How to Create the Best Home Inspection Website Design Guidelines for 2019
If your home inspection website isn’t resulting in new deals or business leads, then it probably means that you have a poorly designed site or marketing strategy. In the following chapters, I breakdown the myths and clearly provide an easy to follow guideline on what a great home inspection website constitutes. These tips are based on google website design guidelines. If followed correctly, they should result in an increase in customer engagement and you phone ringing more often!
Remember, you can reach out to us any time.
The home inspection business is significantly different from other traditional businesses. Consider this; as a home inspector, you really never get to meet your client until AFTER you’re hired. Imagine that — by the time you jump off your truck at the inspection site to introduce yourself, your are already hired. That means, there is no face-to-face salesmanship involved, unlike in other business. Success therefore, relies solely on non-traditional marketing. So the question is, where and how should you market yourself?
What do you need to know?
Where to Market
Well, since a home inspector’s clients are nearly always home buyers, and many of these home buyers are conveniently found online, what other better place to get started. Since, your target market is generally online; touring new homes, researching schools, emailing their real estate agents, shopping for mortgages, and looking for home inspectors, this should be your focal point.
Now, considering that you will rarely get an opportunity to sell your inspection services in person, it’s important that your website be capable of doing your selling for you. Generally, your website (to a potential client) is a sample of what you and your report are going to be like. If you consider that, the you quickly realize that your business success hinges on how your website represents you. It therefore makes little sense to drive traffic to a website that doesn’t represent you well.
Where to Start
The door to your website is your homepage. That is a fact. This makes it the most important page of your website. A majority of your visitors will never even click through to your other pages if your homepage isn’t up to notch. You may work on some of the most priced properties in the world, but none is as valuable, per square foot, as your website’s homepage. A properly designed homepage will generate tons of leads and in return thousands of dollars in inspection business. You only have one chance to make a that first impression, so it only makes sense to make sure it counts.
What your website is not.
Often times, we make too many mistakes trying to be fancy or too liberal in our technology use. Below are some things to keep on mind when designing your home inspection website.
Not about you!
Not a Brochure
Your website is not a brochure. Brochures are meant to create interest and generate questions. As such they are often meant to soften the ground for a second contact. However, often times no one ever bothers to open them.
Since brochures are business promotional items, readers do not expect to find much of value in them. After all, they are nothing but extravagant business cards. Because internet users are savvy and pretty much goal-driven, anyone visiting your home inspection website will have done so for a very specific reason.
Your website designer needs to be smart at predicting what information these visitors are seeking, and then quickly present it. The final information presented should be clear and easy to find, without them having to call you back with questions.
Not an Entertainment Medium
Never forget the real purpose of your home inspection website… to generate inspection business for you. Designs with slow-loading graphics, super happy couples in front of their new home, virtual tours or music in the background, are a no-no. These sites are just fancy marketing gimmicks, but rarely generate any inspection work.
Visitors come to your site seeking information, not to get entertained. Your focus should be to quickly make visitors believe that the information they’re seeking is just a click away, then shape the delivery of that information in such a way that, it leads them directly toward a decision to hire you. That’s it.
There is a correlation between clean, visual design and quality. Pretty is not always professional. I would even advise against those virtual home inspection tours that I see in some websites. Any sloppy mistakes on these fancy mediums will often be taken to be frequent occurrences and may cost you a job. After all, visual and audio errors, whether by omission or not, may be mistaken as proof of you lack of attention!
Not a Magazine
Your website is neither a magazine, nor is the homepage to be treated as a magazine cover. A magazine cover’s sole purpose is to grab your attention so you pick up it up. However, it makes little sense in trying to make your homepage grab attention, since it’s not visible until after one has chosen to visit it anyway.
I have even seen some home inspection websites with gallery pages! This is especially baffling considering there is no before or after comparison elements to exhibit in a home inspection service.
The attention grabber in this case should be the links on your homepage. These should quickly lead the visitor toward a decision to hire you. A homepage should always direct your visitors to your money making services and order pages.
Not a Building
Your website is not a building, and your homepage should never be treated as a lobby. Unlike other websites whose homepages are set for redirecting traffic in different departments, a home inspector’s homepage should only take visitors through sales pitches that all lead back to helping them make that decision to hire you.
Internal pages on a home inspection website should also be setup in such a way that makes hiring easy. Some common link to redirect your visitors from your homepage are: “Why Hire Me”, “My Qualifications”, “What is Included in a Full Home Inspection”, “My Promise to You” and “Hire Me”.
Not a Newspaper.
Your website is not a newspaper, and your homepage is not an editorial board. It is expected for a newspaper to have fresh news every day, with the same visitors coming back often. However, this is not the case with your home inspection website. Very likely, you’ll only get a single chance to pitch to your potential client.
Forget about freshness and all those industry news people like placing on the homepage. A blog is not a necessity on your home inspection website if your target market is local. This only necessary if your targeting a national audience. There are far better ways to get local exposure like with the use of local citation, than struggling with updating a blog. After all, how much time do you have to do this if you are running a one person business? A better way to incorporate a blog feature would be to add a news/resources page, where you can add 3rd party automated curated news items from the industry.
What you Website is.
Sometimes, we forget the obvious and mess our business as we pursue the complexities of design. More than often, the simple yet tried route is the true route to take, but sometimes we get blinded by the shinny things in the design world and by the allure of being unique.You can still stand out without the need of being too extravagant.
Is a Billboard
No one ever reads all your website content. People often glance at your homepage, scan it, and make one crucial decision. This decision determines whether or not to click on anything on your homepage, or to exit and head for a competitor’s website.
The best way to make them to stay is to give them what they want quickly. Unlike other industries with multiple user needs, your visitors have only one basic need… to hire a good home inspector. Therefore, immediately let them know that you have what they want. You do so by omitting needless words which makes the pertinent words stand out. Your homepage is like a billboard to your visitors through which they whiz by. So use it to make them hit their brakes and hire you.
Is not Unique
Often times, users will have browsed through several sites before they land on yours. This creates a certain familiarity, which lends them to expect your website to follow the same standard design conventions. If your design veers too much from these internationally adopted conventions, your visitors may find it uncomfortable and (wrongly) assume your inspection report is similarly difficult to navigate.
Most visitors won’t drill down into your site if they find it unorthodox. Don’t get too creative. Your home inspection website should be smooth and easy to navigate. Conventions only become such because they have been tried and tested and proved to work. Visitors get a reassuring sense of comfort when a website doesn’t veer too much from standard conventions, which then transfers to their sense of you, the inspector.
Is a Guide
Deny your visitors the freedom to redirect themselves on your site. Each and every link on your homepage should guide them to your “money maker” pages. Consequently, every other link from those pages should link to your sales closing page which should have your contact information.
Do give your visitors the luxury to navigate themselves. Your home inspection website should covertly chauffeur them where you want to go. They will never ever figure out that they aren’t behind the wheel unless you give them a site map… so don’t.
What is an Ideal Design?
Your Company Logo
Your logo should always be at the very top of your website. It should be clearly visible at all times. Get a properly designed logo and avoid cartoons and such, after all, this is your brand identity. Cartoon graphics do not present a professional image.
This is one of the most important elements on a website. A tagline quickly communicates what you do. A tagline is especially critical on home inspection websites that don’t have the word “inspection” in their company name.
The menu navigation should be intuitive and present a clear flow of the site. However, be cognizant that this is only a secondary purpose of home inspector’s homepage and should not be overdone. The primary purpose is to sell your services, so the links on your site should create ads for your company, independently, even if your visitors never click on them.
As a home inspector, you will likely use the keyword “home” a lot within your website’s content. To distinguish this from the main site landing page, I would recommend the use of the term “homepage” as a navigational link back to the homepage.
Keep your font uniform. Using diverse fonts diminishes the continuity of your website. Stick to a maximum of two fonts, if need be: one for headlines and one for the body text. “Impact” fonts are best reserved for headings as they command attention, and they help the reader determine what’s important. Choose a sans serif font, such as Verdana, Arial or Helvetica for the body text. If necessary, use alternate colors for emphasis. Be mindful not to overdo it.
Use Images Wisely
People are naturally drawn to images, so if a picture doesn’t tell a story that sells your inspection service, don’t use it. Consider using images that relate to you doing your work.
There are a couple of things to consider when using images of yourself, after all we are judgemental beings. Avoid using pictures of yourself if you:
- look too overweight. It gives the impression that you can’t inspect the crawlspaces.
- look too young. It implies that you are inexperienced.
- look like a mass-murderer (unkempt).
There are certain nuances that we subconsciously judge. Even the best of us. Always keep in mind that your goal is to make the reader to identify with you. Keep your picture as simple as possible and even consider using digital air-brushing for touch up where necessary.
Ease of Use
Use high-contrast colors for legibility.
Consider using dark text on light backgrounds and light text on dark backgrounds.
Minimize the Blank Scroll
Stay away from blank space within bodies of text or inserting blank lines between paragraphs if it looks like it might fall below the “fold” of the page. If a blank space falls at the bottom of the screen, it appear confuse the visitor to think they are at the end of the page.
Logos on the Footer
Add your accolades and partner logos at the end of the page, normally the footer area. If you’ve earned them, flaunt them. These can be your certifications, memberships, licenses, etc.
Google knows where your users are searching from by tracking their IP addresses. They use this data to customize their search results. It is therefore important to make Google aware of your service market area. Place your address, market suburbs, market sub-regions, satellite cities, and metro areas at the bottom of every page on your home inspection website.
Must Have Pages
The following is a list internal links/pages that I have determined is of absolute necessity (depending on individual circumstances) on a home inspection website . Keep in mind that this is not ab absolute. You can expand upon based on your site’s needs. Remember: Your links are independent ads by themselves
Full Home Inspections
Why Hire Me
Standards of Practice
Code of Ethics
My Promise to You
If you offer a variety of additional inspection services, you may consider listing them separately under the category “Additional Inspections” so that visitors know you provide these services without having to click. These would be something like:
If have a sample report you would like to offer your visitors, place it as link at the bottom of the “Full Home Inspections” page.
Reviews & Testimonials
This is one of the most important vote of confidence that your business can get. Do not ignore the value of a powerful review or testimonial when it comes to influencing other potential clients to make a decision.Always ask for a review from your clients after you have finished a job. Consider even asking for a video review where possible. Otherwise, a written testimonial with a photograph is also ideal. The photo gives the testimonial credence. Make sure your client is smiling in the pic.
I especially urge you to set up a google business page and have your past clients and contacts add reviews for you. This is a sure way not only to show your expertise and quality of work, but creates local citations that add great SEO value.
Apart from the contact page, allow your visitors easy access to contact you. A “Call Now” link with contact details should be readily available at all times. It should be prominetly placed on the top of your site and ideally visible even through scroll.
Now that you have identified what a great home inspection website should be designed from the above guide, it is time to make yours work for you. If you would like to engage our services for the same, please contact us to get started.