HomeGauge News Alert September 2015

Does Your Website Suck? | Approaching Real Estate Agents | Secret Weapon | Training

Does Your Website Suck?

Does Your Website Suck?

Aw, come on man, why are you harshing on my mellow?

This month's News Alert is focused on home inspector websites and how to make them better. At HomeGauge, we work on home inspector websites every day and we come across many of the same problems time and time again. We're going to go through some things to help you improve your website, with a WordPress slant. Remember, websites are continuously changing, and can always be improved upon. (HomeGauge is constantly updating its websites too!) So let's get to the nitty gritty...

Is your website responsive / mobile friendly?

There are a couple of ways to tackle making your website work on mobile devices. The older method is to detect what type of device the user is using and send them to a separate mobile version of your site. This can be done with plugins in WordPress and may be a good option if you're completely satisfied with your current site. However, the more modern approach is to use responsive website design methods. Responsive websites use flexible layouts that change to fit different sized devices. All new WordPress website designs that HomeGauge creates for home inspectors are responsive. Read more about responsive websites.

But why should I care? Up to a third of your website traffic these days may be mobile, and perhaps even more important than that is Mobilegeddon. That's the recent joke amongst SEO professionals, referring to Google penalizing non-mobile friendly websites in their rankings. If your website is not mobile friendly, this year you may have seen a significant reduction in your website's ranking on Google. You can try Google's Mobile-Friendly Test to see how your current website works on mobile devices.

If you currently have a WordPress website that isn't responsive, HomeGauge can move your site to a responsive theme for only $149. Call us at 828-254-2030 for details.

Typewriter Content content content!

Home inspectors having inadequate website content is probably the biggest issue we see with home inspector websites. This is also the easiest thing to fix, especially with a WordPress website. We see many home inspector websites that have a short page about themselves, a short page about their home inspection services, a contact page, and often not much else. Why should you care how much content you have? Having enough quality content has a huge impact on SEO, plus it adds to the selling proposition that your website should embrace. With a WordPress website it is easy to add new content to your website. (Watch our Introduction to WordPress.) We know inspectors can talk about home inspections to no end, so why isn't that enthusiasm on your website too? An important note on content is to make it unique. Copying/pasting content from other sources will hurt your SEO efforts. If writing isn't your thing, HomeGauge can create original SEO-friendly content for your website — up to six pages for only $399.

Basic SEO practices

There's no doubt that SEO (search engine optimization) is the most mysterious aspect of working with websites these days. However, there are many simple things that can be done with a minimal amount of effort. We often get referred to inspector websites to review and are surprised by how often we can't even find what town the home inspector is located. If we can't find it on your website, we're absolutely sure Google won't either, and your site will not be in organic listings in search engines. That said, there are good practices that can be easily followed to boost your SEO on your website. If you want to take the mystery out of what SEO is and how to implement it on your WordPress website, read these two articles:

What are the fundamentals to good SEO?

How do I insert SEO keyphrases on a page in WordPress?

We are firm believers that SEO work can be done by anyone willing to invest the time to learn how to tweak their WordPress site. However, if you don't have the time, or would rather just pass it on to the pros, contact us at 828-254-2030 and ask us about our Aggressive Hosting Plan, which includes search engine optimization.

Your website should sell!

The primary goal of your website should be to sell your services. So why do we see so many home inspector websites that do not? I would even say most inspector websites do not make any attempt to sell. And we understand it, we're all home inspection companies, not marketing agencies. What makes your services unique? What makes you qualified? How can you relate to your customers? Are they afraid of what they're getting into? Can you ease their mind? Do you have any calls to action? Any specials if they call right now or schedule from your website? Or a coupon if they inquire about an inspection?

Can HomeGauge help?

Of course. HomeGauge can build you a brand new WordPress website for only $399, or refresh your existing WordPress website for only $149. HomeGauge has hosting and content creation plans that can help you make your website start working for you. Give us a call at 828-254-2030 and we can provide you with a free SEO report just for asking! (Only available for a limited time.)

Get off my lawn!
Having trouble approaching new real estate agents?

I have an idea that's cheaper and more interesting than sending $50 worth of bagels for a real estate company's next morning meeting. How about providing them with something that is a little more useful than making them buy larger pants? My idea is simple: introduce yourself in an email to a new agent, offering them a free BuildFax Report for any address they like. This could be for an address they are currently representing or for the property their current buyer is investigating. I would suggest targeting just a couple of agents at a time, so you can stay focused. Write them an individual email with personalized information (look them up on the Internet if you need to), telling them you'll follow up with a phone call within the next couple of days. I'll leave the wording of the email to you, but you can say it's a $39.95 value (the normal purchase price), and you'll provide one to them for free. Your cost would be HomeGauge's discounted price of $5, cheaper than a tin of popcorn. Tell them they can just reply to your email with the address they'd like a report for, and you'll send them a link to their BuildFax report. You can purchase the report, create and assign a username for them, and send it to them. You can call them in a day or two (after you see they've viewed it) and ask them what they think. This is a great ice-breaker to get your foot in the door. You could even promise them BuildFax Reports for all future inspections they send to you as a way to say thanks!

Manual BuildFax Report Search (login required)

More info about BuildFax Reports (login required)

Secret Weapon
Your Secret Weapon

Your Secret Weapon is almost fully operational! HomeGauge has just secured a provisional patent pending on a ground-breaking feature never before seen! The first in the industry! It will benefit any HG user that uses HG Services and uploads their report in the web presentation format. It's Interactive and it protects the agents, buyer and seller from each other in terms of liability and facilitates the post inspection process! We will be releasing it soon. Nothing less than world domination for our HG users!

Asheville HomeGauge Training
Training in Asheville!

Our 3-day training class has sold out each time since we started it earlier this year. It's jam-packed with info on how to use HomeGauge Software, HG Services, and includes using the HG Companion with real house props. This training class is hands-on and fun. Our next training class is November 11-13, 2015. Russell will be the main speaker along with others.

Call and reserve your seat today. Southern hospitality and lunch is included! (Hawg jowls, pickled pigs feet, grits, and more.) Cost for the class is $300 for first attendee, $200 for each additional (multi-inspector firms only). Space is limited, so call to reserve your spot today — 828-254-2030.

Get Your Free InterNACHI Membership Here

InterNACHIInterNACHI and Nick Gromicko are still offering any HomeGauge Services user a free year membership to the largest association in the inspection industry! All you have to do is send me an email — russell@homegauge.com — and request it. This is for anyone who has not already been a member of InterNACHI (a $500 savings and thousands in value).

If you like us on Facebook, you will be the first to find out about our next training class. Plus, like us now...and we will like you back!

Until next time,
Russell Buchanan
HomeGauge, President