When Was The Last Time You Updated Your Assisted Living Website?

Hopefully, within the last two weeks. If not, you are at a disadvantage. Search engines and visitors/followers demand new content. Otherwise, your site becomes stale to search engines, such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. This will decease how often your site is found in random searches. Also, a lack of “new” on your website will lessen the incentive for previous visitors to return to your site.

I have found that most assisted living websites are infrequently updated…or not updated at all. When I mention this to marketing directors, executive directors and corporate management, they say they don’t have the ability to readily make changes and updates. Their website is run by an administrative company. Their hands are tied.

Work With Your Website Developer To Make Updates Easy

Running a website takes technical expertise. So you should have a “techie” running your site. However, most web administrators and/or designers do not have the necessary marketing skills or an understanding of the decision-making process to turn an assisted living website into an effective “marketing system.” You should sit down with them and discuss how your site fits into your marketing plan and can drive your efforts.

(Note:  Those who get the Assisted Living Marketing Guild service can go to www.marketingwithcare.com/members/174.cfm to view the Website Hub Flowchart which places the website in the center of a marketing plan.)

To make this happen, you should work as a website team. Here are some issues you should discuss.

  • What pages can and should be updated?
  • What form can updates take? – Text (and how much), photos (size and how many), videos (size and length), documents (pdf format?).
  • What is the easiest way to get info and files to the administrator? – Photos and videos files may be too big to attach to e-mails.
  • What will the editing process entail? – Timing, what is expected in editing, who has final say and how this is communicated.
  • Can we list updates on the home page so returning visitors know where to look for new items?

You Want Your Website Updates To Accomplish…

The above discussion is about the change process. You should also discuss what you want the changes and updates to accomplish. Here are some goals.

  • Improve SEO (search engine optimization). Adding keywords, text/photos/videos, links can increase your value in the eyes of search engines.
  • Create good reasons for visitors to check in every so often, and to pass along new information to others.
  • Create good reasons for you to contact your three key lists – inquiries, family/friends, professionals – to let them know about your new information, and make it easy for them to check it out by including links directly to the information.
  • Inform family members about your care, activity and events in order to build their confidence/trust and make it easy for them to refer your care to others.
  • Share your expertise to improve/strengthen the marketing position of your services and staff.
  • Promote other professionals who serve seniors to enhance your credibility, and to earn referrals from them.

Create An Update Team & Process

Updating an assisted living website on a regular basis takes a system (with checks and balances) and teamwork. I believe the marketing director should be the captain of that team and add their strategy, planning and organizing skills.

Typically, the people who take photos and videos have to get them to the marketing director who does the first edit and supplies background information. Then they pass along the updates to the website administrator, who does layout and editing, and sends it back to the director for final edit. Then the website administrator updates the site and the new information is ready to easily and effectively integrate into the marketing plan, and to accomplish the goals listed above.

From my experience, if you do not have efficient systems in place, the process will quickly fall apart.  For example, I have seen great photos sit in a camera/phone because staff members do not know how to upload the photos (especially large files) or where to upload them to.  On the other side of the coin, when the camera is set up to plug into a USB port on the marketing computer and automatically upload to a specific folder, the problem became too many great photos.

Organization & Communication Works Wonders

I believe in checklists.  They help put strategy and planning into effective and efficient action.  Attached is a sample of one we use to coordinate with our website clients – http://www.assistedlivingmarketingdirector.com/website-monthlychecklist-guild.pdf).

One last thing.  Updating your website should be FUN!  When someone asks “what’s new?,” there should be plenty and you should be excited to show them.

Note:  For ideas on what new information to add to a website, those who get the Assisted Living Marketing Guild service can go to www.marketingwithcare.com/members/296.cfm.)

P.S.  If you would like help with your new or existing website, go to http://www.marketingwithcare.com/website-assistedliving.html.

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