Being Found Online Isn’t Enough - At Funeral Director Websites we’re currently designing a new website for a company who’s existing website was built in 2010. A website that is nine years old resembles an embarrassing relic in today's digital landscape, bringing home in stark reality the spectacular pace of change in technology.
When a website has been around for so long there are potential advantages in domain authority that may help to achieve a better ranking than competitors. This however may prove to be a double edged sword because if the website hasn’t been redesigned in nine years, once found it can reflect badly on the business and discourage people from getting in touch.
There’s a fundamental logic to be gained from this state of affairs. Being found in a web search and attracting clicks whether as a result of naturally gained domain authority or alternatively as a result of some form of paid advertising such as Google Pay Per Click does not necessarily result in new customers.
The goal then, is not simply to achieve dominance over your competitors on page one search results but to be the one who's website and business stands out in comparison to the others. The graphic above is an example of paid listings, so yes they've appeared on page one but guess what? Most people understand that (the clue is in word 'Ad') and scroll down to the main page.
Customers Attraction and Your Website
What does it take to attract visitors? Here are some examples of factors that will help you to stand out:
- Great design and graphics
- Putting your people, the heart and soul of any funeral business at the forefront
- Engaging video content
- Responsive on mobile devices
- Helping people who are researching funeral costs
- Providing answers to questions about different types of funerals so they can gain an understanding and make decisions
- Helping people at their time of need to understand their duties surrounding government agencies
- Helping people to plan a funeral ceremony
- Advising people who are considering a direct cremation
- Advising people who are researching pre-paid funeral plans
- Prominent 'Call to Action' buttons throughout i.e. mobile friendly Click to Call and Contact Us
- A Social Media strategy linked to your website
- Google Reviews link from your website
All of this will go a long way towards helping you to stand out from the crowd and gain trust in comparison to others.
Good quality content should be created with your visitors in mind, successive Google updates in recent years such as Google Panda in 2011, Penguin 2012, Mobile 2015 and Quality 2015 have been designed to ensure that the best and most relevant websites rank highest therefore factoring out anyone trying to spam the results.
For search success there are also other crucial ‘offsite’ factors that will influence results. These include consistent social media activity and engagement particularly, Facebook and a presence and incoming links from high domain authority websites and directories such as the NAFD funeral-directory.co.uk.
Mobile Devices Firmly in Front
The screenshot above shows a typical visitor device comparison on one of our client websites. Mobile devices now comprise a significantly greater percentage of total visits, not only should your website be mobile responsive it should include features such as 'Click to Call' making it easier for people to contact you.
A People Business
*Photo courtesy of Kyle Bros.
There is one undeniable factor in connecting your business online with potential customers; people. In a caring business such as funerals the value of making that connection is immeasurable.
It matters not one jot whether you consider yourself to be photogenic, that misses the point altogether. The visitors to your website are not there to judge a beauty competition, they are there to find a trustworthy person to help them. The value of emphasising the people in your also business naturally extends to social media.
We have found that the community information service of publishing funeral announcements on their website is a compelling and highly effective driver of visitors to any funeral directors website.
Google My Business
Google My Business provides a valuable advertisement for your business.
You can reach a targeted audience of people with buying intent without signing up for an expensive advertising campaign. A high profile presence in ‘organic’ results or Google My Business will effectively mean there's no need to pay for Google Adwords in an effort to gain exposure.
The value of Google Reviews was the topic of a presentation by Kevin Kelly during his ‘Project Lodge’ presentation at the NAFD 2018 AGM in Durham, reviews on Google appear next to your listing in Maps and can help your business stand out in Google search results.
Google is happy for any business to encourage customers to spread the word about their business.
A good way to encourage ratings from your customers is to include a prominent button on your website with a clear call to action i.e. ‘Review us on Google’. Once the button is in place you simply need to ask satisfied customers to visit your website, click on the button and leave you a review. Very soon you can start to benefit from 4 and 5 star reviews appearing in your business listing.
There are many social media channels that can assist with online marketing, Facebook remains the biggest opportunity for most funeral businesses. To make Facebook work for you start with A Simple Facebook Plan for Your Funeral Business.
The plan doesn’t need to be complicated, as with most things in life simple will work best. Facebook has always been a ‘social’ platform and they often remind users about that priority, however the opportunity still exists to set up and capitalise on a business page.
Pre Paid Funeral Plan Marketing
The continuing increase in interest and take up of pre-paid funeral plans warrants a serious online response from every funeral director wishing to ensure future business.
Funeral plans are the type of financial product that consumers are prepared to research online at a detailed level. A funeral directors website should include in depth information regarding costs and features and where relevant links to external resources such as official publications and data.
We have seen a move towards funeral directors creating separate ‘dedicated’ funeral plans website to cater for consumers who want to research and purchase a funeral plan but don’t necessarily want to visit a funeral directors website.
We're at NFE 2019!
Funeral Director Websites look forward to meeting you at NFE 2019. We're in Hall 2 on stand 229. Pop in and say hello!