The Keys to Designing a Great Franchise Website
Because of the unique needs of a franchise system, it is imperative that franchises structure their websites for usability and scalability. The website should be like the franchise model itself: centrally branded, but supportive of individual locations. Tech-savvy franchisees understand the power of a well-structured website, one that will attract customers, generate leads, and provide a positive user experience for all locations.
Elements of a franchise website
During the construction or redesign of a website, franchises must consider several key factors. First, the new website must be scalable. Franchises are always planning for growth, and the website should facilitate that. The website should help franchisees achieve their ultimate goal: to grow their business by creating a positive online user experience for lead generation or conversions.
On the back end, franchisors must consider how much access to grant franchisees. Branding should remain consistent from page to page. But franchisees might need the ability to update location-specific content such as hours of operation.
A clean sitemap and a user-friendly interface are critical to every business website, and franchise sites are no exception. The sitemap helps Google index the site and optimizes the user experience on the front end, while a strategic design can ensure users have a positive experience finding information or connecting with the brand.
Choosing a content management system (CMS) that works for your brand’s needs is the key. Setting up a CMS can take time, but in the long run both the franchisor and franchisees will benefit. It’s important to structure websites so that updates and additions on the front end or back end can be made easily.
Website structures for franchises
Franchise website structures vary from location pages with basic information to fully developed microsites with more extensive location-specific content. All approaches on the spectrum have pros and cons. When determining what sort of structure will work best for their company, franchises must consider SEO goals as well as sales and branding objectives.
At a minimum, each location will need a page to share basic information such as name, address, and phone number (a.k.a. “NAP” listing). If you want to increase SEO benefits on the local level, begin to add more content, such as hours, social media links, and specific local offerings. The benefits continue to increase as you add more location-specific content such as owner bios and relationships to area landmarks and organizations. Backlinks to specific franchisee pages also can help them dominate their local markets.
Of course, the more content you have, the more work local pages require to manage. Additionally, brand consistency can become a potential issue when multiple people are contributing content. Franchises have to continually balance the SEO advantages of local content against the strong benefits of a coherent and consistent national presence. Maid Brigade is an example of a franchise that does a good job with this balancing act.
Your website is more than just a repository of information. To online searchers, it’s the first representation of your business. A strong SEO plan will ensure that potential customers find your website and valuable content more easily.
The best websites are interactive, informative, straightforward, and visually appealing. An intuitive user design makes it easy for visitors to find what they need and for Google to serve your site in relevant search results.
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