Using Psychology To Design A Better Funeral Home Website

funeral-home-website-colors
The other day, I was doing some of my daily funeral industry research, and I found a statistic that absolutely blew my mind. It said “Most people would prefer to pre-plan a funeral, but only 33% do because they can’t find the information they need”.

I don’t know about you, but to me, that’s a problem.

With 97% of consumers today turning to the web to find a reputable product or service, that can only mean one thing. In my opinion, that means the majority of funeral home websites aren’t giving potential families the information they need to make a purchasing decision. So what do we do to make sure potential families have the information they need? That’s simple – a website that’s designed for families. But what does that even mean? Let’s look at what makes a website great (and mostly, why).

What great web design really means

Usually, we think of web design as a creative process, but there’s a ton of science behind how people react to your funeral home website. Understand the science and the psychological triggers and you can create a website that gives client familieswhat they want, and that will make your funeral home more successful. Check out the 8 areas of great website design below and see how your website is doing:

1. Pass the Blink Test

First impressions count. That’s especially true on your website. According toAnagard, website visitors have a six second attention span (according to this study, it’s even shorter). That’s not very long for your website to make a good first impression.

Try it yourself – visit your website and take note of what you observe in the first few seconds. Does it communicate what you’re all about? Make sure your website engages potential families and gives them the trust they need to choose your funeral home.  

2. Leverage Headlines

O’Connor Mortuary knows a thing or two about writing headlines that spark users interest. Check out their website by clicking the image.

O’Connor Mortuary knows a thing or two about writing headlines that spark users interest. Check out their website by clicking the image.

The title of web content (web pages, blogs, etc.) is crucial for getting potential families interested enough to click. The science shows that size matters – and probably not the way you think. It seems sensible to keep headlines short to match attention spans, but that’s wrong. AnOutbrain study shows that headlines of 16 to 18 words achieve more clicks than any others. And if people are clicking, they are staying on your site. You can also get more clicks by structuring headlines correctly. A post onAtomic Reach shows the importance of using capitalization, numbers, active verbs, superlatives and words that elicit emotion.

3. Know Your Type

We all know about choosing fonts and typefaces that work well on your website, but did you know thattypography affects conversions? If you want more people to read your website content, use fonts that are big and easy to read and pay attention to the number of words on the line, the spacing between letters and line spacing. Client families may not realize this affects their attention span and level of interest, but it does. In your web design, typography also helps you highlight the most important elements on the page and create visual hierarchy (that’s why we use different sizes for headings and subheadings).

4.The Lure of the Fold

I don’t know why we use print-based metaphors for the web, but we do. That’s why you hear people talking about “above the fold” – the top part of a web page. Some people believe it’s important to put the most important information above the fold to ensure that people see it, while others think thefold is a myth. What ISN’T a myth is the way people read web content, in anF-shaped pattern.

funeral-home-website

This study highlights the reading patterns of website users. As you can see, they form an F-shaped pattern.

Client families will look at your headline and first sentence on your funeral home website, then scan subheads and paragraphs. That means that if you want your website content to be effective, you need to make it scannable,while ensuring that headlines and subheads make people want to read on. Think about that for every page on your website, and you’ll be golden.

5. Getting the Picture

Ever been to a website, looked at a picture and thought “what were they thinking?” Me too. Choosing the right picture makes a heck of a difference to potential families’ perception of your site. It’s not just that people respond to faces, but you can also use images to direct readers’ attention to the parts of your site you want to highlight. Our eyes naturally follow other people’s eyes, and they follow arrows too. This is known as “visual direction” and there are some good examples in this Tutsplus article.

Anderson McQueen engages people on their website by featuring imagery with people who are relatable to potential families. Check out their live website by clicking on the image above.

Anderson McQueen engages people on their website by featuring imagery with people who are relatable to potential families. Check out their live website by clicking on the image above.

In addition, we also respond to the emotion shown on faces so you can influence families’ emotions with the right photo choice. Then there’s the question of size and the trend towards using bigger images – according toEconsultancy, bigger images can improve conversions.

Want to know how your funeral home’s website stacks up? Web Marketing Today recommends using heat maps to see what effect the images you use have on readers.

6. Using Video

Still on the subject of visuals, let’s talk about video. If you’re not using it on your site, you should be. This article on Forbes points out we’re conditioned to pay attention to faces, voices, movement and body language. So, videos work well for attracting attention and keeping people on your site. Video marketing has grown over the last couple of years, and videos are among the most watched online content, especially on mobile devices. When people see you on video,they trust you more, which is what you want. Add to that the positive impact of video on conversion rates and SEO, and it’s a no-brainer to use video on your website. Use video to showcase your services, make your funeral home human and answer questions that client families have.

Schoedinger Funeral Home & Cremation incorporates video throughout their entire website to establish trust and connect with families. To view their live website, click on the image above.

Schoedinger Funeral Home & Cremation incorporates video throughout their entire website to establish trust and connect with families. To view their live website, click on the image above.

 

7. Color Me Happy

Let’s talk about color. Personally, I’m tired of seeing monochrome, depressing funeral home websites. If you want client families to see their end of life as a celebration, then your website must reflect that. Choosing the right colors will help. Studies show that colorelicits emotion,sends positive messages andattracts attention. For us, blue isn’t just a color we like, but a trust signal. That’s why you’ll see the colors on most of our funeral home websites suggest enthusiasm, energy and life (like Posey Funeral Directors’ website below).

CAPTION: To view Posey Funeral Director’s live website, click on the image above.

CAPTION: To view Posey Funeral Director’s live website, click on the image above.

8. Take Action

One important thing to include on your website is a call to action to tell families what you want them to do next. A good call to action makes people believe something better is around the corner and it’s a design element you can’t ignore. In fact,other web design features like type and color also play into the effectiveness of your CTA. Get it right and you will connect with more client families; get it wrong and they will ignore you.

To view Posey Funeral Director’s live website, click on the image above.

To view Posey Funeral Director’s live website, click on the image above.

 

Want to see how your website design is doing?

If you’re not sure where to start, let us help! Give our Website Specialists a call at 800-798-2575, ext. 5. or click here to schedule a consultation with one of our Website Specialists.

Joe Joachim

funeralOne

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  1. Funeral Blog. The official blog for the funeral & cemetery professions. » Blog Archive How To Look At Your Funeral Home Website The Way Your Families Do

    […] It’s worth remembering that online video has had a huge boom in the last year or so, especially among mobile device users. It’s an easy way to connect with families and show your relevance to them. Check out some of the subtle cues you can use to make your website more appealing in our article on thepsychology of funeral home website design. […]

  2. Funeral Blog. The official blog for the funeral & cemetery professions. » Blog Archive 9 Elements You Should Remove From Your Funeral Home Website Today

    […] I don’t know about you, but when I’m searching for something specific online, I don’t want to take the time to read a bunch of unnecessary content to find what I’m looking for. Try to imagine you are looking for a funeral home online. What are the first few pieces of information you’d want to know? Most likely your answer is service options, pricing, and contact info. If you had to read through paragraphs of content looking for that information, you’d probably click “X” so that you could find that information more quickly, wouldn’t you? Your website visitors would do the same thing. Take a look at your website to see if you have any content cluttering the key pages. If it doesn’t seem completely necessary, remove it. Trust me when I say that when it comes to website content, less is more. […]

  3. NSLayout

    Wow! Great article i like your writing style.

  4. Francois@CodeSpark

    Interesting to see how these showcased sites for funeral homes are mostly lightweight viewing, right off the bat. I own an SEO and Marketing company so seeing these is a breath of fresh, so to speak. I mean no offense. My focus is getting my clients ranked in Google and your post here has shown me things can be different than they were before, in web terms. Not everything associated with death has to be dark or gloomy. THAT is what gets noticed. Positive differences. Thank you, Travis for showing a business owner a how-to.