Part 3: Things We See That Are Bad
We see a lot of websites here at FindHaunts.com. A lot of them are good. Many more have some serious issues. Here’s some tips to help you avoid these common mistakes (and what you should do about them).
Update Your Website!
Believe it or not, people visit your website ALL YEAR, and not just in the Halloween season. We know you are tired and by the time Halloween is over, the last thing you really want to think about is next year… but you probably should. It gives directories like ours an indication that you plan on doing an event next season, and it’s a great way to thank your cast and crew as well as your customers.
When updating for a season, please keep in mind that it takes a little bit of time for all of your marketing to work together. The earlier you have your website updated with next years dates and information, the better off you will be… but don’t wait too long, your haunt should start promoting itself again by July! Make sure your website is updated by then!
Drop Your “Enter” Pages
It drives us absolutely crazy when we encounter a “Click here to enter”page. These provide absolutely zero benefit for your website, and it’s just an opportunity to lose a customer. A significantly large percentage of your visitors to your website won’t click beyond the main page – don’t waste them with an “enter” page.
In fact, your main page should answer the questions your visitor has – without requiring them to click to another page. This brings me to our next topic:
Main Page Content
Do yourself a favor and provide the following information right on your main page:
- A calendar view or dates of operation. Make sure you include the HOURS you are open and the YEAR this calendar applies!
- General Admission pricing, and children’s pricing, if applicable
- Your Address!
- Your Phone Number!
We will talk more about your calendar later in this series, but by providing this information you will have answered MOST, if not ALL, of your customers questions in one single page. Use the other features of your website to pull them in even deeper with photos, videos, and other information about your event.
It’s A Mobile World!
Is your website mobile friendly? It HAS to be. Your customers will want to get your address, pricing, and more from your website while they are out and about, making plans for the rest of the evening, and they will be doing this from phones and possibly tablets. If your website isn’t responsive or designed to support mobile devices, you may lose these customers to other attractions that are mobile enabled.
It’s also important to note that mobile content should not be different than desktop content! Regardless of how your customer decides to access your website, ALL of the content needs to be available to them, on every device. Don’t let a web designer talk you into a ‘stripped down’ mobile site.
DO NOT make your customer choose. It’s technically very easy to detect how a customer is accessing your website, so the website should just serve up the appropriate content.
Is your haunt moving? That happens quite a bit. Avoid announcing that you WILL be moving, instead announce that you HAVE moved. It’s a subtle difference, but it confuses your customers. Always announce once the move has been completed, and not before.
Linking To Your Website
When providing links to your website to services like calendars, the BBB, local tourism boards, or services like FindHaunts.com, ALWAYS use your primary domain (main page), and NOT a deep linked page. For example, Circle of Ash Haunted Attraction would always use: http://www.circleofash.com/ and not http://www.circleofash.com/site/current-show/the-haunt/.
The reason? Deep links can change over time, becoming broken, and making it difficult for your customers to find valid information about your event. Linking to the main domain of your event will ensure that people can find you, and the current information about the event.
A deep(er) link would only be acceptable if you operate as part of a larger organization (like the Jaycee’s) where there may be a dedicated page for the haunted house. Be careful not to link to anything that has the year in it!
We see these “loading” animations far more often than we should. It’s not the late 90’s any more, and we have the technology to deliver media-rich web experiences WITHOUT the need for ‘loading’ animations and/or pages. Complain to your web designers to get these fixed and removed! Customers won’t like to wait, and search engines will have difficulty with them.
Check back for our next article where we talk about Calendars.
Previous: Names (Haunt and Domain!)
Next: Calendars (Not yet published – expect it the week of July 13th, 2015!)