In senior living, a website is a big deal. It’s the place where families, seniors, referral sources and others will come for your contact information, directions, to schedule a tour, or poke around to see photos, floor plans, social life and more. So, it stands to reason that your website should be well designed, functional and focused on your visitor’s experience. If you do this right, you’ll win. Done poorly, folks will just meander to the next senior living website and begin their exploration there.
A good site starts with a smooth design process. As you get into a website design process, there is so much to consider, but if you have a good navigator, a clear vision, and a great team working on the project, it can be a lot of fun and really rewarding to see the transformation of an underperforming site to one that becomes a lead-generation machine.
This article offers some thoughts on common snags in senior living website design as well as best practices for getting through the process efficiently and effectively.
Common snags in senior living website design
Website design is a complicated, unpredictable process. The following issues happen more often than not, and any website project team should prepare for them:
- A senior living operator can’t access their host, domain registrar, or both. This usually takes a lot of back-and-forth with your website design firm and the host or registrar to resolve; sometimes, it can drag on for weeks until this is resolved. It’s critical because your design team will need to point your domain to the new site when it’s time.
- The client is using a weak host like PureHost or HostGator. Hosting is really important, and something a senior living operator should carefully consider. In many cases, you get what you pay for in load speeds (big deal!), support, and more with hosting plans. Most bad websites use bad hosts, which can add days to the project timeline.
- It’s common for organizations to think they have good photos, but in reality they often don’t. Spending on high-quality photos to showcase your rooms, common areas, exteriors and more will help make a great first impression when visitors come to your site.
- Feedback delays can make a project lag. Our account managers work closely with clients on timelines and make sure everyone is properly prepped at each stage to ensure we keep moving forward to the finish line.
- Code glitches happen. A good design firm can uncover them, make the necessary adjustments and keep things clean on the backend. This is just part of website design.
Best practices in senior living website design
Following these guidelines will mitigate some of the above problems and keep a website project moving efficiently.
- Set VERY clear project team expectations — this includes members of the senior living organization and the design team. Making major milestones clear to clients is essential for our managers, including when clients can expect to see a test site. Promising a “go live” date at the outset is setting everyone up for false hopes.
- Getting access to the current host, registrar and website back end as early as possible is important. If the client is on a bad host, we share other options to enhance website performance.
- Gathering any photos, logos and other imagery early is critical. Then the design team can best apply those graphics while filling holes as needed.
- Make sure the copy team on the project selects senior living keywords before writing copy. We use several tools to make sure each page is optimized for search engines.
A complete senior living website design will likely take four to eight weeks to finish. When done well, it’s one of the most rewarding and high-profile undertakings a senior living operator and its marketing team will undertake. Be smart, deliberate and get the right team in place throughout the entire process to ensure success.
Would you like to talk about your website? We can share our thoughts on process to ensure a smooth project.