Let me ask you a question.
How many solar installers are there in US?
Well, that was more of a rhetorical question.. actually I do not know either.
But thanks to the open web, I managed to find the number of registered SunPower dealers in US.
As of, September 2012, there were 349… and the break down?
Now, let me ask you a second question.. if you ran an solar installation company in California, you are competition is at LEAST 130…
Fine, granted that solar installation business is a local business, you might the competition isn’t as stiff.
BUT, you have to remember.. that’s just SunPower. What about companies like SolarCity, Verengo, Sungevity, etc..?
Now about dealers that work with SunTech, HanHwa, Trina, SolarWorld, etc..?
Yes, the competition is stiff. VERY. (Did you really expect to sell $30-$50k systems with huge margins and not expect anyone to give you some resistance? Come on..)
When people are looking for solar or companies to install solar on their behalf, people start with the web.
So if your website sucks, guess what, you’re losing on a HUGE opportunity to market to these people who want to GIVE you their money.
Here’s why most solar companies’ websites suck:
1) Stop confusing people. Tell them what the hell they are people supposed to do on your site.
Be honest. If not, do me a favor and ask your wife or your neighbor to look at your website.
Then ask them what they think they should be doing next.
But before you ask, write down on piece of paper what YOU think they should be doing.
Now, does their answer match yours?
If the answer is a resounding NO, guess what.. they’re confused.
(Most) Websites (that aren’t news/blogs) aren’t supposed to be pretty.. they’re not supposed to be funny.. and they’re DEFINITELY supposed to ask the visitor to do SOMETHING.
Stop confusing your website visitors.. tell them to DO something. (Like I don’t know.. generating solar sales leads.)
If you don’t, you’re doing this:
2) People have no idea who you are, what you do, and why they should trust you
Your “about page” should be.. *drum roll*….. ABOUT YOU!
I know, it’s a fascinating concept huh?
But you have know how many corporate websites I see (some belonging to Fortune 500 companies) where you have no idea who they are about or what they do.
Have you ever seen one of these stock photos on some website’s “about us” page?
No faces, no names… and these “people” are EVERYWHERE.
So either these are stock photos or these people run 2/3 of the companies out there.. .. or ARE THEY?
(Insert rich-get-richer-poor-get-poorer corporate conspiracy here)
Remember, people do business with PEOPLE, not with websites.
I know you people aren’t as good looking as I am, but it’s ok to show your face.
(Yes, humility is my middle name.)
If you show that there are people and faces behind the company, people will feel comfortable and safe doing business with you.
3) Your site looks like it was built by a monkey. And hence zero trust.
I know I said websites aren’t supposed to be pretty, but people, this is year 2013!
Monkey scratch websites no longer cut it. And DON’T expect to come to your site (again) with a website that reminds them of this:
Because of the web 2.0 movement on the web (like Facebook/Twitter/Google) that emphasize simplicity in design, people are now conditioned to associate visual aesthetics with professionalism.
In other words, an ugly website makes them think that your company is incompetent.
Of course, there are exceptions.. like Craigslist.
But of course, Craigslist has been around for like 20 years and has 50+ million visitors a year, but your site doesn’t, so please stop making the comparison.
Let me ask you.. would you trust this website?
(Yes, that’s a screenshot of a REAL website.)
As my math teacher use to write when he proved a theorem, Q.E.D (latin for “thus it has been demonstrated”)