6 home improvement website mistakes you must avoid

Avoid these 6 common mistakes on your home improvement website if you want to win more customers

Home improvement customers are a discerning bunch. And with the average budget for renovation projects being £16,1001, why shouldn’t they be?

And there’s not just the cost to consider. People are opening their homes up to strangers. They’ve heard lots of horror stories. You know the ones – their best friends next door neighbour’s cousin’s builder knocked a wall down and the ceiling came crashing down too. And now he’s scarpered with their deposit!

So, let’s put ourselves in your potential customers shoes…

We’ve been saving up for a big home improvement project. Say, it’s a kitchen renovation, or a new bathroom or replacement windows and a conservatory. 

We haven’t had a holiday in two years so we could save for this. Or maybe we took out a loan that’s going to take 5 years to pay back.

We’re ready to start looking around, getting ideas about what we’d like and vetting companies to do the work.

We’re super excited, but at the same time, we’ve got our ‘high alert’ hat on. It’s a big commitment. A scary decision to make. Because, if we get it wrong, choose the wrong people to do it, we could end up with a shoddy job, or lose our money.

So, we’re going to be pretty damn careful who we spend our money with.

Home improvement customers spend an average of £16,100 on their project… is your website up to scratch? #websitecontent #copywriting #homeimprovement Click To Tweet

Like 86% of home improvement shoppers, we start with an internet search and arrive at your home improvement website.

As the website owner, you can see how much traffic you’re getting. Maybe it’s pretty good.

So, if your traffic is good, why aren’t you getting many leads?

Let’s have a look at the possible reasons why your website visitors are clicking away.

Mistake #1: Your home improvement website doesn’t make a good first impression

1-30 seconds. That’s about the maximum amount of time it takes for your visitor to decide if your site is going to deliver what they want or not. 

This is what will turn them away in those first precious seconds:

It’s badly designed

This is the first test… and it lasts just 0.05 seconds! 

Now, I’m a copywriter, not a web designer, so this post is mainly going to address the way your site is written. 

But I can’t ignore design. You could have the best-written website in the world, but no one will ever know, because if the design is poor, it will never get read.

Let’s have a look at these two examples:

An example of a poorly designed home improvement website
An example of a well designed home improvement website

Which one do you prefer?

Well, hopefully, you’ll prefer the second one. The first one looks dated. It’s bland. Boring. There are hardly any images and the images there are, are small. 

People want to be inspired. They’ve got £16,100 burning a hole in their pocket and they want to be impressed! But they’re not.

Now they see the second site. It’s clean and fresh. The big image is inspirational. It makes them think their home could be beautiful too. And it looks professional. They’re interested enough to keep looking!

Another point to consider is whether your site is mobile friendly or not? 

In 2018 52.2% of website traffic was generated through mobile phones. Have you ever tried navigating a full site on a mobile phone? This is what it looks like.

This is what you see when a site isn’t optimised for mobile

You have to zoom in and scroll from side to side to read the text. 

It’s not user-friendly and I guarantee the vast majority of users won’t bother.

It’s not clear what you do

How often do you open up a web page and see a fancy worded headline that doesn’t mean anything to you? Or an image that’s unrelated to what you searched for?

The headline may sound clever or feel creative, but if your visitor doesn’t know what you do, they’ll think they’ve come to the wrong place.  

It’s like my husband. He asks me where something is, and I tell him it’s in the cupboard. He opens the cupboard and then says “where?”. 

Now, it didn’t jump out and bonk him on the nose. He’s not prepared to go looking for it. He wants an instant response otherwise he’s going to give up. 

It’s the same with web visitors. They’re lazy like my husband. 

So, make it clear exactly what it is you do. Put it there… right in your headline. Big and bold. Bonk them on the nose with it.

Write a website headline that bonks your visitor on the nose with what you do

It looks like hard work

Web visitors like to scan. They want to find the bits of info they need straight away. If it’s buried in a long-winded paragraph or six, they’ll give up. 

So, think about how the wording on your website looks visually. Are there big blocks of text? Does it look crammed like the one below? 

Don’t write huge blocks of text on your website if you want people to read it

To tackle this, break your text up with sub-headings. Then break the sentences between the sub-headings into shorter paragraphs – aim for around 2 sentences per paragraph.

This adds white breathing space around the text and makes it more manageable to read.

The images below both show a part of this blog. They say exactly the same thing but look very different. Which one would you rather read?

Big blocks of text look daunting to read
Simply adding sub-headings and breathing space makes text appear easier to read

You can also use bullet points to make your words more succinct. And icons or images with a brief sentence to draw the reader’s attention to benefits you want to highlight.

Mistake #2: Your home page is all about you

You’ll see it all the time… we do this, we do that, our business started in 1996 and blah blah blah cue boring and irrelevant information. 

The harsh truth is, customers don’t care about you… they care about themselves and what you can do for them. 

Here are the mistakes you could be making:

You’re telling, not showing

So, what’s the difference?

When you tell you’re simply giving information and expecting the reader to draw a conclusion from that bit of information.

When you show you paint a picture without explicitly pointing it out.

So, for example:

Don’t tell them ‘we’re friendly.’ Show you’re friendly by the way your website is written.

Instead of telling them ‘we have lots of happy customers’ show you have happy customers by adding testimonials and case studies.

Don’t tell them ‘we’re an award-winning company.’ Show you’ve won awards by adding the certificate and the date to your website.

You talk about features, not benefits

A feature is a fact that describes something about your business. A benefit is how a feature helps your customers.

For example, you might be a flooring company. One of your features is that you have a mobile showroom. So, you state ‘We have a mobile showroom’ on your website.

But your visitor thinks, ‘so what?’

Don’t assume your website visitors will understand how a feature benefits them. You need to point it out.

So, in this example, you could say ‘No need to leave the house – we’ll bring our samples to you.’

You can read more about writing words that sell on my blog.

Mistake #3: You don’t have an About page

An About page seems like one of the most obvious pages to have on any website, but it’s surprising how many home improvement websites don’t have one.

Without one…

Your home improvement business seems risky

This applies particularly if your company is small. You don’t have the reputation of the big players in your market, so potential customers are cautious. 

After all, people do business with people, so if your website visitors don’t know who you are, how can they buy into you?

Use your About page to get your visitors to know, like and trust you. Give a brief summary of who you are and how you’re different to the competition. 

And, remember, it may be called ‘About’, but it’s still about your potential customer, not you. So, show them how you can help them and how you solve their problems. 

Also, show images of you and your staff – it’s a great way to give a sense of who you are.

6 home improvement website mistakes you must avoid to win more customers #websitecontent #copywriting #homeimprovement Click To Tweet

Mistake #4: You don’t have social proof

When people are spending big money, they like to know they aren’t your guinea pigs. They want to know you’ve worked with other customers and that those customers were happy. 

Research shows that 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses and that they read an average of 10 reviews before feeling able to trust them.

This is why social proof is so important. If you’re not getting many leads from your website maybe…

You don’t have testimonials

Testimonials are the easiest way to add social proof. Some happy customers’ quotes on your site will go far. 

To make them really powerful add the customer’s first and last name, say where they’re from and, if possible, add a headshot.

I found it so hard to find a good example of a testimonial on a home improvement website that I made up my own!

Also, add the date you did the work and update your website frequently with new testimonials. Have you ever visited a website and seen reviews that are a few years old? They don’t quite have the same power to them, do they?

Have a dedicated testimonials page, but also add a few to your home page, about page and services page for maximum impact.

And, you get bonus points if you can get your customers raving about your service on video!

You don’t have any case studies

Case studies go into more detail about what your service was like for a customer.

Base it on an interview with a customer. What problems did you help them solve? Add before and after images too.

Having just a few of these on your website will give potential customers an inside view of what you’re like to work with.

Mistake #5: You have no call-to-action (CTA), or a weak call-to-action

I often see it on home pages. The page lists features and benefits, talks about the services, but then just stops. Nothing. 

So, what does your visitor do? They click away onto your competitor’s site. 

If you’re not getting any leads it could be because… 

Your website visitor doesn’t know what to do next

For most home improvement companies, the main purpose of your website is to generate leads. Visitors aren’t buying anything directly from your site. You want to draw them in to make contact with you. 

Getting in contact may seem like the obvious next step to you, but your website visitors need to be told.

So, add buttons to every page of your site that link to your contact page. 

Your call-to-action is weak

One word I see time and time again on CTAs is ‘if’…

“If you would like a quote please contact us.’

‘If you think we could help you, please send us an email.’

‘If’ sounds rather weak and apologetic don’t you think?  

Be bold. Be confident. Why wouldn’t they want to contact you?

So, use ‘bossy’ verbs: Get a quote, Call us today, Contact us now… etc. 

Put it in a clickable button that is big and bold – make sure it stands out.

Make your call-to-action buttons stand out

Your call-to-action isn’t visible

You never know where your website visitor might be when they feel compelled to act. 

Maybe you wooed them with your words half way down your home page. They might be at the top of your services page or at the bottom of your testimonials page. 

Wherever they are, your CTA needs to be close. If they have to search for it, they may give up.

So, not only do you need CTA buttons on every page of your site, but they also need to be repeated under every section within each page. 

The longer a page is, the more CTAs you should have.

Your call-to-action doesn’t address your visitors’ objections

You’ve got a CTA – great! But hang on… what’s the catch?

Your website visitors might be thinking:

‘If I contact you, will I be pressured into buying? Are you going to bombard me with emails and phone calls? I have no idea what it’s going to cost, what if I can’t afford your quote?’

So, when you write your CTA, address these objections.

For example, you may want to lead them to get a quote. But they might be thinking ‘if I press this button, I’ll be subscribed to a mailing list and get bombarded with loads of emails. I might be obligated to then buy from them’. 

So, address those concerns. ‘Get a free, no obligation quote.’ ‘We promise not to send you any spammy emails.’

Address your visitors objections in contacting you. In this example the quote is free and there is no obligation to buy

Mistake #6: They don’t know how to contact you

So, a visitor has been to your site. You’ve convinced them that you can solve their problems. They’ve got to know, like and trust you. And now they’re ready to get in touch.

But, there’s a problem. There’s no phone number. There’s no email address – well not one they can find anyway.

Don’t make it difficult for your visitors to find contact details.

Have a dedicated contact page and put it in the navigation bar. 

And, as I explained in mistake #5, have CTA buttons that link to your contact page throughout the site. 

Also, put your contact details on your home page ‘above the fold’ (that’s the bit you see when you first open the site – before you have to navigate to a different page or scroll down.

If you’ve managed to hook them in, it would be a shame to lose them at this stage.

Wrapping up

Your website is your businesses 24-hour, 7-day-a-week sales person and it needs to work hard. 

By fixing these mistakes you’ll finally start to generate the leads you need to help your business grow.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be publishing a series of blog posts to show you what you SHOULD be saying on your home improvement website.

Subscribe to my blog to see my posts as they’re published.

Just enter your email address at the bottom of the page. Don’t worry, I won’t be bombarding you with any other emails – just my blog.

A bit about me

Freelance Copywriter Louise Fowen
This is me – crafter of words, lover of lattes

Louise Fowen – Freelance copywriter for the home improvement industry

I write B2C copy that promotes products and services aimed at homeowners. My copywriting services include websites, blogs, brochures and leaflets.

I work from home in Southampton, Hampshire with two cats for work colleagues (the conversation isn’t up to much).

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