8 Common Water Lab Website Issues to Avoid — and How to Fix Them
Your water lab needs a strong website that exemplifies your brand, meets your audience's needs, and achieves your business goals. You want content that engages your visitors and reflects the caliber and quality of the services you provide. But how do you make it happen?
- Visit every page on your website to determine whether the focus is on your prospects and customers or your lab, then revise to engage visitors.
- Create the information architecture for your website to see where you can simplify the structure, pare down existing information, and update or add new topics of interest.
- Use SEO strategies to help customers find your lab by geography, capabilities, or customer types when they enter common terms in search engines.
You'll first want to avoid these eight common mistakes seen on lab websites. But if you spot something familiar on this list — don't fret. We're also sharing fixes that'll help your site overcome these missteps and provide a superb user experience.
1. Pushing Your Lab's Offerings Instead of Meeting Your Customers' Needs
A website where the word we appears more than the word you is like a conversation with your self-involved colleague: boring. Remember, you don't just have one amorphous audience; you have several, whether your customers include government agencies, industrial plants, or individual homeowners. Each of these customers differs in the information they want, the tests they need, and the turnaround time they'll be satisfied with. Your website should contain information that appeals to each of them individually.
2. Presenting Content in Large Blocks of Heavy Text
Here's a checklist you can use to make your web content easy to grasp:
- Use plain language, not complex lab terminology. Where necessary, explain complicated terms and concepts in conversational English.
- Start with the most important information, which will be a mix of your customers' problems and the strength and uniqueness of your lab's solutions.
- Break up your content using subheads that make key points. Readers should be able to skim the content and still gather the information they need.
- Use active — not passive — voice. This will allow you to keep your readers' attention and your page from becoming too long and unwieldy.
- Limit paragraphs to three or four simple sentences, and use bulleted lists where effective.
3. Cramming the Site Full of Content
Yes, you want to engage your customers and prospects by starting an interesting conversation — but don't go overboard. You can achieve this by providing just enough information to answer their top questions. Then, invite visitors to contact you to continue the discussion. A monologue that leaves no opening for further conversation may satisfy their need for information but not your lab's need to engage and convert customers.
4. Ignoring Search Engine Optimization
If you don't pay attention to search engine optimization (SEO), your site may be lost in the sea of other results on Google and the like. Most web users find answers and businesses by searching for terms, and certain terms should direct them to your water lab's site if it's optimized properly. A marketing employee or an outside SEO consultant can determine which terms your prospects and customers use to search. Once identified, you can include them as keywords at the beginning of titles, in the first sentence of your webpage, and sprinkled throughout the content, as well as in the HTML title and metadata that describes your site.
5. Forgetting to Showcase Your Experience and Expertise
Building trust in your lab comes from demonstrating you've earned it. Do that in the following pages:
- About Us to tell your story and explain your mission.
- Services to describe the valuable tests you provide, including those not available elsewhere or new on the market, such as testing for PFAs.
- Certifications to show where you work and which methods you're accredited for by regulatory bodies.
- Quality Assurance to clarify how your lab generates accurate, reliable, and reproducible results.
- Pricing and Timing to give visitors a good idea of cost and turnaround time for tests.
6. Confusing Visitors With Cumbersome and Faulty Navigation
Too many water lab sites have pages that lead nowhere. If you keep your structure and number of pages up to date and pared down, visitors should never see the dreaded 404 Not Found message. Divide your site into sensible categories, like About Us, Services, Customer Types, and so forth, then organize additional pages under each heading. Five to six headings are generally sufficient, but large labs may want to add a place for case studies or white papers.
7. Failing to Capture Leads
Your webpage is a marketing tool, above all else, so be sure it's able to capture prospects. Include a form to gather leads and ensure it can't be missed. At a minimum, you'll need a contact email address or phone number, but you can also let visitors leave a message. Consider asking questions to gather additional insight, such as the type of customer — municipal, industrial, or individual. Don't make information requests mandatory or extensive, though. Forms should be an invitation to engage, not an intrusion.
8. Hiding Your Contact Information
Ensure every page prominently displays your contact information, including your locations, address for each location, directions to each location, operating hours, email address, and phone number for the main lab and key departments. The best spot is often at the bottom of the page, where most individuals know to look. If any information changes, update it promptly. Never make customers or prospects hunt for a way to reach you.
If your water lab's site needs a refresh — or even a do-over — take advantage of one of the many website building platforms available today, many of which are easy to use and come with support staff to guide you through the process. It's worth it, as the sooner you have an effective website, the sooner you'll be able to solidify industry authority and build trust around your brand.