Does your website describe you as a generalist or an expert? When you have a medical problem, do you go to your family doctor or to the specialist? Why do you have a website? Does your website bring in more business? Is your website your primary marketing tool? How can you make it better?

You can improve your website by making sure that you have these five business website essentials. If your website shows that you do everything, I suggest that you focus your website on the two or three services that you offer that provides the highest profit margins. I’m not saying that you can’t do all the other things, but I am saying that it’s best to only focus on a few key items. After all, if you have a kidney problem, you go to see a kidney specialist. When your customers have an air conditioning problem, they call an air conditioning expert, not a plumber.

Susan Friedmann, CSP is the author of the book Riches in Niches: How to Make it Big in a Small Market. In her book, Susan explains you must become the expert. Experts specialize in one area of their field. If you are in HVAC, do you specialize in heating, ventilating, or air conditioning? Maybe you are the ductwork expert and when companies have problems with duct systems, they call you. Maybe you are the go to company when it comes to providing hydronic heating solutions. In the end, specialists and experts make more money than someone who does it all. If you follow this line of thought, then your website needs to reflect it.

The first essential is your website must reflect what you do, and position you as the expert. Your website must be professional and it must establish your credibility. It’s important that people trust you and that they learn of your expertise. Anybody can put up a website, and say they are an expert, but you must create a first class website that demonstrates that you are the leader in your niche or specialty. Your website must position yourself as the person to contact in your field.

The second essential is to have customer testimonials. It’s important to have both written testimonials and to incorporate video testimonials if you can get them. Customer testimonials help you prove your credibility and it’s always better when a customer positions you as the expert, because it’s more believable.

In addition, if your competitors have written testimonials and you have video testimonials, you’re going to stand out from the crowd. Moreover, if you can, include a list of all your clients. If you do mainly commercial work this shouldn’t be a problem, on the other hand, if you mainly focus on residential customers, you’ll need to get permission from your customers before using their names on your website. The more customer names you can include, the more impressive your list of customers looks.

The third essential for your website is to make it interactive. Always include a contact page so customers can reach you. More importantly, having a contact form allows customers to contact you without them having to use their email program to do it. Don’t neglect this important aspect to your website.

Blogs are the perfect way to make your website interactive because it allows you to explain your philosophy and your beliefs. You get reader interaction and you can establish a two-way dialog, which makes you human. Through your blog posts customers come to know and to understand your capabilities. You may be thinking that you don’t know how to write a blog post or you may not even know what you should say. That isn’t a problem because you can hire a writer to capture your thoughts and to write posts for you, you can repost articles with permission from the original author, and you can use these articles as a basis for a monthly newsletter to your customers.

The fourth essential is adding a store to your website so customers can purchase products or services directly from you. You can sell filters and any other products that are appropriate to your business. You can take your website to the next level by creating your own branded products. Regardless of whether your products are filters, humidifier pads, or proprietary products that you’ve created, having merchandise in your web store that has your name on it and providing a means for your customers to buy them from your website, gives you an edge over your competition. The experts call this monetizing your website.

The fifth essential is to use your website as a data-gathering tool. Use it to capture as many email addresses as you can from visitors and customers. You can provide a free special report that a visitor can download in exchange for their name and email address. When someone signs up to receive your blog posts or signs up for your newsletter, you capture an email address. You can then use those email addresses to announce special offers, loyalty programs or just about anything else you can develop.

Just remember, that if you build it they will not come, unless you throw all your effort into promoting it. If your website is your primary marketing tool, then you need to build your digital footprint to drive as much traffic to your site as possible. You can always make an existing website better by refining the content and concentrating on your strengths.

My website contains links to all the marketing articles I’ve written for the HVAC-Talk Newsletter. If you are interested in purchasing a copy of my new book, Navigating the Marketing Maze, click here. If you need a branding consultation, a complete strategic marketing plan, or help with marketing services, call or send an email to discuss your needs.

Andy Fracica is president and CEO of Fracica Enterprises, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in marketing, and social media strategy. He has over 30 years of sales, marketing, and product management experience in the heating ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) industry. He concentrates on helping companies deliver their message in an ever increasingly crowded market by helping HVAC dealers more effectively market their businesses without breaking their budgets. Contact him at 260-338-4554, andy@fracicaenterprises.com or visit the Fracica Enterprises, Inc. website.