Consumers are often driven by emotion, rather than logic. Even in the most crucial homeowner decisions, how we feel still influences the decision making process. That’s why professional web design, specifically the user experience, is so critical to a website’s overall effectiveness. Text walls and poor menu navigation may seem like minor annoyances to a business owner, but the frustration they create may cause would-be clients to take their business elsewhere!
That’s why we’re taking a look at smart website design for a pleasant, productive user experience. If your plumbing company has struggled with high bounce rates and other poor site metrics, be sure to read along.
Create a Journey: Site Navigation
The goal of navigation should be to connect your clients with the services they need the most, in as few steps as possible. Picture the end goal of each type of client and create a simple one or two click path there. The easiest way to accomplish this is with a navigational menu at the top of your page. You can also place related links throughout your content below.
Here’s a good rule of thumb. A new website visitor should be able to locate their desired service page and your associated number in under 60 seconds. Any longer, and there’s a good chance your target users will give up and try a competitor’s website. Under 30 seconds would be even better!
Most plumbing companies can break down their users into three camps: frantic homeowner (or business owner), intentional scanner, and mild-interest reader. You may recognize these as phases of the customer buying cycle. There’s a purchase time frame associated with each category. Scared homeowners in need of immediate service may take less than a minute between finding your search listing and calling your office. Intentional scanners are actively hunting for a solution, but they may look through multiple websites first. Finally, mild-interest readers merely browse for information. They’re more interested in pricing data, as well as planning insights for upcoming projects.
Choose Responsive Design
By now, you’ve probably noticed that most people prefer to browse on their phones. Responsible design (also known as mobile responsiveness) simply means that your website can adapt itself to fit into a user’s phone. Nothing disrupts a user experience like trying to pinch and side scroll through a desktop sized page!
Thankfully, it’s remarkably easy to create a mobile friendly website.
WordPress alone offers thousands of templates already designed for mobile responsiveness. A professional web designer can also produce a site that fits inside the palm of your hand. Wondering whether or not your company website caters to the mobile user experience? Simply Google Search “Mobile Friendly Test” and use the search engine’s free testing tool!
Remember, mobile friendly sites are the norm now. Since responsive design tools have been readily available for over five years, Google won’t promote a site that only provides desktop viewing (at least on the first page of search results). By the way, if a marketing company tries to pass off responsive design as a new capability, they’re pulling your leg!
Helping the Frantic Homeowner
Think of your website from the point of view of a frantic homeowner trying to get help in an emergency. When every minute counts, there’s no time to waste carefully reading through your company bio. All an emergency plumbing client needs to see is:
- 4-5 star ratings in local search
- Your emergency plumbing service page
- Your company phone number
Many frantic clients won’t even make it through all these steps, instead calling the first 4-5 star plumbing company they see straight from the local map pack! That’s even more reason to make sure your service pages have been properly optimized with the appropriate keywords and calls to action (CTAs). Your Google My Business account will also heavily impact your service page visibility.
Catering to the Intentional “Scanner”
In this phase, consumers have started to consider the different options they have to tackle a plumbing project. When it comes to plumbing SEO, there’s usually a driving force behind these potential clients, such as a rising water bill or a suspicious leak in the yard. In other words, these people have real motivation to find a solution within a few days or weeks.
Bombarding your clients with sales pitches and confusing website navigation only sabotages this natural momentum. Instead, focus on creating easy to find paths between your homepage and service pages. There’s your navigation menu at the top, an easy way to connect to your services quickly. You should also take a little time to talk about your service categories on the homepage itself, then include links to your various solutions.
Finally, we come to the service pages, the last stop in the scanner’s journey before contacting your business. To really nail these pages, focus on a handful of objectives:
- Reviewing the problem(s) that specific service solves.
- Educating the reader on the typical service process (step by step).
- Providing applicable images that showcase the service / product.
- Providing a clear calls to action at the beginning and end of the pages.
Courting Future Customers
These casual browsers aren’t interested in immediate plumbing service. Most visit your website for research purposes. From identifying ways to save on water costs to planning their next bathroom remodel, mild-interest readers crave professional, unique insight for their projects.
Unlike your other two user categories, mild-interest readers have a high chance of landing on your website through blog articles and other forms of content marketing. If you’ve been faithfully posting how-to guides on your company blog (as you should be), make sure to keep linking back to related service pages. This creates a natural introduction to your solutions, sowing seeds that will slowly grow over the coming months until the readers return as active shoppers.
Enrich With Beautiful Imagery
Nothing creates a more comfortable user experience than classy imagery! It’s easy for readers to lose themselves in a great wall of text, which makes a well-placed custom photo such a relief. By carefully spacing out your wording with original images, readers can better digest information and learn about your services.
In addition to the clear spacing improvements that images produce, they also provide opportunities to enhance your keyword optimization. Captions, alt image attributes, and image titles contribute to each page’s keyword strategy. Images also help with challenging topics too difficult or time-consuming to explain through words.
How many images should you use per service page?
Try opening up a website in a desktop browser. Arrange your window so that it takes up half the screen, then start scrolling down. Ideally, you should see a new image every 1.5 – 2 screen lengths until you see the end of the page. When one disappears, another takes its place soon afterwards. You can stretch the gap between photos with text formatting (bullet lists, quote blocks, etc.).
Summing Up the User Experience
The ultimate website user experience directs people to their services in a timely manner and makes it easy to digest information, no matter what device they browse with. With responsive design, your business can pursue a much larger audience from your local community, and earn higher rankings as a result. Your navigational menu, pages structure, and linking tactics all form the natural path from homepage to call to action! Finally, a healthy supply of original imagery saves potential clients from the frustration of text walls.
If your plumbing company struggles with a poor user experience, our team at Plumbing Webmasters would be thrilled to consult with you! With an enthusiastic collection of web designers, content writers, and plumbing SEO specialists, there’s no online challenge we can’t overcome together. For your free consultation, contact us today at (877) 388-9884!