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How to Build a Home Inspector Website: The Complete Guide

Maybe you’re just starting out as a home inspector and need to get your first website off the ground. Or, maybe you’ve been in the home inspection game for years but know you can get more out of your existing site (spoiler alert: you can almost always get more out of your existing site).

This is the guide for you

In the sections below, we’ll lay out a complete roadmap for building a home inspector website that performs, delivering high-quality leads and bringing in more bookings. Because at the end of the day, isn’t that the number one goal of any business website?

Yes—or at least it should be. Keep this in mind throughout the entirety of this manual. Bringing in more leads is the mission that guides all of our advice at inspector pages, and one you should keep in mind when making any marketing decisions for your business.

Here’s what the guide will cover. You can click on any section to skip ahead.

Understanding Your Visitor

Before we get started building or improving your home inspector website, let’s take a minute and think about who we’re building it for. Because that’s really the key to any effective sales pitch—understanding your audience—is it not? And remember, the goal of your website is to convert into sales.

So let’s think a moment about the typical visitor to your site

How they got there

Barring an advertisement or a referral, more often than not a new visitor is going to arrive at your website via organic search.

We can assume an organic searcher (someone who used Google, for example), probably typed a phrase like ‘home inspector,’ ‘home inspector [your city]’, ‘mold inspections,’ etc. into the search bar. This is the easiest visitor for us to target because we know exactly what they came for: they’re looking for a home inspection right now or plan on needing one in the near future. Great! We can offer that.

It’s also possible that a visitor found you by searching a more specific term, like ‘how much does a home inspection in Baltimore cost?’ or ‘how can I get rid of water damage in my basement?’ In this case, they’re looking for highly specific information. It’s our job to give that to them too, with the ultimate goal of winning their business.

What we’re getting at is that, when someone visits your site, it’s very important to give them what they came for. If they don’t find it, or at least find a clear path to get to it, within the first few seconds, they’ll be gone and onto the next site.

Google and the other top search engines recognize this and have set up their algorithms accordingly. If visitors quickly leave after clicking on your site, it tells Google it’s probably not very high quality and they should stop showing it in search results. Not our intended result.

Who they are

Next, let’s think about the typical visitor to your site and what makes them tick. We’ve established that they’re probably looking for a home inspection, either now or in the near future. What does that tell us?

For one thing, they’re in a very unique phase of their life. They’re about to buy a home, and most people will buy only a handful of homes in their lifetime. You can rightfully assume that a large portion of these people are first-time homebuyers.

That also tells us something about their state of mind: they’re probably stressed. A home is the biggest purchase most people ever make, and the process of buying one is wracked with paperwork, documents, deadlines and anxiety.

Choosing a home inspector and getting the inspection done are just two boxes in a long list of many that must be checked off before the home sale is complete. It makes sense, then, that it would be to our advantage to make this step in the process as easy as possible for them. We can do this by providing a clear, well-planned and well-organized site.

We can also surmise that if a visitor is searching on the internet for a home inspector, they probably don’t know one personally or have much experience with the industry. This doesn’t mean they’re stupid—far from it. It means they’re hungry for information. This is great news for us! The more valuable, worthwhile information we can give them, the better off we’ll fare.

Finally, we also know one universal truth about people in general, including visitors to our site: they’re busy. They’re browsing the internet at work, on their lunch break, on their commute or late at night after the kids are sleeping. Time is the most precious commodity, sometimes even more so than money. If a visitor is gracious enough to click on your site, don’t waste their time.

The takeaway

By understanding your typical website visitor and his or her priorities, you can build a website that delivers exactly what he or she is looking for. Mediate on this “typical customer.” Keep him or her in mind with every decision you make, not just with your website, but in all your marketing efforts.

If you do this above all else, you’re on the right track to building a website that’s a lead-generating, deal-closing machine.

Must-have Website Elements

Let’s start with the basics. Much of your website’s design and content will come down to personal preference, but there are a few key elements every good business website should have.

Logo

Your logo is the visual mark that defines your brand. You can use it to convey what kind of business you are, from the work you do to the style in which you do it.

Are you a legacy business with a longstanding history in your community? Your logo might be more traditional, in a subtle font and color scheme.

Are you new to the market, ready to shake things up? Maybe your logo is a bit brighter and bolder.

Whichever direction you decide to go with your logo, we recommend getting a few outside opinions from friends and family before making a final decision on a design. Your logo will be the mark of your business for years to come; you want to be sure it’s a keeper!

Don’t have a logo? There are plenty of low-cost design sites that can help you create a great one. We like fiverr.com.

Site Title and Tagline

Your site’s title and tagline should tell visitors the name of your business and what you offer in a succinct format.

Here’s an example:

Five Star Home Inspections

Broward County’s Trusted Home and Mold Inspectors

They aren’t the most creative title and tagline in the world, but they tell the customer everything he needs to know about the business in just a few words.

Stumped on what to use as a tagline? Many of the major home inspector associations offer trademarked taglines specifically for use by their members. For instance, InterNACHI, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, offers the following:

Anyone else is just looking around.

and

Inspected once, inspected right.

See how these work well? They're short, to-the-point, and tell the customer exactly why you're special. With the first one, the message is "we’re better and more knowledgeable than the other guy". The second one says "don’t waste your money on a shoddy inspection that will leave you with errors". Spend some time brainstorming on a great tagline before settling on the first thing that pops into your head.

Menu

Your menu is an organized way for visitors to find what they’re looking for. The most common menu format is situated horizontally across the top of your site. Some sites use a vertical menu on the right or left-hand side of the page.

Want to figure out which style works best for your site? Jump to our section on A/B testing.

We’ve also got a handy list of suggested pages that should be included in your menu.

Contact Info

Your phone number should be one of the largest items on your home page. We suggest placing it in the upper right-hand corner as part of your header, so that it shows up on every page of your site.

Contact Form

Today’s consumers are picking up the phone less than ever before. Give your visitors an easy way to contact you without a phone call using a contact form.

Ask the visitor to input their name, email address and phone number, and provide a free-entry box where they can tell you what they’re looking for. Don’t get too crazy with your contact form—the less information potential customers have to enter to get through the form, the more likely they’ll be to actually fill it out.

Your Bio and Credentials

Too many home inspector websites make this mistake: they make it a complete mystery who’s behind the page!

Potential customers want to know who you are and what makes you qualified; do this by providing a short bio and list of credentials on your home page or an ‘About Us’ page. This is your chance to convince customers that you’re the best—and only—guy for the job. Find more on what to include in your bio in the ‘site pages’ section below.

Photo

Just as customers want to know a little about you, they also want to see you.

If you don’t have a photo that works for your website, grab a camera or your iPhone and have someone take one! It’s much better than resorting to that grainy shot of you taken ten years ago.

For your website photo, you should look professional, but also comfortable for a job site. We recommend wearing a nice looking, short-sleeve polo with a non-ripped pair of jeans or khakis. Any less says you might not be a professional; any more says you’re not ready to get dirty on a job site. Learn what makes a great photo a little later in the content section.

Services

Here’s another element too many home inspectors forget about: describing their services. Remember--a large percentage of home inspection clients are first-time buyers. It’s up to you to tell them what they need and how you can fill those needs.

If you offer additional services, like mold inspection or general contracting, this is a great place to include those as well.

Pricing

Some inspectors argue that they don’t want to include pricing on their site, but various inbound marketing tests don’t lie: customers want to know the cost of your service up front, even if it’s just a ballpark figure.

At a bare minimum, you should offer a “starting at” price, based on the service, the square footage, etc. Then, link to your contact form for customers to get in touch for a detailed quote. More on how to lay out a pricing page in the ‘site pages’ section below.

Testimonials

Word of mouth is one of the most powerful factors in helping a consumer make a purchasing decision. Help move the needle by including testimonials directly on your site. If possible, include the reviewer’s name and title. You can even include a photo with their permission.

You can also link to external sites with your positive reviews, like Google Reviews or Yelp and encourage past customers to leave their feedback there.

Design Basics

Follow these best practices to make your home inspector website visually appealing. You’ll come off as a professional, prompting more inquiries that lead to bookings.

Make it skimmable

People don’t read websites. They skim them. For that reason, you should make your content as skimmable as possible.

Throughout our site, you’ll notice that we have lots of white space, which is friendly to the eye. We also bold important phrases and divide the text into easy to navigate sections, like the one you’re reading now.

If you’re writing in depth about a particular topic, let some important lines stand alone.

The width of your site’s text also plays a role here. If it’s too wide, the eye has to travel all the way across the screen from left to right to read a single line. If it’s too narrow, the text come across as choppy and awkward.

Digital marketing expert Neil Patel suggests that the “perfect” width for a block of text on a website is about 100 characters. For reference, this is just slightly wider than the text in a standard Word document. Your site width doesn’t have to fit this mold exactly, but it’s a good ballpark to keep in mind.

Avoid clutter

There’s an old saying we like to refer back to when designing a website: good design is as little design as possible. In other words, a clean, simple site is better than one that’s filled with "stuff."

If an element doesn’t serve a purpose on your site, leave it out. That goes for unnecessary pages, long rambling content, and unprofessional looking graphic elements. All of these items have the potential to distract the viewer from what you really want them to do: contact you for a home inspection.

Clutter also drags your site’s load time down, and load time plays a noticeable role in your conversion rate. A recent KISSmetrics study found that 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load. Just three seconds can cost you 40% of your potential customers! That right there should be the only reason you need to make your site as streamlined as possible.

Keep it focused

Again, your home inspector website has one goal: to drive conversions for your business. Anything that does not contribute to this purpose is superfluous.

Every element of your website should be working toward this same goal. Keep this in mind when writing headlines (more on this in the content section), creating blog posts and choosing images for your site.

Avoid light text on dark background

This is a simple rule that, in most cases, should not be broken. Light text on a dark background is difficult for the eye to read and could turn visitors away from your site.

Your best bet is to opt for traditional black text on a white or very light colored background.

Avoid large blocks of text

What do you do if you click on a website, only to find a huge wall of text greeting you? You probably skip over it, or simply take one look at it and hit the ‘back’ button.

Break big blocks of text into smaller, more easily digestible chunks to make it easier for the reader.

An added bonus of writing this way is that it can help you organize your thoughts. Two or three related sentences are grouped together, and a break in paragraph signals the transition to the next thought or topic.

The "fold"

Ever heard the phrase “above the fold?” It refers to the good old fashioned newspaper, where the most important story is placed literally above the fold in the paper so it’s the first thing readers see.

Today, the term has come to be used to describe any type of prime editorial or advertising real estate. In this case, the “above the fold” space on your website is the portion visitors see immediately when their screen loads, without scrolling down.

The most important information on your site, namely your business name, services and phone number, should always be placed above the fold. We even recommend that our clients place their contact form above the fold if possible, so readers always have an easy way to get in touch immediately.

Content Is King

You may have heard the phrase “content is king.” It comes from the new way of thinking about marketing: the modern customer does not want to be marketed to. In fact, they find it offensive.

Instead, they want to “discover” brands and businesses that they love in an organic way. We can help them do this by providing great content that informs and entertains. Your site’s excellent content is your number one opportunity to “sell” the visitor.

With that in mind, let’s talk about how you’re going to fill the pages of your site.

The best kind of writing

The best kind of writing for the web is concise and gets to the point. People have an attention span of only a few seconds; it’s your job to say what you’re trying to say within that tiny window, and give them directions on how to read more if they’re interested.

This is not to say that everything on your website must be dumbed down. You can absolutely provide in-depth information and analysis (like this very article, for example).

The key is making it easy—easy for your visitor to read and navigate. Do this by breaking in-depth content into smaller sections or individual pages and adding a table of contents when appropriate. You can also link within your own content to direct the reader to similar topics, like we’ve done throughout this post.

Consistency is key

Have you ever seen an ad for Nike or Coca Cola where Some Of The Letters Were Capitalized but others were not?

Probably not.

That’s because all of their promotional materials go under the microscope for consistency. You should do the same with your website or enlist a trusted friend to proofread it.

Check headlines, menu items, headers and footers to ensure all are formatted the same way. Keep alignment consistent from one page of your site to the next.

Not only does it make your website look like that of a pro, it shows your attention to detail, which is key for any home inspector.

Keep exclamation points to a minimum (!)

Overusing exclamation points is the quickest way to make yourself come across like a giddy teenager. Make it a rule never to use them. Then, when you do, it’ll be because they’re absolutely, completely necessary.

Use headers

Headers serve two purposes: (1) tell your audience what the page is about, and (2) tell search engines what your page is about.

On the back-end of your page, a header looks like this:

< h1 >This is the title of my page.< /h1 >

On the front-end of your page, a header looks like this:

This is the title of my page.

Your header should explain in one sentence or less what your page is about, using keywords that best describe your page.

For example, the header for this page might read ‘Guide To Building a Home Inspector Website.'

The perfect photo

When people hire a service provider like a home inspector, they want to feel like they know the person who will be showing up at their door. Your bio photo is your first chance to give potential clients an idea of what you’re about.

It makes sense, then, that you’ll want to use a nice photo of yourself where you look your best. Don’t just settle for a random snapshot taken ten years ago.

We’re consistently amazed by some of the subpar photos home inspectors choose to use on their websites. Shots where they’re sweaty or have clearly been out in the rain. Shots where they’re wearing a T-shirt fit for mowing the lawn. Shots that were very obviously taken a long time ago (the mullet and moustache are dead giveaways!).

For a great bio photo, we recommend having someone snap a photo of you on a job site wearing casual but professional work clothing. Khakis and a short-sleeved polo work well. Take the photo on a high resolution camera; many of the newest smartphones take hi-res pictures and serve as a great substitute for a traditional camera.

Writing great headlines

A great headline draws you in and makes you want to click on a post, article or page. Exhibit A: Buzzfeed. Scroll through a few of their headlines and you’ll understand that there’s a proven recipe for what gets clicks.

The perfect headline tugs on a reader’s emotions, be it humor, surprise or empathy, and promises a payoff for reading, like getting smarter or having a good laugh.

When you go to write a headline for a page or blog post, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why should a visitor read this?
  • What does he or she have to gain from reading it?
  • Is there anything surprising, unique, funny or otherwise engaging about this?

Let’s use this page as an example. On the surface, it’s a home inspector’s guide for building a great website, and we’ve titled it as such because we think the content will stand for itself.

But let’s say we wanted to put this page behind a paywall and use it to drive conversions to our service. Here are just a few of the “click-worthy” headlines we might use:

46 Must-Know Tactics To Double Your Home Inspection Leads

Your Step-By-Step Roadmap to Becoming the Busiest Home Inspector in Town

A Home Inspector’s Guide To Building a Website That Kicks Ass

See how we used each of the aforementioned tactics? The first one explains why a visitor should read the post: they’ll double their home inspection leads. The second explains what he has to gain: he’ll become the busiest inspector in town. The third has an element of surprise: the phrase ‘kicks ass’ is unexpected (no, we don’t advocate for using profanity, but in certain circumstances it can be highly effective).

Another fool-proof tip is to use a number in your headlines, like '6 Tips' or '12 Mistakes to Avoid.' Numbered lists consistently perform well based on headlines alone.

Suggested site pages

Aside from your website’s home page, your site should have a menu of additional pages that give readers the information they came for. Here are the pages we suggest starting with:

About us

A brief explainer of what your company does along with your bio and company background. If you have multiple employees, this is a great place to showcase your team members.

Your bio should contain a good mix of personal and professional information, as well as any ties you have to the local community. People like to work with a “local.” You can emphasize this by mentioning your sponsorship of the little league team or your membership in the Rotary club.

Not sure what to write about? Here are some ideas for thing to include:

  • Academic degrees
  • Industry certifications
  • Professional memberships like NACHI, ASHI and NAHI
  • Local memberships like the Chamber of Commerce or Builder’s Association
  • Non-profit affiliations
  • Coursework you’ve completed
  • Licensing and insurance you hold
  • Awards you’ve won
  • Personal details like your family members and community involvement
  • Number of inspections completed (if you’ve been in business for a long time)

When mentioning degrees or certifications, we advise not including the year they were completed. People tend to draw conclusions based on age that can work in both directions (too old, too young, too inexperienced, too old fashioned, etc.). Instead just note the education you completed and the degree or certification that resulted.

Remember, the decision to hire a home inspector is a personal one, though many customers never actually meet their home inspector until he or she pulls up on the job site. If you can make a connection with your visitor through your bio, they’ll be one step closer to choosing you for the job.

Services

List the services you provide and explain them in detail. If necessary, you can break these out into several pages, i.e. a page about home inspections, a page about mold inspections, etc.

Here are some items to mention in your home inspection services breakdown, courtesy of InterNACHI:

  • Roof
  • Exterior
  • Basement, foundation, crawlspace & structure
  • Heating
  • Cooling
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical
  • Fireplace
  • Attic, insulation & ventilation
  • Doors, windows & interior

Code of ethics

If you belong to any professional organizations for home inspectors, they likely have a code of ethics you agreed to follow. A code of ethics page is your opportunity to share that professional promise with your potential clients to build trust (in reality, few people will actually take the time to read this, but it’s nice to display anyway. You might decide to put this link in your footer). Here are the codes of ethics for NAHI, ASHI and NACHI.

Important documents

Place forms for clients to fill out here for easy access. You can also include a link for clients to email them to you, or a form to upload them directly on the site. Here are some documents you might include on your site:

  • Pre-Inspection Agreement
  • Online Inspection Agreement
  • Payment at Closing Authorization
  • Radon Inspection Agreement
  • Mold Inspection Agreement
  • Mold Waiver
  • Septic System Inspection Agreement
  • Home Energy Inspection Agreement
  • Some Inspection Report Checklist
  • Sample Inspection

Contact us

In addition to the contact info that’s on your homepage, dedicate a page to providing customers with your phone number, address, email address and a map, along with your hours of operation.

You can also add a handy ‘request a call’ button for folks to request a call at a later time.

Blog

We strongly recommend home inspectors—and any professional, really—have a blog. Not only is it a place to show off your industry expertise, it also looks great in the eyes of the all-powerful Google.

If the goal of your website is to drive conversions, the goal of your blog is to build the relationship with the potential client. It’s a less-structured place to share anecdotes, provide tips and let your personality show.

You don’t have to blog every week or even every other week. Once a month is a great starting point to aim for. Blogging is an easy way to keep your site updated with fresh content, which has a positive effect on your search engine rankings.

Think you don’t have the material for a blog? Think again. We’ve developed a list of 20 blog post ideas for home inspectors to get you started.

Pricing

At the end of the day, potential customers want to know one thing: how much will it cost me?

This is not to say price is the only factor that matters; in fact, multiple studies have shown that when given the choice between three nearly identical items at three different price points, consumers most often pick the one in the middle because they feel like they’re getting a deal while not being cheap.

With regard to putting pricing on your site, what matters most is that the customer gets a sense of transparency from your business; they want to know upfront what they might pay for your service, rather than feeling “tricked” into calling you for a consultation.

If your prices vary quite a bit, use your pricing page to explain to the customer why this is the case. Detail the factors that might cause the price to fluctuate, like home size, the age of the home or special added inspections.

Consumers understand that add-ons and better features cost more. They just want to know if they’re even in your ballpark—and this is also the perfect place to sell them on your "extras."

You can even add an easy contact form where prospects can answer a few simple questions and request a more accurate quote. Then you can deliver one directly via email. Here’s a great example of an effective way to list pricing on your site:

Single family homes: Starting at $400

Condominiums: Starting at $275

Commercial inspections: Varies by size and industry

Roof inspections: Starting at $100

Termite inspections: Starting at $75

Four points inspections: Starting at $150

Radon screening: Starting at $75

SEO

SEO stands for search engine optimization—the actions you take to help your page rank higher in Google search results, resulting in more clicks to your website. Let’s look at some background information and steps you can take to improve your search rankings.

The Google machine

If you don’t already know by now, Google is king when it comes to organic search traffic—that’s the kind of traffic that comes from people naturally searching for topics related to your website.

How does Google determine which results it shows to searchers? The site uses a highly complex algorithm to determine which sites will be most relevant to people who are searching.

The Google algorithm is updated on a constant basis, though no one knows for sure what goes into it or how heavily each item is weighted. So what do we know? According to the experts, these are a few of the factors that play into your search engine rankings:

  • Quality. Is your site of high editorial quality, or is it poorly written, copied and pasted content?
  • Relevance. Does it contain relevant material a person might be searching for?
  • Timeliness. Is the site updated with fresh content on a regular basis?
  • Location. Where is the business located? What is it near?
  • Backlinks. Do other high-quality sites link to yours, and vice versa?
  • Page analytics. How long do viewers spend on your site? How many pages do they visit?
  • Social engagement. Do people link to your site or mention it on social media?

While you can’t control all of these factors, there are many of them you can control: namely, providing high-quality content that’s relevant to your potential customers.

Using header tags

As we mentioned earlier, header tags help search engines determine what your page is about. Go back for a refresh on how to write good header tags.

Using meta descriptions

A meta description is a one-to-two sentence description of what your page is about. It shows up in search results along with your page title.

A good meta description should be less than 140 characters and should contain the words and phrases that are most relevant to the page.

For example, let’s say your site’s title is ‘All Pro Home Inspections.’

Your meta description might read something like this: Thorough and affordable home and mold inspections in Jefferson County, Alabama. In business since 1978!

Include title and alt text for all images

Google is a machine, not a human. It relies on us to help it understand what images are about.

You can help by including alt tags and title tags for all of your images (this can be entered on your back-end content management system, like WordPress, when you upload an image).

The title tag is exactly what it sounds like: a title for the image. The alt tag tells Google what text to display if the image can’t be loaded.

Include your location whenever possible

Local SEO is the process of helping search engines recognize your location so that your page can be shown to more people in your area.

How can you practice local SEO? Your city, county and region should be sprinkled throughout your site in a way that feels natural.

We’re willing to bet you use the phrase 'home inspection' on your site quite a bit. Here and there, expand that phrase to something like 'home inspections in the Chicago area' or 'quote for your Jefferson County home inspection.'

Don't overdo it, but do help Google understand where you're based. This way, searchers in your area are more likely to see your site in their search results.

Avoid "keyword stuffing"

It's easy to recognize keyword stuffing when you see it. It's the term for the practice of filling your website's pages with keywords you think Google wants to see—but in an unnecessary, unnatural way.

Here's an example of a "keyword stuffed" passage:

'We're a home inspection business. We inspect homes. Why not hire a qualified home inspector in the Dallas area to inspect your home? We offer inexpensive home inspections for new homeowners.

Want to take one guess what the keyword is?

Believe it or not, in the past this was an effective (albeit cheap) trick to move your page up the search rankings. Google quickly wised up to the practice, though, and now penalizes pages flagged for keyword stuffing.

Not only does it harm your search results, it makes visitors scratch their heads. Your best bet is to focus on using your keywords in a natural way, providing high-quality, relevant content on the subject.

Major mistakes to avoid

While all home inspector websites will be a little bit different, there are some mistakes you should avoid no matter what your site’s layout or content looks like.

Patterned backgrounds

Unless you’re working with a highly talented web designer, we suggest staying away from patterned backgrounds at all costs.

If they’re done right (and in our opinion, there are very few cases where they’re done right), they look okay. If they’re done wrong, however, they look like a mess. They also slow down your page load time. It’s best to stick to a solid background in white or another light color.

Cluttered homepage

As we’ve said over and over, your website’s number one goal is to drive conversions. Don’t clutter up your homepage with things that distract from this goal.

Items that belong on your homepage:

  • Your business name and logo
  • A menu
  • Headlines
  • Small chunks of explainer text
  • Special offers/seasonal sales
  • A few photos
  • A video, if you have one
  • Select testimonials
  • Phone number
  • Contact form (optional – this can also be on its own page)
  • Items that do not belong on your homepage:
  • Long paragraphs of text going into detail about what you do—save these for your individual site pages
  • Your in-depth bio—put this on your 'About Us' page
  • Tons of images. They take up valuable space and slow page load times
  • Basically, anything else. Specific topics belong on their own designated pages.

Going font crazy

Nothing says ‘my kid designed this!’ quite like a website filled with a dozen different fonts. Stick to using just two fonts on your website—three maximum—to keep things looking professional. We recommend choosing one font for headers/menu items and another complementary font for body copy. Avoid script/cursive fonts at all costs.

Using 'read more' links

Some bloggers think they’ve figured out a way to game the system, keeping visitors on their site longer and increasing their pageview count. They do this by showing only the first paragraph or so of an article, then making the reader click ‘read more’ to be taken to a new page with the full article.

This is annoying and turns many readers off. Why make your visitor do more work when they’ve been kind enough to visit your site in the first place?

If space is an issue, dedicate a new site page where you can place the full article or blog post, then link to it in its entirety. Or, offer readers just the headlines of your latest posts and let them click on those they’re interested in reading.

Advertising that you’re new

You probably wouldn’t go to a doctor advertising that she "just graduated med school!" Would you?

But for some reason, we see many home inspectors advertising that they’re "newly certified!" or "new in town!"

When it comes to the service industry, this is a major marketing no-no. You don’t want to give the customer any reason to believe you’re new to the profession or inexperienced.

If you’re looking to jump start your new home inspection business, there are plenty of ways to do this effectively. Namely, offering low-cost or no-cost inspections to friends, neighbors and family members, getting good reviews from them, and promoting those like crazy.

See our blog for 6 more marketing strategies for new home inspectors.

Not getting a second opinion

Before advertising your new website to the masses, you should always have a second (or third, or fourth) set of eyes look it over. It’s amazing how easily you miss mistakes when you’re working closely on a project for a long time!

Ask a friend, colleague or better yet, a seasoned home inspector to look over your site for typos, glitches and mistakes. Ask reviewers to be brutally honest, giving you feedback on usability and places to improve.

Also, check out your site on multiple computer screens using different browsers. The screen size and software can play a role in how your site looks; what looks perfect in Firefox might actually look terrible in Internet Explorer.

Broken links

A broken link is exactly what it sounds like: a link that takes the visitor to an error page when clicked. This can happen for any number of reasons, from oversight to changing page titles to switching web hosts.

To avoid broken links, identify them using a simple link checker like BrokenLinkCheck.com. Then, go in and redirect them to working pages.

Not optimizing for mobile

At the time of this post, mobile web browsing accounts for 51% of all web use. Get it through your head: your website must be mobile optimized.

Most modern WordPress themes (and ours at Inspector Pages) include a mobile-friendly version of your site. If your site does not have one, we strongly recommend investing in a new theme or a developer to help you mobile optimize your current one.

A/B testing

Ever heard the saying 'if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it'? A/B testing throws this mentality out the window.

With A/B testing, you’re constantly tweaking different elements of your website to see how they make a difference in performance. For example, changing your 'Contact Us!'' button from red to green to see which gets the most clicks.

You can practice A/B testing on your own, changing one element at a time then tracking the results over a set period. Or, you can use a designated A/B testing service like Optimizely to pit two variations against each other simultaneously.

Here are some ideas of things to A/B test:

  • Buttons, links and forms: Test different colors, sizes and locations on the page
  • Headlines: 16 Home Inspection Mistakes to Avoid versus Are You Making These 16 Home Inspection Mistakes?
  • Calls to action: Call Now! versus Contact Us! versus Get In Touch. You can also test positioning on the page, color and size.
  • Blog post publishing times: Do posts get more views when published in the morning versus in the afternoon? What about specific days of the week?
  • Contact form: Try placing a contact form on every page of your site. Do leads go up?
  • Different homepage images: A stock photo versus a real job site. A job site versus a shot with people in it. A landscape shot versus a graphic with your logo.
  • Fonts: Does a serif perform better than a sans serif? What about changing the size or boldness of your headlines? Making body text bigger or smaller?
  • Different menu styles: Test a top navigation menu versus a left-side navigation menu. Try a left-aligned menu versus a centered one.
  • Social media posts: Switch up the content, length and style of your posts. Do you get more clicks when you use a certain word or phrase?

Analytics

You can’t manage what you don’t measure. Not only are analytics a key part of A/B testing, they’re a critical yard stick by which to measure your site’s performance.

You can choose to measure a few key performance indicators, like conversion rate, or you can go deep down the rabbit hole and monitor dozens of different analytics for your site. We recommend getting started with a few major measurements.

Pageviews

Perhaps the most basic measurement, pageviews accounts for the number of times any of your sites pages were viewed during a given time frame. This is a good way to measure your site’s traffic month-over-month. It should be growing little by little, or at least holding steady. If it’s not, you may want to take a closer look to see what’s not working.

Duration

The length of time the average visitor spends on your site—the longer the better. Longer visits mean the viewer found what he or she was looking for after visiting your site and stuck around to read more.

Bounce rate

The average percentage of visitors that leave after visiting just one page of your website. As you can probably infer, a high bounce rate is a bad thing. It means the visitor came to your site, didn’t immediately find what he or she was looking for, and hit the road. A high bounce rate knocks points off in the eyes of Google.

Conversion rate

The percentage of visitors that come to your site and take some kind of action—usually in e-commerce a conversion refers to a purchase, but it could also be signing up for your email list, requesting more information with your contact form, downloading an e-book, etc. Conversion rates vary widely depending on what is being measured, but a good ballpark for ….. average rate???

Additional Features

So you’ve got your website up and running. Great! If you want to add a few bells and whistles, let’s take a look at some additional features you can incorporate.

Online scheduling

Give your clients the option of booking their inspection straight from your website. If you’re comfortable copying and pasting a bit of code, you can do this using a WordPress plugin like Schedulicity. Schedulicity is free to install and at the time of this post, costs $19.95/month to maintain the service.

Download the plugin and install it from your WordPress dashboard. The plugin will ask you to set up your scheduling tool, selecting the appearance and layout.

Then, it’ll generate a piece of code that you’ll copy and paste onto the page where you want the scheduler to appear. We suggest creating a site page specifically for this purpose and linking to it in your main menu, or including it on your contact page.

Voila: a handy scheduling tool that automatically sends new client appointments straight to your inbox.

Online bill pay

Do we offer this as a standard feature yet?

Keyword Research and Optimization

If you’ve dabbled in SEO, you know the importance of keywords in getting organic and paid search traffic to your page. As we discussed earlier, keyword stuffing is a major no-no for modern search engine optimization. However, keywords are still an important part of any SEO strategy. We’ll explain how to research keywords in your market and decide which ones to focus on.

Keyword planner

The tool we’re going to be using to do our research is Google’s keyword planner. This tool is mainly used for paid keyword research, but it’s also a great way to get an idea of what your potential customers are searching for so you can write about those keywords on your site. It’s free to use, you just need to sign up for an AdWords account using your email address and website.

Once you’re logged in, mouse over the Tools tab at the top of the page. Select Keyword Planner from the dropdown menu.

Begin a search for new keywords by clicking 'search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category.'' For the purpose of this example, we'll use the phrase ‘home inspections’ with www.inspectorpages.com as the landing page.

Complete the rest of the form by filling in your industry, target language, and location. Then, click 'Get ideas.'

The keyword planner will return a chart showing the search volume for this term over time. Ideally, your target keywords will have a steady or increasing search volume. We’re interested in the section beneath the chart. Click on the tab labeled 'keyword ideas.'

Here you’ll find a list of keywords related to your industry, specific to your location. For each keyword, you'll see the number of monthly searches, the competition level and the suggested bid (used for AdWords campaigns).

If we sort the form by number of monthly searches, we can see that the most-searched term is what you’d probably expect: home inspection. But as you work your way down the list, you’ll see some other related terms you might not be focusing on: building inspector, house inspector, etc.

The next thing we want to zero in on is the level of competition. You can see the first few keywords on the list have a high level of competition, meaning there are lot of other people targeting those same keywords in your market.

But if we scroll down the list a bit, we can find several other similar keywords with a low level of competition but a decent amount of search traffic. This is where we want to focus our efforts.

To capture people searching for these terms, you’ll want to make sure each of these terms are addressed in depth on your site. Ideally, you’ll set up individual landing pages that specifically address each of these keywords, then funnel visitors to the rest of your site.

For example, let’s say you decide you want to focus on 'radon inspector,' (assuming, of course, this is a service you offer). You'd create a designated page on your site where you talk all about your radon inspection services, showing photos, offering pricing and of course, include a call-to-action for interested customers to contact you. You’ll also want to be sure your location is mentioned on the page.

Because there are a significant number of people searching for this term in your area, but the competition is low, searchers will be more likely to land on your site than your competitors.

You can take this one step further into the paid realm by setting up AdWords campaigns for each of your target terms.

Handy Tools We Love

When we find an awesome digital marketing tool, we want to shout it from the rooftops—AKA tell all of our subscribers so they can use it too. Here are a few of our favorite free and paid services that will help you do all kinds of cool things with your site.

BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo is a content research tool that allows you to easily see what kind of content is going viral—and keep an eye on what your competitors are doing. It’s an awesome (and free) way to get great ideas for blog posts. If you use the tool several times in a row, it'll prompt you to register for a free account or upgrade to access premium features.

Use the tool by clicking over to www.buzzsumo.com. You’ll find an entry form where you can search one of two ways—by keyword or by domain (this is where you’d type in your competitor’s website).

For this example, let’s run a search of our own for the topic 'home inspections.'

Hit enter. Buzzsumo will return a list of the most popular posts on this topic on various social media channels. You can filter by date range—past year, past month, etc. If we set the filter to ‘past year,’ we can see that one of the most popular posts is What Buyers Should Know About Home Inspections from realtytimes.com. It’s been shared a total of 3,600 times, with 1,800 of those shares on Facebook. Not too shabby.

We can easily infer, then, that this is a topic lots of people are interested in. We can capitalize on this interest by putting our own spin on the topic, writing about it in our own words on our blog.

In fact, Inspector Pages did just that back in September 2015. We noticed a lot of trending posts offering information for buyers about to book a home inspection. So, we created a free printable tip sheet our readers can offer their home inspection clients ahead of inspection day. Our readers win because they’re offering added value to their customers. We win because we’re drawing traffic to our blog. See how that works?

SumoMe

SumoMe is another free tool built to help you increase conversions from your website. It’s also a unique way to get a visual picture of what’s working on your site and what’s falling flat.

SumoMe uses visual “heat maps” to show you exactly where people are clicking on your site. Based on these maps, you can move calls to action so they’re in more visible places and eliminate elements that aren’t generating engagement.

The program has a simple sharing tool that makes it possible for visitors to share images and content from your site in a single click. You choose which platforms you want to enable sharing on–Facebook, Twitter, etc.—and SumoMe generates convenient sharing buttons that appear when a visitor hovers over an image or quote.

It’s so important to make it easy for a visitor to share your content, especially if your site has a blog. SumoMe makes it possible, no complicated coding required.

Finally, the service offers several different widgets designed to boost your all-important email signups. The ‘SmartBar’ sits at the top of every page of your site, reminding visitors to subscribe for your latest updates.

Another email tool—the scroll box—pops up to politely ask visitors to subscribe. But unlike annoying pop-up ads that cover the content you’re trying to read, scroll box is timed to appear like magic just as a visitor reaches the end of a site page or blog post, completely non-invasive.

At the time of this post, all of SumoMe’s basic features are completely free. Upgraded packages with additional features and support start at $10/month.

Call Tracking

It’s every home inspector’s goal: a consistent stream of clients tying up your phone line to book inspections. While you build to this point, wouldn’t it be nice to know how your existing customers found you and where they’re calling from?

Inspector Pages’ call tracking feature enables you to see exactly how a caller found your phone number, be it from organic search, paid search, social media, print advertising or elsewhere.

Our call tracking automatically assigns a unique phone number for each of your marketing mediums, which then ring through to your normal phone line. Instant analytics allow you to see which numbers are used the most, and hence, which marketing method is paying off.

All calls are recorded to help with lead qualification and training your staff members. Interested in trying our call tracking feature? Shoot us an email.

Wrap Up

Overwhelmed? Don’t be. Building a high-performing website is an ongoing process that can take months to get right. Now you’ve got all the tools you need to create a beautiful website that looks professional, helps more customers find you and ultimately, drives conversions for your business.

Need help with anything you see here? We’re always just an email away. You can also browse our blog for a library of useful topics on marketing for home inspectors.

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