In this day and digital age, you would be hard-pressed to find a successful business that does not have a functional and attractive website. For funeral homes (or any business for that matter), a website makes it easier to educate your target audience about who you are, what you do and the services you offer.
While carving out your space on the Internet comes with countless advantages, there are also a variety of risks associated with taking your business online and it’s something we see funeral homes go through each and every day. The good news is, these risks can be avoided with a little bit of knowledge. Let’s cover just one of the most common risks that companies turn a blind eye to: domain ownership.
Take a minute and ask yourself, who owns your funeral home domain? The answer may not be as simple as you think. Continue reading →
Virtually everyone has used Internet Explorer (IE) at some point in their online life. Some cringe at the very mention of it from the nightmares the browser has made them deal with. Others are quite content with the browser and perhaps have never known nothing else. No matter what side of the fence you sit on, you’ve no doubt had an experience with the internet browser. Today those experiences may be cut short as Microsoft has made some large announcements concerning the future of the company’s browser. Continue reading →
The internet is an interesting place. How it’s used can be vastly different from person to person. In the same way, regulation and compliance on the internet can be perceived differently from person to person. With the large amount of resources available, and quickly increasing, it can be tricky to figure out what’s OK and what you could be penalized for. These grey areas are particularly prominent with media, such as music and photos. Most media is very accessible to the public online and is very simple to download and reuse. So what’s the harm in doing so? If they didn’t want people to use it, then why would they put in online in the first place? This is sound logic on paper, but unfortunately just isn’t the case. The worst of it is, it’s up to you to find out what’s wrong and what’s right. Continue reading →
From the moment a death occurs, communication between friends and loved ones begins. And that communication, even with those you love, can be painful when grief is so fresh, especially if the phone doesn’t seem to stop ringing. Whoever they are, when they first hear of the passing, generally they ask themselves, or Google, three questions:
When is the service?
Where is the service?
Where should I stay? (If they are coming from out of town)
A part of your role as a funeral director is getting the news out. It is so important to post the service information as soon as possible onto your funeral home’s website. For the most part, funeral directors first think about sending the obituary to the newspaper, and leave the posting of that obituary and service information on their website as an afterthought. As you read above, some of the first questions that come to a persons mind when they hear about the death is asking when and where the service is being held. If they turn to Google and find the obituary and service information on a newspapers website, rather than your website – you are missing out on thousands of dollars in revenues, branding and so much more.
In the age of the internet, an online presence can make or break a business. Having an engaging and user-friendly funeral home website is the right place to start, but these days just having a website isn’t good enough. You need to think a step ahead in the process and ask yourself “how are people finding my website in the first place?” One of the most common answers will undoubtedly be “search engines”. If someone is searching for a business within their area (chances are this is the case with funeral homes) then the results will likely come up as a “local listings” or Google Places page, such as the one below.
At the Funeral Directors Association of Kentucky Mid-Winter Conference I recently attended, one of the speakers talked about obituaries as part of a presentation on funeral websites and social media as they relate to funeral homes. One point that was made numerous times in the presentation was the importance of obituaries as a link to your funeral home’s website, and the profit potential they represent. The presenter (Ashley Montroy, of FrontRunner Professional) pointed out that often times the obituary that you write in conjunction with the family you are serving, can end up on another company’s website.
So what’s the big deal, you ask? Well, if someone from out of town (or even someone from your town) Google’s the deceased person’s name looking for his or her obituary and ends up on a website that has taken the obituary from your funeral home, a few things can happen:
Google has announced some big changes to their search algorithms happening April 21, 2015. When you look at the sheer number of searches that come through Google’s search engine each and every month – it is something every business needs to be aware of.
According to Digital Marketing Ramblings, there are close to 12 billion searches on Google each month – this is desktop and mobile searches. Google’s Matt Cutts recently stated that he “wouldn’t be surprised if mobile search exceeded desktop queries this year”. That combined with this important Google algorithm change is two huge reasons to take the mobile-friendliness of your website very seriously.
Technology is often feared in our profession because it is unfamiliar territory. As a result, it is not implemented despite the absolutely incredible things it can for your business. It can provide newfound conveniences and services for your community to drive long-term loyalty. It can streamline your business with a single point of data entry for every call, eliminating hours of tedious work. It can give you the portability to work wherever your families need you to be. And, it can give you new ways to attract more families to your firm.
Unfortunately, it can also cost your company everything if not taken seriously. There are companies out there trying to access your valuable data, obituaries, visitor traffic, and online revenues. Putting your technology and data in the hands of the wrong company or simply
avoiding technology altogether can have serious repercussions.
Having a website is now one of the most hotly debated topics in funeral service, yet very few know what it is, how it works, or how to truly use it to one’s advantage. In this post, I hope that I can help you understand more about websites and what you need to consider to truly succeed online.
Let’s start by understanding that your website is simply your space on the Internet – your teeny, tiny little spec in a vast space that has had a profound impact on every business around the world. It has changed virtually every market, toppled dictatorships, and has become the single source for people around the globe to rapidly find out anything they want to know when they want to know it. This vast new space can become your biggest friend or it can become your worst enemy. It’s entirely up to you.
Most everyone by now has heard of Heartbleed and we all recognize that’s it’s not a good thing. But for many of us, we don’t have a clue about what it is and what we should be doing about it. Even when Heartbleed became the top news story, there were conflicting reports on what the average person should do to protect their personal information that is stored online.
It doesn’t help that when you ask a more technically-inclined person to explain this worldwide phenomenon, they tend to roll their eyes at you when you stare blankly at their answer. And, if you look at all the tech websites and blogs out there, their cartoon depictions that were created to explain everything to us ‘dummies’, make me feel even dumber!
So, I’ve gone to the programmers at FrontRunner and asked them to explain this so everyone understands. Thankfully, they are patient and keep the eye-rolling to a minimum or they at least wait until I’ve left the room.