Posts tagged Websites
August is back to school month. For your website, that is.
Earlier this year, I sent out a questionnaire asking you guys to tell me about your websites. I received a flood of responses describing in lurid detail how, essentially, most of you just want to kick your website in the shins.
So I’m officially declaring August “Send Your Website Back to School” month, and we’ll tackle a series of common, client-repelling, shin-kick-inducing website (or blogsite) problems.
Let’s get started with three fabulous and essential website tweaks you can finish this weekend. Ask yourself the following three questions. If the answer is “yes,” then gold star to you! If the answer is “no,” then I’ve got a little weekend-ready action plan for you (which you will want to complete…keep reading):
1) Do I have a photo of myself somewhere on my website?
If I show you a photo of a person, your eyes will almost always go right to the face. Specifically, to the eyes. Not a surprise – eyes give us information that we use daily. If you and I were chatting in our favorite cafe, and suddenly I flicked my eyes away and stared over your shoulder, you’d probably turn around and follow my eye gaze to see what you were missing out on. Faces and expressions give us a wordless wealth of information about events, emotion, personality, and relationships.
It’s no surprise that people prefer having a photo of a face to go along with a name online.
We are used to using faces as a reference to gather information, and sometimes become uneasy when we can’t see who we’re engaging with. Having a photo of yourself on your business website helps people feel more connected with you and with what you have to say. (Note: Photos of children or pets are cute, and may absolutely have a place on your site, but they are not substitutes for visually introducing yourself.)
“I haven’t gotten around to it yet” is not a brand decision, and neither is “I don’t have any good photos of myself.” Those are excuses, my dear, and both are easily overcome. If you are going to go all Lemony Snicket on us and not put a photo up, be sure you spend some time thinking through why you made that choice, and whether it is congruent with the rest of your current brand.
Did you answer “NO” to this question? Take action this weekend (for all but the Lemony Snickets in the audience):
Call a professional photographer friend tonight and arrange a 30-minute photo date this weekend. You might even make it an exchange, you know professional photos for a massage. Dress up in a brand-appropriate outfit, chat about what you are looking for. All you need is one good shot to start, and you should be able to easily knock that out in under 30 minutes.
If you really reeeeaaaalllly don’t have a professional photographer friend in the area, start simply and have a trusted friend or spouse come along while you set up the shot you want (lighting and all), then hand over the camera….or check to see if one of the on-line social buying platforms is having a sale…that’s how I got mine done.
No excuses. Start somewhere.
2) Do I clearly name what cities I serve on my website?
If you were to ask me “Hey Linda, what is the #1 complaint you get from people about massage therapist’s websites?” you might think the answer would be “lateness,” or “not doing what I ask,” or heck, even “overcharging.”
The answer is “D, None of the above.”
The one issue I get an earful about most often is when someone finds a massage therapist they’re mildly interested in, but can’t see what city that massage therapist lives in. This drives otherwise-normal people bonkers. This relatively minor inconvenience never fails to get people hopping mad. I’ve actually heard people say “If you can’t be bothered to tell me where you are, I can’t be bothered to hire you.” Yowch.
Yes, there are solid SEO reasons why you should list on your site where you’re from. But even if you’re not actively pursuing an SEO strategy, you will at least want to avoid incurring the irritation of visitors.
Did you answer “NO” to this question? Take action this weekend:
Take 60 seconds to make sure your website lists what city or cities you serve and the state where you are located. I believe this information should be above the fold (meaning that it should be visible on someone’s computer screen without them having to scroll down), preferably in the header. But if your city isn’t on the home page, it shouldn’t take more than one click to find the information. Even if you serve out-of-town clients, it’s still worth putting in where your home base is – “Loving life in Colorado, proudly serving families throughout the Rockies.”
3) Is it crystal clear both HOW and WHY people should contact me?
The “how” should be straightforward – an email address, a contact page (so they don’t have to close your website to talk to you), or – best of all – a phone number. All in plain sight. Easy peasy, right? Most of you have this down pat. If not, it should be Priority One this weekend.
But wait – are you giving people a clear answer to WHY they should contact you?
Simply having a contact page is not enough. People will only take the time to contact you if they have a specific reason for doing so. They will definitely email when they have their own reasons (“hey, I loved your last blog post”, but these reasons won’t always align with the ones you’d hope for (getting them to schedule a massage).
If you’ve ever been afraid to raise your hand in class, you understand that before people will speak in front of strangers, they typically need to know 1) what the other person is expecting to hear, and 2) what they’ll get back in return.
Do you often email strangers to say “Uh, hey, just looking at your website here and trying to figure out if I want to hire you or not…umm….email me back?” No. We contact people to book someone, or to seek a piece of missing information.
That means we need to tell people exactly when it’s appropriate to email you, and what kind of information they’ll get back:
“Want to learn more about what it’s like to work with Alexandria Massage Therapy? Shoot me an email right here and I’ll send you an e-book with all the juicy details!”
It also means giving them an “out” if they’re not ready to book yet, but letting them know that you still value hearing from them:
“Ready to book a session? Click here and I’ll whisk you over to the contact page and we’ll get started! Still undecided? Call me at 555-555-5555 and I’ll be happy to listen to your thoughts and help you figure out whether we’re a good fit for each other.”
And sometimes people just want more information without fear that they’ll end up on the receiving end of a hard sales pitch:
“Want to have a no-pressure chat about whether or not massage therapy is right for you? Call me at 555-555-5555.”
Did you answer “NO” to this question? Take action this weekend:
First, make sure your web presence gives people have a clear way to get in touch. If they have to hunt long to find an email address, they probably won’t bother at all.
Second, examine your website content. Do you tell them exactly what to do next when they’re ready to book? Do you give people a reason to feel that their message will be welcomed, even if they’re not ready to be a client yet? Do you explicitly tell them what to do if they just want more information? Add a few lines at the end of your most-trafficked pages, letting people know that you stand ready to help!
Don’t let them be afraid to raise their hand.
Are you missing one of these three essentials? Get going, and when you’re done, leave me a comment!
If you make one of these three changes to your website this weekend, leave me a comment and tell me what you did!
I’ll draw randomly from the comments on August 14th, and the lucky winner will receive a 30-minute Skype date with me. We can chat about websites and go over whatever sticking points might remain, one-on-one!
If you have all three of these essentials already in place, then think: What change have you been meaning to make to your site, but haven’t yet? Taking down an outdated piece of information? Rewriting your bio? Adding a blog? Get on it this weekend, and leave me a comment! It still counts!
Have fun! Can’t wait to hear from you.
I’ve used a lot of website platforms since I created my first website back in 1999. Of them, I love WordPress the best! Just in time for my Website101 launch on 11.11.11 here is a list of reasons why I love WordPress to build your massage website and it doesn’t matter if you’re a solopreneur, have a large practice or work for someone else.
1. WordPress is the SEO king! Just ask Matt Cutts, head Google engine who chooses WordPress for his own website. Check out his post where he talks about SEO and WordPress at http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/seo-for-bloggers/
2. WordPress Plugins are being created all the time to add more functionality to your website. This means that your website will be able to do pretty much anything you want or need it to do. Plugins allow you to add photo galleries, sliders, shopping carts, maps. There’s a searchable, one-click install directory for plugins (think App Store for WordPress). And you guessed it most of them are free!
3. The Content Management System (CMS) dashboard of WordPress is very user-friendly. It is very hard to break WordPress.
4. At any time you can add a blog function to your WordPress website.
5. With the design elements stored in a different location to the content you can safely update your site design at any time without losing your content.
6. You can add social media integration in just a few minutes with the easy to use plugins and widgets.
7. WordPress is built on PHP coding which readable by almost every web browser and mobile apps, so your website can be read on the go by anyone using the internet.
8. Building a business website for your massage practice on WordPress allows you to update your own website without a webmaster or designer. Having control over your website is very important.
9. You can get your website looking the way you want it to by using either free or premium themes. There are literally thousands of each.
10. WordPress is easy to install and configure.
and one last one — a bonus if you will — WordPress is a free and open source which means you can get it for free and know that it’s going to be updated and upgraded constantly keeping up with the changes on the web and adding new functionality and security on a constant basis.
What more could you ask for!
Need a new website? Head on over to Website101 and check out my step-by-step video based tutorials called Website101 on how to build your own website using WordPress.
Color is all around us, from nature to our cars, furnishings and the multitudes of designs we see on the Web and in print. If you’ve used a designer to design your Web site, they give a lot of attention to two major factors: the design (choice of graphics) and the content. But what about the colors?
In my opinion, your color choice is one of the most important things to consider when designing your site. The colors of your Web site are important because they will define the mood and emotions of your visitors as well as reflect your identity and image branding.
Colors affect us psychologically. They can stimulate our appetite or suppress it. They can make us happy, excited, angry (i.e. have you ever heard the saying “he is red with anger”) or sad.
Let’s take a look at colors and what they mean to your visitors. Then we’ll discover the different color combinations and how they apply to your Web site.
Red: Red is one of the most powerful and attention-getting colors. Red symbolizes passion and fire, love and lust. It has been proven to raise blood pressure and cause perspiration. Red reflects energy and can motivate an individual to take action. It can also symbolize war, violence, blood, and aggression.
Pink, however, is the softer side of red. Pink is romantic, calming and feminine.
Orange: Vibrant and warm, orange is associated with autumn, pumpkins and Halloween. It inherits many of the traits of red, but is less passionate. Orange has been known to stimulate the appetite. As a citrus color, it can also symbolize health.
Yellow: Yellow symbolizes sunshine and warmth. It can mean hope, light and energy. On the other hand, it can mean weakness or illness, or symbolize cowardice.
Green: Green signifies health and growth (vegetation) and wealth (money). Green symbolizes spring, renewal, and fertility. It can also mean jealousy or inexperience.
Blue: Blue is one of the most calming colors and is associated with the sky and the sea. It is considered to be a “safe” color and signifies intelligence, reassurance, and trust. Blue has also been known to be an appetite suppressant and can signify depression and sadness.
Purple: The combination of red and blue, purple is one of the most intriguing colors and symbolizes creativity. Purple is spiritual and mysterious. Deep purple is associated with royalty and richness while
lavender is associated with romance and nostalgia.
Black: Black can represent power, elegance, and sophistication, but it can also represent death (Western culture), evil, anger and sadness.
White: White represents cleanliness, purity, and spirituality. It represents life and marriage in Western cultures, but it represents death in Eastern cultures.
Grey: Grey is the combination of black and white. It is a conservative color. Grey can symbolize security, maturity and reliability, but it can also signify gloominess and sadness.
Brown: We like to classify brown as a “special” color. Sometimes brown can be used as a neutral and sometimes as a warm color. Either way, brown represents credibility and stability, the hearth, home and the earth.
Choosing a Color Scheme
Once you understand colors and their connotations you are ready to begin choosing a color scheme for your site. If you are in the process of designing your site or want to change it, look around at the colors of other Web sites (massage related, or not) What do you like about them? What don’t you like? Then go create it.
Here’s what I want you to do – in the comments, tell us what is the color of your Web site? Why did you choose it?
If you don’t have a website, you can get one here.
By following Feng Shui guidelines and techniques, you can design and build a business website that is not only visually attractive but attracts wealth and prosperity as well. The elements that are part of a business website are somehow equivalent to the objects distributed through a working space since the website is the electronic version of the actual business’ offices. Therefore, the website design and the elements that will be in it should follow Feng Shui guidelines in order to be properly balanced.
The colors used to design your website are very important and you should choose them carefully. If you want a website which feels lively and active, it should contain yang elements, while if you wish it to be quiet or passive, it should have yin prevalence. Yang colors are all the bright and cheerful ones, while yin colors are all the dark shades. Therefore, a website with predominance of a light and bright color would be more yang than a dark or off colored one where yin would have prevalence.
It is important that you keep the general appearance of your website clean and tidy. A messy or cluttered website would not only make the user feel overwhelmed but it would also be an obstacle for your business prosperity.
Your business website should be designed having its graphics and written content clear and organized. Besides this, the general appearance should be as natural and easy to follow as possible. Anybody who visits your business website should feel welcome and comfortable in it. This should be achieved by providing a clear and welcoming main page and allowing an easy navigation through the entire website.
The lines you use for your business website and its graphics are also important regarding Feng Shui harmony. Straight lines and shapes with cutting edges are not natural and when having too many of them it can be harmful to the prosperity of your business. Therefore, you should try to use as many curved and smooth lines as possible, since this would not only help you adding nature inspired elements to the website but also bring wealth to it.
Need a fresh set of eyes on your website? Find out what 3 things you can improve with a $99 website critique.
Recently someone posed a question in one of the massage forums about whether or not a website was important for your massage practice. There was a lot of discussion about it, so I thought I would put my two cents in by writing this post.
Here are 15 reasons why your massage practice can’t do without a web site:
1. You compete in a global marketplace
With a web site your massage practice is not limited to the area in which you are located. Your practice becomes an international venture generating interest from customers worldwide. When I had my practice, I would regularly get Gift Certificate orders from other parts of the U.S. and one as far away as England for recipients in my area. If I didn’t have a website, those people would have never found me and I would have lost that business.
2. A Web site is a cost-effective marketing tool
Including your web site address in all of your advertising, business cards and other marketing materials allows people to take action right away. Visiting your website is so much easier than driving to your location or even telephoning you. When visiting your website, a potential customer can take their time and enjoy finding out about your services (or products) without the pressure of having a salesperson floating around in the background.
3. You Can Tell Your Story
People like doing business with people they know, like and trust. A web site gives you a chance to tell your complete story and why someone should come to you for a massage instead of Susie Q down the street.
4. Your website is open 24/7
A web site allows your business to be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There are millions of people, from all over the world, online at any time of the day. Many of them are looking for your services (or products). If you run a conventional brick and mortar location without a web site, you can only attract the people who walk or drive past your practice, in any one day. Having a web site allows you to attract new customers that would otherwise never find you – and they can do so when your shop is closed! A well designed web site also gives them a reason to revisit the site in the future.
4. Web sites increase consumer confidence
A professional, well designed web site, with the right content, easy navigation and quickly accessible contact details, greatly increases customer confidence in your massage practice. A well designed web site shows people that you are forward thinking and customer focused, much in the way a well designed business card did in the past, which is an important factor in any buying decision that they have to make.
5. Websites increase customer referrals
What is easier to remember, mymassagepractice.com or 703-851-9572? A web site address is much easier to remember than a telephone number. Sending an email with your web site address to a friend is a lot easier than finding and faxing or mailing a brochure. So it stands to reason that having a web site increases the likelihood of referrals – and let’s face it, referrals are one of the most important sources of new business.
With your own web site you can ensure that you offer the customer a very professional view of your massage practice.
A fully functioning web site enables your customers to contact you anytime of the day or night even when you are not at work. You can even have people schedule appointments with an on-line scheduling feature.
8. Your Competitor has a Web site
People use the Internet to find everything these days. A small competitor or start-up gains instant credibility with a well-constructed web site. If your competitor’s web site is the only site found, that’s who your potential customer will go to. Don’t let your competitor be the first to construct a web site. It can take months for a site to become visible in the Search Engines. Get off the blocks first!
9. Customers look for you on the Internet
Using Google to find a person’s or company’s phone number or address is very popular. Tt’s called “Googling.” Make sure you’re there when you or your company is “Googled.”
10. Customers investigate before making contact
The anonymity of the web has given the customer an advantage. They can investigate without personal contact and avoid repeated sales calls or giving away information through personal queries. They can visit your site and decide if you have service (or products) that they want. This also means that the customer who makes contact is “pre-qualified” – they already know you have what they want, making your job easier.
11. Web site sales
Your web site is one of the most impressive sales presentations that you will ever have. Allowing your customers to buy you and your massage services (or products) or services without you having to say a word. Spending thousands on advertising simply doesn’t compare to investing in a long term marketing solution – or a well designed web site!
12. Web sites promote future business
When a someone calls without making an appointment, they are basically a dead prospect. When someone views your well designed web site and doesn’t make a schedule straight away, they can easily revisit anytime to schedule in the future. On top of that, you can use your web site to collect the email addresses of visitors and send them periodical promotional emails, newsletters or updates on your product or service. So although they may not buy first time around, you have more than one opportunity to close the sale!
13. Web site ROI is much better than brochure ROI
When the cost of creating, printing, distributing and updating a brochure is taken into consideration, your more-easily-maintained web site is a better investment. A brochure can be important, but, if you have a brochure you should have a web site. If you don’t have a brochure, you should create a web site first.
14. A Web site makes your business card more effective
A business card is low-cost and gives your customer a way to remember you. But, the most common information kept is the email address and the web site address.
15. The Bottom Line
Every business needs a web site. This may be most important for a small business such as your massage practice that cannot afford missed opportunities and needs the most efficient way to conduct its affairs.
So there you go, what are you waiting for? Don’t waste time – get a well designed web site now!
What Should You Do?
Already have a web site?
Don’t have a web site?
If this article makes business sense to you, to find out more about getting a well designed web site.
You need to answer the questions Who? What? Where? When? And How? Who you are? What services or products do your offer? Where are you located? When you are open – your hours of operation? How can a potential client contact you?
Your website should be easy to navigate. Some ways to avoid having that potential client get lost in your website and giving up altogether is to have a “Site Map” button which shows a map of the entire site and a “Find” function which allows searching for a particular word.
There is also a big discussion on the number of graphics it should have. According to Jim Green of OpenNet, Inc., “only companies that need a graphic-intensive website are graphics companies.” Flash animation looks cool, but it can be costly to design and can take a long time to download. You don’t want to put off an impatient potential client who is annoyed with waiting. Other companies should only have graphics for staff, products, and services.
Sites should be kept up to date. I can’t tell you how many website I saw while doing research that had not been updated in 2 or 3 years. I didn’t know what to think. Is the company still in business? Are the prices correct? Is the staff current? It kind of turned me off to that company because they were not professional enough to keep it up. So, if you are going to put “The Last Time This Site Was Updated” on your site make sure it is up-to-date.
Buy your own domain name!!! An article in one of the massage magazines featured websites that were sub-pages of someone else’s website. This is a poor idea because it looks as if the business did not consider itself important enough to invest in its own site. I admit that I am not that Internet savvy, but I am sure that there are other people like me and those are lost clients because they gave up trying to find your site. It costs so little to register your name and maintain it on a yearly basis that I strongly recommend you do it.