Franchise websites aren’t like other websites – they don’t have just one audience in terms of location. This not only means that franchise organizations need multiple local websites and one general website, but also that there needs to be authentic and consistent content for all those web pages.
If you are considering designing a website for a franchise organization, fear no more. We have 7 tips that will help you create a highly effective website for this type of business.
Allow easy switching from general websites to local websites
Website navigation is one of the most important elements of web design in general. People are so impatient and quick to judge these days – if they don’t see what they’re looking for in a split second, they abandon the website.
This need for simplicity and efficiency is even more marked when it comes to franchise organizations. Once they decide to buy something from the brand, they will want to be transferred to the local website as soon as possible.
To overcome this, you will need to structure your website in a way that makes it easy for users to locate and contact the nearest store. This will not only keep them engaged, but also encourage them to make a purchasing decision.
Pay attention to the UX of navigation
Franchise organizations usually have several local websites and a general website. For this reason, web designers tend to believe that the UX design of all websites should be the same. After all, they are all under the same brand, right?
Well, not exactly.
Users expect different things from the same brand when visiting local and general franchise organization websites. They visit the general website when they want to know what the brand is and a local website when they are looking to buy the products or services.
For this reason, the general menu of the website must clearly display the products in the navigation. This will help users understand what the brand is at a glance.
Local websites, on the other hand, should be more focused on what they offer locally. You should also include prices, events and reviews specific to that local store, and of course, contact details and location of the store.
Consistency is key
Ensuring that the way a franchise organization is presented stays the same across all marketing channels is key to building brand loyalty and standing out from the competition.
In web design, this means you will use identical colors on all local and general websites. Every time someone visits the website, they will feel a surge of emotions based solely on the colors you use. Also, being consistent with colors helps the website look clean instead of blurry.
By using the same fonts on all websites is also important. The little things matter – people often notice something is wrong when you embed different fonts. Of course, we also advise against using multiple fonts on the same website. It’s just too confusing.
Finally, the company logo is probably his signature sign and many believe that is what branding is. Of course, that’s not true because branding is more than a logo, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important.
Be sure to place the logo near the top left corner on general and local websites, as this is where users typically look for it.
Set up a franchise locator
Users who are ready to buy the company’s products or services often want to know where they can find the nearest store. Sure, they could buy things online, but a lot of people still want to see things in person.
The easiest way for them to find out where the stores are is to use a locator.
A locator helps potential customers easily navigate to the location they are interested in.
Trying to reach customer service just to ask where the nearest store is is often frustrating – not everyone likes to make phone calls. A locator, on the other hand, helps people find the information they need on their own.
Bonus points: add Google Maps to your website. Google Maps is mobile-friendly, which will make navigation smoother for your users.
Some franchise organizations also have a geolocation feature that detects the user’s location and directs them to the local page of the nearest store.
Take care of local SEO
Search engine optimization is important not only for general websites, but also for local sites. Of course, your strategy will be different, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have one for local websites.
First, the copy should feature localized keywords such as neighborhood or community names, addresses, and traffic directions. This is especially important when explaining the location of the store. Just think about how users can search for your products and services on Google.
Also, be sure to use localized keywords in other relevant places, such as the URL, titles, and meta tags, as well as any local content you create. For example, we advise you to insert your brand name, your products or services and your location in the title section.
Create a blog
People who say blogs are dead don’t know what they’re talking about. Of course, it’s not the same as 10 years ago when we didn’t have influencers and social media platforms, but it has definitely evolved.
Many franchise organizations, including franchises for veteranshave blog sections on local and general websites.
General websites should cover brand milestones, press releases, and general information in their blog section.
Local websites, on the other hand, should have different content: they could post information about what’s going on in their store and community. For example, a local website should feature information about the expansion of one of the local stores, especially if it plans to offer an opening day discount.
This all sounds very simple, but it is not. Creating new blog content takes time, so designing an easy-to-manage blog section should be a designer’s priority. Franchise organizations should be able to add or remove a blog as they see fit without hassle.
Use a domain for general and local websites
Franchise organizations do not necessarily need to have a domain for general and local websites. But this approach is not the best.
Franchise organizations tend to grow and spread all over the world. This means that they will have to create new local websites as they grow. Each time this happens, it will become more difficult to maintain consistency between design, SEO, and copywriting using the separate domains strategy.
For this reason, we believe franchise organizations should use one domain for general and local websites.
Basically, you’ll need to create multiple microsites – sections of the main website that have their own dedicated person pages, navigation, and usually their own subdomains. This will allow franchise organizations to easily make web design changes to general and local websites.
For example, if they decide to change the colors, they won’t need to browse all those websites separately – it’s just a few clicks away.
As you can see, franchise web development is not as complicated as it seems. It all boils down to maintaining consistency while providing unique SEO-friendly content.
Travis Dillard is a business consultant and organizational psychologist based in Arlington, Texas. Passionate about marketing, social media and business in general. In his spare time, he writes extensively on new business strategies and digital marketing for DigitalStrategyOne.