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Are you ready for a new website yet?

Barry Ashmore investigates the point at which it becomes apparent your website is ready for a redesign.

A quality website is one of the most effective marketing tools a flooring contractor can have, particularly when created with a content management system (CMS) that enables you or your website developer to add content.

However, at what point does it become apparent that your website is ready for a redesign? If you are now thinking it’s about time that your website was updated, then my advice is to have a long look at it anad decide if its look, feel and content still represents your business as you would like. More importantly, does it meet the needs of your customers?

As we enter a new financial year, now might be the time to set those wheels in motion and do that update.

Here are a few things you can think about when considering if your website needs updating:

  • How does it look when compared with your main competitors?
  • What does it look like on a mobile phone?
  • How has the purpose of the website changed since it was first launched. Does it still do what you designed it to do?
  • How easy is it to update? Are you happy for your web developer to add content, or would you do it yourself more frequently?
  • Are traffic levels rising or dwindling?
  • If you can measure conversions, have these gone up or down?

Check your services pages
When you’re thinking about the content for your services pages it’s essential that, when someone lands on or opens a particular page, they immediately grasp that they have come to the right place, with a value proposition and a call to action that tells them exactly what to do next.

A value proposition explains to customers why your flooring services meet their needs; how they are better or more suitable to a project than your competitors’ offerings; and how they’ll make their lives easier. These messages will probably need a few paragraphs to convey, plus a few quality images. Here, bullet points can also be useful to make reading easier.

Also, are there any stats or tables that can better highlight product performance? Remember, you are not looking for slogans, but a quality explanation of the benefits to the customer in an engaging way.

Each page should spell out exactly what your customer wants to know.

Use several paragraphs, or bullet pointed copy, including key words and phrases that are both appropriate to the page and are based on what you think the visitor is looking for. A few years ago, search engine operators were happy for websites to include a list of single keywords ‘behind’ the page as they would be picked up in a search. Things have changed over the years, and this no longer works.

As search engine technology has become more sophisticated, searchability values are based on quality scores, ie, how appropriate to the search is your page content, and does it offer the best possible answer to a search query.

Out of interest, I Googled ‘flooring contractors London’ and ‘flooring contractors Manchester’ and two of the biggest flooring contractors that I know, who have substantial operations in both London, and Manchester, didn’t appear on the first two pages of Google. I’m glad we aren’t responsible for their seo (search engine optimisation) and will diplomatically point it out the next time I speak to them.

What do your benefits actually mean?
When you’re thinking about the features of a flooring service it’s the benefits the reader really wants to see. When producing page copy, a great way to keep this in mind is to use ‘which means that..’ when thinking about benefits.

For example:
‘We use a unique system to lay a floor quickly’.
Which means that:
It is faster to fit than our competitors can achieve.
Which means that:
We’re on site for less time than if we
had used a different method.
Which means that:
Your customer can reopen the area to traffic more quickly.
Which means that:

You can save money on the project cost and be more profitable as you work faster.
That is a very simple analogy, which should now be condensed into a benefit-rich paragraph to demonstrate what a customer needs and how they can benefit. It explains:

  • How your service solves problems.
  • The real benefits and value a customer can expect.
  • Why your services are superior to that of the competition.
  • And how the customer is encouraged to get in touch with you.

Make the news
I expect many flooring contractors will have a news page on their website. If you do nothing else but regularly post new content on your news page, then you are making progress. News posts can be circulated on social media or linked to or from appropriate services web pages on your website.

If you develop a system where you post regularly, then this is great way to establish your business as an authority in its field.

Content marketing is strongly linked to this as it explains things. Therefore, if you can simply explain a process or outcome, then customers won’t leave before they get to these interesting bits.

Don’t forget about mobile devices
If you use Google Analytics, then there is data in there that reports what devices people use to come to your website.

In the construction industry, as many specifiers will be office based, they are likely to be using a desktop or laptop with a nice large screen. On site, they will be more likely to turn to the mobile phone when they search for information. Also, potential customers sat at home after work, or at weekends, may be using their mobiles to find solutions to problems.

Depending on the market, it is generally understood that between 30% and 75% of website visitors are using mobiles. Which is why you must have a look at how your website presents on a mobile phone. Does it view as a complete page that users struggle to squeeze and stretch to read? Or is it a ‘responsive’ site where each page presents in an easy-to-read vertical format? If someone cannot read the site clearly on a mobile then they will give up and never come back.

Google has been indexing mobile websites for some years now, so any business that does not have a website designed to ‘mobile first’ standards will be missing potential traffic. Make sure that your website is not one of the many thousands that look fantastic on large screens but are unworkable on small ones.

If you are not sure what a ‘mobile first’ website looks like, then open your website on a mobile and ask yourself a few questions:

  • How quickly does it open on a phone?
  • Are the pages uncluttered and easy to read?
  • Is navigation easy?
  • Can you read all the text easily?
  • Are buttons and links easy to tap without hitting the wrong one?
  • Does it work in both landscape and portrait view?

If you can do these tests on more than one type of mobile device, this will give you a true picture of how your website visitors see you. And just out of interest I had a look at those two big flooring contractor’s websites that I mentioned, and one definitely performed better than the other on mobile.

The end of free websites
I can’t imagine that many reading this will have one, but earlier this year Google announced that it is removing the free business website that came with a Google Business profile.

The original idea was to make it easy for small business who did not wish to invest in a professionally created website to create one easily and free of charge.

Google is said to be redirecting traffic from free websites to the owner’s business profile, but only until June. This means those using the free service now have little time to create a new website before it’s turned off. Importantly, it’s a reminder that it’s never a good idea to build company-critical resources on free services.
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Barry Ashmore is managing director and co-founder of

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