Key Website Dos and Don’ts
This article was written by WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg, CSP. Alan has over 20 years experience in wedding related sales and marketing, and is an author, business consultant, a member of the National Speakers Association, and the wedding & event industry’s only Certified Speaking Professional®.
I wanted to share with you tips from my latest website presentation at WeddingWire World in Washington, DC this week. It was a rapid-fire session with lots of great nuggets on how you can improve your website. When it comes to website dos and don’ts, there’s a lot of ground to cover. I’ll go through four things you should do on your website, as well as four things you shouldn't do on your website.
Here are four things you should definitely do on your websites:
1. Allow your voice and personality to come through. That’s what they’ll experience when they speak with or meet you – it’s one of the only things you’ll ever have a monopoly on… being you. Every person and every business has a unique voice. If they want you, specifically, to do their wedding or event, they can’t find you anywhere else, at any price.
2. Use your reviews and testimonials on every page. Don’t bury all of that great text on a separate page. You can have a testimonials page and link to it from each testimonial on your site (I put “read more reviews” next to each one on my site to link to the page where I have the rest of them).
3. Use aspirational imagery. Every photo should be relevant to what you do, and what you’re talking about on that page. Ask yourself if a couple would put that photo in their album. If so, then it’s probably a good choice. They’re not putting pictures of empty ballrooms, DJ setups, cameras… or you. Show packed dance floors, ceremonies with people, lighting shots of the rooms filled with guests, buffets with people getting food… Make it so they look at the photo and would want to be at that wedding or event. Don’t forget to use great aspirational imagery on your Social Platforms as well.
4. Have relevant calls to action on every page. Tell them what to do and make it easy to do it. So many of the pages on your sites just end with statements like “we look forward to working with you”, but that’s not a call to action. Instead say: “We look forward to making your wedding everything you’ve imagined, and more. Call or contact us today 202.555.1212” (and make the word “Contact” a link to your contact page or an email). Whether it’s in the text, or as any number of visual calls to action, there are so many ways to tell them what to do, and make it easy, and still have it fit with your design theme.
OK, now let’s look at four things NOT to Do:
1. Don’t tell them why they should hire a professional - tell them why they should hire you. It’s not your job to tell them why a professional is better than an amateur, that’s the job of industry trade associations. It’s your job to show them why you’re the right professional. If you can’t tell them why they should hire you rather than other Pros, they’ll find a cheaper or better solution.
2. Don’t write more text than they want to read – When I’m doing a website review (my most popular consulting service), and I see a page with lots and lots of plain text, I ask them: “If that was someone else’s site, would you read all of that text?” The honest ones answer “No.” Remember that so many are visiting your sites on their phones these days, so make it mobile friendly and format the text with that in mind.
3. Don’t make a site that’s nothing but a photo or video gallery. I’m not just speaking to the photographers and videographers here. You need text for SEO (search engine optimization). You need text to narrate your site and galleries for your visitors. Pinterest even suggests you write longer captions to better engage your site’s visitors. It’s a great way to add keywords and phrases to your site in an organic way.
4. Don’t wait to address your mobile visitors. Look at your analytics to see what percentage is coming through mobile and tablet. For me it’s 25-30%. For many of my clients it’s as much as 60%. For WeddingWire it’s around 50%. A venue client of mine in the Buffalo NY area is getting 46% of her website traffic through mobile devices. They just launched a new site to address it.
There are two ways to address mobile. One is with a mobile-specific site, but the better way is called responsive design, which automatically adapts to the size of the screen. Google prefers responsive sites because your mobile and desktop sites are the same.
I hope you have some great tips you can use, right away. I look forward to hearing how well they’re working for you.