If you haven’t already joined our free community of pet store owners and pet industry enthusiasts, we obviously encourage it because you’ll get a lot of this information in an organized, succinct email every few weeks and from there you can pick and choose what resources are most relevant and helpful to you.
So maybe your pet store has a website that you’re in love with like a dog with his ball, and maybe it fits pretty well into your pet store’s marketing strategy and plan. That’s great, we are truly enamored for you! Today we’ll go over some quick tips and tricks to improve your website that maybe you and your team overlooked in the case of not needing a complete website overhaul. Let’s learn about optimizing your pet store’s website.
Optimizing Your Pet Store’s Website
1. Know your Plan
What do you want pet parents to do on your website? Don’t just design for the sake of putting up cute photos of furry creatures (although this is recommended, it’s not the end goal). To ensure that your website is effectively meeting the needs of your visitors you need to map out your buyer's journey from the first time they visit your website to the moment they become a customer.
What pages are they going to view, what content are they going to read, and what offers are they going to convert on? Understanding this will help you design a site that helps nurture leads through the sales funnel.
You want to design your website for the next step, not the final step.
2. Remove these Elements
Don’t overburden your pet store’s website, even if it you think it looks cool. Optimizing your pet store’s website often means simplifying and making things easier for your customer. We don’t need to be reminded that the customer comes first (well, there’s your reminder anyway).
Complicated animations, content that’s too long, stocky website images (a photographer can come to your store for a few hours and create everything you need in one visit) are just a few factors on the list.
With an audience that only has an attention span of 8 seconds (and this is shrinking), you need to create a first impression that easily gets the main points across. This should be done with short, powerful sections of content and applicable photographs/icons that are sectioned off by clear and concise headers.
If you’ve got those right, then review it and make sure it doesn’t contain jargon or ambiguous terminology. It only serves to muddy your content and confuse your users.
3. Integrate Socially
Producing great content and offers only go so far if you aren’t giving your pet parent audience the opportunity to share what you have. If your website currently lacks social share buttons, you could be missing out on a lot of social media traffic that's generated from people already reading your blog!
If this sounds new to you, social sharing buttons are the small buttons that are around the top or bottom of blog posts. They contain icons of different social media website and allow you to share the page directly on the social media channel of your choice.
Speaking of….are you following us?!
4. Relevant Calls to Action
Once your visitors land on your pet store’s site, do they know what to do next? They won't know what pages to view or actions to take if you don't provide them with some sort of direction.
Call-to-action buttons are one of the many elements that indicate the next step user should take on a page. While many of us know that, it can be easy to fail to accurately use them to guide users through your website.
If you know your plan (tip #1), then you should be able to guide people in the right direction. Keep in mind, different visitors come to your website for different reasons. Some pages may be ideal for a “SHOP NOW” button, while on other pages a “SUBSCRIBE” button would be more apt.
5. Be Aware of your Imagery
Not every image is going to fit with the type of message you're trying to show your audience. We’ve all seen ads that are done in poor taste. Don’t plague your pet store’s website with random images, and instead you can optimize your pet store’s website by using the right type of stock photos to add realism and trust to your branding elements.
6. Organic Navigation
Nobody likes being on a website where things are hard to find. Remember, your audience wants what it wants, and it wants it fast. Help them get there with organized, natural navigation that makes sense. In order to do this, put yourself in the pet parent’s shoes and try to understand what they’re thinking of when they reach your homepage.
If users cannot find what they're looking for, they have no reason to stay on your site. Instead, they will certainly bounce and find a competitor that offers a better user experience.
7. Build on your Home Page
Don't be wary of designing a slightly longer homepage. Including 3-5 sections that help direct new and recurring users to proper areas of your site can help create a seamless experience. To build on your navigation bar, your homepage can be used as a more immersive way to educate, organize, and guide your site visitors.
This list could go on forever, but a quick hit-list of some of the more crucial elements includes:
Value proposition or mission statement
Intro video or gallery
Overview of products and services
About page teaser
Testimonials and reviews
Resources and FAQS
This is really only limited by how well you know your audience and the stretches of your imagination.
8. Use Space
White space is an essential design element that helps you break up the page and increase readability. Also called ‘negative space,’ white space refers to the areas around elements on a page that are empty and lacking content or visual items.
Although extra space may seem superfluous, it’s actually responsible for readability and content prioritization. It also plays an important role in the design process and positioning website design elements.
Maybe you want to toy with the idea of going fully minimalist in your website’s design and branding? Sounds like a fun project to the team here at Pet Engine!
9. Find your Weaknesses
Depending on the size of your pet store’s website, or how long it’s been around, you may actually have a few pages or links here and there that aren’t working. This can also, embarrassingly, happen to images.
See? This just looks bad ➡.
And on top of all that, your visitors probably won’t even let you know!
Take the time to evaluate whether or not your site has broken pages, links, or images. You may be surprised to find previously high performing landing pages that are unpublished or website pages that are improperly linked.
10. Go Back in Time
Just because your site is “complete” doesn’t mean it’s going to stay that way. Go back and look through your past posts and content, your pages that have laid static for years and give them a fresh look.
Maybe optimizing your pet store’s website means stripping out the “we’s” and “our’s” and replace them with “you’s” and “your’s.” Change up the language to better reflect your growing awareness and understanding of your customer’s pain points and needs.
Optimizing your pet store’s website comes down to having a powerful, deep knowledge of who your main customers are and what they are looking for, what they need, and what they come to your for. In truth, you should never stop trying to optimize your pet store’s website. Don’t stop testing new things, make sure you’re keeping track of Analytics to see what’s going on behind the scenes, ensure that your site remains optimized for mobile visitors, and focus on being found with modern, up-to-date SEO content and keywords.
And, of course, if this seems like too much for you to take on yourself, we’d love to! Bark at us!