5 Common Website Mistakes That Hurt Your Ranking And How To Fix Them

Common website mistakes that hurt contractors, and how to repair them
Chris Lonergan
Chris Lonergan March 13, 2024

Whether you have a professionally designed and built website, a website that your friend or your cousin made for you, or a DIY website you made yourself - there are a few common website problems that we see on a regular basis when we meet with new contractors.

No matter what route you take, it is easy to make a mess of your website and contractor marketing - and that means your website might not rank in Google.

Let's talk about five common home service company and contractor website mistakes that we see, day in and day out, and how to fix them now to start repairing your ranking.

Not Mobile First: Missing Out On Major Search Traffic

When you DIY or work with designers who may not be up-to-date with the latest and greatest trends in web design, you may end up with a website that is not built Mobile First.

What does Mobile First Mean?

It's what is sounds like - mobile first means you design and build your website from the ground up with mobile devices as the priority.

Your website should work well on the smallest and weakest devices. As screen sizes grow, your website should gain visual appeal, design elements, and functionality.

This is different from more recent website design trends of mobile-only and mobile-friendly sites.

Why Mobile First Is Important

Since 2020, Google has switched to a mobile-first indexing approach, meaning that if your website was built before then, you may not be getting the most benefit from it for your mobile and desktop search results.

Your website can rank differently if someone searches for you on a phone versus a desktop. With more searches happening on mobile instead of desktop, you can miss out on getting better website visibility for the majority of people searching for your business.

Switching To Mobile First

Unfortunately, this fix is not a bandaid. Mobile first is a structural change in your website, so it's not something you "add" to it. Simply put, it's how you make your website.

If it has been a few years since you built your site, chances are it needs an update for more than just "mobile first" sake. Take the time to rebuild your website properly —and consider it an investment in your future business success.

An hourglass showing the progression of time on a laptop keyboard

Slow Loading Websites

Everyone has dealt with it and hated it.

What happens when you try to Google something and you click on a link and then…

…Nothing happens.

No matter how many times you click, open in a new tab, and refresh - the website just won't open.

You back out, abandon that attempt, and try to find another website that will load for you.

Even if you rank for a popular search term now, you won't rank for long if people can't access your website.

Balancing Visual Appeal And Functionality

The tricky part is that fancy widgets, images, and videos can make a website look enticing.

But every splashy element you add to your website can also slow it down. These little elements can add up to significant extra loading time.

If a site takes more than a few seconds to load, the website visitors you've worked so hard to earn will never make it to your contact page.

Technical Optimization: Under The Hood SEO

You're not going to make a car go any faster by painting flames on the side. You'll need to get under the hood to make improvements to your site's efficiency and speed.

That may look like…

Image Optimization

Using free online "image file size optimization" tools like Squoosh that give you an image that looks good but at the appropriate type and size for online use

File Minification

It may seem silly, but the extra spaces and line breaks in the very code that builds your website can add milliseconds of load time. In a fight where every possible moment counts, file size optimization and "minifying" your code can be helpful

Audit What You Really Need

That huge video may look great, that additional form is useful, and your Facebook and Instagram feeds do make that page look fresh - but at some point, you'll need to balance the visual reward with its technical cost. Some of those widgets can be incredibly resource-intensive - loading lots of data inefficiently. Unless it is vital for the lead capture process, it may need to be on the chopping block

Servers, File Compression, Caching, And More

There are many behind-the-scenes technical improvements that many web designers - let alone contractors and home service providers - can't get done without professional assistance from a web developer who knows their stuff. You can only go so far without some intense coding and server know-how.

Built For Looks, Not For Brains

It's important to know what you're asking for when it comes to your business website.

Whether you're working with a friend who's doing you a favor or a dedicated marketing agency, it is important that you understand exactly what you're getting out of the process.

You can have an absolutely beautiful website with stunning visuals and animations, custom-designed illustrations, and unique interactivity features.

But unless it was also purposefully developed with organic search engine optimization as a priority in the planning and implementation of your website, it can be all beauty and no brains.

SEO doesn't happen by accident. For some marketing companies, it's not really even on their radar.

Make Sure Your Website Is Being Built To Multitask

It's important to have those conversations with whoever is tasked to build and maintain your website. At Footbridge Media, we're of the belief that your website should look great and work great at the same time.

If you've had a website for a while and you're not getting much traffic from Google, then SEO may not have been a priority for your initial web designer and builder.

What Can You Do With A Website Without An SEO Plan

If rebuilding your website isn't an option right now (even though it should be a priority for the longevity of your marketing efforts), then there are still a few things you can do to try to help your website presence.

  • Review And Update Existing Website Content

    Your website's existing content may not be a lost cause. You can use tools like Google's Search Engine Console to see how your specific pages have been performing over time. If you have a page that hasn't had any position improvements recently but is still a good topic that your customers may be interested in, consider updating that content and expanding that page's topic.

  • Fix Technical SEO Problems

    While you may personally not need image "alt" tags, search engines and some people require written descriptions of visual content to understand what's happening on your website. Do some research on "internal linking" and appropriately connect your pages within your website. Ensure your "sitemaps" are up-to-date and that Google can crawl your website structure to best understand your website.

  • Focus on Local Optimization Opportunities When You Can't Fix Your Website

    If you can't work on your website, consider bolstering your local optimization and Google Business Profile success. One of the easiest ways to do that is to systematically ask your customers to leave you Google Reviews. While it doesn't fix your website problems, it may help get you more local leads so that you can gain enough financial security to upgrade your online marketing efforts elsewhere.

Single-Page Websites: A Shallow Web Experience

A very common trend recently is to have a single page website. While elegant, simple, and sleek looking, it doesn't give you very much opportunity to gain traction with search engines.

While perfectly acceptable as an "Under Construction" page solution compared to having a "parked domain" page, single-page websites are the starting point, not the final solution for a business wanting to gain online visibility.

Improve Usability And Add SEO Targets

Luckily, single-page websites have a simple enough fix - add more pages. While you may need to muddle through some code or design tools if you're DIYing, you need to incorporate a menu and develop a structure for your website.

A short single-page website doesn't have the chance to provide detailed enough information to search engines to establish itself as an authority in a subject matter.

Single-page websites (specifically for contractors, home service providers, and small businesses) that scroll for miles are not user-friendly or easy on the eyes.

A Structure To Prove Your Expertise

Creating a structure with multiple pages—at least one long page each for your Services and Service Areas—will give you more opportunities to demonstrate your expertise to both people and search engines.

Websites Gone Stale: Freshening Up Your Online Presence

One of my biggest marketing pet peeves is going to a website that clearly has been around for a while, visiting their projects or gallery images, and seeing a "Coming Soon!" placeholder collecting digital dust.

If your website and business have been active for years, you've had plenty of time to add a single image to your website.

Your website launch is not the last time you work on your website.

A very old computer - outdated CRT screen

Editing & Adding Blog Content

Fresh content is key. While adding new relevant blogs that can help to inform, entertain, and educate your potential customers is great - don't forget about the option to update existing content.

Featuring Projects And Reviews

Showing off your real-world projects and customer interactions is a dead simple way to add pages of content to your website that will help influence potential customers and search engines to identify your business as the best one for their needs.

Frequently Asked Questions As A Sales Assistant

If you feel like you're always repeating the same answers to the same questions over and over, those common objections may be best answered on a "Frequently Asked Questions" page of your website. This can be a great resource for customers who may not have time for a call immediately but are still in the contractor selection phase of their customer journey.

Fixing Your Web Problems And Avoiding Website Mistakes In The Future

There is a lot that can go wrong, quickly, when it comes to websites. And if you don't know you have a problem, you may be wasting months and years of optimization time. Time you can't get back.

By properly planning and trusting your website and online marketing needs to an industry expert like Footbridge Media, you can set the foundation for your success and grow your business.

Contractor web design and development is just one part of the comprehensive online marketing services that Footbridge Media offers contractors and home service providers just like you. Enjoy the benefits of 20 years of contractor marketing services without adding the cost of a full-time staff to your company's bottom line.

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