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Pet sitter websites: what your visitors want

by Therese on July 12, 2009

in Pet Business Marketing, Pet Sitting, The Pet Care Biz

I did a mini poll on Twitter and asked:

“When you visit a pet sitter website for the first time, what are the most important things you look for?”

Here’s how people voted:

20% of people responding wanted to see:
Services offered (vacation care, dog walking, overnights, etc.)
Geographical area served by the pet sitter

17% of people responding wanted to see:
The pet sitter’s qualifications
A short bio about the pet sitter

7% of people responding wanted to see:
If the pet sitter is insured

I’ve seen thousands of pet sitter websites over the years and, sadly, many of them aren’t all that user friendly. Quite often, the crucial info mentioned above is either missing, buried in the website, or confusing. Although the way a website is put together may make sense to the person creating it, the same isn’t always true for the visitors. Setting up your website so your information is easy to find, clear, and concise is going to help your visitors, but it’s also going help you get more pet sitting and dog walking business.

Here are a few pointers to keep in mind when you design a website for your pet care business:

Mention your services on the front page
It’s not necessary to go into great detail about each service, but the front page is where you want to let people know what services you offer. If the name of your company is something like Annie’s Pet Services that doesn’t really tell people what type of pet services you offer. You could be a pet sitter, dog groomer, a pet taxi service, even a pet photographer. You want your potential clients to know immediately that you’re a pet sitter – so even though it may be obvious, tell them! Make it stand out in a way that makes sense and catches their eye. We Serve Pets lists their services right on the front page, with links that take you to pages that go into more detail about the services.

Let people know where your business operates
It’s frustrating to go to a website for a local service and have to hunt for the geographical area where that business operates. If you can let your visitors know within the first second or two where you work, you’ll stand a better chance of hearing from them. Include the city and state in the upper section of your front page. If you serve neighborhoods in a certain city, be sure to add those as well. “Serving the south side” doesn’t help anybody, but if you say “serving the south side of Austin, Texas” that makes a whole lot more sense! See Smiling Dog Pet Sitters and take a look at how they let visitors know they offer dog walking and pet sitting in Austin, Texas.

Post your prices
There are opposing views on posting prices on a website, but as a consumer, I prefer to see prices. And, as the poll showed, I’m not alone. Sure, your prices may scare some people away but it will save you and your potential clients time and effort. It’s much better to have your rates out in the open than hearing “oooh, that’s too much,” after you’ve spent 15 minutes on the phone with someone. Bone-A-Fide Pet Care clearly describes their services and rates.

State your qualifications
Pet owners want to know their pets are going to be cared for by someone who has some type of background in pet care. List your pet related credentials as well as other areas of expertise that may be of interest to potential clients. And, rather than saying “I have 5 years experience as a pet sitter” say “I’ve been pet sitting since 2004.” That gives people an exact date, plus it means you won’t have to update your website every year! Vicky, the owner of Dog Walks ‘N More tells people on the front page that her dog walking and pet sitting business is bonded, insured, and trained in pet first aid. And in her, bio she includes even more info about her experience.

Include your bio
Pet sitting and dog walking are personalized services. You’re not just cutting someone’s grass – you’re coming into their home and caring for their valuable family members. Let your personality shine in your bio and tell them why it is you love your job so much, why you decided to start your business, and introduce the pets that own your heart. The owners of FurPals Pet Care have included bios about themselves and let visitors to their site know about their own pets.

If you’re insured (and you should be!) say so
It surprised me that insurance was the last thing people looked for when they visit a pet sitter website. If you’re insured though, say so – it’s good for you and your clients. (But…please…don’t say you’re licensed, unless you say you have a business license. If you want to know why I say this read this post on licensed pet sitters.) Sweet Paws Pet Sitting states clearly on their front page that they are insured and bonded, and even mentions the name of their insurance company.

So how does your website measure up?
Try to look at your website as someone who doesn’t know where you work, what services you offer, or why they should hire you. You might even want to have someone who’s never seen your website before take a look at it and let you know what they think. You want your information to be easy for them to find and understand. If something isn’t clear to you or that friend you have look at your site, I can guarantee it won’t be clear to potential clients either.

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