Surely you have heard about the importance of online reputation before. After all, your funeral home website is the new front door to your business and your first chance to make an impression with the potential families. These days, if your website looks untrustworthy, then you may be unknowingly losing traffic. And the worst part is, it may be due to things you previously didn’t notice. Even if you feel like your website is perfectly trustworthy, it is never a bad idea to have a look and see. That’s why I wanted to take some time and dissect the anatomy of a trustworthy funeral home website.
The following are a few areas you should focus on if you want to make sure your funeral home has a good reputation online and that families feel comfortable when visiting your site.
The design and user experience offered by your site could be the difference between immediately enticing visitors and sending them away, believe it or not. Think of it like the difference between old wallpaper and a fresh coat of paint. It may not be the ultimate reason a family trusts you, but having a well-designed, modern looking website can sure make your pages more inviting. If you spend time on the presentation of your funeral home, make sure that you do the same online.
When families enter your funeral home website, you want them to be comfortable and see that everything is ‘neat and tidy’. If your website has not been updated in the past 5 years, chances are families are going to wonder why. Believe me, more people can tell the difference than you may think. In order to make sure potential families feel comfortable, update your website (and if you can, do it often).
How often do you walk through your building? What about before a service? You might check behind doors, straighten out the carpet, and make sure the chairs are not wobbly. Chances are this is something you do often, and it is part of what makes funeral directors so special – attention to detail.
That being said, you should also be ‘walking’ through your funeral home website and checking to see if little things are out of place. This can include everything from proofreading to checking if the links are broken. This is so that people are able to get around your site with ease. Part of ensuring that this is happening involves not only having a good navigation but making sure that you don’t (unintentionally) send people to the wrong area of the site or even worse a page that doesn’t exist anymore. Those are instant indicators of untrustworthiness.
This one you may have heard of in recent weeks. Come July 1, 2018, Google Chrome will display sites that are not https encrypted (with an SSL certificate) as ‘Not Secure’ to visitors. A quick way to find out if your site is secure is to type in your web address and look for a lock or green https by your web address. If you do not have either of these things, it may be time to look further into the security of your website. You can learn more about SSL certificates and their importance here.
For such a little component, it is actually extremely important for your site to offer secure browsing or https. Thats because it means information provided by the visitor will be kept safe. Think about it, do you want families coming to fill out a form or make a purchase feeling uncertain about the safety of their information? If you have questions about this, contact your funeral home website provider.
Do you offer cremation or prepaid funeral services? If so are they clearly on your navigation bar or do families have to go digging? Many people going to your site will be grieving. Make sure it is easy for them to access the information they need without having to call your facility directly or look around for extended periods of time.
If you had a store, you wouldn’t want people searching for what they came to find. Make sure you don’t make people jump through hoops to get what they want. Also, make your contact information and facility details readily available so that people can find and get ahold of you as easily as they can find out what you offer.
Google has become known for providing useful, relevant and reputable information (at least relative to what is searched). That is why it is so important to maintain good rankings on Google and other search engines. The more information that is easy to find, the better you look.
Make sure you are using heavily searched keywords when communicating the value of your funeral home. Put these keywords in all the areas of your website, including the titles of your images. Even if your site is beautiful, your site needs to appear on the first page of Google. According to the numbers, only 5% of searchers will ever reach page 2. Having good search engine optimization is a great way to stay reputable and trustworthy.
I understand this may be a lot to take in at once. After all, you are in the funeral business, not the marketing business. But that’s why we are here. At FrontRunner, we are currently trying to help all of our clients update their web presence. If you want to make sure that your website is trustworthy, get in touch and we will gladly show you how. If you find something that you don’t like, we will also help you fix it. Don’t get overwhelmed, don’t worry. Help is on the way.
Ashley Montroy, Marketing Director at FrontRunner Professional, has committed herself to helping funeral professionals understand and excel in today’s digital age. With a long-standing history in the funeral business and her father being a licensed funeral director for over 30 years; she grew up learning the family funeral business. Ashley holds a bachelor’s degree from Carleton University and diploma from Algonquin College. Today, she continues to speak to over 15 state and provincial funeral association groups each year on funeral marketing in the digital age and protecting funeral firms online using experiences and examples from working with thousands of funeral homes in North America through FrontRunner Professional.