Google’s algorithm is always changing, which means it is essential to maintain your website so you don’t fall behind the pack. The internet is a big place and there is a lot of competition out there, so just having a website is no longer enough. If you want that coveted top spot in Google it’s crucial to have a modern, optimized website. Your website needs to be easy to navigate and clearly organized in order to quickly answer your visitors questions. The more straightforward, the better the user experience.
Here are seven essential ‘must-haves’ that your website needs more than you may know:
Mobile. Mobile. Mobile.
I can’t say it enough. Your website must be mobile-responsive. Back in 2018, Google updated their algorithm to a mobile-first crawler. This means that the mobile version of your website is now more important than the desktop version. If your website isn’t user-friendly on mobile, you will be negatively impacted in search engines. Soon you might even notice that newer, more modern, websites are beginning to leap frog your long established one. So make sure your website is as contemporary as possible and have all of your important business information visible on mobile without the need to scroll or zoom. This means you should have a clickable phone number and email address, value proposition (explaining what you do) and a Call-to-Action (CTA) all at first glance. Don’t give visitors a reason to go back to the next result in Google. Build the website for your visitors, not you. Make sure they can find what they are looking for fast.
Pro Tip: If your website is not optimized for mobile devices and you want clients to find you in Google Search, update your website as soon as possible.
Did you know that if you don’t update your website on a regular basis, it becomes vulnerable to threats and hackers? This means that sensitive information can be intercepted or you may notice some unwanted pop-ups. Security certificates (SSL certificates) ensure that all private information (like credit card information, email addresses etc.) are passed securely through your website using encryption. Make sure your website plugins, themes and Wordpress are always up-to-date. Often times when an update is released, it contains essential security patches. It is also important that you use strong passwords, don’t make it easy for hackers.
Pro Tip: Download a free SSL certificate or email your hosting provider. Check your website for updates at least once per week, preferably everyday.
It’s 2019 and if your website doesn’t provide a good user experience, you’re in trouble. This means no clutter. Your website must be sleek and modern, it must be easy for visitors to find what they are looking for and easy for them to contact you. It is essential to provide a good user experience on both desktop and mobile versions of your website. If you aren’t providing a good user-experience, I am sure one of your competitors is. Your website is a direct reflection of the quality of your services and it is often the first impression your customer gets from your business. Is your first impression a good one?
Pro Tip: If your website is a few years old, chances are it needs an overhaul. Request an SEO and Website Design Audit to learn more about the current state of your website.
Having a stagnant website is not good enough anymore. Google likes new and fresh content that best answers the questions that are asked in the search engine. If you aren’t consistently providing new content to Google, they may forget about you. Blogging is the best way to provide new content to your audience. What do you blog about? Local pet-related topics that your potential clients will be searching for. Topics like “Top Dog Parks in Your City”, “Dog-Friendly Restaurants in Your Town” or “Best Place to Take Your Dog Swimming in Your Town” There are lots of topics you can cover and for best results stick to local-relevant issues. Even try highlighting a related business or event.
Pro Tip: Add a new blog post to your website at least once per month. Book a few hours per month in your schedule so you can sit down and write. It is worth the commitment. Don’t forget, if you don’t have time to write blogs, you can hire a professional blog writer.
Social Media and Review Site Links
Adding a ‘testimonials’ page to your website is a thing of the past. If you are searching for a hotel for your next vacation, are you looking at reviews on their website? No, you’re checking out big time aggregators like Trip Advisor. Why? Because they are more honest. A testimonial page on your website is 100% biased and your customers know that. Have you ever seen a business post a bad review about themselves? No, because why would they? But if you have 5 star reviews on a trusted third party website (like Facebook or Google) then the reviews are taken more seriously and this honest social proof will send quality visitors directly to your website.
Also don’t forget to add links to these review pages on your homepage so visitors can see what others are saying about you. Always link your active social accounts to your website, ‘active’ being the key word. If your social media accounts are completely inactive or poorly maintained remove them from your site and delete them. Inactive social media accounts, like out-dated websites, will make people question the status of your business. Are you still open?
Pro Tip: Instead of a testimonial page, add one testimonial on the bottom of each page of your website above the footer for social proof. Along with testimonials, try adding any awards, certifications, or associations you are a part of.
Chat Bot and Contact Information
In a fast-paced world, it is essential to help your prospective clients get the answers they are looking for, and fast. Integrating a chat bot on your website can help clients answer their questions quicker and increase their chances of booking one of your services. If a visitor has to dig to find information about your services and can’t find a way to contact you easily they will most likely go to your competitor and you will never know. You want visitors to contact you so you are able to sell your services and book the reservation.
Pro Tip: Integrate Facebook Messenger to your website to make communication easier and more convenient, since you won’t need to download a new application.
‘Book Now’ Button
Every pet business website should have a clear call-to-action (CTA) front and center and above the fold. This ‘book now’ CTA should stand out to new website visitors and should also be added to the header of your site so visitors can easily book from any location on your page.
Pro Tip: Link your ProPet customer portal to your website to make it easy for existing clients to request reservations online and new customers to setup their accounts.
There are many other elements that you should consider when updating your website. Review your link structure, make sure content remains relevant, review meta descriptions, and image optimization. Use tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console to determine which content performs best. Try implementing a few of these essentials on your kennel website to see a positive result in search engine ranking and conversions.