Making the most of your trade business website – 10 quick tips for success

Time is money when you own and operate a trade business, and sitting down to work on the parts of your business that don’t involve completing more work can often feel pretty pointless.

But sometimes, it’s the parts of your business you never think about that can have the biggest impact on how much work you have coming in.

Take your website, for example. On the surface, it’s a convenient place to list your contact numbers and let potential customers know more about your business. Dig a little bit deeper, though, and there’s a wealth of ways that a great website can help you bring in more paying customers.

This article will give you ten quick tips aimed at helping you leverage the most you can out of your website by establishing instant credibility and making a great first impression. Whether you manage your site or let a third party handle the details, this article will give you all the tools you need to make informed decisions about your website and grow your success as a result.

Tip #1:
Make sure your site is easy to navigate and use

It sounds like a no brainer, but you’d be surprised how many trade business websites have confusing layouts that lead to customers getting lost and going somewhere else for the service they need. Over the years, website design has changed dramatically. Without regular updates, your site may become difficult for users to navigate compared to other newer sites (more on this in Tip #5).

You aren’t there to guide website users in person, so make sure your website shows them where to go.

You aren’t there to guide website users in person,
so make sure your website shows them where to go.

The golden rule for designing easy to use websites is one you’re probably familiar with; less is more. Cut down on page clutter by removing unnecessary images and text, then make sure every part of your website can be reached from the homepage and you’re on the right track. If you manage bookings or appointments through your website, it’s important to feature this front and centre on your homepage, as this is likely what most users are there for.

When you’ve pruned what’s on each page and moved the most important parts of your website right in front of users, the last thing to do is polish what’s left. Follow this link for a great guide that can help you narrow down what your website still needs to make it perfect. Once the structure and style are just right, it’s time to work on images and photography, which we’ll cover in Tip #3.

Tip #2:
Choose a design and stick with it

Once you’ve started making changes to the look and feel of your trade business website, it’s important to update every part of it to follow a set design and structure. Nobody wants to navigate around a site and find that half the pages function normally and the other half feel like they were made a decade ago.

The design you settle on is largely up to you, but following our less is more approach from Tip #1, try to keep things nice and simple to start. Use appropriate colours and don’t overload users by placing lots of different things on a page just for the sake of it.

When everything is uniform, you can start making changes to see what adds to your website and what makes it less appealing to users. It’s worth scoping out the competition in your industry for inspiration, or even consulting customers who have used your website before. Ask them what they think of the website in its current form and what could make it better, then use this input to refine your design into the best trade business website around.

Tip #3:
Use quality photographs that help sell your business to users.

Think of how many times you’ve been put off by a website or, by extension, a business because you can’t find any good quality photos that show you what the business is about. Your trade business website is just the same, and it needs good quality photographs that showcase what you do so well and convince users to spend their money with you.

When sourcing or taking photographs for your website, make sure they are high resolution, properly focused, and most importantly, aren’t too bright or too dark. Modern smartphones can take great pictures, but make sure to carefully check each image before adding it to your site, as the automatic settings on many phones don’t always work perfectly. For a more in-depth guide on taking great website photos, we recommend checking out this article by the website design experts over at Wix.

As for what should be in the photographs, try to make sure any photo is either:

  • A shot of completed work/the products you sell being used.
  • A shot of you or your team in action, preferably on-site.
  • A shot of your fleet/large assets, preferably in a group, to show your size and scale.

Photos in any of these three categories go a long way towards showcasing your professional capability and help get potential customers across the line.

Tip #4:
Keep website speed a priority

Nobody wants to land on a slow-loading webpage, especially when they’re looking to buy something. A slow-loading website can be disastrous for trade businesses if your customers have the luxury of shopping around, so quick load times are essential to staying ahead of the competition.

If you followed Tip 1#, you’ve likely already improved your website loading speeds by removing unnecessary images and text across your website. But there is more work you can do to further improve your load speed; it just takes a little more effort.

You could start by looking for old or outdated pages on your website and removing them too. Just make sure they aren’t essential to navigating around your site before you delete them! Another great tactic is to optimise the images left over after decluttering your website. Try downsizing them as much as you can without compromising quality, and watch your page speed shoot up.

Tip #5:
Make it mobile-friendly

How many times have you searched for a product or service using your phone instead of a computer recently? Mobile browsing is the new normal and if you don’t believe it, check out this study of 5 trillion website visits where 61% of total visits were on mobile. With statistics like these in mind, it’s easy to see how websites that aren’t optimised to allow easy browsing on phones are destined to fall behind their competition.

Mobile-first design helps your business website capitalise on increasing mobile searches and win more customers as a result

Mobile-first design helps your business website capitalise on
increasing mobile searches and win more customers as a result.

These days many modern website designs allow for what’s called ‘responsive design’, which means that your site adapts depending on whether a user is browsing on a phone, tablet or computer. This is fantastic because it covers all your bases automatically and ensures that no matter how a potential customer lands on your website, they get the best experience possible.

You can even take responsive design a step further and build your website to offer slightly different pages depending on the device used. For example, a mobile user is more likely to be searching for contact details, the services you offer, your location, or reviews of your business. Each of these can be moved further up the page when it’s loaded on mobile versus on desktop, making viewing your website more efficient for users.

If you aren’t keen on redesigning your entire website to be responsive to device differences, try to focus on mobile-first, as this will likely give you the best value versus desktop-oriented design.

Tip #6:
Feature reviews or testimonials on your website

There’s nothing better than positive press, and the more positive reviews your business gains, the more professional you look as a result. Testimonials and reviews broadly fall under a category most commonly called ‘digital word of mouth’, and we have another article on this exact topic; check it out here to learn more.

Speaking in terms of your website, though, the more positive reviews and customer experiences you can feature on your website, the better. Customers trust other customers, and a website that showcases its positive reviews is one that new customers are more likely to trust as a result.

Customers trust other customers, so take advantage of that by featuring lots of reviews on your site.

Customers trust other customers, so take
advantage of that by featuring lots of reviews on your site.

A side note to featuring reviews on your website is to not just rely on five-star reviews to fill out your web pages. A couple of four or four-and-a-half star reviews here and there show that you’re not trying to make your business seem better than it is, and customers respect this kind of transparency.

For advice on how to get great reviews, we recommend checking out the article we linked above, as it provides some good starting points for gathering customer testimonials that won’t cost you anything.

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Tip #7:
Create content for your website that provides knowledge and answers questions

Ask any business owner with a great website what you should do to make the most of yours, and they’ll likely tell you that blogs and articles are the way to go.

This opinion holds weight, as both website users and even Google’s search engine robots often rely on blog content to decide whether your website (and, by extension, your business) is worth their time.
But, for a trade business website, any content you create should fit two very specific requirements, just as we laid out in the title of this tip.

  • 1. Your content should share your professional knowledge with users.
  • 2. Your content should answer specific questions that users might have concerning your business or your work.

Customers searching for a trade business usually aren’t window shopping. They are intent on making a purchase regardless of whether your business provides products or services. That’s why any content you create for your website should help in the process of selling them on what you provide.

If you run an emergency plumbing business, create some content detailing what users should do to minimise damage while they wait for their plumber to arrive. If you work in fire services and maintenance, create some content detailing how to know if fire extinguishers or smoke alarms need replacing. Customers only search for terms like “what to do while waiting for a plumber” and “does my smoke alarm need replacing” if they are ready to spend money on problems.

Tip #8:
Make your website easy to find offline

Featuring your website address on business cards, email signatures, invoices, and even your vehicle signage is essential for funnelling customers toward your site. If you’ve followed every tip so far, then the more people you can push towards your site, the better, as it means they get to see everything your business offers in the best possible light.

You can also push potential customers toward your site via social media, which is particularly useful if you handle appointments and bookings through your website. Something as simple as a post detailing that the best way to get in touch is by submitting an enquiry on your website can easily help boost your site’s presence online.

The more roads you have leading back to your trade business website, the more customers you bring in.
The more roads you have leading back to
your trade business website, the more customers you bring in.

As more trade business moves to a digital domain, you’ll be reaping the benefits of already having a system that pushes every customer toward your website. After all, digital real-estate is quickly becoming a big point of competition for trade businesses across the world.

Tip #9:
Keep your website up to date

When the hard work is done, and your website looks perfect, it’s not time to hang up your hat and forget about it just yet. Just like your trade business has likely gone through multiple stages of evolution to reach the level of success it enjoys today, your trade business website also needs the same care.

Returning to your website with outside input or fresh ideas and giving it a bit of love every now and then will ensure that it doesn’t become outdated and start failing to showcase your business in the best possible light.

That doesn’t mean you need to constantly refine your website; just make sure everything is working as it should periodically. Then, if some new or amazing design or function catches your eye and you think it might be a good fit, make an effort to rework your site to take advantage of it.

Tip #10:
Link your website to your Google My Business listing

Connectivity is everything online, and why go to the effort of trying to make the most of your trade business website if you aren’t going to put it in front of as many people as possible.

Online listings often cost money to set up and maintain, but luckily you can take advantage of one of the best online listing platforms for no cost at all. You’re probably familiar with Google My Business (GMB); after all, it’s possibly the single most powerful tool for advertising your business online.

If you aren’t familiar with GMB or haven’t set yours up yet, we have a handy guide going through every step of the process, from profile creation to final polish. Your GMB profile can feature a direct link to your website, meaning every person who searches for your business using Google will likely be directed to your site right away.

We probably don’t have to tell you how powerful something like this can be, and considering that Google now accounts for 92.5% of search traffic, you might as well utilise GMB anyway.

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And there you have it,
ten tips to help you make the most out of your trade business website

Below you can find a helpful infographic listing all the tips we’ve covered today, so you can refer back to them easily as you work on your website.

Bonus Tip for trade businesses who handle bookings through their website:

A great way of getting even more value out of a trade business website with on-site booking functionality is to track the enquiries it generates with CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software. CRMs use customer data to help you study your market and make more informed customer-related decisions that lead to stronger growth. You can even track where customers are coming from, so you know if they found your website through Google, social media, or somewhere else.

Our software AroFlo features a host of CRM related tools, along with being a feature-complete job management solution that helps tradespeople just like you run their businesses better. Using AroFlo you can even take bookings on your website and feed them right into our job management software, a great timesaver for busy trade business owners.

Check us out by booking a demo, and we’ll show you how your website could become your most valuable tool for bringing in new customers like never before.

Making the most of your trade business website – 10 quick tips for success