Stout Roofing Initial Website Design, Audience and Competitive Analysis
Stout Roofing has been roofing in the Seattle area for 30 years and has installed over 10,000 roofs. We have an established client base, repeat customers, a referral network of real estate agents, and the highest ratings on Angie’s List and the BBB.
We are currently re-developing our static website in an effort to update information and incorporate new technologies to improve our image and generate more business.
Goals for website
The primary goal of our website is to generate leads for re-roofing. We support the site with advertising on both Google Adwords and Angie’s List, and via direct mail campaigns and signs on vehicles. While the website must appeal to several difference audiences, ultimately we want them all to do one of two things; either email or call us for a free estimate. In order to accomplish this, we need to establish credibility, authenticity, and a degree of trust for a person to take that step.
Overall site design
The site design will need to incorporate photo galleries, testimonials, references, technical information, links to resources, background, experience, certifications, accredidations, and more. Consequently, it should allow a large degree of flexibility for presenting content. It should also be mobile-friendly since many of our clients are on the move. A simple design with clear navigation bars is essential. We think a one or two column home page with a large top nav bar and a left sidebar for secondary information would be appropriate. We will need a spot for our logo to appear persistently in the top left corner – or possibly top middle.
The effectiveness of the site design will ultimately be determined by an increase in calls and emails requesting more information. We expect to incorporate analytics which will show us where our customers come from and their journey through the site to either an exit or an action.
Potential clients come to the site from referrals, search engines, and advertising. They include homeowners needing a new roof or repair, general contractors building a new home, homeowners association seeking contractors, and real estate agents seeking roof certifications and expertise. The audiences all have very different needs. The needs of a homeowner who is buying his new home are at opposites with the requirements of the seller who simply wants to put on the least expensive roof. Clients who come to us from Angie’s List have a higher expectation level than perhaps those who have found us from our Google Adwords campaign due to our reviews on AL. We will also have repeat customers such as real estate agents who use the site to quickly initiate an email or to get our phone number again.
Foremost, our design will need to be simple and easy to navigate. The front page will need to instill a sense of professionalism and class without giving the impression that we only work on large expensive projects. Secondary pages and drop down menus can provide more detailed information to solidify our credibility. Pages may also be designed as landing pages for certain types of clientele. (ie: customers coming to us from Angie’s list should see our AL award badges upon entering the site.)
Among our many competitors include Jorve Roofing, Legacy Roofing and Cornerstone Roofing. These companies all have excellent reputations and have been in business for years. They all have the resources to produce high quality websites.
Navigation is simple and clear with drop down menus from the top navbar. The video testimonial and free estimate widget is persistent on every page. The testimonial does not change as you venture through the site. Customer reviews are buried on the “Request a free estimate” page. Should out front. The FAQ section is full of good information.
Blog posts are powered by WordPress and are frequent enough to help with the SEO.
The only use of social networks involves following Jorve on Twitter.
Legacy Roofing includes a clear simple top nav bar with drop down menus. A slide show loads instantly and includes images of both commercial and residential jobs. The accompanying text is supposed to instill a sense of “quality” and “peace of mind.”
Halfway down the page there are tags and text which are entirely incongruent with the higher quality look at the top of the page. Looks like two different sites.
Emphasis on gutter services and their green approach deter from their main business of roofing. “Roofing Solutions” lists 5 types of roofs (Craftsman, etc.) which gives the impression that is all they do. The fact sheet about Legacy is “Sorry, under construction at this time”. It would be better to have nothing. The image of their large building is impressive and adds credibility.
Cornerstone has a large persistent “Free Estimate” widget on every page. The background theme is confusing and distracting. The portfolio is a static slide show which requires action. The material pages include “galleries” of home which have been re-roofed with certain types of shingles. Most of these only have one or two images of low resolution. This gives the impression that they have not done very many roofs with those materials. It would be better not to have the gallery.
Credentials are front and center on the home page which is impressive. They provide detailed technical information from manufacturers product sheets which saves customers from exiting their site to get the info from the web. The “Request an Estimate” page includes a form for specific information such as type of roof, age of roof, how did you hear about us and more. This will help them prioritize the leads and improve response time and scheduling.
Overall, these sites all have room for improvement but include great ideas worth including.