I recently posted on the Facebook group for therapists to share their websites. I was interested in how functional your websites were.
Most of us know the importance of having a website – it gives us credibility and a presence in the marketplace, and is a way for us to share information regarding our services and products.
But there is a difference between a website that simply gives information and one that performs specific business functions.
How your website looks and feels is important to customers; it creates a first and lasting impression of you and your brand. So you’ll want to make sure you do it well.
The anchor of a website
The anchor is the first thing that catches the eye when someone looks at your website. It should instantly tell the visitor what you’re all about and how you will be able to help them.
On most of the websites I looked at, the anchor was either the company logo or a picture – perhaps of dogs running on a beach or field. They were beautiful pictures, but they did not tell me what you did and what you offered.
Your anchor needs to convey your unique selling proposition (USP), which should be easy to pick up at a glance. What is it that distinguishes you from your competitors? It may be that you offer home visits, you are open 7 days a week or you see all animals, including large animals. You need to decide what your USP is and use it to your advantage.
An anchor is text, not just a logo or picture. It should be a short, well-worded sentence that tells a visitor how you can help them or what you can do for them.
Here is an example of my website: www.drmegankelly.com
When you look at this page your eye is drawn to the text:
“I help pet owners by educating them to make the right choices for their pets’ health, so that all pets can live healthier, happier and longer lives.”
So if someone came to my website they would know that I can help them and their pet by educating them. If this is something they are interested in, they will continue looking at the site. If they are not interested, they will leave.
Next, you need a call to action. This is usually a button asking your visitor to do something. You could say MAKE AN APPOINTMENT NOW or FIND OUT HOW WE CAN HELP YOUR PET. These are just examples, but the idea is that the visitor is invited to do something that will connect them with you. I get my visitors to subscribe to my newsletter by offering them something free that will benefit their pet – it draws readers in and adds to my database of potential customers.
Eliminate clutter and noise
You do not want too much content on one page – visitors will get information overload. It’s tiring sifting through content, trying to find one or two useful pieces of information. If there is too much information, visitors will leave your site. Keep it simple, clean and to the point.
Is your site easy to navigate?
This is so important. If a visitor finds it difficult to navigate from one page to another on your site, they will get frustrated and leave the site.
Is your website mobile responsive?
I know that 93% of the people who visit my site do so on their mobile device. (I know this by checking out my Google analytics.) You design your site the way you want it, then optimize it for cellphones.
Do you update your website frequently?
Technology is continually changing and we need to make sure we keep up. A good website is updated on a monthly or even weekly or daily basis. Google ranks websites according to how often they’re updated, so updating yours frequently keeps it prominent and easy to find.
One of the first things I noticed on the websites I checked out is that many were outdated. An enquirer would not easily find these websites, and once they did, they might not trust the information they found, since many were obviously compiled some years ago. Take a little time to tweak and improve – keep it interactive, change the graphics, add a section, add links to other sites, introduce a little humour – re-design if necessary. Styles and ideas change, and websites must reflect this.
Are your social media platforms integrated?
Does your website make it easy for people to connect with you on your social media platforms? Are your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc buttons visible on every page? I recommend these go into the footer of every page.
Take a critical look at your website and see how it performs against this website functionality checklist:
- Does your anchor tell your visitor what you can do for them?
- Is your USP distinguishable?
- Do you have a call to action button?
- Is your website clutter free?
- Is your website easy to navigate?
- Is your website mobile responsive?
- Are you updating regularly?
You’re a professional but you’re also a business, and if we want our businesses to thrive, we have to keep a lot of balls in the air at the same time; a great, regularly updated website is a ball you cannot afford to drop.