When it comes to websites that work, we’ve already talked about how to go about creating your website (DIY or pro?) and how to write copy that engages people. Before you start building or commissioning a web designer/developer, and before you start putting a pen to paper (or indeed, fingers to keyboard), it’s important to think about how best to present information that will encourage people to work with you.
Start with purpose
When people are thinking about working with you, they’re going to have questions. Who is this person? Is he approachable? Does she know her stuff? How does it work? Where will I need to go? How much will I need to invest? Can I trust him? Is she professional? What is homeopathy all about anyway?
These are just a few of the things that might be going through a prospective client’s mind. One of the primary jobs of your website is to answer these questions.
Today, we’re going to share some ideas regarding the content to include on your website, and how you might structure it. If you already have a website, use this as an opportunity to conduct a review and see where you might improve the user experience. If you don’t yet have a website, we recommend that you do this exercise first. Before designing or building your site. This content can then drive the structure, as well as the look and feel of your site.
The first thing to do is think about the purpose of your website. Putting yourself in the shoes of a website user is one of our top tips. Pretend you didn’t know anything about yourself – what would you want to see? What would you want to be able to achieve from interacting with that website?
There are some standard key objectives for your website to fulfil:
- Share information about your practice
- Showcase your expertise, so that people feel confident in what you can do for them
- Differentiate yourself – what makes you unique as a homeopath? Why should they pick you?
- Give people a way to get in touch and book an appointment
So how do you break that down, across the different pages of your site? Here’s a handy checklist for you to use as reference when creating, reviewing or updating you website content.
A website content checklist
- Have you used branding/design that is consistent with your other communications materials? You want to create a seamless experience if, for example, somebody has your business card or picks up one of your flyers and then goes on to visit your website. You don’t want to muddle their expectations or leave room for any uncertainty as to whether you are indeed the same person .
- Is it clear what this site is about? Have you stated who you are and what you offer? Is there a statement differentiating yourself from other homeopaths? Don’t be afraid to let what’s unique and special about you, shine through. That’s what people will remember. Keep it concise however – your homepage is an introduction, not a full CV!
- Is there an obvious, prominent call-to-action? Once you’ve piqued people’s interest, help guide them as to what to do next. So many websites miss this crucial function which is a major wasted opportunity! Make life easy for people, give them one main action to take, so that there’s little room for indecision.
- Have you enabled people to connect with you? Whether that’s including buttons linking to your social media spaces or blog; signing up to your mailing list or; letting people know how they can contact you (this might simply be a clear link to the contact page of your website)
- Have you expanded on who you are and what you offer? We still recommend against an essay or full CV here. We’re sure you’re very impressive and accomplished but, people often don’t need to know all the ins and outs of your lifetime experience. They simply need to be convinced they want to work with you. Keep it concise but make sure to include: your approach; your credentials and; a little bit about who you are, as a person. After all, people are buying into you!
- Have you included a professional photograph of yourself? Hands up if you like having your photo taken (read this post if you need more convincing)!
- Have you accommodated for people who might have no idea what homeopathy is and why they should consider it? You might want to include some information about the system. Try and put your own spin on how you present this information. Maybe you’ll include some personal anecdotes, or list various ailments that you’ve treated. Challenge yourself to be informative and creative.
- Have you included testimonials? Word of mouth is powerful and people often feel more confident about making a decision when they see that others have had great results. Some sites have a dedicated section for this and others pepper testimonials across different pages, so that there’s less chance of them being missed.
Working with you
- Have you presented all the services that you offer? You might have particular specialisms, different packages or several ways in which people can work with you. Make these distinct offerings clear.
- Is it clear how the process works? Putting yourself in the shoes of a website user who is considering working with you, what would be useful to know? Some ideas: where you practice from; how to get there; what hours you keep; how long a session lasts; how much a session costs; what’s included in the cost; what to expect during the session etc.
- Is there an obvious, prominent call-to-action? Reiterating what we said above – don’t miss this opportunity!
- Is there an obvious, prominent call-to-action? We know we sound like a broken record by now. They say three time’s a charm :).
- Have you included all the appropriate contact details? A lot of us nowadays are overwhelmed by the amount of emails we receive. A tip to help reduce unwanted messages is to have a contact form on your website, in place of spelling out your email address. It’s just an extra step for users to take which, will hopefully deter people who aren’t very serious and will also reduce the likelihood of receiving spam.
- How are you adding value to your users (who may include prospective clients as well as existing ones)? You might want to include a ‘resources’ section, where you can post links, downloads, videos and more, that supplement your service and further contribute to the wellness of your users. Alternatively, consider including a blog on your website where you can share these same complementary resources, over time, as well as ongoing information, insights and stories. We started to talk about blogs last week – they are a great way to build a relationship with readers which, in turn builds trust and confidence. From a technical perspective, every blog post is another page added to your site which, is another opportunity to drive traffic to it and improve how high you appear in search engine results (more about SEO later). You can also use your blog posts as content for your emails – yet another way to drive traffic back to your website (to see how we do this, sign up to our mailing list).
Once you’ve considered all of these elements, you’re well on your way to creating an effective website – the hardest work is done!
Have we missed anything? What would you add to our checklist? Let us know in the comments below.
- Websites that work (part 1): DIY or pro?
- Websites that work (part 2): writing copy people actually want to read
- 20 content ideas for your social media, blog and emails
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