Your pet business website is your face to the world.
It is most likely the first place where new customers will get introduced to you and your business, and you have about eight seconds to convince them they’ve come to the right place before they move on and leave your page.
It is also the place where your existing customers will go to find out more about your products, services, opening hours and where to park. Are you happy with your pet business website? Does it give your customers a good impression of you and your business? Does it bring you plenty of new clients, and help you sell your products?
Here are five tips that will help you create an effective pet biz website.
1. Objectives – Why do you have a website anyway?
As with so many other things in marketing, it all starts with planning. The first thing you need to ask yourself is what you want your website to do for your business.
- Do you want to generate more leads or customer enquiries?
- Do you want to educate your customers about the way you do things – perhaps you have a unique training style, or a luxurious doggie bath that needs special introductions?
- Or perhaps you want to sell products online?
The objectives you choose to focus on should be completely unique to your business and tie in with your overall marketing and business plans. Once you’ve established your website objectives, you will know exactly what you need to focus on as you start building or improving your web site
2. Why do your customers come to your web site?
New customers visiting your site might not be familiar with your business and you need to quickly convince them you are the right company for them. They want to know if you are in the right location and if you can meet their needs.
Existing customers might visit your website to place an order, make an appointment or simply to find your phone number. And the scary truth is that you only you have about eight seconds to convince a prospective customer to stay on your site!
Place yourself in your customers’ shoes for a moment and pretend that you visit your website for the first time.
Does your pet business website do the following?
- Immediately tell the visitor what the page is about through the use of word and images.
- List your location and phone number prominently at the top of each page?
- Look professional and trust inspiring? (Would you trust this company to look after your puppy?)
- Is is easy to find information about the services you provide and how they will meet your customers’ needs?
- Does your website have clear call to actions, inviting your customer to request more information, or perhaps book an appointment?
3. Site Architecture
If they can’t find the information they search for quickly they will probably move on to one of your competitors instead. In short – whatever information your customer is looking for should never be more than two clicks away and you can achieve this by organise your information in a logical way.
A great site architecture clearly outlines all the features you need to generate sales and enquiries to achieve your goals (this could include contact forms, e-shop, blog and so on). A good site architecture also outlines all the pages you need on your site. Here is an example of a simple Sitemap outlining the pages needed for a small pet services business:
Sample Sitemap for small pet business website
Here are some good examples of pet business websites that are well organised and structured:
Barking Betty Dog Grooming and Dog Care Services combine a striking graphic design with good SEO and well structured website. Their calls to action are clear and the page looks really professional.
Doggie Business is clear and concise, addressing some of the many concerns potential customers might have. The content is well organised and give a professional impression – and they make good use of their social proof including nominations and mentions in media.
3. Can your customers find you?
You may have heard about SEO – or search engine optimisation before, but given up because it all sounds too confusing. Let me tell you a little secret – getting started with SEO for your pet business is actually quite easy. Yes there are SEO gurus out there who will set up incredibly complicated strategies – but the good news is that getting started with SEO is easy peasy.
It all starts with keywords
Think about the keywords and SEO as little road signs showing Google and the other search engines where to find your website and what it is about. Without keywords on your website pages there is no way for a search engine to categorize your website and show it to the right people searching. So, how do you know which keywords to use? All you really need to do is think about what words your customers might be typing into google’s search box when looking for your product or service, and incorporate those words and phrases in the copy on your website.
Here are a couple of tips for finding out what keywords to use.
1. Think about all the possible ways you could describe your product or service – and list them. 2. Visit some of your competitors’ websites and see what words they use to describe their service. Take notice of variations, like dog walker vs. dog walking and so on. 3. Add all your keywords into one master list and type them into Google’s search box one by one – you will notice that google will give you suggestions based on what others have searched for. Add those suggestions to your list. 4. You could also use Google’s keyword planner (its free), but it requires a little more training. Lets say you’re a dog walker based in San Francisco – you type in dog walker San Francisco you will see the following suggestions:If I were setting up a website for a dog walker in San Francisco, I would definitely make sure that my web content talks about costs, and any licenses the business holds. Once you have a list of keywords, add your location and the nearby areas you service to the list and make sure to use the keywords in your page headers, page copy, image captions and meta tags. Your location should be listed on every page, but create a separate page per service offered. Here’s an example of the sub pages I created for For the Love of Dog’s Grooming Services.
Are You Blogging?
Your Pet Biz Blog can Bring lots of new visitors and keep your existing customers coming back for more. It will also keep the search engines happy as you will be adding new fresh content frequently – and you will add relevant keywords through your content boosting your SEO. Don’t know what to blog about? Here are some suggestions to get you started:
- Make your blog the go to resource for anything pet related in your area. Take photos and write about local events, review your favourite dog walking areas, beaches and restaurants and your views on any news related stories.
- If you are a groomer – write short blogposts about common problems, how to to cut a dog’s nails or perhaps why you are using organic shampoos in your spa.
- If you are a dog walker – talk about the daily walks that you do and share photos of happy pooches. Give tips on how to stop dogs pulling on the leash and share maps of your favourite walks.
4. Why your About Page is more important than you might think
The about page is usually one of the most popular pages on any business site – probably because people like to do business with people, not nameless big corporations. As pet owners, your customers will want to know the people behind the business before they decide if they will trust you to walk, groom or train your pet.
This is your chance to introduce yourself and your staff to your customers. Its also a great place to talk about your business values. Write to your customers and tell them how you will meet their needs without sounding like you are just bragging about your own company, products and services. There is no bigger turn off for potential customers than an overly stiff page listing your professional credentials!
Why not turn your about page into a nice story about how your business came about, show photos of your own pets and introduce your staff and their pets? Get personal. Tell your story.
5. Build Your Social Proof with Testimonials & Reviews
Pet parents, just like everyone else, are more likely to want to do business with you if they can see a track record of happy customers. Testimonials, reviews, blog comments, Facebook followers are all examples of social proof – and the more of them you can display on your site, the more powerful your social proof will be.
Nowadays people will find reviews on pages like Yelp and Google Local, but they will also take notice of any reviews they find on your website.
Focus first on adding testimonials that address common questions (such as ‘will my dog be scared when I leave him at the groomers’) or issues in the buying process (for example, ‘can I trust they really walk my dog for a whole hour?’).
- Start thinking about ways you can ask your customers to leave a review – perhaps email them after their appointments asking for feedback.
- Also think of adding a comment box to your website so customers can submit reviews and perhaps even photos of their pets.
- Add a Facebook Like Box to your website so your customers can see others who like your brand.
- Consider adding your Facebook or Twitter feed to your website – this is a relatively easy thing to do if you have a WordPress site.
Boc Meow Pet Care Services have taken a really creative approach to sharing how much their clients love their services. They display scanned hand written notes from their customers on their site – social proof and reviews can’t really get more real and powerful than this!
Need more help?
Do you want to build a good looking website for your pet business, but not sure how to get started? To help you set up your pet biz website, or to help you improve your existing site, I’ve written book just for you – helping you get over website overwhelm and stress once and for all and finally turning your website into your main source of new business. Check it out on Amazon now.