A good website can help net you more sales, grow your business, and build your reputation. And it doesn't have to be hard. Read more to learn why you need a website and how to get started.

What’s the Need?

Most consumers conduct online research before making a purchase. Just think to the last major purchase you made. Did you read reviews for that new piece of equipment? Visit the manufacturer website before you bought a new truck? Find your insurance agent through an online directory or listing? If you answered “yes” to any of those, you’ve illustrated why it is important to have an online presence. Make sure you are where your potential customers are looking.

Think of your website as an “always on salesman” that can present case studies, your portfolio, and other important information to clients any day and any time. Host color cards and other informational resources to help clients figure out what they want before they even talk to you.

A website can also improve your discovery, exposing you and your work to people who may not have known about you. Decorative concrete is an alternative to many other materials and styles… but a good portion of the potential customer base doesn’t know it exists! By carefully crafting your website, you can be visible to the people searching for those more traditional options and show them how decorative concrete is a good alternative.

How Do I Build This Thing?

Gone are the days when you had to be a hardcore computer nerd to have your own website. In the past, lacking the required skills – or the need to hire someone with those skills – allowed concrete contractors to talk themselves out of a website. But the times have changed. Free content management systems like WordPress and Joomla have democratized the web. Millions of free and low cost templates and widgets make building these sites easy. If you don’t want to deal with hosting and other technicalities, you can even take it a step further with user-friendly services like Wix and Squarespace. These services usually offer free trials.  

Content is King

Without content, a website is useless. Content is what gives value to visitors, spreads your message, and makes search engines like Google find you. Before you – or the person you hire – start building your website, you want to get a good idea of what content you’ll have and how you’ll organize it. Important things to include are the services and products you offer, areas you serve, and any professional qualifications you have such as licenses, bonds, and certifications.

Other types of content you may want to include are blogs, articles, and case studies. By including these forms of content, you can help educate potential customers and demonstrate your expertise. Having high quality, easy to access and read content also helps you show up on searches with Google, Bing, and other search engines. If you decide to have a blog on your website, make sure you update it on a regular, consistent basis. An untended blog makes you look unprofessional or your website look abandoned. If you don’t think you can keep up with blogging, focus on static articles, instead.

Design, Design, Design

Decorative concrete is all about aesthetic appeal. If your website doesn’t look good, that will not give potential clients much confidence in your work. One of the benefits of working with templates, especially full service options like Squarespace and Wix, is you have ready access to numerous professional, attractive, customizable designs. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and ask “does this website represent the person or company I want to spend thousands of dollars with?”

Reach Out and Touch Someone

One common mistake is to neglect the contact page. Some contractors new to web design forget to include their contact details or put these details in a hard to find location. Placing them on the homepage and/or with a big “Contact” tab on the menu is the best way to make sure customers can reach out to you for more details, estimates, or work. Using a contact form (available as a widget or feature on most templates) helps ensure your customers provide you all the details you need the first time and reduces the likelihood of receiving unsolicited spam emails. When you set up these forms, make sure they send emails to the correct person and any inquiries are promptly answered.

Getting Your Site Out There

When you’ve built and populated a quality website, the next challenge is to build traffic and get attention. By building traffic, you increase the number of people that see your message and you improve your likelihood of showing up on Google searches. Start by including your web address on your business cards, literature, trucks, and anything else that has your company name on it. Pick a couple social media outlets – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube – and link them to your website. Make sure to keep these outlets active. Include your web address on your personal LinkedIn page and any listings you have on 3rd party sites like YellowPages, Angie’s List, MyConcreteContractor, or HomeAdvisor. If you are ambitious, consider experimenting with paid advertising online with Google AdWords.

If you are interested in creating, improving, or expanding an online presence, Brickform has a new service that can help. MyConcreteContractor is a free listing service for decorative concrete contractors that will put you in front of interested homeowners and architects in your area. Sign up today. It’s free and takes less than half an hour.