A large majority of tradespeople are not getting the most out of their websites, and could be missing out on possible new business opportunities, according to a new study.
IronmongeryDirect, online and mail order supplier of ironmongery products to the trade, analysed the websites of 240 trade companies, including those of builders, joiners, shop fitters and construction firms.
Fifty-six per cent of the websites analysed hosted content that had been duplicated across the site or had appeared elsewhere on the internet, therefore reducing the website's search visibility.
On average, construction firms were most likely to be making this mistake with 62% of this sector including copied content on their websites.
The study also revealed that 33% of the websites investigated failed to include a call-to-action, which means they are reducing the opportunities for potential customers to contact them or make an enquiry.
Of all the websites analysed, those in the carpentry sector (80%) were most likely to include a contact form or enquiry box, whereas construction firm websites were least likely to have one (42%).
Using a quality content management system (CMS) to power a website helps businesses to manage a website and its content easily, as well as improve site maintenance. But only 45.5% of trade companies have a CMS system in place.
And only 10% of the websites contained blog posts, which are useful for displaying business news and examples of their best work to customers.
Wayne Lysaght-Mason, managing director at IronmongeryDirect, said: "When it comes to promoting a business and bringing in new customers, having a well designed and easy-to-use website can really help to boost visibility.
"However, our research reveals that the majority of tradespeople are still not investing in a quality website to help attract new or existing customers, with many not even having a call to action or using duplicated content.
"Duplicated content on a website reduces its search engine visibility because the search engine does not know which version of the content is more valuable.
“As a result, the website will be pushed further down the search rankings, reducing the chances of customers finding the company. And if people can't find them or can't contact them, they are likely to take their custom elsewhere.
"Websites are a valuable tool for businesses to shout about the great work they are doing so tradespeople should be reviewing their website's content regularly, and utilising blogs and case study sections to showcase their work to potential customers.
“Those that invest in creating a good website or begin to do so will have a greater advantage when it comes to gaining more custom and increasing brand awareness."
To help tradespeople wanting to learn how digital marketing can grow their business, IronmongeryDirect has created a downloadable guide with some basic tips to support both novices and those already investing in promoting their business online.
The guide offers advice on how to build a high quality website and make the site more search engine friendly, as well as the importance of including calls-to-action so customers can get in touch easily. It also includes information on how business owners can save hundreds of pounds on marketing activities.