by Alli Kauffman Rogers | Last Updated on 09.21.2020
Listen to our conversation with Adam Grim, now available on Apple Podcasts.
A website is a brand’s online storefront. It’s the first place people go to meet your brand and decide whether to invest in your services or move on to a different provider. In our Small Business, Big Growth podcast series, marketing and website specialist Adam Grim dives into the purpose of websites and the benefits they offer, especially for home service businesses.
As the co-founder and owner of Sparrow Websites, Grim works with a team of nine to manage nearly 300 client websites based near Columbia, PA. Grim studied professional writing at Penn State University, earned his Analytics Certification from Google, and has been working in marketing strategy and research for more than a decade.
For a lot of brands, their website is the place where the sale gets made. But Grim says a well-built website will do more than simply complete sales. “A well-built website will help you rank better on Google and help you actually build some [brand] awareness too,” Grim says.
A great website will welcome your website visitors, introduce your brand’s purpose, thoroughly explain your services, and guide them toward your primary call-to-action. It will serve as a hub for potential clients to discover your brand, find out more information, and contact your team.
So, what does a website need in order to generate brand awareness, complete sales, and be successful? Grim listed three essential elements that every website needs, but first, he emphasized one primary idea: “The website should not be something that you, the business owner, really love,” Grim says. “It needs to be something that your client falls in love with. Sometimes those are different things.”
A great website has a really clear, mapped-out customer journey. Too many business managers make the mistake of jumping right into pushing the website visitor to request a quote or make a purchase. “It’s kind of like proposing marriage on the first date,” Grim jokes. Instead, Grim says that business owners need to honestly try to put themselves in the client’s shoes and consider what information would be most valuable to them.
A great website builds trust by offering a personal, relatable website experience. “Something I found interesting early on in my career is that the ‘Meet the Team’ page for most service businesses is the second most clicked page,” Grim says. “Before clients look at your pricing, they look at your team because they want to get to know you and build trust.”
A great website has a great follow-up system for connecting with leads.
Once your website successfully generates visitors, welcomes them, and explains the services you offer, visitors will start to fill out your contact forms and request more information. Grim says it’s essential for brands to thoroughly follow up with leads. Once you develop a follow-up system, you can then see who responded, prioritize them, and get to work on a proposal.
Instead of getting caught up with the “nerdy details” of search engine optimization (SEO), Grim focuses his advice on the practical and accessible steps every website manager can take to boost their ranking and get found on Google. His first piece of advice is to get quality content published on your site that answers the top ten questions people ask about your services.
“Just make it really simple,” Grim says. “Write down a blog post answering that question… or record it on your phone, and just add that to your website. The SEO results are huge because people are probably typing in those questions into Google and they’re going to land on your website.”
Speed is calculated by how quickly your website loads. Google gives a strong preference to fast loading websites. “If it’s loading more than four to five seconds, there’s a good chance that Google’s probably going to drop you in the rankings… especially if a competitor’s loading much more quickly than you are,” Grim says.
Every ranked website needs a security certificate. Most modern browsers like Chrome, Safari, and Firefox will display a lock icon in the browser bar if the site is secure. However, some older websites are labeled as “Not Secure.” Grim says Google is starting to warn website visitors with a security failure popup message, which scares people away, hurts conversions, and results in a lower ranking.
A reliable website needs to be hosted by a reliable company. You can purchase hosting for as cheap as $3 a month, but probably at the expense of your site loading slowly and possibly crashing during your busiest hour of sales. “Good hosting will probably cost somewhere between $20 and $40 a month,” Grim says. “It’s a little more expensive, but it’s totally worth it.” Grim says good hosting is the difference between completing the sale or losing the lead to a competitor’s site.
Lastly, Grim closes the podcast episode with one call-to-action. “While things are a little slow, take five minutes to review your website,” Grim says. “Check on the things we talked about in this podcast. If you’re working with a web company, maybe ping them again and say, ‘Hey, can we update these things?’ Or just dive in and do it yourself… Take that opportunity and run with it.”
Listen to the full podcast episode on Apple Podcasts.
Adam Grim is the owner and co-founder of Sparrow Websites. Sparrow has served about 500 clients and offers a variety of pathways for local professionals to build an effective and successful website. Find out more about Sparrow Websites at SparrowWebsites.com or find Adam Grim on LinkedIn.