I love talking about websites, designing and building them, mapping them out, optimizing them. It's what I started my business to do. I feel like it's what I really know best. And one of the types of websites we make often here at MayeCreate are construction websites.View the Episode Goodie Bag >> Hosted By
I love talking about websites, designing and building them, mapping them out, optimizing them. It's what I started my business to do, and it’s become what I really know best. And one of the types of websites we make often here at MayeCreate are construction websites.
We absolutely love working with construction companies because, like us, they have to take clients through a project from start to finish on a timeline, and they understand what it is to design and build something. They've been wonderful to work with. And from my experience working with them, I'd like to share some advice about what needs to go into a great construction website.
Disclaimer: a lot of the things we're going to talk about in this blog post apply to more than just construction websites! If you offer any kind of service, if you want to show examples of your work, or if you're trying to hire people, these are great tips and best practices for all industries.
So what can you put on your site to make it truly great?
What’s this include?
Gone are the days of a single Services page featuring an itty-bitty bulleted list of the general things you do. That's just not how quality online presence works.
Each of your services goes on its own page, and each page should feature at least 500 words discussing that service.
The goal is to be found online, right? To do that, you’ve got to talk about the thing you want to be found for on your website, a lot, using (not overly, keyword stuffing won’t work) a set of related, commonly-searched keywords and phrases. Not everyone knows or uses the lingo you do, so this takes a bit of research to really understand what’s best to call it, but your knowledge of the service gives you the ability to talk naturally about it, so it’ll all balance out.
We have a client who does both drywall and metal framing. When we originally outlined their site, the two services were going to be featured on the same page together. Little did we know we’d find that, after doing our research, prospects search for framers separately from drywall contractors. In the end, we separated them: one page dedicated to framing and one page all about drywall. Because people look for these services separately, Google displays different search results for each of those terms/phrases.
This may seem like a big ol’ DUH, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to exclude.
Once upon a time, a man came to me to build his construction website and said, “I build new homes.” When we built his site, all of the content on it talked about new homes.
He came to me one year later and said, “When I search online for remodeling, my website doesn’t show up.” Together, we looked through the site and saw it doesn’t say the word “remodeling” anywhere on it. The solution, of course, was adding a remodeling section to his website.
Especially if you're a large company with multiple sales regions with different staff for each.. And if you only provide a certain service or material in a specific location, include that information as well.
We have a lot of quarry clients that may only offer certain types of rock at one quarry and not at others. In cases like this, we make sure on the Services pages, we cross-reference between the separate locations and make it clear which materials each offers.
We also make sure to include featured projects related to that service…which brings us to the next thing that makes a great construction website:
You can call it Projects or Portfolio, Completed Work, Experience… whatever’s right for you. In this article, we're going to refer to it as a projects section.
Functional for you and for visitors.
Functional for you means you and your team members have to be able to easily add and update projects, upload photos, and format the information about every single project so it’s all consistent.
For everybody's protection, you shouldn't have to learn another language to update your projects. It should be like using a coffee cup, and you shouldn’t have to call your web designer to do it for you — if you do have to call them to do this for you, you should get another web designer.
We build project sections this way for so many reasons:
People coming to your site are shopping for your services. Make it easy on them: give them the ability to sort through your projects to find the ones that they want to know more about.
How you allow them to sort is really based on what they need to know in order to make a buying decision. For example, some people want visitors to be able to sort by location, others by industry, some by service type, it all depends on what that visitor needs to be able to see to make a decision about whether this project is relevant to them or not.
You can’t just have a photo gallery. Well, you can, depending on what you do exactly and what you want to be found for online. Ultimately, there are different styles of project sections and lots to consider before deciding which is best to use for your website. Regardless, you want to have a separate page for each project for the same reason we suggest a separate page for each service: SEO.
How great is it when somebody searches for “bridges in Missouri” and a bridge contractor pops up? That's pretty cool. It's because each project has its own page with words on it that talk about bridges in Missouri. This is why we say certain construction companies can’t get by with just a photo gallery: they’re just pictures.
I look at a lot of construction projects, and when I just see a bunch of photos of completed projects in a project section, I honestly don't know what that company did on that project. All I know is I’m looking at a building that looks new.
Everybody from mechanical engineers to window wall fabricators worked on that building... Excavators, commercial electricians, you name it. So when I look at the outside of a hospital, it looks like the outside of a hospital — I don't know if you were the company who manufactured the window wall or you were the one who did the plumbing. Or maybe you were the architect…
See my point? No idea. So tell us in words.
Having a project section with text describing each project definitely boosts the number of visitors to your website exactly like blogging does, and that’s always a good thing, because every project page is a potential “hand shake” with people you have an opportunity to build for later, so make it count!
This includes the location of the project, your contact information, additional photos.
Highlight the problems you solved for the client, the challenges you faced and how you came to a solution.
This is a clear indicator to your visitors that you've done more than just this one project.
Then link to their websites. This is excellent online marketing karma.
If you’re establishing yourself as a regional or national company, Including a map of where you’ve provided your services is a great way to show your reach. It’s a great visual representation of how immense you are when you’re able to show somebody a map with pinpoints on it of all of your projects. Then imagine if they can click on the pinpoint and read about the individual projects you’ve built.
People also use location often to determine whether you’ll qualify for their project. Understanding regional differences is all part of what you do, down to the building codes and all the way up to the environmental impact on what you're doing, right? Show your visitors you’re capable of solving problems in those locations with a cool interactive map.
The reason construction companies come to me now asking for help with their website and online marketing is not because they don't have enough business. They're coming to me because they have people who are retiring out of their middle management positions, and they can't find qualified individuals to fill that seat on the bus. Which sucks.
A gentleman recently told me, “Hey, here's the deal. We are literally maxed out on our workload for the next two years. I can't accept another project, because I don't have enough foreman to get us through to the end of those projects.” Whoa. It's one thing to have job security because you're in great demand. It’s another thing when you're in great demand and you could grow bigger, but you can't find the people to put on your crew that’ll get you there.
Just having a page that says “Get a job with us,” won’t cut it.
What does the targeted career section include?
For example, if you hire interns, you should have an intern page. If you hire skilled craftsmen, have a skilled craftsman page, etc. Experienced workers or management need their own page as well. Here's why — each one of these groups of individuals uses different criteria to decide whether or not they want to work with your company, some of which are in completely different stages of life.
Interns just need directions for how to apply and an email address for sending in their stuff, maybe even a form to fill out. Your skilled craftsmen and your leadership people probably have other jobs right now and really need to understand why working for your company is going to be better than working for another company, or where they’re working now. Those coming out of college might be considering how long it might take to move from entry-level work into a leadership position. Show them the progression, show them actual quotes and faces of people that work for you.
Share things like benefits and also salary range — people need to know that. Also give clear instructions on how to apply.
One of my favorite suggestions: Allow potential applicants to sign up for email alerts when a job vacancy is posted. You can automate this (we talked about that in one of our podcasts on why email marketing is important if you’re a podcast person).
When set up correctly, emails will send out automatically from your website to the list of job applicants when you add a job post to your site. This also gives you the opportunity to gather the email addresses of people who are interested in working for your company because maybe the right position isn’t open for them right now.
And that my friends, in a nutshell, is a great construction website: a built-out services section, a robust project section, and a targeted career section.
If you want to see some of our work, you can go over to our Portfolio page check out those construction companies we've had the pleasure of working with. Not to brag (but totally bragging), you might also get the chance to see what a good construction website looks like. 😉
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