Home Improvement Web Design: Solving the Puzzle

Everyone has tried to solve a Rubik’s Cube. Whether you spent hours or minutes twisting the squares, it usually ended with tossing it aside in frustration. Many home improvement companies feel the same way about their website design. The truth is there is an easy way to solve the web design Rubik’s Cube – and it doesn’t take a genius to do it. All you have to do is ask someone who knows the trick.

So I sat down with Brian Kraff, co-founder of Market Hardware, to ask him some questions about web design for home improvement companies. Here’s what he had to say.

Let’s start with the most obvious part of the puzzle – what a home improvement website looks like. How important are images?

Very important. The biggest thing is home improvement companies should use actual photos of their work. Most homeowners can tell the difference between a stock image and a real one. You want to have pictures of people – staff, management and the like. They will keep homeowners on your website. Most smartphones produce high quality images, you can just use that.

Should home improvement companies consider video?

Yes, yes and yes. Contractors who put videos on their sites get great feedback. Homeowners want to know whom they’re hiring, whom they’re letting into their home. A video shows a prospect your team, your personality and the amazing work you’ve done. With video, you can say a lot more – faster.

It seems like wherever I go online, there is a live chat feature…but there is never a person on the other line, just stock responses. Do these “chatbots” really work?

Chatbots generally cause more headaches than they’re worth. When a homeowner starts a chat, they’re usually looking for a diagnosis of their problem. Chatbots don’t usually do that. They usually just push to set an appointment, and that can really turn a prospect off.

Instead of chatbots, we recommend creating an interactive design experience. Some of our clients even have a page on their website where the homeowners can ‘design their own’ products. Home improvement companies that want to be industry leaders should absolutely invest in interactive design. It really sets them apart.

What do you think will be the most valuable pay-per-click (PPC) strategy for home improvement companies this year?

Display retargeting. Say a homeowner browses your website, but gets distracted. With display retargeting, you can show a “reminder” ad while they continue surfing the internet. It’ll show up on the side of a webpage, sometimes there’s even an image. Amazon uses it, and you know if they’re using it, it’s got to be bringing in sales.

You also get a lot of bang for your buck — Display retargeting doubles as a branding tool and the price is as little as $.01 per ad view.

That’s serious value right there. Are there any other recent Google developments contractors should be taking advantage of?

Home improvement companies need to have their website certified as secure. SSL certificates – which are the reason that little padlock on your browser bar is “locked” – will be essential this year. Google is starting to penalize websites that aren’t certified, and they’re putting the heat on home improvement companies. If you don’t have an SSL certificate already, now is the time to get one.

I know so many owners who would change their website if they had the time, there just aren’t enough hours in the day. What can home improvement companies do now to solve this endless Rubik’s Cube of a problem?

It’s funny you say that…because solving a Rubik’s Cube quickly takes a lot of practice. You have to choose a color to start with, after all. I would recommend home improvement companies do the same: focus on what is most practical, like the images or SSL certificates. You have a whole year to worry about the rest.