There’s no denying that the internet has revolutionised the way we live our lives. It’s actually pretty hard to think of something that hasn’t been affected by the growth of the internet and the effect on trade businesses is no different. If anything, it is one of the prime examples of how websites have transformed the way we do the basics now.
In highly competitive trades, local searches on Google and Bing, for example, have essentially eradicated the need for directories and created a whole new playing field. Now you can find the number, address and website of any tradesmen in your vicinity in less than 5 seconds, and if you’re business doesn’t pop up in that search then you’re missing out, big time.
But the value of a website for a trade business doesn’t stop there. In this post we’ll look at exactly how much a site can do to inform and influence a potential customer’s decision.
Credibility is at the core of being a successful trade business and probably has been since two cavemen set up shop in the same cave, both selling spears and fur undergarments.
And without a website your business might as well be in the Stone Age. You need to look professional amongst the competition and a smart website with your customer testimonials and a gallery of your completed jobs show the viewer you mean business.
Don’t be mistaken however, it has to look the part as well otherwise it can do more damage than good. Take time to decide whether you want to DIY or whether you’d benefit from a DIFM (Do-It-For-Me) option instead. As we outlined in our post on The Fundamentals Of A Good Website Design, making sure your website is fit for human consumption takes a lot of determination and a dash of technical know-how. This is all available online, but you might find that DIFM choices targeted at small businesses, like SoleTrader.com, will save you heaps of time and the end result will be visibly more professional and better made all-round.
Businesses need websites to show people what they do and how to reach them. Even if you think ‘Birmingham Bricklayers’ is a fairly self-explanatory name, potential customers will move onto the next option if they are unsure about whether or not you can take care of their job.
A business can outline any specialisms, extra services or products online and this could easily be the difference between a sale or not. Quote calculators and booking systems allow customers to get in touch instantaneously and the more they know about your business, your prices, your availability etc. the more likely they are to use your service.
Even the simple things like your contact information and the area you cover. Search engines can give directions to a local shop with one click, but if you’re not listed online or a punter doesn’t know whether you can reach them or not, then chances are they will look somewhere else.
SEO, Advertising and Analytics
I mentioned earlier that the use of websites for businesses has in many ways levelled the playing field between small businesses and the big hitters when it comes to exposure. If you have a professional website and a competitor doesn’t then regardless of whether you are a 10 or 10,000 strong company, you should win over new customers.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and tools such as Google Analytics and Google Ads have the same effect. Now you have a website you have opened up all these possibilities for increased awareness of your business. Improving your SEO will rank you higher in online searches, so out of all the competition’s websites, yours will be one of the first that appears.
Once you have a website your business is suddenly open to the immensity of online marketing and advertising. Now small businesses can compete online against the giants in their industries by using tactical advertising and marketing strategies, neither of which have to be expensive in order to be effective.
You need a website. When it comes to this, times aren’t changing – they’ve already changed – and you risk being left behind if you resist the tech curve. The technologies at your disposal and the opportunities to optimise your business are increasing all the time and the fact that you can get it all without breaking the bank means there’s no excuse.
With some hard-work, time and technical expertise you can DIY, or use providers like SoleTrader.com that offer purpose-built websites to small businesses and let the experts do it for you. You can call 0203 411 0812 or visit http://www.soletrader.com to get started today.
By Oliver Roche
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