To pay or not to pay, that is the question. If you are a contractor or home services professional in Canada, chances are you have been contacted by one of HomeStars advertising sales reps at some point.
Should I pay for my HomeStars listing is a question we get asked a lot by contractors. It’s a valid question to consider. HomeStars has been around for nearly ten years and has worked very hard to be one of the de facto sources for contractor information next to sites like the BBB. If you do a category level search on Google for anything from roofing Vancouver to plumbers in Calgary or home renovations Toronto, you will most likely see HomeStars.com at the top or near the top of every search results page. That doesn’t happen overnight.
HomeStars power with Google is because of the fact that most of the data on the site is user-generated content. Homeowners writing reviews is something Google places very highly in their algorithms in determining what a homeowner would want to see when doing a search for home services contractor.
So let us talk about how to take advantage of that and answer the question, should I pay to upgrade my HomeStars listing?
If you have a business that cares about customer service, and you are in this for the long haul, you should have a listing on HomeStars.com. Start with a free listing. Free listings come with a lot of features and allow you to post contact information, request and respond to reviews and put their logo on your site. The fact is by simply HAVING a HomeStars listing when a homeowner does a Google search for your business more than likely your HomeStars listing will show up on that first page of results. (with or without any reviews) Just like the BBB or a site like Houzz, Google assumes that if you are looking for ABC Business you are also looking for information as to how reputable it is. So by getting a profile and completing it and having some of your good previous clients write some reviews on your business you are assured that when someone sees your business name somewhere and checks you out online they are going to see reviews from your best clients. On a third party site that is fairly trusted for accuracy so this is MUCH more powerful than having those clients write testimonials on your own website.
So should you pay for a listing on HomeStars?
It depends, you get all of that reputation power whether you pay them or run a free listing. In fact, I know many contractors on the site that get a ton of work from their HomeStars profile that never pay them a dime. Those people have worked hard getting reviews and ranking fairly highly in their category and just like Google results people tend only to look at the top few results on a page.
4 reasons to pay HomeStars.com
You are a business that offers many services or services many different locations.
HomeStars basic listings only let you list your business in one service area and one category. So if you are a plumber that also does gas line installations, and you want to show up in both, you are going to have to pay HomeStars
You want to add photos of your jobs and your business.
Basic listings do not let you add photos or a company logo. However homeowners are allowed to add photos to their reviews, so if you have a great client, you have asked to write you a review you can ask them to post photos of the work as well.
You are highly ranked on HomeStars or in a competitive category.
Homestars is about content. If you are in a category with a lot of competition and you are near the top of the results page, it can make sense to upgrade. It will keep you at the same level as the other paid listings or make you stand out from other basic listings that show up near you in results.
You don’t want competitors ads showing up on your profile page.
HomeStars basic listings have a “you may also consider” type advertising model. Essentially paid listings in your category show up on the profiles of free listings so if you don’t want your competition adverting on your page, or you would like to have some advertising on HomeStars you will have to upgrade.
If you are a new business on HomeStars, save your money in the short term. Although $200-$250/month isn’t a LOT of money, you aren’t really going to see the net benefit of leads from HomeStars without a lot of work getting reviews to that site. If you are set on upgrading make sure you complete your profile and respond to ALL reviews that come in (not just the good ones)
As with any business, your best bet is to have reviews spanning many sites. Look at a tool for collecting feedback from all your clients and give them the option of posting reviews to the site of their choice. One client may prefer Google and another may prefer FaceBook to HomeStars.