How to build an M&E/HVAC Contractors website.
If you run an M&E/HVAC Installation or Service & Maintenance Business and you’re either looking to re-design your website or maybe you’re looking at building a completely new one, then this article will show you the options and alternatives available and how to do that.
These are the areas that this post is going to cover:
- Which are the best web design tools to use
- How much a new/re-designed website should cost
- Should you use a standard off the shelf construction type company template or get a custom design?
- How to structure your website and the type of content you should create
- Once the site is built, then you need to know how to market your M&E/HVAC business on the internet.
- The best software for M&E/HVAC businesses.
Let’s get stuck straight in.
Which are the Best Website Design Tools for an M&E/HVAC Contracting or Service Business Website?
If you’re a Solopreneur or just starting out as an M&E Contractor and you’ve got really limited funds then a DIY Website Builder will get you started with a simple basic starter site.
The advantage of this type of tool is that they’re really low cost and easy to use even if you have no website deign experience.
The downside? Well, you have to devote quite sometime to doing it, and even though the finished site will look OK it’s not going to win you any website design awards!
As an HVAC Contractor you want people to look at your website and see something that is a professionally built, a website that will reflect well on you, and ultimately whether your potential customers can trust you and your ability to do a good job for them. Your potential customers make immediate decisions and judgements about you and your Business just by looking at your website.
So we strongly recommend that you build your new website on a platform called WordPress.
There are loads of reasons for using WordPress but here are four important ones:
- It’s free – 100% Open Source so no licensing costs.
- It’s Search Engine Friendly so it performs well in Google.
- It’s popular – it’s not a complex tool so Developers and Designers are easy to find and costs are reasonable
- There are loads of low cost (and free) ready made templates that are easy to customise.
How Much Will An M&E/HVAC Business Website Cost?
If you decide upon the DIY Website Builder route, then you need to consider the web hosting costs which are around £6 a month. You can see web hosting packages here.
If you decide to use WordPress, then you have some further choices. You can either use a ready made WordPress Theme (template) – which you still have to customise, or you can get a bespoke custom website built.
If you want to use a WordPress Theme, then to buy one that you like will cost around £40 to £50. Then you’ll need to get that Theme built and customised. We can can do this for £300 to £500 for a website that has between 5 to 10 basic pages. (Home, About, Products, 3-4 Services, Contact, Blog etc.)
If you want a completely unique bespoke custom designed website then the approximate costs will be between £1200 to £1500.
Here’s why we think that customising a WordPress Template is the best bet.
Website Templates vs Custom Web Design
So if you’ve set your sights on a professional looking website built using WordPress, then the two options are to customise a ready made WordPress Template (called a Theme) or you can get your web designer (us) to custom build a website for you.
Let’s look at each in turn.
WordPress Templates for M&E/HVAC Websites
The main advantages of using a ready made WordPress Template are cost, speed of getting a site built, features and customer satisfaction. As long as you can provide the web designer with the content you should be up & running in no time rather than several weeks.
The templates cost around £50, they are great quality. You can see what sort of thing you’re going to get before you start which means that you’ll be more satisfied with the end result once it’s been customised to your preferences You can add/edit/remove Images, choose Fonts, add/edit and delete pages and Blog Posts.
It’s also really important that they’re mobile friendly which is really important as over 50% of web searches are carried out on a mobile device. People aren’t sitting at home or in the office using a desktop. They’re out and about using a mobile phone or tablet to browse the internet.
The terminology is whether it’s ‘Responsive’ which means it adapts to the screen size that the person browsing is using.
The downside is that there is the possibility that someone else will have the same template. But as long as you customise yours sufficiently then the likelihood of someone having exactly the same are pretty small.
Have a look through the following templates: There aren’t many that offer HVAC, so you may have to look at the more generic Construction ones
- Themeforest Construction WordPress Templates
- Templatemoster Construction WordPress Templates
- Free WordPress Construction Templates
Custom Design for an M&E/HVAC Website
The other more expensive alternative is to get a complete bespoke/custom built website. Costs vary widely, as probably the only Marketing agency specialising in HVAC we would normally charge from £1200 to £1500 for a Small Business decent, mobile friendly design. Something more complex with full Shopping cart can be around £2,500
The advantage with something bespoke is that you know exactly what you’re going to get. The downside is that you have to be more involved, provide the content and that means it will take up more of your time.
It will also take longer to build your site – usually several weeks rather than the template based approach.
Structuring An M&E/HVAC Website and the Type of Content You Should Provide
Now that you’ve decided on the type of design, now you need to look at the structure of your website, how it will function and the type of content you need to create for each page.
One of the biggest problems we see with most M&E/HVAC websites is the lack of content. What do we mean by content? – Basically it’s the words on the pages, i.e. describing what services you provide. The mistake everyone make is that it lists out all the services they do on one page. That’s a big mistake.
Well quite simply because you’re not providing enough content for the search engines – specifically Google to understand what your page(s) are all about.
So the first thing you need to do is to write down EVERY INDIVIDUAL SERVICE you offer. Yes, that means writing an individual page for every individual service. So that means creating an individual page for every service you offer. Also every page needs to have at least 500 words of unique individual content.
You have to understand that People and other businesses aren’t searching on just ‘Services’. They’re looking for specific services like ‘Air Conditioning Contractor Twickenham’ or ‘Boiler Repairs Darlington’.
The reason for writing these pages with the word count needed is twofold. Firstly Google seems to like longer pages. Also because Google likes to add unique, relevant and expert content to it’s database.
Secondly your target clients are doing their research into which Contractor is suitable to help them with their problems. Which Contractor will they have more confidence in? Is it one that has a General Services page with a long list of services or one that has a lot of relevant and interesting content for them.
They’ll feel much more confident with an HVAC Business that takes the time to explain in detail on individual pages exactly what they do.
If you think that you can’t write 500 words, imagine that you’re speaking to a new potential customer who is visiting your website. They will potentially have loads of questions. Things like:
- How long will the (installation) take?
- How much does it cost?
- What’s the process?
- Will there be much disruption or inconvenience to my staff?
- Is any planning permission required?
- Will I need a crane and do I need to request a road closure?
- Do I need a Consultant?
- What guarantee is provided?
- What Brands of equipment do you install/support?
- Do you have examples of previous work?
Therefore a good starting point is to create a list of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that your customers often ask then you’ve got the basis for the content that you need for your new website.
How Do I Market My M&E/HVAC Website on the Internet?
It depends on where you operate and on your target market. Smaller HVAC businesses often target a more local markets – usually within a 20 to 30 mile radius from where they’re based, and often their size and Business type means smaller projects such as installation/maintenance of small split systems for Retail and Hospitality Projects, whereas larger HVAC Businesses may target larger regional or even national Installation or Maintenance projects.
Whichever way there are some basics that need to be covered. Above we’ve looked at creating service specific pages as a starting point but here are some other important points:
On Page SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) for HVAC Business Websites
This article explains what SEO Search Engine Optimisation stands for. In over simplistic terms it means making your website ‘search engine friendly’.
The ‘On Page’ part means that you’re making changes to your website – these are directly ‘on’ your website. To explain it further – if you carry out a Google search (i.e. Plumber in Leeds) then you’ll see two or three lines of content for each website listed in the search.
Without making it complicated these are called the Page Title and the Page Description.
So on every one of your web pages you need to make sure that these are done correctly. You do this by accessing the Back-end of your website – the part where you do any editing of your site. They need to be unique to the content on each particular page. Also there are things called keywords (Plumber in Leeds) which need to be written into the webpage content.
You need to include these in the Title & Description as well as in the Headings on each page. Headings are like headings in a document and they help Google understand what the page is all about.
(We can give you a free guide of How to make changes to your WordPress website) Just shoot us an email to request it.
Also use them in the URL (that’s the page name as it appears in the browser). So for example if your domain name is localaircon.co.uk and you are based in Birmingham and your page is about Air Conditioning Repairs then your URL could be localaircon.co.uk/air-conditioning-repairs-birmingham
Then you just need to make sure you have plenty of relevant content on each page. Try and get 500 words written per page.
Off Page SEO for HVAC Websites
So now you’ve done the ‘on page’ optimisation. You now need to do the ‘Off Page’ part of SEO.
It means getting other relevant and related websites to link to your website and it can be quite lengthy. One of the best ways is to get listings on directory sites, as well as setting up local listings with Google, Bing and Yahoo.
Then you need to get listed in local listing websites like these. There are loads of these that are useful that will offer a free listing. Some only offer paid listings, so I suggest just go for ones that offer free ones.
Then look for construction directories (like these) or even trade bodies like BESA, REFCOM, CIBSE, BIFM etc. that you are a either member of already or which you can join. You’ll often find that there are plenty that you can get listed in.
Longer term you can create a blog and add fresh new content regularly (or you can get someone like us to write it for you). You could tackle common questions (maybe something technical) or create content about projects you are working on or have completed. Or maybe take short videos with a mobile phone and create some new fresh content based around this. Whichever format you use, you have to let your target customers know about it. Carefully focused social media (in places where your Customers are feeding and watering) and outbound email marketing can do that for you.
Best Software For M&E/HVAC Companies
So now you’ve got your M&E/HVAC website all set up maybe using a WordPress theme or you got a bespoke HVAC website designed for you.
However for the smaller M&E/HVAC Businesses there are loads of great software tools that can help you manage your business better.
They can handle all sorts of things like:
Pre-sales – Managing leads, creating bids, estimates and proposals, keeping track of leads and even email marketing.
Managing Projects – Task lists, To Do lists, appointment/meeting scheduling, keeping photos, drawings and plans up to date in one place, communicating with your team and external contractors, etc.
Managing Finances – managing payments, issuing invoices, timesheets, tracking costs and keeping budgets up to date
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – Customer login so that they have a single interface for all project related communication and documentation.
Here are a just a few great builder and construction company software options:
For the larger Contractors there are Subscription based Software tools that enable you to find Construction projects in your Region and then make contact with key people involved with the bidding process, such as M&E Consultants, Managing Agents, Main Contractors etc.
Wrapping it all Up
In Summary you can see that when it comes to building a website for an HVAC/M&E business there are a few things to take into account.
You can choose to either build your own website or for a more professional approach a WordPress Construction type Template is a great option. If you have a higher budget you could get a web designer to build a custom construction company website for you.
Make sure that you create a unique individual page for every HVAC service you offer and try to create pages with at least 500 words of content on each – or get someone to write it for you.
To get a high ranking in Google make sure you optimise your website with M&E and HVAC related keywords and include your town or area of coverage too for people searching for local construction companies and builders. Make sure you also write the Page Titles and Descriptions carefully so they relate to what the page(s) are all about
Make sure you get backlinks for your website from local business directories and any M&E/HVAC related directories or trade bodies.
Finally, consider using a professional construction software to help you manage your HVAC business better.
Marketing 4 Contractors specialise in both Building M&E/HVAC Websites but also the marketing of them so it makes your Phone ring. For a free no obligation consultation Call free on 0800 009 6349 or send us an email or book a free consultation.