This is a list of what you need to have on your website and which parts of the process you should outsource. Anything else you add is added value but not a must.
Keep in mind that a website is infinite and you will forever be updating it with offers, pictures, products, information and this is the way to start with your best foot forward.
Two Main reasons why your dispensary needs a professionally built website.
#1 – Reputation
Everyone does their research online and what should appear is not the poor review your competitor added on yelp, but your website which shows how much you care about your customers plus info on what you do. As cannabis providers this is even more important. You must build trust, as you are involved in the health of your consumers.
#2 – Growing your business
Most cannabis users will search maps on Google for their closest dispensary or will search the web for cannabis info. To be present on all of these channels its best to have a website with your presentation and menu as the foundation of your brand online.
4 Steps in the process
Step 1 – Know what you want
- Goal of the site
Will you sell products online? Do you want people to find your address so they visit your store? a branding effort where you present who you are and what you stand for to build trust? (Its ok to say all of the above – just keep one as a most important focus)
- Target audience and why you’re awesome
Young or more mature? Is your business a family feel or professional services? are you the one with the most options or only a few best?
- What is the feel of your brand – picture yourself walking into your store, what feeling do you hope arises?
Examples: luxury, sleek, “apple” like, barn, comfortable (Place next door), rustic, nature, relaxed, etc.
Step 2 – The content on your website
The first time I built a site, I paid $2000 for the content. Now we build it ourselves. But I’ve learned that the best approach is to answer all the questions you’ll find below and then spend a few hundred on a copywriter (Look here) and have that person put it into proper sentences. Money well spent.
Before starting, keep in mind Step 1: who is your audience, what’s the feel of your brand and what do you hope they do once they land on your website
Home page – Intro to your business and what you do
– Whats the name of your business and whats your mission? (ex “To provide a safe environment with great cannabis products. You can always trust that our products are of the best quality. We look out for your health”)
– Is your quality control process the best in the history? why?
– what do you sell?
– Do you have reviews of your customers? which ones?
– How can users buy from your shop?
– Do you think cannabis helps society? (not necessary to add, but every step we take to move the movement forward, brings the movement forward)
– Footer should include your address and links to your social media accounts and a way for users to sign up to your email list.
Shop page – your products
– In depth photos and info with Categories on the products you sell (In store or online). Your web designer will work with you to get this set up. and set it up as a menu only solution if you done sell online.
About page – who you are and why you care
– Again, whats your brand name and mission
– What’s your story, why are you here, how did you get here?
This will give users a connection to your business and can empathize with your efforts. A tip vulnerability triggers connectivity so if your business has been fighting the good fight, showcase it, talk about the struggle and show how you’ve persevered and succeeded. The user loves the warrior story. And keep going.
Blog page – To teach your users about cannabis and also to grow your traffic
– This is a space for you to grow, add blog posts for your consumers on how best to use Cannabis. spot to add value
Contact page – How your customers can connect with you and your store locations
– List all the ways you can be found, phone, email, address, social networks, soundcloud, etc.
– Add a contact form that is forwarded to your email
– Add a map of your location(s) (really important for SEO)
Member section – Optional
– How your users can become members and how long it will take to be approved.
Step 3 – Finding the right designer to build your website.
I can guarantee that spending a few thousand on your professional presentation will return thousands back in return. When you showcase a poorly built presentation online, it diminishes the credibility of your products. A web designer is again money well spent.
Before you go on Google to find a designer, start by asking your friends and colleagues if they can recommend. That at least guarantees that the designer will have reputable customer service. (If you don’t come up with leads contact us, we’ll give you a hand and connect you with great designers.)
The first step once you connect is to have a look at their portfolio to make sure you like what they design. (If you don’t know what you want, have a look around the web and find some websites you like, colors and presentation for reference)
Second- ask for the price – Websites can run between $4 000 – $10 000 depending on how fancy you get. But on average you will spend between $4000 and $5500 – if you pay $10 000 or more you are getting more than you need.
Third – Ask how many revisions you get – the right answer is unlimited revisions until you’re happy, if they give you a fixed number (say 3 revisions) means you’re paying on the low end otherwise make sure they don’t limit you
Fourth – Delivery time – a website project lasts on average 1 month, the first 2-3 weeks to build it and another week or two for you to prune and make changes. Feel free to keep changing until you’re happy – this is your business presentation on everyone’s phone and laptops. Don’t take that lightly.
The right designer is the right combination of a portfolio you liked, the right price, unlimited revisions and will deliver within a month or less.
Once you’ve met your designer – share everything that you put together above and let them run free on their own.
Step 4 – clean up and launch
The first look at your new website should happen on mobile as that is where the majority of changes happen – mobile friendly should be a given from any designer.
Spelling matters – triple check the spelling on your site, having misspells is a fast way to lose trust and credibility with your users. It appears you’re not thorough.
High quality photos – if the pics are blurry or not clear it will again question the credibility as you did not pay attention to detail on your site, how can we trust you pay attention to detail on your product?
Calls-to-action – this is a term used to describe an action you want your web visitor to take, is it prevalent? (“Visit us” “Buy now”)
Keep it simple – it’s easy to want to stuff information on a page as you want your customers to know all the value you bring. But there is a lot more value in having one point to make on the screen than 15 points. Everyone is already used to swiping up when they see clutter and wont read it.
Remember to keep cleaning until you’re happy, once happy then launch!
A few parting tips
1- Choose a domain name that is short and easy to spell. (Google, Greendoor, weedmaps) We are GetGreenline.co in large part because it’s easy for you to find us and it’s easy for us to share with you. Avoid foreign language names, really long names, underlines or any other foreign characters.
2- Build on wordpress – its the best platform for SEO and it’s an “easier” way to manage your website. Also there are solutions out of the box you can add to your site such as loyalty programs, referral programs or affiliate programs. More ways to grow.
3- have a system in place so that any changes to your inventory, phone number or anything that goes on your website is updated when changed. You must always keep your information up to date; this is the first resource your customers will use to get in touch with you.
4- one of your main goals should be to build trust. If you have large social media followings, then showcase that. Have you received awards? Showcase them, are you involved in the community? Share it. Connect with your users.
5- Own your hosting – get a hosting account with godaddy and have your designer place your website in your own hosting environment. Often times you will have designers offer to host your site for $50/month but for $70/year you can have your site hosted on godaddy and their customer service is great in case you have issues. Also you want to always control access to your business presentation.
Its good practice to always own your assets.
That’s the story – if you have specific questions or if we can help in any way, get in touch with us. Your success is our success!