Category Archives: Maintenance

9 Easy Website Changes to Enhance Your UX

By | Knowledge Base, Maintenance | No Comments
Freelancer working

For a solid online appointment system, you need a website with a good user experience, or UX. The more easily a customer can navigate your website, the more likely they are to book an appointment. On the other hand, UX difficulties can frustrate customers and drive them away.

The good news is, you don’t need to tear down your website entirely to improve your UX. Small changes in the right places can make all the difference. These nine website adjustments are bound to improve your site’s UX:

1. Clearly Display Your Call to Action

If the goal of your website is to guide customers toward booking an appointment online, make it easy for them. Finding where to make an appointment shouldn’t be a treasure hunt; it should be front and center. 

Place your appointment CTA in an obvious place, if it isn’t already. A large button with bold lettering will attract attention and make it abundantly clear where customers need to go to book appointments

2. Adapt to Mobile

Not all of your potential clients will visit your website on a computer. More and more consumers rely on their mobile devices to do research, make purchases, and book appointments. If your website isn’t optimized for a mobile experience, you’ll be missing out on a lot of traffic.

There’s no need to create a whole app for this. Optimizing your website for mobile should only require a couple of tweaks. The layout will need to be slightly different for smaller screens, but the design and content can likely remain the same. Most content management systems will make sure your site is easy to navigate no matter the device.

3. Optimize Loading Speed

Run a test to check how long it takes for pages of your website to load. In particular, see how your online appointment system’s buffering time stacks up against your competitors’.

Long loading times discourage customers from sticking around and booking. They’ll either look for options elsewhere or opt to walk in instead.

A simple way to optimize your load speed is to compress any images you use. This is one of the leading causes of slow response time and one of the easiest to fix. More in-depth solutions, such as backend optimizations, can further improve your site’s performance.

4. Smooth Out — and Punch Up — Your Writing

Websites with beautiful designs and images immediately catch attention. But to persuade potential clients to book an appointment, you will need — as any preschooler can tell you — to “use your words.”

Headings and bodies of text should be easy to read, both in design and content. Text that is difficult or tedious to wade through will render your website almost useless.

You know the strengths of your business better than anyone, so express them in clear, engaging language. By laying out the benefits of an appointment with you in a concise and attention-grabbing way, you will guide customers to their first booking. 

5. Tighten Up Your URL

On a scale from 1 (booknow.com) to 10 (supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.com), how long is your website’s URL? While bookmarks and autofill settings certainly help out with long links, short and sweet is usually the way to go. Customers can discover your website much more easily and can commit your site to memory when the URL is a manageable size.

There are many companies that buy and sell domain names you can use for your business. If your .com choice is already taken, consider a .biz as an alternative.

You can also use a service that shortens existing URLs when including them in online promotions. Whatever you can do to make your URL more manageable and memorable for customers is a must. 

6. Keep It Simple

Customers attempting to navigate your website shouldn’t be forced to jump through hoops. Information and resources should be easy to access and locate. A complicated website will lead to a poor user experience.

That’s particularly the case when your goal is encouraging clients to schedule appointments. If setting up an appointment takes too many steps to complete, customers will bail out. Keep things simple, and you’ll encourage customers to return in the future. 

7. Include Communication Tools

Want to click with your customers? Adding communication features to your website can really reel them in when they visit your site. The right tools can quickly guide visitors to exactly what they need. When you reduce the time it takes site visitors to find what they’re looking for, you increase user satisfaction. 

For example, a chatbot can be programmed to respond to customers’ basic questions. These rapid responses will set the user up for success as soon as they access your site. If you get a lot of website traffic, you can even consider hiring live customer service agents to handle questions and concerns.

8. Add a Form

Forms are a simple yet effective tool for generating leads. Not only can you gather new customers this way, you can get feedback that reveals improvements you can make to your business.

Site visitors can use a form on your homepage to do something simple, like request email updates with promotions or coupons. You, in turn, can attach a survey to the form asking customers about their user experience. Act on their feedback to improve your UX and your general business operations based on their responses.

9. Incorporate Analytics

All kinds of website-related activity will yield useful data. Clickthrough rates, landing page hits, and conversions are all metrics that have value to your business. They also tell a story about your website’s user experience.

Set up an analytics tool that can start tracking key data for you. As you gather data, it will guide you to changes you need to make to your site. Whether the data points to some of the steps above or something entirely different, data-driven decisions are some of the most effective. 

Customers are the lifeblood of your business, and these days, they increasingly come to you through your website. Ensuring your site offers a good UX is key to encouraging that first appointment and prompting repeat visits. So conduct a website audit and identify ways you can improve your user experience today.

How to Create Work Life Integration In Your Business

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I often get asked about how I manage my own work-life balance. The answer is quite simple – I don’t believe in balance. It’s a myth. Instead, I focus on work-life integration and design my life and business accordingly.

Why I Prefer Work-Life Integration

The reason I don’t believe in work-life balance is that it implies you can give equal attention to all parts of your life. It also implies that all parts of your life are independent of each other. Anyone who lives in the 21st century can tell you this simply isn’t true and trying to pursue it leads to even more stress. There will be stages in your life when one area takes up more time than another and vice versa. A more attainable goal is work-life integration – meaning your career and your personal life work together.

How to Create Work-Life Integration

If you run your own business, you have more control over your work and your personal time. After all, you are the boss. The key is to make sure you aren’t the worst boss you’ve ever had. Here are a few of the ways you can integrate your work and your life so that they complement each other instead of competing with one another.

Attend events.

I’m a big networker. I’m always at some event supporting another female business owner or friend, at a workshop or at a professional happy hour. In the past week, I’ve had three events due to the holiday season – and each of them helped them were fun and helped me advance my career. We tend to think that work is hard and that it’s separate from fun. The truth is the two can coexist. For example, I attended an event a colleague was putting on as a guest. We just so happen to discuss a potential brand collaboration in 2018 while we were there. Not to mention, I’ve met a lot of the people I have the privilege of calling friends through work events. I met my roommate at a blogger meetup. That same blogger meetup group has given me an award for the last two years which has led to brand sponsorships.

Use technology to create location independence.

I like to travel for the most part. This is made a lot easier by the fact that I can literally work from anywhere so long as I have an internet connection. Using technology to run my entire business has allowed for work-life integration. For instance, a family member surprised me with a cruise last year. While I didn’t work for most of the trip, I could check email from the solarium of the ship if I needed to.

Stop making yourself feel guilty.

I still sometimes make myself guilty for working on a weekend but taking a Tuesday afternoon off. The reality is we can make whatever kind of schedule we want for ourselves. Maybe I go out on a Wednesday night because of a festival and work Saturday. Just because my regularly employed friends don’t do that doesn’t mean it’s not acceptable.

Final Thoughts

For many of us, the entire point of starting a business was so that we would have more control over our time. By focusing on work-life integration instead of work-life balance, we can easily live life on our terms.
Originally published here.

How to Create A Time Budget (And Stick to It)

By | Maintenance, Time Management | No Comments
When most people hear the word “budget” they think of their finances. It makes sense because money is a resource that needs to be managed. However, your time is a resource too. In fact, I would argue your time is even more valuable because you can’t get it back. That’s why it’s important that you also create a time budget for your life.

What is the purpose of a time budget?

I like to think of a time budget as a guideline that helps you spend your time the way you want to spend it. Granted, sometimes there are things we don’t want to do – like go to the dentist or pay taxes. But, for everything else, it’s important that we find time for the things that matter to us. For most people that looks like relationships, health and their careers. The only way to do this is to manage our time wisely and with intention.

How do you create a time budget?

The first step is already done – which is to determine what matters to you in life. The next step is to figure out what each of these important things looks like. Remember, your time is a limited resource so it must be used wisely. Let’s start with career since that takes up a lot of our time each week. What does being intentional in your career look like? What tasks will actually move you forward with your goal? What tasks are a waste of time or cause you to move backward? When do you stop working each day. The last one is especially important because you have other areas of your life that matter to you as well. Chances are you didn’t go into business for yourself to work all the time, especially because many people crave work life balance. Once you determine when you work, you also need to determine when you do other things. For example, I go to a fitness class on Mondays and Thursdays. I also dedicate weekends to friends and family.

How do you stick to a time budget?

In order to stick to your time budget, you need to have certain things in place. Just like you use apps and boundaries for finances, you also need them for your time. Here are some things that will help you stick to your time budget:
  • A calendar application. Let’s be real, if something isn’t on your calendar it doesn’t actually exist. Furthermore, a calendar application can help you time block tasks and activities. It can also let others know when you’re not available.
  • Very strong boundaries. People will take advantage of your time if you let them. That’s why it’s up to you to have very strong boundaries. Don’t hand over control of meetings and learn how to say no. Otherwise, you give away too much of your most valuable resource.
time budget is just as important as a budget for your finances. Both resources need to be managed to the best of your ability for a balanced life. It’s up to you to determine how you want to spend your time and protect it.
Originally published here.

25 Ways to Be Happy With the Life You Have

By | Appointment, Business Tips, Knowledge Base, Maintenance, Scheduling | 4 Comments
Happy With the Life You Have

Aristotle said, “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.”

The problem is that our brains just aren’t wired this way. Instead, our brains are more concerned with surviving. Even worse, we get preoccupied by what-is, like “If I made more money I could be happier.” As a result, being content and happy with the life you have becomes elusive. Read More

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