Developing a company website may be easier than you think

Have you ever wanted a website for your construction company, but thought it would be too difficult to set up or too expensive to maintain?

Companies specializing in construction-related websites are making it easier than ever to create your own URL. Whether you are looking for a do-it-yourself website or a company to design and upkeep a site for you, the opportunities are available and are probably cheaper than you expect.

YourWebPro is an online tool that business owners can use to set up and maintain their websites. The company offers numerous construction-industry-specific website layouts that can be customized with personal jobsite and equipment pictures. For $39.95 per month, you can set up and maintain an eight-page website, upload and install your own images or download stock photos, and use an online tool to send newsletter or marketing announcements to your customers.

“We have had a lot of success from the website, especially since we started listing it in search engines about six months ago,” says Matt Edwards, owner of Thunder Construction, based in Chicago. “I usually get two or three leads a week from the website. Some of them pan out and some don’t, but when you get a job that’s thousands of dollars, the website more than pays for itself. It’s cheaper than anything else.”

Edwards says he’s never taken any web classes, but the site was easy to set up he can make changes and add photos himself, and then see the changes right away.

YourWebPro also registers and installs the site’s domain name, has 24-hour tech support and creates an e-mail account for the owner of the website. There is no startup fee, and no contracts for use.

“It only takes about two to three days to get the page up and running,” says Gary Spies, chief executive of YourWebPro. “We can’t write the body text about their business, but the business owners can download their images and put in their text very easily online.”

YourWebPro has 14 different industry categories with many different website formats and colors to choose from. If there isn’t a category that fits the owner’s needs, web designers can create a custom website for the business, Spies said.

Savarino Construction Services of Williamsville, New York, has made its bidding process easier and found more subcontractors through its website, which was developed by ACEN.

“We have even received e-mails from vendors and from workers who are seeking employment,” says Debbie Behrns, office manager for Savarino Construction. “And as projects progress, we post them online with pictures. It’s a good tool.”

ACEN, which originally started out with an online tool for bidding, has grown into a website development company that specializes in creating websites specifically for the construction industry or construction-related fields. ACEN designers interview the contractor, finding out exactly what the website is to be used for and what the owner wants. The designers then create a unique website that is specific to the needs of the company it serves.

“We send prospective customers to our website, where they can see what types of projects we have completed, what projects we are currently working on and recent magazine articles,” says Jan Hopkins, business development director for Delaney Construction, based in Gloversville, New York. “The layout of the website is appealing to new visitors and the ACEN software is easy to use – new projects can be added within minutes. It allows us to have an updated website.”

Construction companies can use ACEN software programs to add onto their website’s capabilities. The programs Notifier, Status, and BidGetter allow everything from online bidding on projects to company e-mail and a customer contact database.

“We send out subcontractors and suppliers to our website to view project plans and specifications,” Hopkins said. “Many have commented on how easy it is to view the drawings and find it very helpful — much easier than waiting to receive a hard copy in the mail.”

Customers should expect to wait approximately 30 days for ACEN to design a website. There is an upfront customization and training fee, which varies on the simplicity or size of the website. In general, the startup is about $2000, with a monthly maintenance fee of $50-$100.

To find out more about starting a website with YourWebPro or ACEN, visit www.ACEN.com or www.yourwebpro.com. The web addresses of the construction companies that participated in this article are: www.thunderconstruction.com, www.SavarinoConstruction.com and www.delaneyconstruction.com.