurts your search engine ranking. Nobody wants to be on page 12 of Google, but that’s exactly where websites with poor SEO (search engine optimization) end up. An agency can help you get your industry’s keywords in all the right places, so customers find you first.
Keep in mind, however, that no matter how good the agency, you will need to be available for regular meetings to discuss your goals and ideas, and verify that the agency or individual is implementing your vision. Also, be sure that the agency provides you with login credentials and instructions on updating the website yourself, in case you need changes in the future.
When it comes to commercial construction websites, keep it simple.
Whether you’re doing it yourself or outsourcing the work, keep in mind that your website can be simple and straightforward and still leave a great impression on your potential clients or other visitors. Don’t become daunted by extra features, like online payment processing, live chat capability, analytics or others, which could cost extra.
You can start with a simple homepage introducing your company to visitors and letting them know what you do. Additional pages that are easy to add include:
- About Us: A picture of you, your staff or business partners, and a quick history of the company.
- Contact Us: You or your main business email, phone number, and mailing address.
Pay attention to how your website will look on the small screen.
When designing (or redesigning) your website, be sure to consider how it looks on a smartphone, as more often than not, that is how potential customers and other visitors will likely be viewing your site. At Mobilization Funding, for example, nearly 70% of our website visitors are using a mobile phone, while the rest are viewing the website on a desktop computer.
Most website platforms these days are responsive, but don’t put blind faith in that. Test out your website on your phone and have others in your company test it on laptops, tablets and other screen sizes. Make sure it looks great on all of them.
A note about email domains.
While going through the process of activating your website, you may have the option to set up a custom email domain name that matches your company’s website. In short, if your company is “Joe Smith Electrical” you can make your email address something like email@example.com. That adjustment is just one additional detail proving your company’s legitimacy, rather than using a free domain like firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to leaving a good impression on those you are contacting professionally, having your own email domain will make it easier to activate new emails for additional personnel in your office and will help to separate business from personal emails.
Gmail, Google’s email service, is the biggest name when it comes to these custom email domains but many of the website hosting options listed above will also allow you the option of paying extra for online advertisements. While the price may vary, the price starts at about $10 per user per month.
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