To help you be more successful this year in attracting clients via your website, I have put together a 25-point website checklist. Check it out below.
Professional Design and User Friendly Layout
1. Your website looks professional.
If you want to attract more of your ideal clients, you need to present a strong first impression. Besides, having a professionally designed website makes you stand out from the crowd since many therapist and health care professional websites are not professionally designed. If your web design looks amateurish you may be chasing clients away.
2. Your website design is fresh, modern and up-to-date.
Is your website design 4 years old or older? If so, chances are the design may be out of date and it’s time for a refresh. You don’t want your visitors to think of you as being a dinosaur or old fashioned, do you?
3. Colors and styles on your website are consistent.
One of the problems of a website that is not designed by a professional is that the colours, fonts and styles are often inconsistent throughout the site. Headings and links, for example should be in the same font, same size, and same colour.
4. Website navigation is simple and intuitive.
The easier you make it for your website visitors to get around your site, the more likely they will find what they are looking for. Don’t have more navigation buttons than is absolutely necessary, make an effort to name them so they can easily be understood, and don’t use more buttons than is absolutely necessary.
5. There is contrast between the background colour of your website and the font colour.
Nothing is more frustrating than having to read text where there isn’t enough contrast between the background colour of your website and the text. Most visitors will click away if they have trouble reading it. Further, I am a big advocate of having dark text on a white or light background as it is easier on the eyes.
6. Font is easy to read.
Ensure your font is large enough to be easily read and there is enough space in between lines so the font doesn’t look crowded.
7. Your website has plenty of white space.
Having more things on your website is not necessarily better, and is often worse. The “cleaner” your site is the more pleasant it is to look at and read. Likewise, the fewer options you have for people to take on each page, the more likely they are to take your most wanted option. Too many options tend to overwhelm people causing them to avoid taking action.
8. Links are consistent and easy to see.
Make sure your text links are all in the same colour so people can easily find them. Blue is a standard colour for links, but any colour that stands out will help people navigate your site.
9. Your website loads quickly.
If you don’t know how fast it loads, ask a web master to check it for you and see if they can improve the load time. Limit graphics and flash (moving graphics) as they take longer to load.
10. Limit flash on your website.
In addition to taking longer to load when someone lands at your website, flash usually distracts the visitor when they attempt to read your site. Moreover, people like to be in control when navigating and are generally impatient, thus most will not sit there waiting for your flash images to change. Your designer may want to choose flash because it may make the site more fun for them to design, but it certainly doesn’t serve the vast majority of your website visitors.
11. Your website is optimized for mobile devices.
Mobile is here to stay and since many people now only access websites from smart phones and tablets, you need to ensure your website is mobile friendly. If you don’t know how to optimize your website for mobile, ask a web developer to do it for you.
Compelling Website Copy and Other Content
12. Website copy is targeted to your audience and is emotionally compelling.
Copy is the most important aspect of your website. The more targeted and specific it is the better. The words you choose matter and should speak to your visitor’s emotions by showing empathy for their pain as well as hope and encouragement that things can be better. Changing even a few words in a headline for example, can increase conversion rates substantially. If you don’t know any copywriting principles, either learn some or hire a copywriter to write your website for you.
13. Your message is immediately clear upon arriving on your site.
Your website visitor must immediately understand your core message within a few seconds of landing on your site or they will leave. Don’t assume people are going to keep reading to find out if there is something on your site that they want.
14. Your website clearly articulates the problems you help solve and the benefits, solutions and outcomes your services help provide.
The more clear and specific you are in the problems you help your clients solve and the concrete benefits your services can provide, the more compelling your copy will be. While it can be useful to discuss the process and methods you use, ultimately people pay money for an outcome, not a process.
15. Ensure your website copy is scannable.
Most of your website visitors won’t read every single word on your website–although the ones most likely to hire you will likely read much of your website. For this reason, you’ll want to make your website ‘scannable” so that they can easily and quickly find what they are looking for. Use clear headlines and sub-headlines, short sentences and paragraphs as well as bullet points and bold font for important points.
16. Include credibility indicators.
Yes, your degrees, training and experience are important to list on your website, but be sure to list any awards, publications or other accomplishments that make you stand out and increase your credibility. While including client testimonials are questionable for many health care professions, endorsements from other professionals and composite client case studies may be appropriate. Check with your professional association or licensing board to find out what is ethically appropriate and permitted.
17. Reiterate important info on more than one page.
Important information should be repeated (with different wording) more than once on your web pages to help ensure people do not miss it. In addition, if people see the information more than once it is more likely to leave a stronger impression.
18. Have a call to action on the bottom of each page.
Make sure you have some kind of “call to action” at the bottom of each of your website pages. If you guide people through your site advising where they should go next, or what they should do, they don’t have to think about what to do next, and thus will be more likely to stick around. Further, social psychological research has shown that if you ask people to do something they are more likely to do it (only if they want to, of course).
19. Invite people to stay connected to you.
As you know, a lot more people visit your website than contact you. Because people will rarely hire you based on a first visit to your website, if you want them to find you again you’ll need to ask them to connect with you via an e- newsletter and/or blog, as well as through social media channels. If you want to be in business for the long haul, this will help you build relationships with people over time so they will be more likely to work with you in the future.
20. Ensure images and photos look professional, are relevant to your message, and reinforce your copy.
Placing random images and photos on your website just because you like them, isn’t strategic and most likely won’t help you attract clients. Images should be relevant and meaningful to your website visitors and should support and reinforce your message.
21. Your contact info is easy to find.
While you might want to put your contact information on every page, you should still have a contact page. Contact pages are standard for websites and people know this, and thus will look for a contact button. You don’t want to have a visitor leave your website in frustration because they can’t find a way to get in touch with you.
Search Engine Optimized Pages
22. All pages should be search engine optimized with relevant keywords inserted into the copy.
It’s getting much more difficult to rank high for organic listings in the search engines due to increased competition. However, it’s still important that you optimize your pages with relevant keywords that people use when searching for you so that Google can find and index your website.
23. Write compelling title and description tags for each web page.
Title and description tags go in the coding (backend) of your website. While title tags can help Google find and rank your site, both the title and description tags show up in Google’s search result pages and therefore should be relevant and compelling to help encourage targeted clients to click from Google to your website.
Driving Traffic to Your Website
24. You have a plan to drive traffic to your website that includes on and offline methods.
People are not going to find your your website without you helping them. It’s your job to implement methods (a combination of online and community methods work best), measure them to see which ones are most effective, and then adjust them as necessary.
25. Add fresh content (articles, videos, blog posts, etc) on a ongoing basis.
Your website visitors will appreciate fresh, up to date content, as will the search engines. It is through sharing tips and and other helpful information that you will build a network of people who eventually will come to know, like and trust you. The more people who you can build these kinds of relationships with through sharing your expertise, the more successful and sustainable your practice will be in the long term.
I cover all these points plus much much more in my 9-session signature webinar program, Client Attracting Websites. Find out when the next course starts here: