Why Your Website Still Isn’t Finished Yet: Part 3
You spent a LOT of your spare time and money, but your website isn’t QUITE done yet.
You are probably wondering how to finally finish your website and get on with your business and your life.
You’ve even made it through all the mental roadblocks (see part 1 and part 2)
Congratulations.. you have a live site! This is NO small thing! But something still doesn’t seem “right” just yet. Why?
The short answer is:
A website isn’t supposed to ever be “done!”
What? That doesn’t make sense, you say. Why am I paying for a website if it never gets done?
A website is what some would call a “living entity.” It is designed to be an evolving and dynamic process, rather than a digital thing that sits on a server somewhere while you hope it attracts clients.
Paradoxically, your site can save you a lot of work, but it also requires some work as well.
Fortunately, its the kind of work that feels productive, like creating a new video to educate your audience, or researching the keywords your new target audience is most likely to type in a Google search.
Nurturing your website also saves you from the work that feels unproductive and draining, such as dealing with answering the same old questions, “price shoppers and tire kickers,” and the wrong types of patients, guests, customers, or clients for you.
It puts a large chunk of your marketing on autopilot, even if much of your marketing is done offline.
A website is something you (and your clients, patients, customers, and guests) interact with.
A website should reflect your current story and philosophy. I’m not the same person I was a few years ago, and this reflects in my site.(s)
People don’t JUST buy “acupuncture” or “chiropractic services” or other services anymore unless it’s a super cheap commodity. Good luck with that. They are interested in YOU and what YOU have to offer, and how it benefits them, of course!
This is obviously important for coaches and acupuncturists, but it’s also important for the hospitality and tourism industry. What makes a place worth booking or a tour memorable? The vibe. The hosts. The guide. The experience. The uniqueness of the place. It’s about more than the latest remodeling project or whether or not you have a swimming pool.
PUT THIS ON YOUR WEBSITE! Tell your story and how it relates to your avatar on your ABOUT page. Show your photo. In your own natural habitat. Skip the Linked in Corporate Headshots. People want to connect to other real people nowadays.
Which leads me into..
How to finally finish your website (kind of)
1. Repel Vistors. But only the ones who are NOT right for you.
This can also change, as you and your business evolves. For example. Perhaps previously you were seeing patients for pain.
As in ANY patient who found you on Google and walked through your door..
(and this made you tired and frustrated..I get it!)
So you decided to change your focus to functional medicine to manage chronic pain, autoimmune conditions, and and hormone balancing. You are slowly creating great blogs and articles about all of this.
But that’s not the ONLY change you may need to make.
It’s not enough to make just the obvious changes in your services tab or blogs.
You will want to update your site to focus on making the entire site appeal to your “avatar.”
Let’s say for you it looks like this:
Jenny is 45 years old, affluent, proactive about her health, educated, loves cycling, hiking, is into metaphyiscal concepts, lives in the mountains of Colorado etc.
You will want to make sure your entire site will attract the Jennys out there..
… and yes, via branding and content, actually REPEL 75 year old Joe who is grumpy and wants to know how much it will cost to “fix” his back today. (this isn’t age-ism, but about making specific decisions about the demographic you want to work with.. some may prefer working with older patients) I don’t know too many who want to work with grumpy patients who want a quick fix, though. This is draining.
Another clinic may want to do the complete opposite and focus on being a high-volume low-cost pain clinic that doesn’t have time for lab testing, postural assessments, nutritional and lifestyle counseling, or individualized treatment plans. Perhaps with a specific focus on seniors.
It’s your choice. Yes, you want to be THAT specific. Of course, it is possible to have a few “avatars,” but … remember.
A generic site that appeals to everyone, attracts nobody.
The concept of attracting your ideal client should be built into every function of your site. (For most, the most functional thing about their site is their contact form and phone number!)
This means the way you come across, your writing and communication style, the images you choose, your branding. EVERYTHING.
It includes how you educate and screen out the kinds of people you don’t want to waste time with.. and have your ideal patient, guest, customer, or client say YES! This is the one I want to work with! She’s talking directly to ME, and it’s uncanny!
This is what I did in my practice, and it works for acupuncturists, chiropractors, coaches, and holistic entrepreneurs.
This also applies to the hospitality and tourism industry. A good website for your guest house or Bed and Breakfast will include a sharp focus on your ideal guest and how to attract him or her!
For example, a hostel appealing to a younger audience should design their site to appeal to a younger audience via the same principles.. and yes.. by default, repel an older audience. Not via ageism, but by making it clear that you offer basic accommodations and a party atmosphere, if that’s what you want to create.
Another guest house or even hostel would want to do the OPPOSITE. For example, I use hostels. I’m 52 years old, and I prefer a quiet space where I can relax or get work done. Show me an accurate but attractive room photo, a good “vibe,” good wifi, no stairs to haul luggage up, NO partying.. and proximity to a train or bus station and I’ll book!
What does your new “avatar” look like?
2. Add some new marketing tools!
So let’s say you start out with a basic site for your new practice or Bed and Breakfast or online coaching business. This is great! You have 8 pages, links to online booking, an about page, a blog, and a contact form.
This is just the beginning. A website is a powerful tool that can be used to build your email list, link to social media, house online courses or a membership site, and more.
Don’t just use your site as a “glorified brochure,” Which is what many, many business owners do.
Let’s take this a step further and talk about something called Conversions.
You want people to do DO something with your site once they get there.
Do you want them to sign up for a consultation? To book a room? To subscribe to your email list? Download something? Make a purchase?
This of course, helps your business. But it also improves your Google rankings!
Think about it. Google wants users to have a good experience. It’s just like Facebook.. nobody is interested in a cascade of worthless clickbait.
When you get to a site, you want something that is worth your time and offers something of benefit that only you can offer.
So if you are still using your old 2009 site with just your phone number and address and a list of conditions that acupuncture can treat, or the same ol’ same ol’ photos of a room with a bed for your vacation rental, you need to make some changes.
You want to do this NOT just to stay up to date and relevant. It’s also essential these days to take advantage of a website’s ability to inspire a CALL TO ACTION.
You want to make it easy and compelling for visitors to your site to take the next step in your process (or sales funnel, in marketing-speak).. via many tools and plugins available today.*
3. Data can give you some powerful insights. Start using analytic tools!
I wish I could tell you that you don’t have to pay attention to numbers and data.
I wish I could tell you that branding and picking pretty colors, investing in professional photos of your rooms, and writing an article about how great acupuncture is will be all you ever need.
This is a great start! BUT..
How will you KNOW if all this stuff is paying off? Is it ALL just about bookings and sales calls? Is this the only “metric” one can use to know how much progress is being made?
Of course not.
Real marketing is also about defining objective goals, but also metrics, or data that can be tracked so that you can know if you are heading in the right direction, and what your next strategy for the next few months will be.
Enter the left brain.
Analytics (Google is the most well known, but there is more) can give you insights about your site, what needs improvement such as traffic, bounce rate, user flow behavior, Google rankings, links, and even how “trustworthy” your site is.
This will help you “tweak” your site. I’m a fan of regular website audits.
I do know that many build a site and then just let it sit for years. They are definitely missing out on an opportunity to use their website to build their business.
4. ADD some juicy content!
You MUST keep adding content.
This is one of the cornerstones of a good SEO strategy. SEO is a complex art and science. It’s quite involved. But when explaining it to laypeople in a nutshell, it comes down to these basics:
1. Basic SEO setup: Your URL, title, keywords, website navigation, image alt tags, load speed, etc (There is a checklist)
2. Backlinks. This means having high qualtity sites link back to yours. This is also a bit tricky, but do-able. I always do this the same way I practiced acupuncture.. ethically and with no “quick fixes.”
3. Content. It’s not about all those great keywords.. it’s how they are USED in your content: Blogs, videos, articles, etc.
For acupuncturists, case studies can be a great way to add high-quality, SEO content to your site. It highlights you as an expert.
For the tourism and hospitality industry, this could be regular photos, a gallery with alt tags, and links to an IG or Youtube account.
5. SUBTRACT outdated content
Anything that is no longer relevant, is outdated, or clutters up your site needs to go.
Sites are becoming more streamlined as attention spans go down. There’s a lot of generic-looking sites out there with nothing new as far as content, especially with acupuncture and apartment rentals.
It’s more and more challenging to present the benefits you offer in a clear, easy to read, and uncluttered manner.
The trend of sites in the US built more than 5 years ago tends to be cluttered with too much info on the front page.
Which leads me to..
6. Check your SPEED
This is often overlooked, but loading speed does make a difference. Were talking less than a second. Delays as small as half a second lead to a 7% decrease in conversion and engagement – and the increase is exponential.
There are ways to improve speed. Sometimes it’s a matter of bloated coding, images, too many plugins, or other page content. (hosting videos on your own site, for example)
I hope these tips will help you. Remember that just like everything else on your business “to do” list.. your website is a work in progress.
If this is the main “takeaway” you get from this blog.. that’s a huge energy saver right there!
If you have not read all the blogs in my series about Why Your Website Still Isn’t Done Yet make sure to check them out!
Want to see where you stand? I do website audits.
If your site could use a little love, or you are considering creating a new site (sometimes this is the easier solution) book a call with me!
(or click on the nifty burgundy button on the bottom left)
By all means, if your current web developer doesn’t “get” any of this, or worse.. limits your control over your own site, you may want to consider a switch. (Whether or not it’s me)
* New changes in privacy and data management are taking place as I write this, and GDPR compliance is also a very important factor to incorporate into your marketing, including your website,even if you live outside of the EU. This will be included in a separate blog.