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Plugged In: Website success stories

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Is your website failing to win over prospective clients? Here are some inside tips from four HIA members whose businesses have attracted website visitors and converted them into customers.

With many clients turning to the internet first when searching for a builder, your website could be the key to success – but only if you utilise it correctly.

Investing in a well-designed website shows potential clients that you take pride in your business. It offers a platform for showcasing past builds as well as educating clients before they meet face to face.

On the flipside, a poorly built website with out-of-date content could result in a frustrating user experience and prevent prospective clients from reaching out. 

Here's why your website may not be performing and how you can turn things around to make it work for you. 

You don't have a portfolio page

A picture is worth a thousand words, particularly when it comes to winning over new clients. Showcasing past projects is an easy way to make an impression and show future clients what you can do for their home. 

'The portfolio page is consistently the most-viewed page among our clients,' says Amanda Cordner, director of Sea Salt Marketing. 'It's a simple, effective way to draw in new clients and convince them of your team's skills.' From pictures of specialist projects to walkthrough site videos, a portfolio page displays your skill and talent.

'It also pays to invest in a good photographer and videographer,' adds Amanda. 'Many homeowners equate professional pictures with a professional business. The building and construction industry is very visual, and clients want to picture how their dream home could look. If you want a client to be spending upwards of $1 million on their build, you need your portfolio to look a million bucks.'
Amanda Cordner, director of Sea Salt Marketing

It's not up to date

You may have your finger on the pulse when it comes to all the latest building technology and trends, but it can give the wrong impression when your website is dated. A website that hasn't updated its blog page since 2017 may cause a client to wonder whether you're still in business.

Ideally, you'll want to add to your website's blog at least monthly and keep refreshing it with new content. 

'We've seen a huge uptake in client interest since investing in our blog,' says Sonia Olsson of Olsson Building, based in Gippsland, Victoria. 'Web visits are on the up, and we've had a really positive response from clients who have seen our blogs and decided to get in touch.'

Sonia, who is an HIA member, adds, 'Our blogs are informative, timely and keep clients up to date with the latest in custom builds. Recent blog posts have covered everything from reasons to choose a design and build to maximising natural light in your home.' 
Sonia Olssen, Olssen Building

It's badly designed

When you're in the business of beautifully designed homes, you want to make sure your website reflects your aesthetic. A poorly designed website that's difficult to navigate creates an extremely unpleasant user experience and leaves a bad taste for future clients. 

Sydney-based Stratti Building Group recently updated its website to create an experience that reflects its high-end building projects. Changes included adding a blog, a media page, showcasing recent projects, uploading new imagery and a meet-the-team page.

'Our website was outdated and frankly didn't do our business justice,' says owner and HIA member Robbie Stratti. 'Since overhauling it by adding blogs and modernising the design to reflect our brand, we've seen a surge in enquiries. We got our first enquiry through the website for a $2 million build since launching it less than a month ago. Clients now get a feel for who we are before they've even picked up the phone to talk to us.'

No-one can find it 

Your website is of no use to anyone if clients can't find it. In order for your website to rank highly on Google, you'll need to invest in SEO (search engine optimisation). A marketing specialist can help you by optimising your website with the right keywords, which leads to increased traffic and more enquiry. 
You can also help expand by promoting your website via your social media channels and site signage. It's a great way to tie your offline marketing into your online marketing to increase the number of ways potential clients can find you.

‘SEO is a long-term investment that really pays off,’ says HIA member David Maiolo, who's the director of Melbourne-based Roda Developments. 'We have been investing in SEO for four years, and 60 per cent of our business now comes from Google searches.'
David Maiolo, RODA Developments

It takes too long to load

Few things are more frustrating than waiting for a webpage to load. As people get used to slicker technology, attention spans have become shorter, and slow websites are no longer tolerated.

Once you've built your website, you should invest in monthly maintenance to make sure everything is running as it should and have an expert on hand to help if anything goes wrong.

You're not investing in it 

When it comes to websites, it's true – you get what you pay for. If you're not investing in your website, you can't reasonably expect a great return. 

Working with a website designer, SEO specialist, and digital marketer means you'll always have someone available to ensure your website page represents your brand and performs to its full potential. 

It's also well worth investing in a professional copywriter to keep your blogs up to date. All of this will help drive traffic to your page and provide an enhanced user experience for your clients. 

Clients can't find what they're looking for

You've managed to get clients to your website but what happens next is just as important. An intuitive layout is crucial as it keeps clients on your page. To make the user experience as friendly as possible, ensure it is easy to search for the information. 

This can be as easy as having a clear menu at the top of your page, which directs clients to the information they require. Must-have pages include:

  • an 'about us' section - this gives clients some background about who you are as a business, as well as a photo of you or your team 
  • a 'portfolio' page that showcases your recent builds
  • a 'contact' page so clients can get in touch with you.

Inevitably, some customers will still have questions that your website can't answer. To solve these issues quickly, provide an enquiry form for clients to fill out. You could also add a chatbot to your page.

'Adding a chatbot to our website has been so beneficial,' says HIA member Firas Zakout, who's the managing director of Achieve Homes. 'Customers can quickly fire off enquires at the touch of a button, keeping us connected to our clients' needs at all times.'

HIA member, Firas Zakout