Your website is like a digital shop window. An estimated 75% of consumers visit a business’ website before they decide if they want to continue along their journey. This means that your website may be their first interaction with your business, so you need to make it count.
While many independent businesses have a functioning website, it may not be providing the results you want. We asked the digital team behind Bridal Buyer the all-important questions on website best practice.
It’s more than likely that when a bride lands on your website, they will land on your homepage. It’s vital that your homepage has all the key information about your business that they may require on this page. This may include a small bio about your company, what your services you offer or a video.
Your homepage needs to be engaging. We are lucky we work with the world’s most beautiful product, wedding dresses. Utilise the pretty imagery at your fingertips, whether it’s your suppliers campaign shoot photography, photos from your boutique or a shoot with other local wedding suppliers. Make sure you pick your best shot.
Including elements of your branding across your site will make it look professional, makes your brand recognisable and improves consumer trust as potential customers will become familiar with your colours, logo etc.
It may seem simple, but the basics are often forgotten. It needs to be incredibly easy for a bride to find your opening times, address & contact details. If these are difficult to locate, you could lose a potential appointment booking. A useful place to include these is at the bottom of your website, on the footer. Users are used to navigating to the bottom of the website to find basic company information.
It’s a well-known fact that ’people buy from people’, and in the wedding industry this is incredibly important. A bride has to feel a connection with you, your team and your business in order to let you into the most special experience of her life. A website could be seen as impersonal and disconnected, and it’s your job to make sure you get your message across to your visitors.
Start by using conversational language across your site. This is not a professional environment and a bride needs to feel comfortable with you before she even arrives. By making your language conversational, you show that your business is welcoming and friendly, both very important to a bride.
Another way to connect with your brides through your website is to include an ‘About us’ or Meet the team’ page that introduces the passion and dedicated people behind your business. By including an image and bio of yourself and your team, you are already building a personal connection with your potential customer.
You should include at least one Call to Action (CTA) on each page as this is where your website user will convert into a customer. CTAs can include ‘Get in touch’ or ‘Book your appointment’ and can be included in your nav bar, at the end of a section or within text.
Another fantastic CTA is a newsletter sign up. This action is beneficial to your business as it is a method of data capture, and even if a bride isn’t ready to book her appointment, you’ve attained her personal information and can get in touch at a later date.
Your social media should be an extension of your business. Customers should be able to easily move between your digital platforms. Make sure you have all your social media accounts linked through from your website. Having a hovering bar that moves as the user scrolls up and down or including these with your essential information in the footer can an easy way to integrate your social links. Again, users are used to seeing social media icons, so you can make the links look pretty and on brand.
Having an Instagram section on the bottom of your homepage is another fantastic way to integrate your most visual platform onto your website. Many hosting platforms have an easy way to pull through your Instagram content to your website. If you are unsure of how to do this, get in touch with your provider or ask an industry friend who has this already.
With 48% of people using the web on their mobile phones, it’s incredibly important that your website is responsive (content/design moves depending on which device it’s being used on). If you aren’t sure if your website is currently responsive, simply start by visiting it on your phone, iPad etc. Look out for cut off images, incomplete sentences, and missing content. If you find any issues, it is vital that you report these to your web designer or an expert who can edit your website to improve it’s performance on mobile and tablets.
Search Engine Optimisation is key for any independent business. A website’s SEO improves it’s ranking on google and can make it easier/harder for a bride to find your website. SEO is not something you can improve overnight, you will need to make sure SEO is part of your ongoing marketing plan. Here’s a few things you can do to start:
Set yourself up with Google Analytics so you can assess how well your website is performing. Whether you want to look at the number of users you have on the site, how long users spend on the site or the performance of a certain page, you can do this in simple to use dashboards. Google offer free online analytics training to help you set up and use the platform.
Remember, a website shouldn’t be static. You need to consistently update your website to ensure it stays relevant, keeps users engaged and converts visitors into appointments.