Tag Archives: Website Templates

  • plumbing heating and air alliance member
  • contractors of america best digital agency
  • expertise.com best seo agencies in fort worth

Why We Can’t Use Your Old Website (Podcast)

One of the most challenging life lessons is learning when to let go. Unfortunately, dropping an unproductive website proves more than they can bear for many HVAC contractors, even if that site is harming their bottom line. Nolen and Jason discuss why starting from scratch is usually the best approach for getting your SEO and online marketing back on track in our latest podcast.

If your business has struggled to earn leads through your current website design, be sure to listen in closely.

Key Points to Listen For:

  • Visuals do not drive website performance.
  • Patchwork efforts from multiple vendors waste time and money.
  • Quality website design utilizes coding, content, and visuals.

Ditching the Old Website Design

Imagine the prettiest, high-dollar air conditioning unit money can buy. Your customers call asking about the installation process and how soon they can buy their system. Orders pile in, and these exciting projects start filling up the calendar. Then, weeks into installing these brand new (and expensive) appliances, you receive startling news: they don’t work. The blower motors can’t summon enough power to drive air through the duct lines due to a previously unknown design flaw.

Ideally, this situation would never happen in real life. After all, contractors take time to make sure their inventory performs as designed. But what if you heard of a contractor that knew of the part flaw and continued selling the system without warning customers? You’d probably be pretty angry, and rightly so.

Digital marketers have been selling flawed website designs for years

Various marketing agencies sell template websites that discourage high rankings on SERPs. We previously talked about the untold dangers of website template designs, which offer impressive visuals but lack the power of SEO. The type of templates that most heating and cooling professionals invest in (especially the bargain variety) doesn’t produce the traffic level businesses need for sustained growth.

Escaping from Stagnant Online Performance

As our team at the HVAC Webmasters has found over the years, the vast majority of online-active HVAC contractors have yet to grasp this truth. As a result, when shown concrete analytical data that their websites are underperforming, some companies cling all the more fiercely to their old website designs. As a result, they continue to earn a fraction of the leads they could achieve if they switched to a more optimized site.

What’s keeping these professionals from letting go?

Below, we will tackle some complex facts about website design and why templates don’t provide the results HVAC companies need. If any of these points hit home, it might be time to dig into your Google Analytics and see if your website is due for a change.

Nice Visuals for a HVAC Site's Website Design
Visuals Improve the User Experience, But They Don’t Create Traffic.

Fact #1: Your Visuals Don’t Drive Performance.

All the professional graphic design and eye-catching templates do almost nothing to drive your HVAC SEO performance. While they certainly add to the user experience (UX), visuals don’t draw people to your website. To put this in perspective, let’s consult the typical process of how someone finds your website.

Google Search Process (The Basics)

  • Step #1: A user enters a phrase and begins a search.
  • Step #2: Google examines keywords in the phrase.
  • Step #3: The search engine recalls related pages from its vast index.
  • Step #4: Google arranges entries by order of relevance in a SERP.
  • Step #5: The user browses the list and chooses a listing.
  • Step #6: The user arrives on your website.

The rest is history. Either the user likes what they see and investigates the site further, or they “bounce” and examine other sites. Your graphic design and other site visuals are essential during this phase, but most people don’t make it that far. No matter how gorgeous the design template a site may have, Google Search users will never even see it if the website fails to draw traffic in the first place. 

Schema Coding in a Custom Website Design
This is Simple Text Coding, But it Provides Helpful Information for Google.

Fact #2: It’s All Tied Together.

“Okay,” you might think. “I’ll add in all the elements that I need to draw people to my site. How hard can that be?

HVAC SEO (search engine optimization) involves many facets of website design. One crucial portion of the optimization process comes from keywords and their integration into the content throughout the site. That plays a massive role in how Google categorizes your services and ranks them for search.

Then there’s coding. Perhaps the most under-acknowledged driver behind local search performance, schema coding tells Google how to interpret the content inside your website. Unfortunately, most site templates come from graphic designers who attended art school but probably had minimal experience coding a website.

There are many other elements of site optimization, such as navigation, page structure, image attributes, and more. Unfortunately, these are tied directly to the template’s design and can’t easily be changed (effectively). The result is an attractive but underperforming site that doesn’t drive traffic.

Content and Reviews Management Parts of a Custom Website Design
Content and Geotagged Reviews Seamlessly Integrated in a Custom Design.

Fact #3: It’s (Usually) Cheaper to Start Fresh.

Let’s say you’ve purchased an attractive template that seems to represent your HVAC company well. We’ll even say that your design company input your logo and slightly altered the template theme so that coloring matches. That’s pretty typical for a cheaper service.

You paid a couple of thousand for the site, but it’s underperforming. What are the options?

  • Option #1: Let the site stay as-is.
  • Option #2: Patch in missing SEO elements.
  • Option #3: Choose a website redesign.

Option #1: Let it Stay

If you’re not satisfied with the performance of your website as it is now, there’s very little chance of significant change happening on its own. Keep in mind that even the most highly optimized websites take a few months to get results when they first launch. However, older websites won’t spontaneously jump from page 10 to page 1. There has to be a dramatic change in the site’s optimization, which is hard to achieve with a template.

End Result: You have to rely on other forms of marketing to compensate, so you’re still spending extra money.

Option #2: Tack on Additional SEO Elements

Enhancing a given website template may take more time, money, and effort than you’d like. For one, site updates often require input from multiple specialized marketing vendors. One adds a reviews tool; another rewrites the content. Even if all these facets find their way into the site, you’ll need to ensure they work together (and not against each other).

End Result: Multiple site projects and vendors makes managing the site extremely frustrating. There may be performance improvements in local search, though.

Option #3: Ditch the Template

A fresh start sometimes offers the cheaper path of least resistance. Even if it takes thousands of dollars for a trusted company to design your new custom site, the resulting traffic influx will more than compensate. Plus, you won’t have to worry about spending additional funds for patches, redesigns, or getting multiple vendors to fix random bugs.

End Result: Your company earns lasting traffic improvements to your site, and you can start ranking up in local search. No significant update costs are needed.

What if Your Site Could Earn Thousands of Pageviews in a Few Months?

An Analytical Snapshot Showing the Effectiveness of a Custom Website Design
What if Your Site Could Earn Thousands of Pageviews in a Few Months?

Team Up With HVAC Webmasters

You can probably tell which website design option we prefer at HVAC Webmasters. Our team produces custom-coded, highly optimized websites for companies all across the country. As a result, clients earn enormously better traffic volume, deeper customer interaction, and more substantial lead generation in their local service area. If your business has struggled with gaining ground in online search, we’d love to team up with you to change that.

  • plumbing heating and air alliance member
  • contractors of america best digital agency
  • expertise.com best seo agencies in fort worth

HVAC Website Templates: Pros & Cons (Podcast)

As a heating & cooling contractor, managing a website can be a headache. However, over the past number of years, 3rd party website builders have made it possible for the average person to create DIY websites. Furthermore, the emergence of website theme sellers, who sell ready-made WordPress themes that foster a plug-and-play dynamic, has made websites more effortless than ever to launch. 

However, the question for HVAC companies is not whether your website can launch but rather whether it can serve its marketing purpose, which is to generate HVAC leads and increase online presence. Web templates often discourage optimal ranking positions on Google because several reasons are mainly technical.

Should I Use an HVAC Website Builder?

The short answer is no. To expand on the reasoning, visually appealing websites (as template websites often can be) do not necessarily translate to rankings. The behind-the-scenes coding like HTML, schema markup, and customized script development have far more to do with a website’s ultimate Google ranking than does its front-end conceptualization. 

There are also instances where HVAC contractors receive free templates from one of their parent organizations. Frequently these aren’t even attractive and are therefore the worst of all worlds. They are essentially duplicate sites from parent companies and discourage your company from branching out to create an exclusive web presence that will serve as a digital asset for years to come. Here’s why you shouldn’t use a website builder:

  • Visual appeal alone does not translate to higher rankings
  • Many template sites are code duplicates which are bad for SEO
  • Template sites discourage long-term control and asset attainment for contractors
Cheap Website Templates for HVAC MarketingAir Pro Website

What is Codebase?

A website’s codebase is its back-end, for lack of a better term. All the programming languages like HTML, CSS, schema markup, and microdata exist. Regardless of their industry, the average person is not going to understand a page of source code for a particular website. To most, the page looks gibberish, but to Google, it is the foundation for how they perceive the page and ultimately how they choose to rank it on a relative SERP. 

When a visually gorgeous website doesn’t rank well, 99% of the time, the culprit is a poor codebase. Unfortunately, you cannot tell the quality of a site’s codebase from its front-end visualization. It takes a person with knowledge of programming and web design to properly assess the codebase for any webpage.

  • Codebase is the back-end of a webpage
  • Sites with appealing front-ends don’t always have a sufficient codebase
  • Web code looks like gibberish to the average person, but Google understands it perfectly

Schema Markup Best Practices

One of the most important ranking factors for a website is its usage of schema markup — a microdata language that helps Google parcel specific data points about a given website. Sometimes template websites do have one or two instances of schema code, but they are almost always the most basic forms. 

To stand out from competitors, you want hundreds of instances of schema markup within your codebase. Everything from the company address to the industry category should be marked up. You can even go as far as marking up geo-coordinates which can help expand your service area beyond the address listed on the page. Schema markup like this is more challenging to execute, but that’s why it separates you from the competition. Here’s what you should know about template schema code:

  • Most schema markup on templates are extremely basic
  • Marking up your website as a “website” is hardly going to make a difference for Google
  • There are hundreds of schema codes you can implement to separate yourself from competitors

Keyword Relevant URLs

Another issue with templates is their default URL permalinks. Even on WordPress, which is a CMS that most major SEO agencies use (including us) … the default permalinks are keyword-less, and therefore discouraging to Google. The advantage with WordPress is that this default operation can be altered and customized so that you can make the URL anything you want it to be and maximize keywords. 

Frequently, free website templates will default to poorly constructed URLs that lack keywords. A poor URL structure is a significant SEO problem and cannot be remedied because of the constraints of a template. Simply put, you lack control over your URLs with many template-based websites. Research shows that URL relevancy is one of the primary ranking factors and an absence of it is a loss for your HVAC business.

  • URLs with keywords help Google find the relevant webpage with ease
  • Generic URLs are discouraging for SEO since they are harder to crawl and index
  • URL relevancy is one of the primary Google ranking factors

A Collective Google Grade

When Google “grades” a website for ranking, it never looks at a single metric. Instead, it evaluates thousands of metrics concerning one another. That being said, a website with great content is not enough. The same is true for a website with an excellent front-end design. And yes, even websites with great back-end designs will be limited if other areas fall short. Therefore, when constructing the perfect HVAC website, it should never be about one thing. 

That’s why templates are a terrible idea for contractors. To properly execute the pillars of successful SEO, you need complete control over your website or at least a team of people controlling it on your behalf. That means professional web designers, SEO specialists, content writers, and Google Maps optimizers. 2021 can be a successful year for your business, but the best way to make that happen is through custom web design, not web templates.

  • Google looks at a variety of factors in context when grading a website
  • A website that is great at one thing will not make it rank with an absence of others
  • Custom websites provide greater control to execute the multitude of necessary SEO tasks