Now more than ever, CCRCs and life plan communities rely on their websites to drive people to their sales offices. However, what makes a website effective for retirement facilities? Senior living community web development depends on many factors to create a great website. Some are obvious. Others are not. One of the most important components is simple, intuitive navigation.
As you consider your senior living community web development plan, remember that designing your website for viewers to navigate is similar to having people enter a house that they’re thinking about buying. When you walk into a house, you have certain expectations about where rooms should be. For example, if you open the front of a house, step in and immediately find yourself in the bathroom, you will be disoriented. What if the kitchen and dining room are on the second floor and bedrooms on the first floor? More than likely, you will turn around and walk away from that house ASAP.
Senior living web design is a bit like home design. Viewers have certain expectations of how to navigate a website. When a website doesn’t match their expectations, they get confused. If you disorient viewers by the navigation on your senior living website, they are likely to leave. You don’t want your senior living community web development to fail at such a spectacular level. Remember that annoyed viewers are highly unlikely to consider moving to your community.
Senior Living Website Navigation – What You Need to Know
Your senior living community web development must design navigation that serves two vital functions. First, it must enable users to easily find their way through the website without unnecessary clicks or confusion. Second, it has to allow viewers to move around the website in a manner that is beneficial to your goal. Namely, turning them into future residents at your CCRC or life plan community.
There’s no single perfect way to design navigation for a website because there are too many variables. Although every website is different, there are certain things that should always be kept in mind in senior living community web development and content marketing:
Never Upload “Under Construction” Pages to Your Senior Living Website
“Under construction” pages are the sure sign of amateur senior living community web development. To the viewer, this is a frustrating page to come across. If you know something important is coming, such as the opening of a new neighborhood or new amenity, don’t make the page live until you have complete content for it. You can compensate for the delay by putting in a brief blurb on your “news” section if you don’t have much information yet to share.
Don’t Build Elaborate Intros to Your Website
Creating fancy intros may be fun to create but it’s important to remember that web viewers are impatient, even under the best circumstances. First off, that intro may eat up a lot of space, which means it will load slowly, especially on mobile platforms. That’s the kiss of death in web development.
However, even if an intro loads fast, it’s still more of a nuisance than a help to viewers. When seniors or their adult children see some complicated intro pop up, the first thing they are likely looking for is the “skip intro” button so that they can get to the information they’re interested in. The lesson is clear: senior living community web development can’t afford to create a bad first impression.
Don’t Put in Irrelevant Links or Trivial Text
Remember that you need to provide something useful to web visitors. Seniors need information about the importance of independent lifestyles and the benefits of residing at a senior living community. Unimportant links and irrelevant text will only serve to annoy them. If seniors and their adult children feel that you aren’t giving them useful, informative senior living content on every page of your website, they’ll move on to another community’s website.
Don’t Make Things Difficult For Web Visitors
Your senior living community web development must ensure that viewers feel like they’re in control of the viewing experience. Make sure interior pages link to one another in a way that flows logically to viewers. Don’t leave them wondering where they should go after they read a given page. Your navigation should gently guide them.
Strive for a Consistent Structure
This is vital for a smooth viewer experience. Visitors to a site quickly figure out how the site is structured. As they go through the site, they expect that structure to remain the same on every page they visit. If the structure varies, they become frustrated. If your website has been up for awhile and has been revised many times by many different people, it’s possible that your navigation is all over the place. Your senior living community web development plan should include a thorough assessment of your existing website. It should also consider whether the website needs a complete redesign to be in accordance with the latest web design innovations.
Adopt the “Three-Click Rule”
By designing your website with the “three-click rule,” readers are never more than three clicks away from what they’re trying to find. Too many clicks to get what they want means that they’ll likely leave the website and search for other senior communities. If they leave, they probably won’t return. Give them a good reason to stay!
Is Your Senior Living Community Web Development Everything It Should Be?
Senior living community marketing varies greatly in quality and effectiveness. In this highly competitive industry, you can’t afford to have a website that doesn’t do your community justice. It may be time to consider revising or totally redesigning it.
Dreamscape Marketing is ready to take your website to the next level of success. We’ve built hundreds of websites and crafted more than 50,000 pages of optimized content for our healthcare clients. As a Premier Google Partner, we can put our considerable SEO and web development experience to work for you.