20-Point Website Self-Review for Wedding Businesses
Use this information to perform a self-analysis of your website. It will be helpful if:
- You are NOT getting the results you expected
- You are getting good results but want even BETTER results
1. Load Time
2. “Oh Yes” Moment
4. Overall Homepage Layout
5. Appropriate Graphics
6. Phone Number
8. Main Navigation
9. Marketing Copy (UVP, WIIFM, CTA)
10. Testimonials and Social Proof
11. Photo Galleries
12. Multiple Contact Options
13. Use of Contact Form
14. Post Contact Form Action
15. Using Google Analytics
16. Using Sitemap
17. Social Icons
19. Mobile Friendly Responsive Design
21. Live Chat
22. Stop Linking to The Knot and WeddingWire
23. Backup and Disaster Recovery
24. Promote Your Professional Associations=
Does your website load FAST? Slow-loading websites are the #1 reason engaged couples will leave a website. If that’s not enough, load times are now a ranking factor at Google and may negatively impact your online visibility.
“Oh Yes” Moment
Does your website create a GREAT first impression? What I call the “Oh Yes” moment; when an engaged couple first visits your home page and says to themselves, “Oh yes, this is the company we are looking for!” “Oh Yes” type visitors convert into inquiries far better than visitors who say, “This site looks pretty much like the other 5 websites I just visited.”
Does your header area have links to your social media, phone number, contact form link, or maybe an interesting call-to-action? Does it show properly on mobile devices (i.e. responsive design)?
Overall Homepage Layout
Think: simple, elegant, professional. The best home page designs “don’t make me think.” You may think the design is intuitive, but will an engaged couple visiting your website think so? Does your home page leave the appropriate first impression? Does your home page immediately answer the question: “What’s in it for me?” and communicate a unique value proposition (UVP)?
Do the graphics you use on your home page, and throughout your website, communicate the right message? Are you using stock photography or your own pictures? Are they crisp, clean images, not blurry or pixelated?
Phone Number & Text Messaging
Can I find your phone number easily? It should be at the top and bottom of all of your web pages, in addition to being used in your page content. You might also want to give couples the option of sending you a text message.
Do you use a call-to-action throughout your website? Use text, buttons, and maybe even pop-up boxes on some or all of your pages. Yes, people hate pop-up boxes, but they work!
Is the main navigation at your website easy to identify? Does it make it SUPER easy to find the information engaged couples are looking for? Is a PRICING page in your main navigation? Is a TESTIMONIALS page in your main navigation? Those are two pages every couple visiting your website will want to see.
Marketing Copy (UVP, WIIFM, CTA)
Three critical components of your home page marketing copy, and copy on most of your other pages, are your (1) unique value proposition (UVP), (2) “what’s in it for me message (WIIFM),” and the (3) proper use of calls-to-action (CTA). What makes your company different from the others (UVP)? What are you going to do for me – “What’s in it for me if I hire you?” Calls-to-action should be prominent throughout your website, particularly on the bottom of pages where people naturally are looking for the next thing to do – contact you!
Testimonials and Social Proof
Social Proof converts website visitors into inquiries. Is there a testimonial on every page of your website? Are you using your awards, reviews, and association membership badges throughout your website?
Photo galleries are a very powerful marketing tool. Use clear, crisp photos that show the happy brides and grooms you have worked for. Combine them with testimonials for an added punch! If you have videos, create a video gallery at your website.
Multiple Contact Options
Your contact options should be prominent in your main navigation, at the bottom of all pages, and integrated into your page copy. You can also appropriately add colorful and eye-catching buttons and graphics as calls-to-action.
Use of Contact Form
Contact forms are more effective than email-only links. Sure email works, but often the email message you get doesn’t have the information you need to properly qualify a lead. Contact forms are always a better option because you can use required fields to narrow down the information a potential new customer is giving you.
Post Contact Form Action
Do you use a post-inquiry landing page (PILP) that a person who just made an inquiry “lands” on after they hit the submit button to send their inquiry? Post Contact landing pages should thank someone for their inquiry, put your contact information in front of them, and may even link to your social media pages. For added punch, add a handful of your best testimonials.
Using Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a free website visitor traffic tracking tool. It should be used on all of the pages at your website. It tracks visitor sessions, most popular pages, and other important information about the people who visit your website. It is available free at http://google.com/analytics
Using a Sitemap
A sitemap is a technical term for a file that lists all of the pages at your website. Search engines use sitemaps to quickly identify your pages, and the more easily they find them the better. Sitemaps are an important part of an effective search engine optimization strategy, and a recommended search engine optimization (SEO) “Best Practice.”
Social icons with links to your social media touch points should be used throughout your website, but don’t make them too prominent. All inks to your social media touchpoints should open in a new browser window.
Hopefully people who visit your website never get down to your footer area, because you have engaged and CONVERTED them higher up on your page, but if they do, give them contact information, maybe a link to your blog, rotating testimonials, and certainly a call-to-action.
Is your website mobile friendly and mobile responsive? Does it create a favorable user experience if someone visits your website from a smartphone or tablet? Does it pass the Google mobile-friendly test? Mobile-friendliness is now a Google “signal” or ranking factor. Test your website at: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/
Takeaways are flyers, rack cards, information, or sales sheets that engaged couples can download from your website. Takeaways are very effective, and I don’t see them used as often as I’d expect given how well they work.
People have become very comfortable using the live chat options found at many websites (i.e. banking, tech support, etc.) If you’re not using live chat now might be a good time to add it to your website. One of my favorite live chat tools is: https://livechatinc.com.
Stop Linking to The Knot and WeddingWire
It’s hard enough to get high-quality traffic to your website, stop linking to The Knot or WeddingWire, and sending couples that found your website away from it. Use their badges and awards, just don’t link the graphics away from your website.
Backup & Disaster Recovery
If your website crashed today how long would it take you to fully recover? Is your website backed up regularly? Is it backed up at all? Where do you keep your backups? Backups should not be kept on your hosting server! Do you have a disaster recovery plan?
Promote Your Professional Associations
Membership in Professional Associations adds instant integrity and credibility to your business. It can help you close more sales and differentiate your wedding business from other wedding businesses. Check out the International Association of Wedding Industry Professionals https://iawip.org/newmembers