How to set up your website
This chapter is all about how to set up your website. We are going to cover a lot of details as they relate to SEO, Google Maps Optimization, Pay-Per-Click Marketing, etc… To review the fundamentals of Senior Living Marketing refer back to this article from our media room.
However, without a properly designed and functioning website, those efforts will be put to waste. Before you can or even should begin exploring those options, you must have your website up and running.
Formats for your Senior Living Website
Let’s talk about website formats and the different options available to you when you are ready to start.
- HTML Site – There are basic HTML pages and/or individual pages that can be incorporated into a website. This is how almost all websites were built several years ago. They had multiple pages hyper‑linked together.
- Template Based Site Builders – Site builders, that you can obtain through providers such as GoDaddy, Wix, and Squarespace are turnkey. You buy your domain and set up your website. I have found this type to be quite a bit less than ideal because you don’t have a lot of controller flexibility, and the overall experience isn’t that great. But, there are still a lot of sites in this format.
- CMS Systems – Content Management Systems, like WordPress, Webflow, Duda, Joomla, and Drupal. I’m sure there are many others but these are the big ones.
Given my experience with websites, a content management system (CMS) is ideal for a business. I say that because you have scalability. In any of these platforms, you have the ability to change your navigation on the fly, add as many pages as you need, and easily scale out your site.
If you have your website built in HTML format with graphics behind the website, and you wanted to add a new section, you would have to start from scratch.
You would have to go back to the graphics and modify all of the pages in order to add the new section to your navigational structure. You’d basically be using technology that is old and outdated. With a CMS, everything is built behind code allowing the ability to apply easy edits and to add multiple pages.
As you will see in the search engine optimization section of the book, you will have the ability to have a page for each one of your services and each city in which you operate.
A CMS allows you to create your pages in a scalable format without having to mess around with the graphics or do anything that is difficult to control. Also, it is easy to access, modify, and update.
Using formats like WordPress and Joomla, you may access the back-end administrative area at yourcompany.com/login.
After entering your username and password, you will find there is a very easy to edit system with pages and posts which function similarly to Microsoft Word.
You can input text, import images, and press “save”, forcing all new edits to be updated on your live website. It is easier than it looks and is very search engine friendly.
Content Management Systems have intelligently structured linking between pages and content, making it extremely search engine friendly. We have found this method tends to be better than regular HTML or other options.
In a lot of cases, a blog is going to be automatically bolted onto a CMS-based website providing you with a section where you may feed updates. In the SEO chapter, we cover the importance of creating consistent updates and blogging regularly.
Another benefit of content management systems is being provided with a variety of plugins you can choose to incorporate on your website. You can easily pull in your social media feeds, YouTube Videos, and check-ins.
You may also syndicate your website to automatically post any new updates to your social media profiles. You can add map integration where people can click to either get instructions or view a map to find out the areas which are served by your organization. There is a surplus of features available within a CMS that you can’t necessarily do with a non-CMS type option.
Whether you are looking to build a website from the ground up, you are just getting started, or you feel like you simply need a redesign, I highly suggest that you do so in CMS, ideally in WordPress.
WordPress is a fantastic platform and very easy to use. It’s the most adopted website platform available with many developers using it. It’s constantly being updated and improved and I have found it to work very well for different businesses.
You have my stamp of approval to go out and build your website on a WordPress platform.
What Should Your Website Include?
So, what pages should your website have? What navigation structure should you create? Depending on your business, you will need to showcase different things. For most businesses, though, the basics should be:
- About Us
- Our Services
- Location (You will understand what I mean once you read the SEO Chapter)
- Reviews and Testimonials
- Contact Us
These are the core pages. Within “About Us,” you might incorporate a drop-down menu for subcategories including “Meet the Staff,” “Why Choose Our Company,” etc. I think that’s very powerful.
You want to be able to drive people back to a “Why Choose Us” section, and, in some cases, if you are having issues recruiting and retaining good quality talent, you might want to have a “Careers” page under the “About Us” navigation, where a visitor can go and fill out an application and learn more about your organization.
Within “Our Services,” you want to have the ability to list a drop-down listing the types of services that you offer. We discuss this to a great extent in the SEO chapter.
You want to have landing pages for each one of your services because they are going to be optimized with different keyword combinations.
A “Reviews and Testimonials” page will provide a section to showcase what your customers are saying about you in text or video form.
You can also pull in reviews from sites such as Google Business Profile, Angie’s List, and Yelp. Finally, of course, you will need a “Contact Us” page where web visitors have your general contact information, driving directions, and map.
These are the core things you should have on your website.
A Clear Description of Who You Are
We call this “passing the grunt test”. If a caveman stumbled upon your website would he know exactly how you are helping seniors live a better life and in what area?
This means it’s important to clearly mention your business name and sum up your products or services above the fold section of your website. A clear and specific description will attract the visitor’s attention immediately – within two to three seconds – and encourage them to spend time on your website.
Your Primary Contact Details
Outside of your navigational structure, what else should your website have? What other elements are going to help with conversion?
Well, you should always provide a primary phone number on every page of your website, in the upper right-hand corner. When somebody visits a page, their eyes are naturally drawn to the top section of the website where they can see the logo and the phone number.
People tend to expect that the phone number will be somewhere in this location. It is ideal to have a prominent phone number, telling them to “call you now” for service in that section.
An Obvious and Consistent Call to Action
I believe business websites should always make a web form available from which a customer can easily book a tour of your facility.
Bear in mind that every visitor to your website is in a different situation and frame of mind. You may have someone that’s on their phone or just leisurely looking to contact you for more information and is able to simply pick up the phone and call you.
On the other hand, somebody who’s in a work environment may not have the ability to stop what they are doing and make a phone call without drawing the attention of his or her coworkers. However, they may be able to browse around online to find out what options are available.
Your potential customers may reach your website and be torn between making a call right at that moment, just scheduling the appointment, or wanting to have someone from your team contact them.
Make it easy for them to enter their information into a web form where they can provide their name, phone number, email address, and a note detailing their requests that they can send through online. It makes it easier and doesn’t create any pressure.
The Ability to Chat or Two-Way Text You
Not everyone is going to want to call or book a tour of your home. Many Assisted Living facilities are now offering the ability to chat directly with website visitors as well as request a text. If you’re not doing this I can almost guarantee you that you are missing out on new tours and move-ins. If you have a CMS-style website like I mentioned earlier this is an easy add-on for your web team.
Social Media Links
You also want to provide links to your social media profiles. Link to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn so customers can easily jump off, engage with you on social media, see what you’re doing and be able to press that important “like,” “follow” or “subscribe” button. It helps create a sense of authenticity when your customers get to see your social media content. For more information about social media for your Senior Living facility read this article.
Have a direct link that drives visitors to your online reviews and testimonials that we discussed previously.
You should also post your credentials either in the sidebar or in the header graphic, proving, for example, that you’re BBB-accredited or a member of the local chamber of commerce or industry association.
This allows potential customers to rest assured that you are a credible organization, you’re involved in the community, and that you’re less apt to provide them with poor service. They’ll feel more comfortable doing business with you.
You definitely need to have your company name, address, and phone number on every page of your website.
It is not critical that you list your address on each page because it will not be a determining factor in whether or not customers call you, but as I will explain in the Google Business Profile optimization chapter, having name, address and phone number consistency is critical for ranking on Google Business Profile.
It is a great strategy to have your name, address, and phone number referenced on your website, ideally in the footer section. You need to have that contact information on all of your pages including the Contact Us page, of course.
Authentic Images Will Make Your Senior Living Website Better
It’s extremely important that you infuse personality into your website. By personality, I’m referring to authentic photos and videos.
Showcase your facility, feature yourself, the business owner, and the people who work in the business: the staff, caregivers, etc.
Showcase the facility itself, the common areas, and outside areas if you have them. Don’t use stock photography, but authentic imagery. This gives the visitor the chance to get to know, like, and trust you, before they even pick up the phone. I’ve seen this tactic prove itself time and time again.
Say a potential guest visited two different facilities and is making their final choice on where to move in. One of them is generic and is obviously using stock photography.
The other website highlights a genuine picture of the actual facility, the team, and social areas. This authentic page converts 10 to 1. You must let your real personality reflect on the website.
You must also craft clear messaging that explains why they should choose your assisted living facility. Why should someone choose you over the competition?
Pull them down a path where they can start to learn more about why you are their best option. Where they can see your online reviews, and if they’re kind of on the fence, where they can quickly locate some special offers and incentives that will drive action.
This will get them to contact you right away, as opposed to continuing to browse the web for someone else.
The other major thing you want to think about with your senior living website, from the conversion perspective, is having a mobile-ready version of your website.
At least 50% of your web visitors are accessing the Internet via smartphones such as iPhones and Android phones. Make sure the mobile version of your site isn’t the same as your regular site.
It should be condensed, fitting their screen and giving them just the information that they need. It should integrate with their phone so all they have to do is press a button to call you.
People who are searching or accessing your website from a mobile device are in a different state of mind than the people that are browsing and finding you on a computer. Make it easy for them to get the information they need and to get in touch with you.
Use an easy “click to call” button that is easy to see and access.
Your senior living website is really important. It is almost guaranteed that future residents and their family members will visit your website before they come to tour your facility. The team at Aveta Marketing has been helping companies with their online presence for over a decade. If you need help please reach out to us by going to our contact page or you can reach us on Google.