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Improve Your Website’s Relevancy
by Carla Heatherly and Elise Carlson Ross, HomeGauge magazine
A website is necessary for any business looking to stay relevant and connected to its customers, especially when running a service-based business. A home inspection website showcases an inspector’s services while connecting them with their clients and offering resources and online tools to conduct their business. In this article, we’ll explore how home inspectors can use their websites to gain customers and serve the community.
Develop a Content Strategy
A concrete plan for your website’s content is essential for keeping your website fresh. When developing your content strategy, consider what your visitors are looking for when they visit your website—this will help you create content that meets their needs while driving more traffic to your website. Steady, consistent traffic signals to Google that your website is popular with users and will help improve your search engine optimization (SEO) over time.
Once you have developed your content strategy, it is crucial to stick to your plan. A consistent approach ensures you’re putting out fresh content regularly, and visitors can find the information they need quickly and easily. Additionally, your content plan makes it easier to track the success of each page or article so you can adjust as needed.
With an organized approach to your website’s content strategy, you will create a website that gives your customers valuable information. The better your content, the more likely it will be shared with others, which can drive more traffic to your website. A pattern of increased traffic impacts where you’ll rank on the search engine results pages, or SERPs.
Update Your Website Regularly
Your website must align with recent developments in design and user trends, including a responsive design that displays correctly across multiple devices like laptops and mobile phones. Most people first search for a home inspector on their smartphone. The quickest way to lose a visitor is when they arrive on a page that doesn’t load properly on their device, and the site is tough to navigate because it’s not mobile-friendly.
A dated website signals to the visitor that you’re not investing in your virtual storefront, and they will continue searching online for an inspector who does. When people leave your website without visiting multiple pages or completing a call-to-action (CTA), like submitting a contact form, booking an inspection, or calling you, it impacts your bounce rate. A high bounce rate tells Google visitors aren’t interested in your website, and it will affect your SEO.
The interface should be intuitive so visitors can easily find what they want without frustration. Review your website regularly so it remains relevant as design standards evolve. It’s best to invest in a new website at least every three years to stay competitive and appeal to users.
Additionally, your website must be secure and up-to-date with the latest security protocols. A safe site helps protect you and your visitors from potential hackers or malicious software. WordPress is the most popular website content management system (CMS) and is considered a safe platform. You can further enhance your website’s security with a hosting provider that offers Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology that encrypts your data, strong passwords, and other proactive measures.
Post Content Frequently
Regularly update the content on your website so that it remains engaging for visitors. Your goal is to encourage repeat visits where your users return to your site for more information about topics that interest them. Add a blog page to share tips and advice for homeowners in your community.
A good rule of thumb is to choose seasonal topics that appeal to your audience. For instance, write a blog on ‘Fall Home Maintenance’ in September, ‘How to Reduce Heating Costs’ in Winter, and ‘6 Easy Ways to Improve Your Curb Appeal’ in Spring. Keep technical blogs about home inspections to a minimum since you’ll get more interest and shares from a topic that helps a broader audience. Your site content is for the user, not for you. Successful blogs will be helpful to visitors and offer tips and solutions for the community.
Videos are another great way to draw visitors to your site. Whatever type of content you publish, make sure that it is original and not online anywhere else, or you may be penalized by Google for posting duplicate content.
Engage your customers regularly by adding a newsletter subscription option to your website. Newsletters are perfect for sending out updates to your subscribers, including special offers on your services, community news, and sharing helpful links—like your most recent helpful blog! Any clicks to your site will help boost your SEO and may even help you capture more leads for your business. Newsletters are also an effective way to build lasting relationships with customers and remind them about your services.
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Optimize for Search Engine Visibility
Search engine optimization (SEO) helps home inspectors reach more people online by improving their visibility within search engine results pages (SERPs).
First, submit a sitemap to major search engines like Google and Bing. The sitemap serves as a blueprint of your site that will help it be discovered and help search engines crawl and index the pages. Submitting a sitemap is a critical step for your website to be discovered and crawled by search engines.
SEO efforts should include technical work on the backend of your website, including setting keywords, meta descriptions, alt tags, internal links, quality outbound links, schema, and more. These techniques help search engines understand your website’s content so they can return your relevant pages in the search results.
One of the essential parts of a successful SEO strategy is consistently adding original, optimized written content to encourage search engines to re-crawl and index your site each time you add new pages. Doing so keeps your website positioned as a helpful resource for potential clients and will help you rank higher in SERPs over time. Stay on top of your website’s performance by installing Google Analytics and regularly reviewing the data. Analytics tracks how visitors engage with your website, and you can make changes or adjustments based on your data.
If this all sounds like a lot of work, it’s because it is! It’s more effective and efficient to hire a reputable SEO specialist to handle your website’s SEO than trying to figure it all out yourself. However, before you hire a company, verify they are using tactics that follow best practices and preserve the integrity of your website. Look for previous customer testimonials of SEO companies to avoid any red flags.
Social Media as a Tool
Social media is a valuable tool to improve your digital presence by connecting with new prospects while building relationships with existing customers and fellow industry professionals. Post regular updates on platforms like Facebook and Instagram to share tips, photos, special offers, and stay connected with your community. Stay active by liking other posts and pages and sharing helpful information from other profiles. Keep your business profile neutral and welcoming by avoiding posting political and religious content.
Reach out to and connect with other industry professionals in your area, like real estate agents, electricians, and carpenters. This allows you both to view and share each other’s content and even refer clients looking for services outside of your expertise. Networking on social media helps you build relationships with potential customers and industry partners and expands your reach beyond your own profile.
Use popular hashtags related to homeowners, real estate, and home inspections when posting on social media to make it easier for users searching these topics to find your business. A solid social media plan helps you better understand what potential customers are interested in while driving more traffic back to your website.
Include Customer Reviews
Customer reviews and testimonials are invaluable for every home inspection business. They give potential customers insight into the quality of services you offer, inform them what to expect, and build credibility and trust, leading to better conversion rates.
While there are many consumer review-based websites and channels, the one that matters most is Google Business. The quality and number of Google reviews will impact your local search and SEO, which are critical for service-based businesses. Respond to all reviews, positive and negative. A simple ‘Thanks, happy to help with your inspection!’ for positive reviews and a non-combative message like ‘We’re sorry to hear about your experience and will be contacting you directly.’ for a negative review is all that is needed. People expect to see some negative reviews and will pay more attention to how you respond as a business owner than the reviews themselves. While negative reviews usually cannot be removed, they will carry less weight if you ask clients who are satisfied with your services to rate you on Google.
Review building is free, easy, and necessary—simply send a follow-up email a few days after the inspection thanking your customer for their business and include a link to your Google Business page asking for a review. Most people are happy to do so on request.
To make it easy for visitors to see what your customers are saying, include a few reviews and testimonials on your website’s homepage that link to a dedicated page for reviews. On this page, add a widget that auto-populates reviews from multiple places and shows them on your website.
Install and monitor Google Analytics on your website to gain insight into how users interact with your site so you can identify your strengths and weaknesses. Analytics also provides key metrics such as bounce rate, pages per visit, and time spent on each page. By understanding these numbers, you can improve engagement through UX (user experience) design elements, like making sure navigation menus and content are easily visible and intuitively laid out.
Google Analytics shows how a visitor arrived at your website, whether a direct hit, through a search engine, from a backlink, or other links like a social media channel. You may be surprised that your most frequently visited pages are home improvement or home maintenance articles on your blog and your “About” page. Visitors want to know who they’re doing business with, so we always recommend a friendly “About” page with your profile picture and some information about your hobbies and interests outside of work.
A quality website that is optimized for search engines is essential for attracting new customers and staying competitive in your market. By following these steps or hiring a reputable company familiar with the industry to manage your website, you’ll have a strong online presence and the right tools to grow your business.
About the Author
Carla Heatherly is the Director of Web Development and Elise Carlson Ross is the SEO Team Lead for HomeGauge. HomeGauge offers inspection website builds for any budget, website hosting, and SEO services. With HomeGauge Web Services, inspectors can focus on what they do best—providing high-quality inspections—while leaving the techy stuff to the nerds. View HomeGauge website options online at: www.homegauge.com/one/websites/.
OREP Insurance Services, LLC. Calif. License #0K99465