If the website for your retirement community hasn’t been updated in the past three years, you may find that Baby Boomers are passing it by, and you are losing out on considerable revenue.

Why? Because more and more people search and research on the Web for information on all aspects of their lives. This includes members of the Baby Boom generation, who are starting to prepare for their retirement by going online to learn about personal finance, healthy living and retirement living options.

First, some statistics* that will knock your socks off:

  • More than 88% of U.S. Internet users –  older than 14- will research products online during 2012.
  • Almost 84% of those researching on the Internet will make at least one purchase via the Web this year.
  • Almost half (49%) of those ages 64 and older will be online during 2012.
  • 74% of Boomers use the Internet.
  • Two out of three people who use the Internet use local search as their primary source of local business information. 

*NOTE: from eMarketer.com, the Pew Research Center and TMP Marketing

Your target market is using the Internet to search for information, and they are looking for your website.  So, if it doesn’t:

  1. employ search engine optimization (SEO) to help searchers find you and then,
  2. give them the information they want about your facility in the way they want it…

you’re sunk.

There’s a lot involved in optimizing your site for the search engines and in making it user friendly. Below are just a few tips to help you (courtesy of UserEffect.com):

  • Always have your phone number displayed prominently on every page, especially your home page.
  • Provide a link back to your home page on every page.
  • Make sure you have plenty of whitespace on every page. People digest information differently now than they did even 10 years ago, so break up text with bullet points, bold faced headlines, etc.
  • Don’t create a site that takes forever to download. Your visitors want info now and if your site takes too long to load, they will leave. This means, for example, that you need to keep the use of Flash at a minimum.
  • Make sure you have a tagline. It should state your community’s mission/purpose clearly, and answer the question “what do you do?”.
  • Allow your site’s visitors to “understand” your homepage in less than five seconds. Don’t make them “guess” what you’re about. Let them scan it and know your main marketing points, whatever they may be.
  • Have your “About” page prominent on your homepage. People want to know with whom they’re dealing. In addition, add a “Testimonials” page – this page often is the most-visited page of any site.
  • Link your community’s logo to the home page. Website navigation is crucial.  People get frustrated when they cannot figure out their way around the site.  Frustrated people will log off.

What’s your take on this? Have you updated your website recently? If not, have you noticed if you’re gaining or losing business because of it? Have you noticed more prospects contacting you and saying they found you online? Write a comment and let us at Snelling Medical know about how well your website is helping you sell your community.