Your Digital Home
While you devote your time checking homes to make sure they are safe and sound, you may be neglecting your digital home.
The entire internet is your digital home. All the data about you on the internet is called your digital footprint. You want your digital home to be safe and functional too.
Before the summer push of business, now is a good time to do some housekeeping for your digital presence. Fixing and cleaning your digital presence now will keep it running smoothly as you work through the summer.
The reason you want a shiny, clean digital presence is it is a major element in your business branding.
Know Where You Are
To start your digital housekeeping, first, you need to know where you are on the internet. Do a Google search for your business name.
Make a list of all the places your business name appears in the results. Keep a spreadsheet of the URL addresses for reference.
Clean The List
If you haven’t checked your online presence lately, you may be surprised at where your name shows up. You want to clean up any references that are old or out of date or just don’t serve your business like that old neighborhood listing that nobody uses.
Fix and update any listings that are out of date. Freshen them up with new photos. Replace the old logo you haven’t used in years with your new logo.
Remove or delete any references to your business that are not serving your business currently.
Check Your Website
Your website is your digital home. You want it to be as safe and sound as any property you inspect.
In your own home, you want to be comfortable. On your digital home, you want site visitors to be comfortable. You want their website visit to be quick to access and easy to find information. While you may think your website looks good, site visitors, your customers, care about ease of access.
If your website is difficult to navigate or hides information important for customer connection, you need to rethink your current site. If you are on WordPress, it may be as simple as finding a new theme.
Google Search Console
Connect your website to Google Search Console. You’ll have access to data about your website. And reports on Core Web Vitals which will be a ranking factor for all websites coming in May 2021. These web vitals measure signals about how easy your website is to use. They are designed to help you improve the user experience on your website.
Check Your Site Speed
People online, especially on mobile devices, don’t want to wait around for your website to load. If your website doesn’t load in three seconds or less, visitors may be off to your competitor no matter how good-looking your website is.
Speed is so important, and it is part of Google’s Core Web Vitals. Google Search Console reports on the speed for your pages.
The Home Page Experience
Your home page, also called the landing page, may look pretty, but if it doesn’t give customers a good experience, you aren’t winning.
Take a look at your home page and make sure these key elements are in place:
- A visitor immediately knows what you do in 25 words or less.
- They know how to contact you to schedule an inspection.
- They understand your pricing schedule.
After you’ve given them easy access to those three information points, they will probably check your other pages. Make sure your navigation menu displays and is minimal. Too many choices are confusing.
Check your About page. Does it stress how you help your clients? Your years of experience, engineering degrees, and professional memberships help build trust but keep those references brief.
Clicking on a link and having it go nowhere is a frustrating experience for a visitor to your website. Those are broken links. You need to repair those links, so they go to a working URL. Google Search Console displays any broken links, so you’ll readily know what to fix.
It’s the age of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, and it is imperative that your website is mobile-friendly. That means it adjusts to various screen sizes and remains easy to read and use. Google Search Console also reports on your mobile usability.
If you are using WordPress, updating to a mobile-compatible theme may be all it takes. If not, you need to work with your developer to implement mobile functionality.
Those Other Places on the Web
The most important aspect of your digital footprint across the entire internet is consistency. Consistency builds brand awareness. If Superstar Inspections is red, white, and blue on the website and green and beige on Facebook, customers won’t instantly recognize the brand. They’ll wonder if the two businesses are the same or in competition.
Brand awareness is key to recognition and building trust with customers. Make sure you present the same message wherever you are on the internet.
Social media sites like Facebook and Instagram allow you to build awareness outside of your website. Think of them as marketing tools, but not your home base. You own your website but rent space on social media.
Always include a link to your website on social media. If Facebook disappears tomorrow, you want customers to know where you are.
List and Marketplace Sites
From Yelp to Home Advisor to Redfin to Inspect.com, your business listings help customers discover your inspection service. Once again, keep your information consistent with your website.
Check each listing to make sure your information is up to date.
Google My Business
Google My Business is a free listing service that gets you positioned in Google search and Google Maps. It only takes a few minutes to set up.
Once your listing is verified, you can update with specials and posts to keep customers informed.
Since Google is the largest search engine, your presence on Google My Business boosts Google’s awareness of your business activity.
Reviews and Testimonials
Reviews and testimonials are social proof that your business meets customer expectations. These are part of your digital footprint, so it’s important to keep track of what your customers say.
Because testimonials and reviews are part of your digital footprint, it’s important to respond to negative reviews. Use the same skills you use in your inspection reports: be professional and objective. Your answer will be part of your digital footprint. Addressing negative reviews is a reflection of your professionalism.
Your Online Home Inspection
Take the time now to spring-clean your digital footprint. Your website will serve your business, and customers will know how to do business with you.
At Inspect.com we believe your website is your digital home for your online presence. Keeping up to date with your digital footprint makes it easy for clients to recognize your brand and ask for your service. Sign up for your free listing on Inspect.com while they’re still available.
Published in the American Society of Home Inspectors ASHI Reporter, May 2021 issue.