Fair and honest locksmith business owners that pursue excellence in their craft will admit that over the years they have made their share of locksmith website mistakes. If pressed, they’d say they had no idea how it affected their online presence, as long as customers could find them.
When the website designer built the theme, and set it all up for the locksmith, the website worked perfectly, with one exception; that was 5-20 years ago, and a lot has changed since then. Today, the internet landscape has matured. Locksmith website owners have seen their sites fall in search rankings, receive manual actions, and in some instances, get de-indexed.
With today’s aggressive search engine changes, it can be hard for locksmiths to know what to do. There are daily updates, websites getting hacked, and a push to secure one’s site or face exclusion from search queries. The SEO dominated internet has impacted many websites negatively from mistakes the site owners did not know they were making.
What are the nine most common locksmith website mistakes?
Here at The Locksmith Agency, we sat down, sifted through past locksmith website audits, in search of answers. What we found made our jaws drop. There was a repetition of old practices website owners were doing or not doing that is impacting their website and rankings negatively in today’s internet environment.
After much research and note comparing, we have narrowed down the nine most common locksmith website mistakes. Surprisingly many site owners are still repeating these same errors today. What you will discover is how these locksmith website mistakes negatively disrupts your online presence in today’s growing marketplace when updating gets put off or ignored.
1. The locksmith does not own the domain URL and has no control over their DNS records
This first mistake hits a locksmith business hard financially. For many locksmith websites to have an immediate presence online, they can get it set up quickly and inexpensively. Without researching what they purchased, these business owners learn later, they do not own their domain name and have no control over their DNS records. They are merely paying a monthly or annual fee to keep the domain active.
A perfect example is with locksmith franchise websites. If a franchise owner wants to move his location’s website to a different hosting platform, they are prohibited because they do not own the domain and have no control over the DNS records to make the transfer. That lack of control and ownership also has bitten many independent locksmith companies that fell into the same trap from domain resellers.
There are phone companies, website hosting businesses, and marketing agencies that offer domain registration, but the catch is, they retain full ownership rights to the URL and control the DNS records. The danger with them owning the business domain, if a locksmith fails to make their scheduled payment, their website and any email mailboxes associated with the URL can get shut down without notice, and the domain name resold to another buyer.
2. Having a non-responsive non-mobile-friendly website
A non-responsive website theme looks perfect on a desktop computer’s monitor. However, when trying to view these old themes on a tablet, iPhone, Android, or Google Pixel phone, the site will not respond correctly to these handheld devices. Your website’s front page will look pixelated, distorted, or worse, tiny and hard to read.
Why is this important to know? According to BroadbandSearch, over the last five years, mobile user search traffic has increased by 222% versus desktop user traffic.
Furthermore, GlobalStats January 2020 StatCounter shows 52.02% are mobile searchers, 45.29% are desktop searchers, and 2.7% are tablet searchers. What does that mean for your locksmith site and business?
With a responsive mobile-friendly website theme installed, those potential customers who could not see your site before, can easily view it now from any mobile device and contact you. Not updating, you risk not connecting with those 55 online mobile customers from the 100 searchers. Is that a loss you are willing to accept?
3. The locksmith website displays poor grammar, misspelled words, and old copyright years
We have found far too many locksmith landing pages when designed or updated; no one took the time to proofread or edit the wording. What was more surprising to discover is the amount of poor grammar, misspelled words, and old copyright years, that still exist on many locksmith websites today.
When a stranded motorist lands on a website looking for assistance, the last thing they expect to find is terrible grammar on the front page of a locksmith site; but they do. When they see misspelled words and poorly written sentences, it sends up red flags and tarnishes the company’s reputation as being professional.
Also, having old copyright years displayed, a customer can’t help but ask the question, “Are they still in business?” If your site does not have the current year shown, and you have access to editing the copyright dates, update it or use the copyright formats shown, i.e., © 1-800-Unlocks, Copyright © The Locksmith Agency, or Copyright © 2020 Fair Trade Locksmiths.
4. The main page was never optimized above the fold
Traditionally, 80% of the locksmith service calls coming into the business are from customers needing immediate assistance. They are either stranded, locked out, need locks rekeyed right away, or some other emergency service.
But, what we found on many locksmith websites, the site owner did not have contact information or services offered at the top of their page. That vital information was found in the middle, down near the bottom of the website, or in the footer.
With emergency services, time is of the essence, and each second that passes only delays a customer’s relief. The moment your viewer lands on your front page, what they see, without scrolling down, is known as above the fold. That is your site’s “hot zone,” where the most critical pieces of information are needed most, i.e., the phone number, drop-down menus for services offered, and service areas.
5. Call to action wording or buttons not displayed or hidden
Something as simple as “Subscribe Now,” “View Our Products,” or “Call to Learn More,” added to a website, has changed the course for many locksmith business owners. When the CTAs got added, these owners experienced a rise in service calls or hardware sales; they did know they could get that quickly.
Before that, their belief in asking a customer to take it to the next level was considered too pushy or salesy, and unprofessional. Having it on a website was forbidden, or the call to action words or buttons got placed in a hidden or discreet location on the page.
Today, and unfortunately, that view to hide CTAs is still practiced on many locksmith websites. As a business owner, those call to action words or buttons is how consumers regularly purchase online. If your services or products are what they want, then make it very easy for them to buy from you by adding call to action words and buttons.
6. Locksmith website is not secure due to missing SSL certificate
Have you experienced getting one of these types of messages in your browser when clicking on a link?
That message is warning you the website you want to go to is not secure and to protect your computer stop and go back. Online consumers have become more aware of landing on a dangerous site that could infect their computers. When they see messages like this, they immediately turn and go back.
Google announced back in 2017 it would flag all websites missing an SSL certificate as not secure and potentially face exclusion from search results. To our surprise, we are still finding reputable locksmith websites that are not secure. Do you know if your customers get similar warnings when they click a link that directs them to your site?
If you are unsure if your domain is secure the time to check is now. Here is the quickest way to find out. Does your URL start with HTTP or HTTPS? If it begins with HTTPS, it is secure. To learn more about securing your site with HTTPS , check out Google’s Search Console Help section.
7. Locksmith website uses bland stock photography
Whether a locksmith business realizes this or not, they do have a voice, a tone, and a brand that represents their company perfectly. It is visible in their employee uniforms, the store’s signage, and the custom imagery displayed on their service vehicles.
What we have discovered with their visual symbolism, it gets removed when the website only uses bland, stagnant, or manufacturer stock photography. A locksmith company is not dull. It has a personality that comes to life daily. When the vehicles hit the streets, they are recognized immediately throughout the community.
The key for customers to connect with your company comes from the imagery they see on the website. Ask yourself, “Does the service van look like the picture seen on the site? Does the employee uniform from the Meet Our Team section on the web site’s About page look like the individual who just showed up?” Believe it or not, customers will remember these little details we quickly take for granted.
8. The site has non-personalized and outdated content
Throughout the years, we have located an overwhelming amount of locksmith websites with none or minimal, non-personalized content on their sites. What was published was good, but much of the material did not answer the searcher’s question or is no longer relevant or in use today.
To personalize each piece, it must get written and tailored for a specific locksmith company, in and around their service area. For instance, “How much does a locksmith charge?” is less personal than “How much does ABC Lock & Safe charge?” “Can a Tampa, Florida locksmith make Mercedes keys?” is more personal than “Can a locksmith make Mercedes keys?”
A huge factor for a locksmith website to rank high is a steady stream of weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly personalized content pieces, continuously uploaded to the site. Where it begins is with articles, blogs, case studies, and white papers.
9. The website does not highlight the locksmith’s top services
When auditing websites, it is quite surprising to find locksmith companies on their sites stating they offer Automotive/Residential/Commercial locksmith services. However, they do not have any additional pages to expound further on the services provided, where they excel, and how they can solve their customer’s problems.
We stress this to all of our clients, “Highlight your top services on your website!” If you offer Von Duprin repairs, then put up a page and let your customers know. If you provide glass door pivot replacements, take some snapshots and upload that to your site.
One of the most significant financial setbacks locksmiths have faced is not letting their local customers know what all they can do for them; until now. You have a virtual platform at your disposal. You can become the leader in your field by sharing, informing, and educating your community what it is you do. Nothing is holding you back from using your website as an instrument to bring your company more business.