Whether you have just franchised your business or have been around for a while, website structure & design for both your franchise brand and your franchisees are critical. Working in this space, we see it all too many times where the basics aren't achieved on the local level which causes confusion, lack of conversion and ultimately, frustrated zees. In this post, we will review some of the most common mistakes we see franchisors foundationally setup their local microsites in their system.
1. Failing to Include Easy-to-Find Contact Information
In addition to making it harder for a prospect to contact you, failing to include your name, address, and phone number (NAP) in easy-to-locate places around your site can get you in big trouble with search engines like Google – costing you rankings and traffic. Ideally, your franchisees contact information should be on every page of your site and all the information therein should match exactly. Adding a simple contact form to many or all of the pages is also a great way to increase conversion. (On a side note: What happens after someone fills out the form? Are there follow up emails that automatically happen? Are you relying on the local zee to follow up? Are you tracking these form fills and or calls? Are these forms SMART?)
2. Having Broken Links on Your Site
Broken links are some of the most frustrating things on the entire Internet (say us:-). When a prospect clicks on a link that leads to a blank page or a “404” (“page not found”) code, it’s likely that they’ll get frustrated and leave. To avoid this, the franchisors should test their sites frequently or have a software that does that in the background (If you're using the WordPress CMS, here's a good one to check out). If you’re still having trouble, a digital marketing agency for franchises can help you comb through your site and locate broken links.
3. Slow Load Times
All too often, amateur web designers pack their sites full of images, add-ons, and Flash, which can slow down load times considerably. 47% of consumers expect the sites they visit to load fully within 2 seconds. If your franchise brand site or franchisee websites are taking longer than this, it’s likely you’re losing traffic. Because of this, it’s important to have a digital marketing agency evaluate your site to ensure it’s offering the best possible user experience. You can also use a tool like Pingdom to check your speed.
4. Outdated Sites
2005 called. They want their franchise website back. Prospects can tell if your website is outdated especially on their mobile devices. You only have several seconds to "tickle their pickle" or they're on to the next option (your competitor!).
One of the most dangerous mistakes of website design actually comes after the design has taken place. When a franchise systam doesn’t update or refresh content on a regular basis, the site looks old and stale, which damages your site’s authority and drives readers away. Additionally, a lack of fresh content can hurt your chances of ranking well in Google.
5. Difficult Navigation
Franchise websites that are difficult for readers to navigate are virtually guaranteed to be abandoned in a hurry. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to find a company’s blog or contact information and being forced to scroll through thousands of words of text or multiple pop-up windows. Because of this, easy site navigation is by far one of the most important things webmasters need to focus on when building a website. We recommend going through your Google Analytics website flow to see how your current prospects are going through your main brand site and or your franchisee's pages locally. You'll most likely receive some really great insight here.
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