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Welcome to Module 2 of our online course for funeral directors. This month it’s all about websites.
With so much competition online, the fact that a customer has clicked on your website is in itself a minor victory. Once they are there, you have a short and very important opportunity to give them the information they’re looking for, earn their trust, and prompt them to contact you.
A study done by Chartbeat has found that 55% of visitors stay on a website for less than 15 seconds. That’s a very short amount of time to convert a visitor into a customer, so it’s important to get things right.
Thankfully, websites for funeral directors are relatively simple. At the base line, you need to communicate your key information such as your address, contact details and services. But as with most things, the devil is in the detail. How would you feel as a customer if a website looked like it was stuck in the 1990s, had spelling errors, broken pages and a disorganised structure? What kind of reflection would that have on the business in terms of attention to detail and care about their work?
Take 15 minutes to audit your website for these 10 common mistakes, and convert more visitors into customers.
As a funeral director, your website has one key objective: to get visitors to contact you. General best practice is to include these details somewhere in the top navigation bar (usually to the very right of the navigation bar) so it’s accessible from all pages.
Here’s an example where labelling the page “Directions” instead of “Contact Us”, and an atypical placement in the centre as opposed to the top right, make the contact details hard to find.
And here’s an example where the Contact Us page is hidden in the footer.
Website designers like to leave a link to their website in your footer, because it helps them build “backlinks” to their own website which in turn assists with SEO. However, this leaves your site looking like it was built by a budget freelancer/company. It’s a minor detail but take a second to think whether you’ve ever been to a high quality website which included the designer’s name in the footer.
Really think about who you are and what makes you unique. Why should customers choose your services over the dozens of other funeral directors in the area? It can take hours to craft the right paragraphs to describe your company – so take your time. Copywriters and content agencies get paid millions of dollars to get this exactly right for big corporations.
Keep it short and use headings. Studies have shown that website visitors only read 20% of the text on a page in an “F” shape – they scan content rather than read the full text. Below is an eye-tracking heat map of visitors looking at two websites.
To build your website for scanning visitors, make sure you use short paragraphs and clear headings which summarise your unique selling propositions. Here’s an example of a website with far too much text and not enough headings.
These days, there’s no excuse for an ugly website which looks like it’s stuck in the 90s. There are hundreds of WordPress templates that can be installed and customised quickly, and even a number of DIY and “drag and drop” website builders which people with no technical skills can use to create a modern website (such as Squarespace and Weebly).
A mobile responsive website is one which, depending on the size of the device being used (for example, a smartphone or a tablet), rearranges its layout and resizes images to create an optimal viewing experience for the visitor. It’s incredibly important to ensure your website is mobile responsive because according to a 2016 study by Hitwise, 62% of customers researching consumer services do so on a mobile device. If your website isn’t responsive, you could be missing out on over half of your leads.
Here’s an example of a non-mobile responsive website. The text is so small that it’s virtually impossible to read.
It’s important that your website has a relatively fast load time. Not only does this improve your organic search rank, but Google has also reported that 53% of mobile users leave a website while the page is still loading.
You can easily test the speed of your website on both mobile and desktop using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. The results page also helpfully provides a list of actions your website developer can take to improve your page speed.
There’s nothing worse than visiting a business website, clicking a link, and then being directed to a page that says “Oops! Sorry, that page doesn’t exist”. It shows poor attention to detail.
Understandably, most websites have a considerable number of pages and links and it can be time consuming to check them all on a regular basis. A quick way to check your website is to use a tool like Screaming Frog or Google Search Console and run a “Crawl errors report”.
Personal email addresses (as the name suggests) are designed for personal use. Using an email that ends in hotmail.com, gmail.com, yahoo.com etc. simply doesn’t look professional.
Setting up a business email address is simple, and can be done for as little as $5/month. While it’s a minor point, it reflects on your care for presentation. Can you imagine receiving an email from email@example.com?
Including fresh content is a good way to let families know your business is proactive and current. Importantly, if you include content which is time stamped (such as testimonials, blog posts, community events, etc), it’s essential to regularly add fresh content. Seeing an article about a community event or a customer testimonial from 2-3 years ago with nothing else new, can actually be a deterrent for customers assessing your business.
When visitors come to a website, they want to be guided as to what to do next – that is, they want clear calls to action. Having too many options, or failing to highlight key pages a visitors should click on, makes for a poor user experience.
As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, the primary call to action is for the customer to contact you. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have other calls to action. Guiding customers to an “About Us” section, funeral guides, and testimonials, for example, can help to build up the trust that is required for them to pick up the phone and call you.
Here’s an example from Simplicity Funerals. Arguably, there are slightly too many calls to action on this page, however, we can see their intention and the actions they want us to take: there are several prompts to phone them, a guide to help families plan a funeral, and information to convince visitors to take out a prepaid funeral.
A good website gives the customer the information they are looking for, builds trust and confidence, and has a clear call to action. With more customers now searching for services online than ever before, presenting your services in a professional and polished way isn’t a “nice to have” – it’s a must.
Are there any areas where you could improve your website? If you have any questions, let us know in the comments section below.
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