Mechanical Engineering and Construction Corporation (MEC2)
My hometown of Columbia, Missouri is a few years behind California fashion; likewise, the paving industry is a few steps behind current web design fads. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Unless you’re a teenager at the whim of social influence, all the really gaudy styles just pass by, allowing you to implement the successful trends that stick.
A few industry sites are outfitted in the latest web design fads like full screen photos on home pages, treated images and icons. Others are sporting web design staples, doing a great job of encouraging visitors to contact and using easy-to-read fonts and original imagery.
As a whole, paving websites are not super modern or flashy. After reviewing over 100 paving industry sites from New York to San Francisco, I found about 25 sites to draw creative inspiration from and 75 sites I think may need to call to encourage an upgrade.
Most paving related websites display a full-screen background – meaning the background picture or color goes from one edge of your screen to the other. Although the info inside the page may not be as wide as your screen, it doesn’t feel like it’s in a box. The majority, over 80%, of the websites also have a photo that spans from left to right at the top of their home pages. A little over half of the websites I reviewed had a slideshow of images on the home page. Super big full screen pictures that fill the whole screen were pretty popular as well, with just under half using this style on their home page.
Icons have been all the rage in web design for quite sometime now, though I can’t quite tell if the style is trending out or if it’s here to stay. Icons are a great option for companies who don’t have many good photos to choose from; they add interest to what might otherwise be a text heavy design.
Serif fonts are like Times New Roman, they have little tick marks on the ends of the letters. Sans serif fonts don’t have tick marks, they’re just clean lines. Design trends throughout marketing are certainly favoring sans serif fonts, and the paving industry does too. Of all the sites I reviewed, only two used a serif font!
Almost all paving websites use black or grey as a dominant color choice. The industry’s sites are more likely to be filled with color than stark and mostly white. Interestingly, the companies who provide paving services are more likely to have a yellow and black color pallet, while those who sell paving related products or equipment are more likely to be red and black.
Paving related websites, regardless of company size or design appeal, are easy to use. The navigation is predominantly found at the top of the page, reflecting modern website user interface conventions. Many sites use drop down menus and additional on-page links or buttons to easily guide visitors through the website to find what they need.
You’ve seen pictures of those weird, glowing people with flawless skin and meticulously groomed children popping up in marketing of all kinds. Paving industry websites use very few of these fakey images. Instead, the majority favored original images of their people and equipment working. This is one trend I hope is here to stay.
A picture’s worth a thousand words, and the paving industry knows it. Over half of the websites have featured projects, image galleries or a portfolio of work. This type of information is more popular on paving services websites, though quite a few companies that focus on equipment and product sales also had image galleries to share.
Subtle texture is a stylish trend on paving websites. I know what you’re thinking, because I was thinking it too: I expected to see lots of pavement textures. I was surprised to find industry sites weren’t uniformly sporting road rash. Tasteful pin lines, hash patterns and diagonal lines were prevalent as well.
Good call-to-actions are a key component of any website. In the paving industry, the most popular call-to-action is “Get a Free Quote” or some variation to that effect. This was more prevalent on paving services websites. Nearly every site has an email form on the contact page.
People hate digging for contact information, and paving companies know how important a conversation can be to close a sale. This is illustrated by the prominent display of phone numbers in the headers on each of the industry’s websites I viewed.
Many websites have a page talking about each service or product they provide. Previously, websites just had a products or services page where a short paragraph was shared about each. If being found online is a priority to your business, the trend of adding a page for each service is a good one to maintain. This helps Google display your website for each service you offer as people search for them by name. It also allows the search engine to better understand what you do as a company.
If your website is less than stellar, you know who you are, I don’t have to call you out. However this article is really for you, so you know how to make it into the select few currently setting the bell curve.
To make a good impression, consider incorporating these trends, making sure your site is easy to use and sharing the information your audience needs most.