Hunting for new contractors seems like everyone’s least favorite pastime, and for good reason. It’s stressful, time-consuming, and filled with pitfalls. “Are these companies trustworthy? Can I trust the customer reviews on their website?” These are the sort of questions flooding our mind as we shop around online.
At HVAC SEO Webmasters, we continually strive to better understand the consumer search process so that we can deliver stronger results for our SEO clients. We recently conducted a research project to uncover insights into how homeowners (and commercial prospects) overcome search fright to find the next HVAC contractor for their property. We also delved into preferred contact methods for interacting with heating and AC contractors.
We specifically hunted for insights into the following questions:
How do consumers prefer to contact an HVAC pro when it’s their first encounter?
What device(s) are they most likely to use?
Do consumers conduct additional site research before calling for the first time?
What website features encourage consumers most when they consider a new HVAC contractor?
Online analysts and consumer experts continue to describe shifts towards consistent personal research. In a Pew Research study conducted in 2018, 81% of the Americans surveyed said “before making an important decision…they rely a lot on their own research”. That number was significantly higher than the percentage of people consulting friends, family, and even industry professionals. Reviews play a huge part in that personal research process. One Statista report states that that 82% of consumer decisions to use a local business are affected by negative reviews (91% for positive reviews).
Even before the surveys, our researchers knew how important online search is for HVAC consumers, especially the process of consulting customer reviews. With the data we gathered however, we were able to understand even more how testimonials affect the behavior of prospective clients. Our data also reinforced the necessity of maintaining the proper communication channels!
Crucial Findings From Our Consumer Surveys
Our Survey Process
Using Google’s streamlined survey tool, our team conducted a series of surveys designed to tackle some of the crucial questions we listed above. Each survey was released to a sample group of 300+ individuals, spread across the continental United States. Since we specifically needed data from consumers who might require heating and air conditioning services, we confined the respondent age group to the 35+ year range, male and female.
All in all, we ended up collecting responses from over 1200 individuals. Thanks to Google’s tool, we achieved a well-spread sampling across genders, age groups, and US region. For the purpose of our post-survey analysis, respondents were broken into four age groups: 35 to 44 years old, 45 to 54 years, 55 to 64 years, and 65+.
Our Consumer Questions
You discover a new, well-rated heating/AC company on Google Search. The company’s phone number and website address are both listed. Assuming you needed service, would you…
Immediately call their listed phone number
Wait and visit their website first
You’re visiting the website of a heating/AC company that you’ve never used before. Which of the following make you feel the most comfortable with choosing their services?
Testimonials from happy customers
Clear descriptions of the company services
Approval badges from HomeAdvisor
Pictures of the company owner & crew
Videos of recent AC/heating projects
You’re on the website of a heating & cooling service you’ve never used before. You’re about to contact them for the first time. Which method would you prefermost?
A direct call
An email link
A contact form
A direct messaging (DM) box
Which of the following devices are you most likely to use when you contact a heating/AC service?
A mobile phone
A desktop or laptop computer
A voice-controlled personal assistant
Key Lessons for HVAC Pros
Lesson #1: Testimonials Take Priority.
When asked which website features made them feel most comfortable with choosing the services of an unfamiliar heating/AC company, 43% of respondents said that happy customer testimonials took priority. This lines up with the findings of numerous industry researchers from the last few years.
According to a study late last year, the average US consumer reads through 10 reviews before they trust a business. Younger polled age groups were likely to read an even greater number (Statista.com). This seemingly high number of testimonials is likely related to the growing distrust towards online reviews. Fake reviews in ecommerce fueled much of the problem, but that distrust has spread to other industries as well.
Despite this, customer reviews clearly still play a crucial role in client adoption rates. Among the popular features listed in our survey, testimonials outweighed most by a wide margin. That margin widened even more for the women polled in the survey, as seen in the table below.
While features like HomeAdvisor badges, original company images, and project videos took priority for a number of consumers, clear service descriptions (more on this later) and testimonials consistently took top placement across each age bracket.
Actionable Takeaways for HVAC Pros
Keep collecting those reviews! Not only do they provide evidence of your company’s trustworthiness, they also serve as a significant ranking factor in SEO. New reviews are especially valuable for prospective clients who haven’t utilized your services before.
Nothing makes a business more attractive than glowing testimonials of excellent customer service.
While testimonials showcased on your website may not be quite as genuine as those on Google Reviews, they still boost consumer confidence. So post away! Get those happy stories front and center on your website. You’ll notice a difference in your site KPIs.
Lesson #2: Consumers Need Clear Descriptions.
In one of our recent podcasts, Creative Director Jason Landry stated that website design ultimately breaks down into two key elements: information and presentation.
According to our study, clear descriptions of a company’s services are essential for higher conversions. That’s especially true among men and younger demographics, who may not have as much experience interacting with home service companies. How HVAC companies present their service information makes a significant different in adoption.
Consumers continually show keen interest in personal research. According to the Pew Research study we mentioned earlier, personal research is even more important than recommendations than friends, families, and industry professionals to many consumers. This lines up with the findings in our next survey.
When asked whether they’d immediately call an HVAC provider or visit their website first, polled consumers showed clear desire to research the website. For one, this enables prospective clients to dig more into the services available from the provider. Second, the additional research allows the consumers to craft a fully perspective of the company in question.
If the consumers were worried soley about star ratings, fewer would click through to the site. After all, local map packs (the primary source of traffic for many service keywords), showcase Google Reviews aggregate ratings for each listed business. They also desire a better understanding of the company’s services.
To-Do’s for HVAC Companies
If service detail is what your prospective clients want, give it to them! Write full, keyword-optimized service pages for every one of your solutions. Your clients will appreciate the helpful information and reward you with higher conversion rates.
Keyword-rich service pages also enable rankings for a much larger variety of terms. In other words, that’s more people coming to your website for specific services you provide! So many HVAC companies injure themselves my skipping this process in favor of a cheap bullet list on the homepage. That doesn’t work for SEO, and it won’t work for your prospective customers either.
Get those customer reviews! Write those service pages (or have a professional do them for you). Of consumers say it’s important, it matters.
Lesson #3: Get Even More Mobile-Friendly
Desktop computers continue to fall by the wayside as consumers eagerly harness mobile technology. Google even recognized the user shift in July 2019 when they switched to mobile-first indexing. Since most search engine users rely on mobile devices for their browsing, it’s no wonder direct calling is their preferred choice when it comes to reaching out to your business!
75% of our surveyed consumers said they’d most likely use a mobile phone to contact their HVAC service provider.
At near 17%, men were the most likely of the sexes to reach out on a desktop computer, while only 8% of women said the same. Tablets followed in the 8-10% range, and voice-controlled personal assistants (PAs) came in dead last with a 4% average. We’ll discuss these devices more later.
This high usage rate for mobile phones just re-emphasizes the importance of adopting truly responsive design. If your website doesn’t conform to user devices, then you’re missing out on a lot of traffic!
Key Action Items for Mobile Usage
Be sure your design caters to a mobile audience. Features these make browsing much easier:
Clickable / tap-able phone numbers
Direct messaging / texting tools
Adding these elements to your web design allows people to read and call on the go. For an even more convenient user experience, ensure that all your CTAs (calls to action) are clearly visible and hyperlinked.
Lesson #4: Go Beyond Direct Calls
“But you just said…” True. Direct calls are the most preferred method of contacting HVAC professionals. However, take a moment to consider the results from our last survey.
While approximately 58% of consumers preferred direct calls for contacting a new HVAC company, over 42% said they’d rather use other means. Email and contact forms were the most selected runner ups to direct calls, at 20% and 14% respectively. 8% of respondents – these were mostly from the 35 to 44 age bracket – were very interested in direct messaging as their first interaction tool of choice.
Potential To-Do Items for HVAC Pros
Expand the number of ways first time prospects can contact your business. A large portion on the consumer base we polled would rather contact your company through email and/or contact forms. Even if you’ve already provided these contact channels, consider whether or not they’re visible enough on your site.
Summing Things Up
For many consumers, the company website serves as a first point of interaction. Consumers are hungry for information, more so than ever before, when it comes to key purchase decisions. Beyond visual design and graphics, there’s an obvious need for encouragement from client testimonials. Equally important is the provision of detailed descriptions of your services.
Most of our findings boil down to two key issues: comfort and contact.
Reduce the barriers between your prospective clients and their choosing your services by making them more comfortable with your brand.
Take the time to gather original, unmanipulated consumer reviews from your happy customers. Again, 43% of polled individuals stated that happy customer testimonials are the most important feature for making them comfortable with an unfamiliar HVAC company.
Instead of lazily dropping all your services into a homepage bullet list, craft informative and keyword-rich pages for each one. This may be a standard practice in organic SEO, but it’s also matters very much to your would-be clients! Remember, the customer is (almost) always right.
Finally, consider expanding your customer contact options beyond direct phone calls. Not every method is appropriate for everyone, but additional options could help some prospects reach the conversion threshold. Be sure to consider all the contact tools that lie outside of your website too, such as direct messaging tool on your GMB profile. Experiment, analyze, and adapt the tools that work for your business!
A Note From the Team
The infographic and all related charts from our consumer research will be available in an upcoming HVAC Marketing Statistics page (in development). Some charts may have been altered for better visualization, but no data was changed. Our study focused on consumers within 35-65+ years of age to improve representation of the average homeowner. Younger demographics may have different browsing habits, and merit further study.
There was once a time when Facebook was the undisputed king of social media, the best way to reach thousands upon thousands of potential HVAC leads that could turn into income for your business. But the years have passed, and others have stepped up to challenge the Silicon Valley behemoth.
But that doesn’t mean that Facebook is no longer critical for companies marketing their wares and skills to a waiting group of customers across the platform. On the contrary, with the proper techniques, companies can reach more potential leads than ever before. The key is to use the platform in the most innovative way possible.
The thing is, in the ever-changing digital marketing world, it can be challenging to know the best ways to reach that target audience. If you misuse your Facebook page, you are essentially just yelling into the abyss of the internet. But if done correctly, you can expose your business to far more potential leads than ever before and develop brand recognition essential in modern business.
These are just a few of the techniques you should implement into your posts to ensure that you are getting your message out there in the best and most effective way possible. Of course, not all of these will work 100% of the time, but they are proven ways to help generate more leads for your company, resulting in more revenue.
Give these tips a try if your business is having difficulty marketing on Facebook and needs to find a way to change things up for the better. More likely than not, you will find yourself with a growing list of potential leads as well as a litany of new ideas that will help you generate more engaging content through your Facebook business page.
1) Post Landing Pages for Direct Offers
One of the most proven ways to generate leads through your Facebook page is to send your followers to the landing pages that you have created for lead-generating offers. The key here is to make sure that you have a compelling featured image that gets pulled into the Facebook post.
To do this, you need to optimize the image’s size for Facebook and then make sure that you add the proper open graph tags that lead to your website. There are several ways to do this, but this is one of the more effective ways to engage your reader.
It is also essential to make it very clear to the reader where you are sending them. For example, they might think they are clicking on a blog post only to find themselves in the middle of a form that needs filling out; this can leave them frustrated or confused, and that is the last thing you want.
However you decide to link your readers to these direct offers, this is one of the tried and true ways to generate those direct leads that can eventually lead to more revenue for your company.
2) Post-lead-Generating Blog Posts
The first part of this is to learn about how to do a blog lead generation analysis. Once you have done this, it is crucial to take the blog posts that generate the most leads and then post those to your Facebook page.
Having an intriguing blog topic and title will ultimately engage your audience to want to click and read it, and then they will find a call to action within the post itself. Therefore, you want to make sure that it is as close to the intro as it can be. This call to action will typically solve a problem that the reader might have or answer something that the reader wants to understand.
A study has shown that websites generate more leads by using a call-to-action text in the introduction. The anchor text call to action is responsible for between 47% and 93% of a post’s leads.
Do your homework, find out which posts get the most action, and push those with calls to action for increased leads.
3) Include Landing Page Links Within Captions
The best marketers understand the importance of using visuals, things like images and videos, for your Facebook strategy. For example, Facebook posts with pictures tend to see 2.3X more engagements than those posts that don’t have pictures.
To make even better use of those higher engagement rates and turn them into valuable lead generation opportunities, you might want to put links to your website into the description of the images, especially things like cover photos and profile picture descriptions.
These links are opportunities for interested people to get to know your company better than ever before. The descriptions you put in your profile and cover photo turn into prime virtual real estate. This way, any time someone views your cover photo, they can access a download link.
Make sure that you shorten those links and add your UTM codes. These allow you to track the clicks that happen. Again, there are a variety of tools that will do these things for you. Ultimately, the goal is to generate as many leads as possible, and adding links to your image descriptions is a proven method.
4) Use Videos to Promote Lead-Generating Offers
While Facebook’s overall organic reach continues to drop amid controversies linked to the social media giant, tweaks to the Facebook algorithm have helped mitigate the increase in the amount of content generated on the platform.
Videos are the one big exception to this. As a result, videos have been able to help marketers stay relevant and continue to reach their target audiences. Facebook’s algorithm favors overall video content. Video posts have a 135% greater organic reach than traditional photo posts.
Videos increase those lead-generating offers through your Facebook page. The key here is to use videos as a way to generate and promote those lead-generating offers. With a video, you can use a verbal call to action as well as in the video’s description, calling users to “download” or “register” or something of the like.
Videos are the way that more and more businesses are reaching their customers and sharing these lead-generating offers. Make your videos interesting, informative, and fun, and you will find a more significant response to your campaigns.
5) Use Facebook Live
Much in the same vein as the videos, Facebook Live might be an easier way to go about it. Videos can be intimidating if you are not familiar with the process, not to mention that they take time to create.
Facebook Live has shown that people comment up to 10x more on Facebook Live videos than they would on regular videos. This method is more about generating conversation as well as promoting. If you have an event, show the setup live. You can also promote an offer by hosting something like a Q&A through Facebook Live. Live sessions encourage comments and interaction, which generates more leads.
While these don’t have actual tags that you can use, you can use a verbal call to action through the live video and make sure that you repeat it more often than you would for a standard video. Viewers may join late and miss the first call to action, so giving them multiple chances increases conversions.
Live Facebook sessions are a great way to deliver a sense of spontaneity so that your followers feel like they might miss out if they aren’t visiting your Facebook page. That’s a great way to develop new leads for your business.
6) Create a CTA Button for Your Facebook page
While this might not be a post, it is essential to develop leads that you will not want to miss out on as you market your business. Facebook allows business pages to add a pretty simple call-to-action button at the top of the business’s Facebook page. It might seem simple, but it can be pretty powerful in helping to drive traffic from your Facebook page to your actual website. Best of all, this can include contact sheets, landing pages, and any other lead-generating forms that you might have.
Even more importantly, you can choose from a variety of pre-made buttons. Things like “Contact Us,” “Shop Now,” “Book Now,” “Watch Video,” and so on will allow you to get a level of customization out of your call-to-action button to make it more tailored to your page precisely.
Most of all, the call-to-action button gives you the ability to be versatile. Most marketers will choose a call to action and stick with it for an extended period. But with the button, you can switch up your call to action so that it doesn’t feel stale and overused. That is an invaluable feature.
Most contractors have a love/hate relationship with their lead services. In this podcast, Jason and Nolen explore the potential perks of buying leads for HVAC contractors, along with the sometimes disastrous pitfalls. Whether you’ve purchased leads in the past or are considering a service soon, you’ll gain some essential insights into the pros and cons of lead gen companies.
Look Out for These Key Points
Does buying leads create long-term or short-term opportunities?
Do lead services contribute towards your brand development?
What expenses come out of buying leads?
How good is the lead quality?
What Does Buying Leads Mean?
Developing a client base takes time, money, and lots of effort. It may take years to establish a comfortable pool of loyal customers. But, for businesses longing for that initial growth, buying leads presents a desirable, fast solution. Here’s how it works:
How Lead Buying Works
Step #1: An HVAC contractor hires on a lead generation company.
Step #2: The lead gen company connects them with potential customers by phone or email.
Step #3: The contractor accepts or rejects the client, who may or may not decide to do business with the contractor.
Step #4: The contractor renders payment to the lead-generating company.
What is the Most Popular Pay-Per-Lead Company?
Pay-Per-Lead (PPL) companies range from household names to somewhat sketchy businesses. While there are numerous PPL companies out in the market, you’d have difficulty finding a more recognizable name than HomeAdvisor. The directory promotes local lists for various niches and boasts a vast array of contractors.
How Much Do Companies Pay for Leads?
That depends on the particular service you utilize for your leads. We’ll use HomeAdvisor as an example. According to the HomeAdvisor Pro How It Works page, HVAC contractors pay a mix of annual, monthly, and variable fees in exchange for leads. Keep in mind; the company does not guarantee any of these leads will convert into customers. To quote from their website, “You will be charged for each lead you receive, whether or not you ultimately win the job…”
What Costs Can I Expect?
Annual Subscription Fees
General Industry Leads Costs (“Market Match”)
Brand Specific Leads Costs (“Exact Match”)
Supporting Service Costs
When people request your company specifically through HomeAdvisor, your company may pay an even higher lead cost rate. You can set monthly target budgets, but lead costs may exceed that number.
Questions to Ask When Buying Leads
There are two primary concerns your HVAC business should consider when buying leads. First, you’ll need to consider the pricing structure of the service. Some companies quote a relatively low per lead cost but quietly zing you with additional fees. Others charge higher rates but do a much better job of outlining what that money buys.
The even more essential question you need to ask is: “How does your company qualify these leads?“ Is your money going towards connecting with ready-to-buy consumers, or is the PPL company pushing window shoppers to meet their quota?
Of course, you should never subscribe to a PPL service without consulting existing clients of that company. If you find that all the people you consult are getting fantastic returns on their investment, this could be the opportunity you’ve been targeting. On the other hand, clients may warn you to steer clear of that prospective service. Either way, you’ll have better peace of mind about your decision!
Is Buying Leads Worth it For Contractors?
While many HVAC SEO companies would tell you otherwise, buying leads sometimes provides fantastic results for contractors. If you find a service that offers a fair costing rate and a dependable ROI, go for it. However, there are several factors you need to weigh before pulling the trigger on these annual subscriptions.
Crucial Factors to Consider
Will buying leads provide long-term growth?
Do buying leads gain exposure for your brand or their brand?
Could you earn these same leads (or better) through other means?
Do you want to be locked into a subscription?
Are the leads provided of sufficient quality?
Alternatives to Buying Leads
One of the selling points of companies like HomeAdvisor is that you have tight control over the location and types of people you gain leads for. You can also set spending targets that your PPL service may or may not exceed. Having control over your marketing is a serious advantage.
But what if you could get this control without paying a subscription fee?
Google AdsPPC (pay per click) campaigns also target specific markets within a geographical area. They automatically deactivate whenever they hit your predetermined budget, and your efforts determine the quality of the leads you receive. If you don’t like the results, you can quit anytime or refine your campaigns till they succeed. Many HVAC contractors experience a double return on their investment into Google Ads. During your paid search efforts, you can also spend valuable time working on your HVAC SEO through keyword research and engaging content.
Team Up With the HVAC Webmasters
Whatever course you ultimately choose to develop your leads, we hope you succeed. If you’re hunting for ways to grow your lead generation, our team at the HVAC Webmasters would love to help. We provide HVAC SEO solutions, PPC campaign management and analysis, custom website development, and numerous other services to advance your business.
The foundation of an HVAC company’s online presence is website design. A healthy website facilitates search engine optimization, brings legitimacy to your brand, and helps convert traffic into leads. Digital marketing concepts like SEO, PPC, and content marketing increase online visibility, but the website’s quality converts that exposure into sales. Many factors dictate a website’s design quality. Still, as a heating & cooling contractor, the ultimate goal is to grow your business online and capture leads and sales within your local service area.
In 2022, anybody can build a website. With DIY website builders like Wix, Weebly, & Squarespace, along with an abundance of templates for content management systems like WordPress, it’s never been easier to get a functional webpage published. But design is not always about the front-end visual display of a website. The codebase is a significant consideration in air conditioning website design, especially as it pertains to SEO and marketing. The back-end of a website requires creation as well, and it is as important, if not more so than the visual presentation.
What is HVAC Website Design?
Website design is constructing websites with layouts, user interfaces, and other aesthetic imagery, including graphics. Without a functional website, it’s challenging for HVAC companies to convert leads. Even if you pay for PPC ads on Google, Facebook, or other platforms, the absence of a converting landing page will nullify the majority of clicks. Even SEO, which is an organic methodology, is heavily reliant on the quality of the website.
While there are more platforms on which to promote a brand than a decade ago (Social Media, Google My Business, Etc.), you can’t maximize any of them without a related website. Since contractors’ goal is to increase sales, the direct correlation between web design and sales conversions should be enough to garner focus.
In our search engine optimization guide, we demonstrate the importance of generating traffic to your website. But the harsh reality of any internet marketing method is that it is only as valuable as its final result. In many ways, AC company web design is a part of search engine optimization. Attempting to implement one without the other is a waste of marketing resources. By keeping your focus on the ultimate goal (sales), you can take actions that align with this underlying motivation and stay the course to reach your desired destination.
When HVAC workers talk about their brand, they mean their trust level within their community. A functional and appealing website does wonders to strengthen a brand. Consumers invest trust in companies that showcase their professionalism with a website, but search engines like Google reward them as well. Aside from converting traffic that reaches your domain, robust web design can also influence said traffic and serve as a central hub for inbound links from all of your secondary media platforms like Facebook, Google My Business, and even Yelp. Digital footprints leading back to a primary domain increase its authority as well as the legitimacy of your brand online.
The front-end of a website is what most consumers take notice of immediately. It is the only thing users consider when judging your site, especially those without the knowledge of HTML, CSS, or any other coding language. So what do viewers prefer? Factors like colors, white space, aesthetics, and overall user experience top the list. Many of these work on a subconscious level, and the user may not express why they like the looks of a website, only that they do.
In 2022, presentation is more dynamic than ever before. Consumers visit websites on various devices, including mobile, tablet, and desktop, and thousands of iterations of each. A website should appear optimally on each machine, which is attainable through responsive design principles. When a website is responsive, it adapts to the user’s device without having to create an entirely new website for each one. Google has gone as far as to recommend responsive design principles to professional heating and air web designers.
Palettes are critical in modern design. They inform the experience of the visitor, but they create cohesion between brand and platform. The diversity of a palette stems mainly from an HVAC company’s logo. Creating or updating your company logo is of great importance. A logo with lots of colors will distract the average user, but a logo with only one color will bore them. Having 2 or 3 colors, a primary and 1 or 2 secondaries, is ideal in modern website design.
A funny anecdote about white space is that it is not always white. The phrase refers to empty spaces between images, text, and blocks of content. The modern consumer prefers information that is digestible since they can become overwhelmed by excess. The function of white space is to foster a feeling of organization and conciseness. Both can improve the visitor’s experience, and both can influence behavior metrics like bounce rate, pages per site, duration on site, etc.
If you’ve ever heard a visitor discuss the “feel” of a website, aesthetics are at play. Defined as the “appreciation of beauty,” aesthetics might not be something HVAC contractors think about for their business. But make no mistake, everyone considers aesthetics in website design. That includes your prospective customers who are reading about heating & cooling services. Don’t assume that the subject matter disqualifies any website from aesthetic appeal.
A website’s look and feel have great appeal, but its functionality can make or break its effectiveness. Let’s say a user enters your HVAC website and likes what they see. Imagine now that as they are attempting to navigate to other sections of the site via a smartphone browser, that they can’t seem to scroll down or click the desired page links properly. Once something like this occurs, the visual appeal becomes mostly irrelevant. Users will leave a website for functional reasons instantly (literally) and never return, regardless of the site’s visual impression.
Navigation is one element of usability but is not the only one. Consider site speed (loading time), URL structure, menu links, and user interface as some of the other most prominent factors. Responsive design is equally essential since usability should translate to all kinds of devices, from mobile to desktop, to tablet, including the endless variations of each device category (iPhone, Android, MacBook Pro, HP, etc.). The user must be able to use your website at their convenience because they will move on to the next search result, which does it better.
Nine times out of 10, the most frustrating part of a poorly designed website is its navigation. If the user cannot scroll properly and get to other sections of the website with ease, they will become discouraged and exit the site. Mobile websites are typically the most complicated to navigate, which is why designers should pay extra close attention to mobile design. Since the screen is smaller than a tablet or desktop monitor, it should be incredibly convenient for the user to find their way around the site and all of its elements, scrolling primarily with their thumb and index finger.
Over half of internet users will exit a website that does not load within 3 seconds. That puts HVAC websites on the clock immediately after a user clicks on their result. If we’re honest with ourselves, that 3-second number is likely to have lowered even more in recent months. In 2022, that number is more than likely closer to 1 second. The attention spans of users have shortened, and designers must take notice. You can check your existing website speed using Google PageSpeed Insights, giving suggestions for correcting errors.
A website URL hierarchy is an integral part of a site’s functionality for users. If you have pages for each service, the URLs should be both logical and hierarchical. Let’s say you provide both residential and commercial HVAC services. If so, a page for residential ac repair should be categorized as a child page underneath the parent page, residential HVAC services. A sound hierarchy closely relates to your HVAC SEO efforts and helps the user navigate your site.
Useful HVAC websites link every critical page from the homepage menu. When converting traffic into customers, you want them to see all the services you offer and easily access the one that intrigues them. In alignment with URL structure, menu links should have main categories (parent pages) and subcategories (child pages). You should also have a Contact Us page and an About Us page to help connect with the visitors.
User Interface (UI)
User interface, often shortened as UI, hones in on the user’s projected need from your website from a functionality standpoint. According to Usability.gov, UI combines interaction design, visual design, and information architecture. They break down UI elements into four sections: input controls, navigational components, informational components, and containers. They stress simplicity, consistency, and purpose as the driving principles of an effective user interface design.
Code is not used only for website design but really for any kind of web or software development. Think about Facebook or iTunes. Each of these has a codebase that informs not only its presentation but also its functionality or usability. Coders are often the most technically sound webmasters in the room and can implement the average person’s elements. Although website builders have turned everyone into amateur designers, they have not familiarized everyone with coding, which is still what separates the legitimate professionals.
HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is the actual code used to write every website. HTML annotates text with tags, suggesting a browser to display it in a way that the designer intends. The language uses a series of tags that range from very basic to very complex. For example, text surrounded by a <strong> tag on the back-end is bolded on the front-end. HTML is closely associated with SEO since header, title, and meta tags are all part of the HTML language. A CMS like WordPress makes HTML alterations simpler from an SEO perspective, but the design itself still requires in-depth knowledge of the coding language.
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is code that instructs a browser on how to display HTML. While HTML tags suggest things like bolded text, the CSS code instructs the browser on what that will look like on the website’s front-end. CSS references what designers call rules. A CSS rule contains three parts; a selector, a property, and a value. More advanced CSS mechanisms like inline link CSS and internal CSS always play a role aside from CSS rules. The simplest way to describe the codebase is the stylization of HTML tags. CSS is very much related to the display presentation of a website, a concept outlined earlier.
Schema.org or Schema Markup is a vocabulary of semantically related tags inserted into HTML to help Google interpret the page. Microdata tags from Schema.org exist to help search engines like Google better categorize pages and subsequently promote them on search results. Schema is fundamental to SEO and is perhaps the most critical optimization element of a website’s codebase. Since schema comes from search engines’ instruction, we know that Google considers it when pages are crawled, indexed, and ranked.
The increased mobile usage of the average American has made mobile design more critical than ever before. Researchers estimate that over half of all HVAC website visitors will access the site through a smartphone. Because phones are accessible 24 hours per day, seven days per week, there is an infinite window of opportunity for contractors to reach their most extensive consumer base. SEO can drive traffic to your website and other web entities (Google Maps, Facebook, etc.), but a sales conversion remains unlikely without a simple website to use on mobile.
Several design elements will be embellished or adapted to narrow the target in promoting services to a mobile user. One such example of this is a call to action. A CTA on a website for desktops might list an HVAC contractor’s phone number. On mobile design, it should have a clickable number to connect to your phone line directly. Because conversions are the goal of websites, CTA’s are crucial. Strategic CTA placement has never been more pertinent than in 2022 when mobile usage increases daily.
Screen size matters and smartphones have less space for users to operate. Pair that with low attention users, and you have yourselves one of the primary challenges of modern design. How can you, as a web developer, intrigue the mobile user through your website? You have limited time and space and must make the most of it. A layout should be instructive and straightforward while creating urgency for the visitor. A clear call to action with a clickable phone number is ideal. Other layout factors to consider include height, width, image and logo placement, and space.
Websites should load quickly regardless of device, but it is even more crucial on mobile. Sites that don’t load within 3 seconds will lose more than half of their visitors, a timeframe that has likely already decreased and will continue to with each passing day. Google’s tool, Test Your Mobile Website Speed, can give HVAC companies an idea of where they are currently and perhaps where they should be relative to other sites throughout the web. For contractors, the fear is that slow-loading pages will prompt visitors to try the next result.
Mobile Call to Action
Web developers must tailor calls to action to the mobile user. The best example of this is a clickable phone number that can be a stylized button or text. The goal is to create urgency for the mobile user, so accompanying the phone number with a statement like a call now for a free consultation is something every contractor should consider. There’s a fine line between creating urgency and becoming overly sales-driven, and the most successful websites can navigate that terrain to generate high-quality leads.
Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace help the average person create nice-looking websites. If they have a disadvantage, it is their lack of customization. Certain limitations come with using website builders that don’t exist when investing in a professional designer. While not every Wix site will look identical in presentation, the back-end codebase will be similar and less customizable. Site builders can hinder SEO efforts needed for a website to get traffic. As we’ve stated, website design cannot exist exclusively from SEO if increasing sales is the goal.
Besides custom codebase being a superior SEO protocol, customization is part of every aspect of design. From the placement of a logo on the page’s layout to the palette color scheme on the CSS style sheet, customization can go a long way towards increasing conversion rates and satisfying users’ needs and attention spans. It’s not to say that website creators cannot work under any circumstances, but instead highlight why custom design is so useful. It becomes the HVAC company’s choice based on its digital marketing goals.
Tools like Wix provide options for display. Website makers can choose their layout, buttons, and even color schemes. While this might differentiate one website from another, the code will remain similar. You see, even with a change in the color scheme which alters the existing CSS code, the skeleton of the style sheet stays identical. Google can identify Wix websites based on their internal codebase. It doesn’t make it a wrong choice, but it can make SEO a more complicated process to execute and ultimately discourage your coveted sales growth.
Tired of your website’s footer saying something like “designed with Weebly?” If so, custom design may be for you. With custom design, you control what appears on your website and where it appears. There are no mandatory insertions of code. Instead, you can add your logos, awards, and badges of honor to your header and footer. Customization = control for HVAC contractors. Consider something as simple as your logo width, which could be limited in Wix.
With genuinely custom web design, you can brand your HVAC company in a manner not replicable through website builders. A unique codebase, layout, and color scheme can differentiate your website from others in the same industry and service area. You may find the differences between a template website and a custom one to be minimal at first glance, but Google sees it differently. Perhaps most importantly, users growing accustomed to your brand through website design can only help expand awareness and foster a long-term, sustainable online presence.
We’ve noted that most visitors will access HVAC websites through mobile smartphones, but the highest conversion websites cannot ignore any of its users. That includes those who access the website on a desktop, tablet or another 3rd party device that is not a smartphone. Since it’s not plausible to design a site for each device, brand, and model, the best solution is responsive web design, sometimes shortened as RWD. The primary advantage of RWD is to optimize display and functionality for a website on any device efficiently and reach all possible customers.
Mashable named 2013 the year of responsive design, and six years later, it is now considered the norm for websites that perform well on Google. The search engine has gone as far as to recommend its usage to web developers and has even offered RWD tutorials on their Web Fundamentals platform. RWD fixes would-be problems that designers would once dread. For example, an image displayed on a mobile site might appear too small on desktop, but responsive design incorporates flexibility and resizes the image to its optimal display.
The area immediately visible to users is known as the viewport. As you might imagine, viewports vary by device, so an iPhone 11 viewport won’t compare to a Dell PC monitor. Before mobile’s emergence, designs often focused on desktop viewing, which created viewport distortion on mobile. If you remember older mobile phones, you also remember some of the worst-looking websites of all time. Imagine trying to book a phone call with your local HVAC contractor using that display. It would be a disaster.
Breakpoints are browser measurements declared to change the display based on a specified range. In responsive design, breakpoints usually adjust to the width of the screen. Sometimes a breakpoint might shift the viewport from displaying two columns to displaying four columns. Designers should focus on breakpoints by device rather than the model. In other words, smartphones should be a category, but Apple iPhone 11 should not be. Breakpoints’ significance also varies. Some of them can be quite obvious, while others are more subtle. Use tactfully.
Graphic Design (UX)
A website’s graphics are part of its visual presentation but can be considered an entirely different skill altogether from a designer’s standpoint. Graphics can be everything from logos to interactive buttons and everything in between. Graphics are often tied into a site’s color scheme but are not the color scheme itself. Most color palettes work from the starting point of the logo. If your HVAC company has an existing logo with brand recognition, you should maintain or enhance it. Brand new contractors might be looking for an original logo from a professional designer.
Logos are likely an essential graphic for a company but certainly not the only one needed on your website. As we said, graphic design is a skill that transcends air conditioning web design. While websites use code and tags, visual artists use digital art studios such as Adobe Suite. Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop can all help create graphics for your website and other marketing materials. Graphics can be published on print materials as well, such as business cards and newsletters. Contractors can also print graphics on t-shirts, truck wraps, and other marketing materials.
An effective heating & cooling logo is both simple and memorable. Striking that balance isn’t the easiest thing to accomplish. Still, the companies that thrive are the ones that find a balance. Focus on solid colors that are easy on the eyes. 99 Designs outlines what each color evokes from the perspective of the typical consumer. For instance, blue is one color that people often associate with trust and professionalism, making sense when you understand why it’s on at least half of all logos. Think about your logo for a moment; what characteristics does it evoke?
Its graphical outline often enhances a call to action. In other words, a phone number button might appeal more to the user than merely the number itself. Why? Because consumers love to be visually inspired. Since the goal of every CTA is to create urgency and prompt action, enhancing its graphical nature can help reach that destination. Enhancement assumes the graphic is skillfully designed, of course. Keep in mind that poorly designed graphics can harm a user’s behavior. CTA buttons are important when merging illustration and web design.
What is the information distributed on infographics? It can be anything and everything as long it stays within the context of your web pages and the content published on them. If CTA buttons merge graphic and web design, infographics unify content marketing, graphic, and web design. It’s a way of threading everything the user consumes together in one cohesive construct. Like with logos and buttons, an infographic can range from extremely helpful to discouraging. Some infographics become so popular; they earn inbound links to the image address, which helps SEO.
We spoke about UI or user interface, but the most crucial part of a website is UX or user experience. Although it is less quantifiable, UX encompasses the overall experience of the website visitor. A visitor’s experience relates to everything previously discussed on this page, from aesthetics and visual presentation to navigation and website functionality. Of course, codebase remains the foundation of UX since it ultimately dictates it, even if the users themselves don’t realize it on a fundamental level. While a single metric cannot measure UX, there are groups of data that can paint a general picture of its performance, such as bounce rate, pages per session, etc.
Google understands website visitors’ behavior better than ever before and uses that information to inform their rankings. The sites that rank highest keep users actively engaged, which gets reflected in behavioral metrics. Whether it’s visiting multiple pages on a website or engaging with content elements on the homepage, users make their feelings apparent to Google in more ways than one. The goal of every HVAC website is to generate leads, and there’s no safer way to accomplish this than through enhancing the user’s experience and inspiring them to complete a call to action.
We can best understand UX through user metrics like bounce rate and pages per session. Although we can all subjectively visit an HVAC website and form an opinion on it, it is actions that demonstrate our most accurate conclusions. Any local service website that can keep users engaged and encourage participation in sales funnels and calls to action will benefit through metrics. The best way to track user behavior is through Google Analytics, a free tracking tool.
Aside from measuring user behavior, asking them outright for feedback can also be helpful. While it doesn’t provide the kind of raw data that Google values, it does inform heating & cooling businesses about their site’s strengths and weaknesses, explained from a visitor’s perspective. Sometimes people will hold back on criticisms, but if you include an anonymous survey directly on your website, there’s little for them to hold back. You might even get criticism so harsh that you wonder if they’re intentionally combative in hopes of weakening your will as a contractor.
Separate from the user’s behavior when first visiting your website, a telling piece of information can be the ratio by which visitors return. Sometimes brand notoriety can influence visitors to return to a site, again and again, something that should make itself apparent by the percentage of traffic reaching the site through a branded search or a direct visit. Other times more than brand recognition, it is about the site’s design and its UX quality. All the design elements discussed in this post can influence repeat visitations.
HVAC Website Design Company
For an HVAC SEO company, you can trust to design a high-quality website, choose HVAC Webmasters. Each website constructed by expert webmasters is custom-made and tailored to the client’s needs and brand. With a team of designers on staff (website & graphics), we can produce a high conversion online marketing channel for your heating & cooling business. A website serves as the foundation for your digital marketing strategy. It influences SEO, Google Maps, and of course, conversion rate optimization. As a company that focuses on online marketing for HVAC companies, we are uniquely qualified to construct a website that checks all your boxes in 2022.
Affordability is always a consideration in marketing but what’s most important is ROI or return on investment. A website template might cost less upfront, but how much money is it going to bring in? If you don’t know the answer to that question, you should opt for a free SEO audit that quantifies your rank position based on call volume. Lack of calls on your site means you’re not ranking on either Google organic or Google Maps. If that’s the case, even the nominal investment you’ve made in a website template is a negative ROI. Keep in mind that our services are incredibly affordable for agency-level website design, so we are happy to discuss the details further with you at your convenience.
Custom Websites for HVAC Contractors
Are you tired of template websites that hinder your SEO efforts? Invest in a custom website from HVAC Webmasters. Our design team implements your logo and color scheme within a custom codebase, creating a conversion machine. Every design technique incorporates SEO and lead generation. You’ll no longer worry whether blocks of code get crawled by Google. We have the data and protocol to ensure that Google not only indexes your site but prefers it.
Branded Websites for HVAC Companies
We don’t just build a website; we help create a brand for HVAC companies. Because the internet is more significant than any single website, it is vital to integrate your brand onto other web entries like social media networks and local business directories. This is incredibly useful when these properties link back to your website and vice versa. That’s why we include social media icons on your homepage so that visitors can find you on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. We believe that digital marketing ventures should target a complete web presence.
Website Lead Generation for Heating & Cooling Contractors
A custom branded website can generate leads with the right calls to action. Each website designed by HVAC Webmasters aims to connect relevant consumers to your office line. By integrating your contact information into our codebase, we can input clickable phone numbers in multiple areas throughout your site. Click to call functionality encourages users to take an additional step in the sales conversion process. We facilitate a connection between users who need HVAC services in your local area and yourself as contractors or companies in their general radius.