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Clients who want an independent check on their website designers and developers often ask us to conduct an objective review of their website.

Based on that experience, we developed this cheat sheet of the ten best practices for health clubs, yoga studios, wellness centers and healthy lifestyle businesses.

Print it, then launch your wellness website and compare it to the checklist.

You’ll quickly see where you’re on track and where you need to redirect your web team’s efforts.

1. Give your homepage a one-sentence headline or tagline

The purpose of this headline is to make it very easy for a new site visitor to say to herself, “OK, this health club looks promising…I’ll spend a few more seconds checking it out.”

2. Drop the homepage slideshows & videos

These gimmicky fads take up the most important half of your home page.

And they’re usually nothing but stock graphics, generic videos, meaningless images of shiny health club equipment, or the butts of people doing “downward dog” in a dimly lit yoga studio.

Folks, this does nothing to bring people into your wellness center. It doesn’t communicate anything about the experience customers can expect.

Use these features only if you have meaningful imagery of your actual wellness business and your own customers…AND you have something unusual or distinctive to show people.

Include very brief text – usually emphasizing the point of the image plus an appropriate call to action – with each image.

3. Orient your homepage around no more than three key tasks

What are the top three things that new site visitors usually want to do?

Build the homepage for your healthy lifestyle business around those three things.

4. Include videos only when they tell a story

A three-minute video of a group fitness class labeled “Check Out Our Group Fitness Class” tells potential clients nothing.

What do you want them to notice in the video? Why are you asking them to spend 3 minutes of their lives watching it? Is this really the most compelling three minutes of video about your business you can possibly come up with?

Then, label the video with a relevant and curiosity-inspiring description: “Pizzazz Classes: Fitness AND Giggles.” Consider freeze-framing scenes and adding voiceover narration, graphic highlights and/or text callouts and captions on the video itself to draw attention to what’s important.

5. Every page of your website should have an email signup

Include a prominent email signup near the top of the homepage – definitely not on the bottom half of the page. Include the signup on sub-pages, too.

Do not rely exclusively on Facebook and Twitter. Twitter is highly overrated for most consumer-oriented health and wellness businesses. And relying on organic Facebook content to generate leads often results in vanishingly low conversion rates. It also exposes you to Facebook’s latest algorithm tweaks — pretty scary if you’re counting on that platform to provide all your leads!

6. Put your NAP on every page

It helps prospective members visit or contact you and it helps your visibility in local search results.

Include your yoga studio, wellness center or health club’s name, full street address and phone number with zip (NAP) on every page.

Make sure you always present your name and street address consistently everywhere you use it online. If it’s 123 ABC Drive, Suite 1310, BigCity, Texas in your Google Business listing, it better not say “123-1310 ABC Dr., Big City, TX on other directory listings or your website, for example.

7. Provide full contact info on your Contact page

Full contact information builds trust and confidence that your healthy lifestyle business is the real deal.

Even more important, it makes it super-easy for potential and current customers to reach you.

Whether you have a brick-and-mortar facility or operate exclusively online, your Contact page must provide the business street address, phone number with area code, and an email address that is checked at least daily.

Tell people when they can expect to hear back – one business day? Two business days?

A “contact us” form is sub-optimal for a variety of reasons, not least of which is that the submissions often land in junk folders.

Now, we get it — if you display your email address, spammers will use it. But that’s like refusing to provide your business phone number because you’ll get telemarketing calls. It’s just part of doing business.¬†Spam’s easy to deal with. Use your webhost’s spam filter, your email client’s spam filter, and/or the spam filters provided for free by your email provider. If a few spam emails still make it through, just press the Delete button. Simple.

8. Drop inactive “community” features

If you don’t regularly blog, tweet, post to Facebook or LinkedIn, respond to posts on your message board, or use your site’s chat feature – turn those features off and remove them from your site.

And remember: you’re asking for everyone’s email address (right?), so make sure you communicate at least monthly via email, usually through a newsletter.

9. Continually add new customer comments

Nothing sells your wellness business as effectively (or as cheaply) as your customers’ words do – especially when the list of comments is long.

Every health and wellness site should include comments from customers. Date them – “Leslie, April 2015” – so that it’s clear that you’ve got years and years of happy clients.

Continually add the latest comments and feedback. If your Feedback or Testimonials page still has only the same five comments that it had a year ago, you’re dropping the ball.

10. Provide information that supports the buying process

Don’t just say “Lifestyle coaching – $125/hour.” That’s like describing your mom’s fabulous multi-course gourmet Thanksgiving dinner as “turkey with sides.”

For each key wellness program or service, provide:

  • A reasonably full description of what it is
  • How it makes the customer’s life better
  • What their experience will involve
  • The price range (“Starts at $375”)
  • Comments from customers of this particular service

Explain who it’s best suited to, and why. Compare it to their competitive alternatives.

And address any common worries or concerns that new clients commonly have about this wellness service or program.