Katherine Andes is a Web copywriter who specializes in
SEO copywriting - especially in the
home improvement market. You can contact her at
or visit her website
Essential elements for a professional floor covering dealer's website
In my prior column, I discussed how many flooring dealers either do not have websites or, if they do, they are not professional.
If you fit the description above and you wish to build a professional website that will bring your store more sales, then you need to ensure your site has all the essential elements of a good floor covering website.
Optimization and Conversion
Your website should do two things: it should be easy for search engines in your geographic area to find (optimization) and it should convert visitors to leads or buyers (conversion).
A home page is not a "welcome" wagon. It's a "may I help you wagon." Make sure that visitors can quickly find out that they have come to the right site and where they need to go next. Residential customers might want to go to the residential portfolio. Commercial customers might wish to go to a commercial portfolio or the qualifications/capabilities page.
It's okay to include a few photos of work on your home page in your design, but make sure you have text as well.
Many dealers make the mistake of thinking a picture is worth a thousand words and just have nice pictures on their home page.
The problem is that search engine spiders crawl your page to read what's there. Search engines do not read images. They read words. Google likes 250 to 300 words on each web page to properly index it. Keyword rich sub-titles help as well. That's why you need a good copywriter who knows how to write for search engine optimization, as well as sales/lead-generation conversion.
Be careful with flashy graphics or videos that blare at you the moment you click on the page. These tools can be useful if thoughtfully applied... that is with the end-user in mind.
Better to be clean and simple than flashy, confusing, or annoying.
Portfolio of Local Jobs
Hire a professional photographer for a few days to shoot pictures of flooring jobs you've completed. Many are pretty hungry these days and you can hire one at a reasonable price. If that's outside your budget, then use a good digital camera and pay attention to lighting and framing when taking your own pictures.
Set up each flooring job on it's own portfolio web page. That way you can mention the geographic location in the text, which will help when people from that location are googling for a floor-covering dealer. Don't forget to include 250-300 words per page with sub-titles.
Good feedback from existing customers is essential. If you don't already have a collection of testimonials, hire a writer/interviewer to phone your best customers, especially those who will be featured in your portfolio. Someone skilled in interviewing can bring the best out of your customers.
In addition to a separate testimonials page, the best of these should be used on your home page and sprinkled throughout the site.
On this page you should list your qualifications, installers' factory training, certifications, capabilities and anything else that sets you apart from the competition. Include the experience of and knowledge of sales reps. For commercial jobs, include qualifications of support staff so that prospects are assured paperwork will be done correctly.
Here you can list the products you carry. You can usually upload actual logos of brand names. Do be careful about linking to brand corporate sites, as it takes your visitor off your page. When he or she goes to the corporate site, they might be redirected to a competitor in a neighboring city. If you do link to a corporate page, try to structure that on an interior page, so that visitors don't arrive on your home page and click off to a corporate page. Also, make sure that company links back to you so that you get the "link juice" which will help your search engine rankings.
Include pictures of staff focusing on leadership and sales staff. Make it easy for someone to contact you. Include each staffer's email address and mobile phone number. Make it a little personal... these folks will be going into people's homes. Spend the money to have corporate headshots of your staff. Look professional.
Include basic contact and hours-of-business information. If you can have someone available 24-hours by phone, that's a plus in this day and age. Since the person has taken the time to visit your site, try to capture his or her's email address. Have a simple form requesting first name and email address. Mention you will only use it for a newsletter or special offers.
Basic Contact Information On Every Page
Put your phone number and geographic address on every page. The footer is a good place for this. Google ranks websites with physical addresses higher than those without.
In my next column, I will discuss more details of the content of your web pages.
Edited by Admin 3/22/2009
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