What does an “effective website” mean? To evaluate ask yourself:
- Is your website reflecting the high quality image you’ve worked at for years. Is it the best in your market?
- Can your users access it on phones, Ipads and laptops
- Is it bringing you in new candidates and clients
- Does it help your business run more efficiently
- Does it appear near the top in the Google search wars?
Let’s look at the components of an “effective” website by breaking them down into manageable chunks.
- Design & Navigation
- Design is much more than just being up-to-date. It’s about whether your website is “relatable” to your audience, does it make your visitors feel safe and comfortable. Many nanny agency websites, in my opinion, look like they were cut out of a cookie cutter. They don’t stand out from their competitors and relate to the mostly female audience of a nanny agency. There are scientifically studied differences between what moves a female to make a decision on a website and they are different than what motivates a male.
- Today sites much work equally well on types of devices; phones; Ipads and laptops. Vera Pascal of Seattle Design Group says this, “It also needs to accommodate a variety of devices so it needs a responsive design.”
- to a small screen on a phone and function just as well with a large desk top screen.
- Navigation is a critical part of the design process. It must follow the common conventions, be simple and clear to help guide your visitor where YOU want them to go next.
Importantly, before you begin a redesign plan, plan, plan! Involve your office and speak to professionals as well as your colleagues. Write out a road map of what you want to achieve and how.
Here are two websites selling similar products to mostly female customers. Which one do you think works better?
This website looks more up-to-date, is more classy and follows female website design principles
- Selling to your audience
Websites that are geared towards mostly female audiences must take much care that they are designed with this in mind. Some nanny agencies are now hiring female marketing experts to help them gear their sites to their well-educated, busy clients. The above two website screenshots clearly show the difference between a business that gets and one that doesn’t. I just did a random check of nanny agency websites, and only one of five came close to having the feel of design and content that seems the right match. Just think what a competitive advantage you’ll have! Here’s what Kat Gordon of Maternal Instinct has to say, “First off, I always want to make clear that women are the superset, not the subset. Marketing to women should be the default setting of most marketers, with men as the afterthought. The good news is that research bears out that when you meet the needs of women, you more than exceed the needs of men, because women have a “longer list” of criteria.”
- Content and Calls to Action
- Content is as important as design. Think carefully about your message and mission. Many agencies put their energy into the design and don’t devote the time and resources needed for the content. The content will make your agency shine and stand out from your competitors. Since most of us aren’t professional writers, I strongly suggest hiring a professional to write the important content or at a minimum polish up your content. Lisa Manyon of WriteOnCreative has this to say, “Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. It also doesn’t mean you can do it well. Most professional copywriters have years of experience and have been trained to master salesmanship in print. This means they can transform your magic into a marketing message that gets results.”
- Calls to action are a very important part of every website. They are the “road signs” telling your user what to do such as “To make an application, click here” or “Find your perfect nanny. Click here.” Calls to action are both a part of design and content and deserve much thought.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Fortunately nanny agencies don’t have to compete for SEO on a national level. Agencies can’t compete with the SEO budgets of Care.com and SitterCity.com, but agencies can compete on a local or regional level. You can have a wonderful website, but if it doesn’t appear on the first page in Google for different important keywords, you’re out of luck. Your website should be your best referral source, after word of mouth. The good news is that you can improve your results in most cases easily and quickly because most agencies haven’t optimized their sites for local SEO. What you and your website designer think are SEO, may be very different from today’s reality. Turn to a professional. It’s not that expensive and they will get the results you need.
This is the search result for “Nanny Agency Los Angeles”. The listings A to F are the Google “Six Pack” of local listings. These are great places to be and are all part of a local SEO strategy.
Your website is your 24/7 recruiter and job source and it should also help save you time and not create more work for you or your clients and candidates. Most agencies have online forms, but these forms don’t feed into an integrated nanny agency software management system. Agencies cut and paste information from one form to another, and in some cases still use paper forms that can’t be searched. Save you and your staff hours of busy work and make more placements by using automation in a smart way.
The takeaway to this article is that a website is a critical part of your business and is very complex because it consists of many parts, all of which must come together in a meaningful way. It probably ranks with word of mouth as the most important piece to your agency’s marketing success. Because of its importance hire professionals to take care of the components for you. Beware of any one person who claims to be an expert in all these areas since each is its own specialty. There is spillover in these areas but only to a degree.
Special thanks to:
Vera Pascal of Seattle Design Group, 253.677.4384,com email@example.com, .
Lisa Manyon of WriteonCreative, 866.620.1428, firstname.lastname@example.org, http://writeoncreative.com.
Kat Gordon of Maternal Instinct, email@example.com, http://www.maternalinstinct.com