As a web designer specializing in websites for breeders and pet service providers, you could say that I see a lot of websites. Sometimes I think a more fitting title might be website analyst.
Despite how much I love pouring over web copy and design, I always feel sad when I find a breeder whose website is actually hurting rather than helping his or her business. Unfortunately, this happens more than I’d like to admit.
Many of the problems I see plaguing breeding websites are fast, easy fixes. Here are the top six mistakes I see on websites, plus easy to implement solutions you can take action on today:
1. Forgetting to include a call to action on every page
In the world of web design and digital marketing, a call to action (or CTA) is critical when it comes to converting potential clients into actual buyers.
A call to action is the specific next step you want potential clients to take when they first come to your website. Common examples include:
- Subscribing to your email list
- Filling out a contact form to get in touch
- Downloading a lead magnet or other resource
As the final goal for breeders is, of course, to sell one of your animals, most of my clients’ websites focus on a contact form call to action: We want every piece of content, image, and text in the website to direct browsers to fill out a contact form to get in touch and learn more.
A strategic designer achieves this with subtlety, neither jamming the call to action in website browsers’ faces nor leaving it too ambiguous. Most of the breeder websites I see err too far on the latter side of this balance: Having no call to action whatsoever!
Is there a clear next step for what your client should do when he or she scrolls to the bottom of each page of your website? If not, you’ve got a problem.
Lacking a clear call to action leads visitors to click away from your website without taking any steps to get more involved with you and your business, effectively diminishing the chances that they will become paying clients in the future.
The solution: Pick one call to action you want potential clients to take, and add it to your website’s footer.
The easiest way to add a contact form on every page of your website? Embed your form directly into the website’s footer, so that your potential client can find it easily on every page.
2. Writing about themselves and their business in the third person
People like to buy from people, not agencies or vague brands. Many breeders fall into the trap of thinking that writing about their breeding business in the third person makes their website seem more polished and professional.
Unfortunately for them, the opposite is true. Rather than coming off as impressive, such website copy can sound distant and aloof to your potential client.
The solution: Replace every time you refer to yourself as “Your Business Name” with “I” or “we.”
The number one place to start with this is your website’s About section or About page. If editing on the screen is hard on your eyes, print out a copy of this section so you can get ruthless with your editor’s pen. Slash and delete every time you catch yourself referring to your breeding business simply as it’s name, as though you aren’t behind the business itself.
3. Not including a user-friendly FAQ page
An FAQ page is one of my favorite pages to include on breeding websites, because it serves both you and your customers.
For your clients and potential clients, it’s the obvious place to look for answers to the questions they’re already wondering. Instead of having to take the time to get in touch with you for small questions, they can find the answers themselves.
In a similar fashion, your FAQ page is a great service to you because it saves you time and unclutters your inbox. Instead of having to answer the same questions over and over by email or phone, the FAQ page will automate much of the client discovery phase for you.
The solution: Create an FAQ page or FAQ section.
Sit down with a pen and paper or with a fresh Word document (not typing directly onto your website!) and make a list of all the questions clients commonly ask you. Consider questions you receive before your clients decide to buy from you (ex: How much does _____ cost?) as well as questions you receive following their purchase (ex: What type of food / product / supplies do you recommend?)
Write out your answers to all of the questions with complete, detailed sentences. Think about answering as though you are having a conversation with your client face to face.
Once you’ve compiled you FAQ questions and answers, devote a section or a page of your website to them in a user-friendly accordion/toggle format. See a great example of this type of layout at the website I designed for Top Notch K9’s here.
I also detail the specifics of a successful FAQ page in my Breeder in Business guide, a free downloadable resource to help breeders like you plan and write compelling content for each page of their website.
4. Having a contact form, with no email or phone number
Some people simply do not like to use website contact forms. Instead, these potential clients would rather email you directly from their own mail provider. Not including your business email or phone directly above or below your website’s contact form alienates these people.
The solution: Insert your email and/or business phone in both the footer of your website and on your Contact section or Contact page.
A quick, easy adjustment that your potential clients will thank you for. Expect to hear from more interested buyers!
5. Forgetting to create an enticing email list sign-up form
Getting potential clients onto your email list brings them one step closer to purchasing from you in the future. Yet I find many breeders don’t include an option to sign up for an email list on their website at all.
In addition to having a newsletter sign up form embedded directly onto the pages of your website, you can take this a step further by enticing your website’s visitors to subscribe with a lead magnet or freebie. This is a free resource that your subscriber would receive in their inbox in exchange for giving you their email.
Popular options include:
- Guides and eBooks
- Example: The Top 10 Ways to Prepare For Bringing Home a New Puppy
- Example: How to Create an Affordable and Safe Habitat for your Ball Python
- Checklists and Cheat-sheets
- Example: 5 Ingredients to Look for in Rodent Pellet Food
- Example: The Easy Way to Potty Train Your Dog
- Video Tutorials and Workshops
- Example: Setting Up Your Macaw Enclosure the Right Way
- Example: Training with Loose Leash Walking
The solution: Pick an email list building platform and integrate the form onto your website.
There are several great email list building platforms out there which are free to get started with (no cost for under a certain subscriber amount). Popular options include both MailChimp and Mailerlite. Sign up with one of these platforms, then share their sign up forms on your website.
6. Making the Homepage too cluttered
There are so many things to love about your business . . . but you don’t need to share all of them on your website! If you want your potential client to find their way to your call to action (remember mistake #1) then you should not have too many different pieces of content.
Having too many buttons and crowded content increases your bounce rate (or how quickly browsers leave your site), which is the last thing you want.
The solution: Delete, delete, omit, and delete again!
Remember your call to action, and exclude everything that’s not needed or helpful in bringing your potential clients closer to this final step. There’s a common myth surrounding web design that your business website must include everything about your business that your client could possibly want to know – not so!
By creating an effective, strategic website, you get to show your client exactly what they should know and what they should do with that information. You are the boss of your business, after all. It’s time your website positioned you as such and showed off your expertise, rather than confusing visitors.
Want more website tips for your breeding business? Grab your copy of my free guide, Breeder In Business: Building a Pet Breeding Website that Converts.
When you’re ready to take your breeding business to the next level, book a free Design Consultation with me. Here at Top Dog Web Design, I love talking with breeders and other business owners in the pet industry to help them reach their goals online.
In your complimentary Design Consultation, we’ll meet over video chat to discuss how your business can benefit from a website or how to improve your existing website, all while working through the foundational strategy behind the web design process. We’ll discuss how you can apply this strategy to attract your ideal clients online.