A website is the foundation of every HVAC business. As a company that has designed websites for more over 200 clients, we’ve learned a thing or two about what makes a website successful for heating and cooling businesses. But before we get into what those things are, it’s important to define what success is for an HVAC contractor who markets their services online in 2020. In our conversations with clients, the consensus is that HVAC leads are the most important indicator of online success. The rest of it is just a pathway towards the end goal. With that knowledge, let’s take a look at the elements of quality HVAC web design:
- Mobile Design Having a high-performance mobile website is mandatory in 2020 and beyond, and that’s not even a question.
- Responsive Design In today’s market, your website must display optimally across all devices, be it; mobile, tablet, or desktop.
- WordPress Invest in a custom WordPress website that allows for simple content management and third party plugin support.
Most heating and cooling contractors fail to generate success with their website because of the usage of HVAC websites templates. These free stock templates (or sometimes paid for $15-$50) prevent the pages from ranking well on Google search results. Some of the templates present fine, but their coding structure is not unique and therefore is not conducive to high rankings. Google prefers websites that are unique, not just in presentation but in code. HVAC Webmasters designs completely customized websites for every HVAC Contractor. Elements of our custom design include:
- Engagement: Spark’s the user’s interest, rather than looking redundant
- Optimization: Clean code for optimal Google rankings
- Personalization: Usage of logos and color schemes
- Uniqueness: Original design not duplicated from another source
Both the front and back end of your website should be customized. The front end shows your HVAC website’s users that it is unique and professional. The back end tells Google the same thing. Having one without the other fails to maximize the potential of your HVAC company site. For instance, a professional looking template might appeal to the user, but they’ll never find it in organic search results because of a redundant code structure. Similarly, good code and bad presentation can contribute to a high bounce rate, which will dip the site’s pre-established ranking considerably.
2018 confirmed what everyone had already suspected. That mobile web access would dominate the marketplace. In fact, more than half of the searches performed by people looking for heating and cooling services were conducted via mobile devices like smartphones, tablets, etc. That number will continue to rise in 2020 and beyond. The moral of the story is this; the mobile design is critical. HVAC Webmasters designs each website as mobile-first, meaning that while it’s responsive (it will work on every device), it’s tailored specifically to mobile users. Our principles of mobile design are:
- Coding: Structuring mobile code for Google optimization
- Display: Ensuring an ideal viewport for information consumption
- Speed: Maximizing site speed on mobile to improve experience and ranking
- Navigation: Providing simple and convenient navigation for the user
The stats are apparent, if a mobile site takes more than 2 seconds to load, the vast majority of users will bolt immediately, and most likely; to your competitor. Having a site load on time is a start, but it’s not enough to keep the user engaged. To do that, the navigation must be seamless, so that the individual can consume the information they need as conveniently as possible. Aside from the obvious necessity for display, a code-optimized mobile site is important so that users can find it in the first place, on Google.
While the majority of HVAC searches originate on mobile, there are still desktop users who must be accounted for. The solution is responsive web design which allows a site to display optimally on any device. Using this form of coding allows the site’s HTML to respond based on the device through which it is accessed. For example, an iPad user would see larger dimensions than an iPhone user, but both would display exactly how the designer intended. The same is true for desktop and laptop users who consume access to your company website online. Elements of responsive design are:
- Compliance: Meets Google’s standards, as they recommended it
- Flexibility: Works well with every device
- Site Speed: Keeps one site on the server for maximum loading speed
- Social Sharing: Allows URL’s to be shared across devices and platforms
Since Google is on the record for recommending responsive design, there should be no hesitation when incorporating it. Google even cites its algorithms ability to index responsive pages as a factor in their recommendation. It makes a lot of sense, even if you don’t know much about website design. Think about the number of devices people use to access a website today. With so many different variations available, it’s logical to pursue an optimal presentation for each of them, with a single design.
Every website needs a content management system (CMS). A CMS keeps the content on your HVAC website organized and optimized. You’ve probably heard of WordPress, which is the most popular CMS on the market. And for good reason. HVAC Webmasters uses WordPress CMS themes for each client website we create. Now you might be thinking, can’t I just buy HVAC WordPress themes? Yes, you can, but again, when themes are being sold, you must understand they’re being sold to hundreds and thousands of people. That means your website is not unique at all. HVAC Webmasters provides custom WordPress websites for HVAC contractors. Benefits include:
- Aesthetics: WP empowers custom designers to make extremely appealing sites
- Blogging: WordPress supports internal blogs, which makes each post part of your main site
- Community: Because of WordPress’ massive following, a community of developers helps advance its capabilities each day, month, and year
- SEO: WordPress helps to optimize your website and rank it on Google
Other CMSs exist like Drupal, Joomla, and Magento, but none hold the weight of WordPress. Bear in mind, however, that WordPress.ORG; the CMS, should not be confused with WordPress.com; which is not a CMS, but rather an isolated blogging platform. With WordPress.com, the blogs are not custom-designed but are rather picked from templates by the webmaster. Needless to say, HVAC Webmasters uses the only WordPress.ORG; the CMS, when designing client websites. Another thing to keep in mind is that Wix and Weebly are pseudo-CMSs, but they don’t provide the same level of control as WordPress.