Part 3: Website
As we discussed in last month’s article, social media has become an extremely effective, popular means of promoting your business or services to a large audience. However, while social media does work, there is still a lot to be said for also having a business website. In this month’s article, we’re going to talk about the benefits of having your own website, as well as some of the most important things to consider when building your website.
Why have a website?
At Facethetics Training, we like to know how our delegates found out about us, so we always ask them. Some come to us via a word of mouth recommendation, whereas others may have spotted one of our ads. One thing we’ve noticed though is that the majority find us through an Internet search. Let’s face it, most of the time, if you’re looking to make a purchase, whether it’s a product or a service, the first thing you’ll do is search for it on Google. This is why having a dedicated website is so important. A Facebook or Instagram page provides you with an online presence, however, chances are that your social media page alone will not rank highly in search engine results, while a website, given enough time and the right content, potentially will.
Building your site
If you don’t already have a website, you’re going to have to build one. This can be a big expense, especially if you choose to hire a professional web designer. The benefit of working with a designer is that they can create a website exactly to your specification and, of course, they’ll also be able to advise you on what does and doesn’t work.
Something to bear in mind if working with a designer is that you both need to agree on a system for updating the website further down the line. Say, for example, you train in a new treatment and want to add a page to your website to let your clients know about this new service. Will your web designer do this for you? If so, they’ll probably charge for this and, if you’re planning on making regular changes to the site, such as adding monthly special offers, this cost can add up. Alternatively, they may give you access to the content management system (or CMS), which is basically the “back end” of the website. This means that you can go into the CMS yourself to make changes as and when you need to. Whatever you decide to do, make sure that this is all agreed with the designer and that you have the login details to the website. We’ve heard of nightmare situations where business owners have lost touch or even fallen out with their web designer, only to be left with no way of accessing or updating their site - not ideal!
If hiring a web designer isn’t an option for you, a cheaper alternative is to create the site yourself, using a web builder such as SquareSpace or Wix. These sites use pre-made templates and “drag and drop” elements, allowing you to design a professional looking website without using complicated web code. While a template-based design won’t give you the same level of customisation as a site built specifically for you by a designer, it can be a great starting point and, maybe further down the line, when your business has grown, you can think about working with a designer to improve on what you’ve created.
Once you’ve decided whether to build the website yourself or work with a designer, you’ll need to make some more decisions regarding layout, content and features. Here’s a few things to bear in mind;
When it comes to the layout, simplicity is key. Make it easy for a visitor to find their way around the site. A fancy design may look impressive, but is it easy to use?
Make sure that your pages aren’t overcrowded. If you offer several different services, there should be individual pages for each service, rather than one long page that lists information about everything you do. So, if you’re offering Botox and dermal filler treatments, create a page just for Botox and a page just for filler. This also works better for SEO (more on this later)
Optimize your website for mobile browsers. Recent studies show that people now use their mobiles to access the internet more than they use their computers. So it’s vital that your website displays correctly on a mobile screen as well as a PC.
Add a way of capturing data about your site visitors. A contact form or newsletter sign up, where visitors can input their email address allows you to stay in touch with them, even if they don’t actually make a booking. Just make sure that you provide an opt-in button so that visitors can specify whether or not they actually want you to contact them.
SEO and content
“SEO” stands for "search engine optimization" and, when it comes to your website, it’s something you’ll probably hear about a lot. It refers to where you rank for search terms that are relevant to your business. For example, a relevant search term for Facethetics Training is “dermal filler training in Liverpool”. If someone uses Google to search for this phrase, we want Facethetics to appear in the search results, ideally on the first page and the higher up the list, the better. There are many things that can impact where you rank in search results and Google regularly changes its algorithms so that there isn’t one guaranteed way to ensure that you rank highly, however, there are certain steps you can take to help you on your way.
Firstly you’ll need to think about the key words and phrases that are relevant to your business. If a potential client was searching for your services, what would they type? These words and phrases can then be added to certain areas of your website (either by you web designer or you if you’re using a web builder), which are then scanned by search engines.
The content of your website also plays a big part in your SEO. A website with minimal content won’t rank as highly as a website with lots of good quality, informative content. Think about the questions a potential client may have about a particular service and try to answer these questions on the webpage for that service. Keep the information relevant to that particular service; there’s no point in making a page for Botox but then going off on a tangent about lip filler; it’s not relevant and search engines will “see” that the keywords you’ve tagged that page with do not match the actual content.
It’s also important to keep your web content fresh and up to date. Even if it’s just a case of making small changes regularly, search engines will view a website that’s been recently updated as more relevant than a website that’s had the exact same content for years.
SEO is an extremely complex and vast subject, and this article barely even scratches the surface. Many business owners choose to work with an SEO professional in order to improve the SEO of their website; some web designers may include SEO in their services, but there are also many companies that specialise solely in SEO. If you are planning on looking into SEO yourself, we recommend doing your research; there are literally thousands of online resources around the subject. Start with a beginners guide such as this one, and, once you’ve got a handle on the basics, you may be able to move into more advanced areas.