As a tradesman running your own business, it’s likely that you’ve spent a fair amount of time thinking about whether or not to start a website, and if you already have a loyal customer base and an effective offline marketing strategy, perhaps you don’t really see the point. We’re here to tell you that a website can bring plenty of benefits to any kind of company, even tradesmen services.
But does that mean that you should get on board with the idea? After all, no two tradesman businesses are the same, and while a website may take one to new heights, it may be a total waste of time for another. That’s why we’ve put this guide together to explore both sides of the coin. Check out all the pros and cons and judge for yourself whether a tradesman website is the right decision for you.
Reasons tradesmen do need a website
1. Big tradesman businesses benefit from greater visibility
Running a sizable company gives you a very good reason for starting a website: to further increase your visibility. Firstly, you have the capacity to take on plenty of work, and you definitely don’t want to lose potential customers because you missed a call or didn’t respond to an email fast enough. Having a website gives you an around-the-clock presence, allowing customers to obtain the information they need (or maybe even get quotes and book jobs) whenever they like.
You’ll also have the opportunity to pick up work as a result of something called search engine optimisation (SEO). Most people turn to Google when they’re looking for a business, and an SEO-friendly tradesman website should rank in the search results for keywords related to your company. For example, someone could type “builders in South East London”, see your website on Google, click through and become your next customer. And if you’re a big company, odds are people will be familiar with the name of your business already. As Search Engine Journal notes: “The stronger the brand recognition, the higher the odds of generating clicks. Which means the higher the odds of getting the sale.”
Finally, as a large business owner, you’ll also have the money and manpower you need to update and maintain a website, which obviously can’t be said for solo tradesmen.
2. Websites help you book lengthy projects
Consider this: would you spend more time scrutinising the plumber fixing your leaky tap, or the tradesman building your loft conversion? A potential customer probably won’t spend too much time weighing up their options if they only need you to do a relatively quick and straightforward job. However, for more expensive and involved projects, a website is absolutely crucial, as this allows them to do all of the research they need before hiring you.
Make sure your platform includes as much information as possible, like details about pricing, scheduling and all requisite insurance, in addition to a gallery of photos of your previous work. Remember that clients will consider your services a huge investment. Without a comprehensive website where they can learn more about what you do, they’ll be more likely to turn to a competitor whose online presence can instantly answer any questions they have.
3. Businesses can’t take branding to the next level without a website
The fact is, companies without a website usually aren’t taken as seriously. Old school advertising is pretty much dead, so even if you give a potential customer your business card, odds are they’ll still want to check out your website. A website is at the heart of any digital marketing strategy, and therefore key for good branding. Don’t have one? That may compromise your credibility.
An online platform immediately gives your tradesman business a more professional look, and will typically be the first thing a customer sees. Do you normally pay much attention to offline marketing methods like flyers and newspaper ads? Probably not, and the feeling is probably mutual. Think of your website as your shop window — creating a good first impression is a must. This means good branding, which in turn builds trust, and increases the likelihood of potential clients asking you for a quote.
Reasons tradesmen might not need a website
1. Trade directory listings may be sufficient
Though the Yellow Pages fell out of fashion a long time ago, people still use directories to find a tradesman they can trust. The only difference is that these have now mostly moved online, with the most popular examples being Checkatrade and Rated People. And if you’re already generating leads through these kinds of platforms, perhaps having a website isn’t quite so important.
However, this very much depends on your particular trade. If you’re a plumber for instance, chances are you have a lot of listings. Just look at the top search results for the phrase “local plumbers”. Yet it’s a very different outlook for slightly more niche professions. When you type “air conditioning installers” into Google, no directories come up — just individual business pages. In this case, having a website would be the only way to rival the competition.
2. Businesses can still have an online presence without a website
We’ve already mentioned that a website is at the heart of a digital marketing strategy, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only way to boost your online visibility. Social media is a brilliant means of attracting attention, with a small survey revealing that 71% of homeowners use Facebook to find tradesmen. And, compared to a website, these platforms don’t require much time and effort to manage. At the most basic level, all you need to do is upload images regularly, keep track of comments, and ensure that your business information is up-to-date and accurate. This makes it a particularly convenient option for solo tradesmen and very small businesses.
A Google My Business profile can also be set up even if you don’t have a website, allowing your organisation to appear in ‘the local search pack’ — the part of the search results displaying relevant local businesses. This is because, once you add your business address and the areas you serve to your GMB profile, your company will be marked on Google Maps. Don’t underestimate the importance of making yourself visible to people nearby either — 97% of search engine users have tried online search to find local businesses.
3. Websites can take a lot of time to update and maintain
A professional website that looks great and functions well doesn’t happen overnight — in fact, it can take at least 14 weeks to build. Even if you choose an instant website builder that gives you a ready-made platform in minutes, you’ll still have to spend plenty of time managing, maintaining and improving it for the foreseeable — and the quality still might not be that great. As such, it makes sense that you would only want to commit if it’s going to be worth your while.
Firstly, you will need to assess whether you actually have the time to do this. If you find yourself stretched to capacity on a regular basis, it’s probably not feasible to add website maintenance to your already-busy to-do list. The other thing to consider is how likely it is that your website will be seen. Unfortunately, if you are a small tradesman brand with a host of high profile competitors, you’re going to find it much harder to rank well and all your efforts could end up being a waste of time. Is it worth the risk? That’s for you to decide!
It’s unlikely that your business will ever be worse off with a tradesman website. The difference is whether a website is vitally important to your company’s future success, or whether it’s simply a nice addition to your marketing approach.
We’ve already explained that a website is highly beneficial for large tradesman businesses as these probably already have significant profiles, and can build on these further with a wider digital presence. Whereas for smaller organisations, a website is more like a glorified business card.
However, even if your business isn’t sizable right now, do you have plans to grow in the future? If so, perhaps it makes sense to launch a website now and increase brand authority in the meantime. On the other hand, if you’re too busy managing your other marketing activities, or don’t think a website will bring much value in terms of your business model and clientele, chances are you’re better off giving your all to your current strategy!