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What Does Your Website Say About You?

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Business Advice

There’s no question. In today’s fast-paced, technology-driven world, an online presence is not just a perk, it’s a necessity!

The majority of people turn to the web when they’re looking for a service in their area. Whether it’s a plumber, a cleaner or an electrician they’re after, interested customers know to scour the web for local businesses. It’s no different when people are looking for a landscaper to handle their next outdoor project. Their first stop – and probably their only stop – is the computer.

Even if your company is recommended to someone through word of mouth, there’s a good chance your potential customers will Google your company name. They’ll want to view your website in an effort to get to know the ‘nature’ of you business before they decide to call you.

Because your website has a direct impact on your sales, it needs to send the right message about your business. To target the right customers, expand your business and make more sales, your website should be professional-looking and easy to use, but it should also accurately capture the essence of your business. Here are our tips for optimizing your website:   

1. Make sure your website positions you as an expert in your field

  •  Add association logos, certifications/education credentials, staff bios, links to twitter and/or a blog where you post regular articles relevant to landscaping
  • Tell your visitors what makes you a qualified professional in the landscaping industry. Why are you a competitive provider?  What sets you apart?
  • Never underestimate the value of a blog: a blog will work to reinforce your industry knowledge and it serves as a convenient portal for interacting with your customers. With the blog, you want to focus less on selling your products or services, and more on on sharing information, connecting with customers and establishing your expertise in the industry. Post daily articles, stories, case studies, events, tips and trends, and make sure you stay on top of your posting. The only thing worse than not having a blog is having a blog that remains stagnant for months.

2. Make your website a “one stop shop”

People are using your website to research before they contact you. Do you have your portfolio online? Is it up-to-date? Can your customers contact you by email quickly and easily? (Internet shoppers often prefer email to phone – they are surfing late or at night – don’t give them an excuse to move on to the next site)

  • Include all the information your customer needs to contact you clearly on the website. Once you’ve successfully convinced a customer that your business is right for them, you don’t want to lose them because they can’t figure out how to contact you or close the sale.
  • Include your name, number, email address on an easy to find “contact” page.

3. Have your website speak to your targeted customers

Does your website help you qualify your customers? Are you advertising price, quality or both? Do you do residential, commercial? Lawn care, design-build, or all? Let your website speak to your target market and help you qualify your leads up front.

  • Provide detailed information about your services so your customers understand the type of work you do and what you specialize in.
  • Make sure your images and online portfolio is suitable to your targeted customers – if you’re looking to service residential clients, include a photo slideshow of some of your best residential projects. If you specialize in design-build projects, showcase some of your most interesting work. For more tips, read creating your portfolio and taking pictures of your work

4. Master Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

When you Google search terms in your location (e.g. “Landscapers in Boston”) – does your site appear on the first page or the 15th? The internet has a system in place that selects certain websites depending on keywords. To ensure your customers find your site, you need to select the proper keywords that pertain to your customer’s search requests. You can move up on the search engines by carefully wording your website for your target market.  It’s called SEO – Search Engine Optimization.

Here are some tips for mastering SEO:

  • Use a keyword research like Google AdWords Keyword Tool – just type in keywords or a phrase from your content to discover what people are searching for online then adjust your headlines and content to feature these keywords
  • Use these keywords in your <title> tags and a few times in the body of your page
  • Get other sites to link to you (associations, suppliers, contractors, industry news etc.)
  • Keep titles short and focus on keywords

 5. Use interactive features to grab customer attention

 Good visuals are important, but interactive visuals are even better. Set up a slideshow using Flickr to upload and organize your photos in an attractive display. Your slideshow should change as viewers scroll over it or click on it.

  • Post industry-related games, puzzles, quizzes, polls, as well as your customer testimonials and case studies. Not only will it get your customers actively engaging in fun activities on your website, but it will give them a reason to come back to your site.
  • Use social media to your advantage – as noted earlier, blogs get customers involved, interacting, posting comments, and coming back for more information.

…but don’t overdo it!

6. Keep design, layout and navigational items consistent throughout your website

A busy, cluttered site with too much going on in terms of color, design and interactive features, is overwhelming and confusing for your customers.

Visitors want to know they are still on your site and haven’t ventured off to some other link in the process of trying to navigate through your site.

  • Stick to clean lines, easy to use features and important links on every page
  • Always make sure your contact information is never more than one click away
  • keep in mind: high speed internet is not something all your customers have. If your site takes too long to load, they’ll go elsewhere. 

 7. Use your website as more than just an advertisement for your business:

To keep your customers interested in your business, you need to do more than just sell them a service or product. Include other valuable features in your website, such as news and bulletin boards that keep customers informed with what’s going on in the industry and within your company. If you offer more than just advertisements, your customers will view you as a trusted resource. Most of the time it takes more than just one visit to your website for your customers to be sold on your business. Give them a reason to come back!

8. Update your website regularly with new content:

Keep the design and layout of your site, but continue to add fresh, new content to encourage your customers to continue to revisit your site.

Here are some ideas for updating your content:

  • Include any new services in addition to your core services – for instance, if you offer special holiday services or seasonal services, make sure you spotlight them on your home page
  • Blog about new issues and trends in the landscaping industry
  • Include special events, offers and promotions
  • Regularly update your portfolio and image slideshows

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