So why is it a problem if your landscaping website takes a long time to load? Let’s say a prospect is scrolling through their options when typing in “landscaping company near me.” They are provided with a handful of companies. And since they just moved into their new city, they can’t go off of referrals or past experiences. They see a company has a 4.7 star rating on Google with 100+ positive reviews. Good sign! But their irrigation system is broken and it’ll cost them a fortune once their utility bill arrives. So they are in need of somebody FAST.
They are a young couple who grew up with the internet, so they’ve visited thousands and thousands of websites. Due to the mass amount of website’s they’ve visited (and critiqued) they’re pretty picky. So, they hop on some different websites and, unimpressed, the husband is getting anxious. Just like going to the grocery store, he is overwhelmed by the amount of options for the same darn thing, and therefore indecisive. On half of the sites he visits, he can’t find the information he’s looking for, like pricing, testimonials, a contact button, etc. On the other half, he doesn’t even let the homepage load because it takes too long. Remember: Because he’s maniacally and anxiously searching, he’s not really thinking much. He’s just frustrated and IMPATIENT.
In today’s reality, about half of all website visits are abandoned if the website takes three seconds or longer to load. The exact number Google provides is 53%. Crazy, right? And to think many people are completely dumbfounded as to why their website isn’t converting when a prospect visits it—half of them are leaving before they even get a chance to look around and make a qualified decision! The importance of instant gratification cannot be overlooked as we have come upon a generation of eight-second attention spans.
The analogy we walked through focusing on the impatient prospect looking to hire a landscaping company has one MAJOR caveat. In the decision-phase, where he’s looking through a list of companies to call, the chances are slim of even considering anyone not ranking on page one of Google under “landscaping company near me.” So not only do you need to be on page one to even have a shot in the running, you also need a fast, mobile-friendly website. Whitespark did a study in 2020 identifying what many industry-leading SEO experts believe are the biggest factors in how businesses rank in local search results. Of the 50 top factors, having a mobile friendly/responsive website came in at number six.
Prospects engage in mobile searches predominantly when they’re in the “buy mode.” They’re on the go and pull out their smartphone to get answers fast. So how can we respond in this micro-moment and ensure we get contacted first?
I’m not going to dive into all the complexities involved in making sure your website is fast-loading, but rather paint the picture of what’s involved at a fundamental level. Here are my top three suggestions.
This ratio describes the relationship between creative written content, and website code. You see, there are many websites that use beautifully styled templates with animated objects and parallax motions, which appear engaging and professional. This is not inherently a problem; the problem is that these sites indicate a lack of real effort by the marketing team. Google and other search engines need to distinguish between websites that inform and educate their prospects in depth and those that were created in a “set it and forget it” manner. A website is like a home: needing constant updates, additions and extra amenities to provide for the guests who come visit. “Can we grab you a beverage, let you know where the bathroom is, etc?” Visitors to your website need content to help them navigate the site and answer their most important questions. Page content should describe the company’s services in depth and why those services benefit the prospect. Blog content should reflect the search patterns of prospects in discovery mode as they’re researching options.
Content creation should follow a strategy identifying which topics are most important to cover and are likely to lead to new business. Type in searches related to your business into a tool like answerthepublic.com to generate a list of popular topics to write about.
Let me make this really simple: Large images take longer to load than smaller images and image size can be reduced without sacrificing quality. This is extremely important to take into consideration. Images take up about half of the entire size of a website, according to httparchive.org. When we reduce size of our images, the content delivery system doesn’t need to work as hard, making your site much quicker. Luckily, none of the image compression has to be done manually thanks to plugins like imagify.io, available on WordPress. Our recommendation for a website builder is WordPress, due to its plugins and global recognition. We believe this option is best for landscape contractor websites. This article by imagify.io gives all the information you need to know about image optimization. Simply install the plugin for your website (if using WordPress) and start the bulk optimization process. Boom! The work is done for you and your website is faster. Lat I put it to the test, I noticed a mobile site’s speed increased from a 30/100 score to a 90/100 score, using Google’s pagespeed insights tool.
Using a WordPress plugin
Now I’m going to show you a solution we’ve recently found and implemented on three websites. In two-three clicks, we boosted website speeds on each site from between 30 and 50 to between 90 and 100. This was a game-changer, provided as the hands-down best solution for our websites from other experts in our field. This one plugin is called NitroPack. With NitroPack, you create a free account, type in the website address you want to optimize, install the plugin on your WordPress dashboard and login through your Nitropack login details. You go into your NitroPack settings on WordPress, and “enable cache warmup.” Then BOOM, it does all the work for you. I’m not joking, the website I just optimized by selecting that option alone (without any other work on the site such as image optimization) skyrocketed from 36 to 91 on Google’s pagespeed insights. So I highly recommend giving it a go (again it’s available for free) to see what it will do for your site.
Google makes thousands of changes to its algorithm each year, so it’s no wonder businesses must be paying attention in order to take advantage of the biggest search engine in the world. If your business isn’t getting the results from online sources that you’ve hoped for, then I believe this article gives a good starting point for you to know what will start to move the needle. Right now, Google is putting a major emphasis on page loading speeds when deciding which websites to rank. Marketing experts say that it’s a number one priority, and will continue as such due to the importance of user experience.
As you think about the user friendliness of your site, consider the following:
- How fast does my website load?
- Is my website optimized for mobile use?
- Is the layout suited for the prospects scanning patterns?
- Is the site accessible for hearing or seeing impaired users?
- Does the user get all their questions answered in a seamless process?
Remember, your website is the front door to your business. It will either invite new prospects or push them away. For other information and resources on marketing your landscape business online, check out our article on the 5 steps to a profitable landscaping company.
Whenever you’re ready, we would love to help craft a digital marketing solution for your business and stay within your budget. This may be leaving heaps of money on the table for your business, but in reality we don’t know until we get a time to talk with you. We have a list of more than 20 other things that may be just as important to implement right now. Just click the button below to schedule a strategy session and we’ll nail down a strategy according to your needs and desires.