Earlier this month, we attended the Landscape Ontario Congress 3-day conference. I completed two seminars on digital marketing/SEO, and the balance of the time spent there was giving free website advice to landscape contractors and suppliers–our specialty!
To set the stage, we set up a refreshment stand to entice business owners to visit us. When we were approached, as the state of one’s website is often a touchy subject, we required our subjects to sign the following waiver:
Once we had our waiver, we proceeded to perform our 5 second test to see if a website was helping or hindering the business in question. Here is our test:
Does the Look of Your Site Send Your Visitors Running?
Ask yourself- upon landing on the site, does it look ok? Is there anything horrific (pixilated photo, images not loading, blaring spelling error, over the top design… I could go on) that would make a visitor bounce right away?
Most of the website we reviewed were fine- the design might not be the most modern or appealing to everyone, but there was generally nothing horrific that would make someone run away.
Your website should make it painfully obvious what you company name is, and what it is that your company does. In most cases, a person will only give you five seconds of their time to determine whether or not your site is relevant for them–make sure they can accomplish this by having your company logo and tagline or headline stating exactly what it is you do.
In many cases, business owners attempt to use clever taglines and headlines that are not obvious enough for someone that might be confused about whether you’re a designer, design-build firm, or just a materials supplier.
Who is Your Target Audience?
Most business owners have a great idea of who their target customer is, but forget this when it comes to building their website. Many landscape industry websites we review are full of industry buzzwords, are categorized in complicated ways, don’t speak the way their target customers search, and consequently are more about the company than appealing to the consumer.
If homeowners typically contacting you asking if you do interlocking patios, water features, etc., the pages of your website should be about this (not your design/build services).
What Should Your Visitors Do Next?
Every business owner we spoke with had the same goal from their site–they wanted potential customers to call them. This being said, you might be surprised to hear that 99% of the websites we reviewed didn’t say this.
Online success is largely about making the process smooth and simple for your visitors. If they arrive on your site, see that you provide the services that they’re searching for, a clear and visual call to action- at the bottom and throughout the content, at the top of each page will make taking the next step a no-brainer.
Does Your Site Make Mobile Users [or Internet Explorer users.. or Firefox users.. or Chrome users] Scream & Shout?
Never disregard the importance of testing your site across multiple different interfaces! As we probably all have had an annoying browsing experience using a mobile device, you know firsthand how quickly a site that isn’t mobile-friendly can get under your skin. Today, over 30% of searches are being done on mobile devices, and it’s growing more and more important by the day.
In our review, we looked at the sites on a laptop using different browsers, on a mini-tablet, and on an iPhone.
The only near-fail proof way for your business to look its best across different screen sizes is responsive design- not a mobile site. If you’re interested in learning more about this topic, read our recent article “The Death of the Mobile Site”.
Did Your Website Pass the Test?
If not, it might be time to revisit your website and online marketing strategy. Book a consultation today to make the move towards getting more leads!